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Old 07-03-2013, 03:11 AM   #1
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Compositing Career-HELP

So this will be sort of a piggyback off of the previous forum dicussion concerning this topic. I am considering a career as a compositor, but I need someone to help me understand what is really takes.

First off, Do you need to learn how to light and do FX work? I understand a more generalist approach is good, but are these other fields just an absolute necessary for this line of work? I mean, is would sounds like it would make sense to learn lighting right? And if you do, how deep do you need to take it?

Secondly, and this is a big one, do you need to be able to write scripts and have working knowledge of python or mel? Or anyting scripting language to be a successful compositor?(I believe nuke has its own scripting language?) And if so, how much expression writing/scripting? Are you using that knowledge everyday or just every so often?

Third, Matchmoving. Is this skill essential to everyday done as a comper?

When I see these VFX demo reels, it seems everyone has a knowledge of freaking everything. Please, anyone who could help me understand this field more thoroughly, or any links to good articles on this would be very much appreciated.
Old 07-31-2013, 04:35 AM   #2
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Rick vd S
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Posts: 1,076
Hi there, let me answer as much as I can:

1. Its hard to say where you will be ending up. The bigger the studio the less likely you will be doing things like lighting and FX. For smaller shops being more of a generalist is probably better. Also, the more you know in general, the better it will make you as a compositor. But there is no certain rule that says you have to know lighting and fx before becoming a compositor. I am not really a lighter or a FX artist, although I know the processes a little, and I am doing fine as a compositor.

2. I always hated scripting. It seemed boring and I couldn't remember the code. Most of my colleague compers don't know how to script and are doing fine. But if you are serious about becoming a good compositor expect to do some scripting. It will make your life a lot easier and your work a lot better. And it is not even that hard. Both Python, MEL and TCL are really easy and google is your friend. I don't memorize all the code, I just google everything I need, getting better along the way. Now I even like getting a script to work. But it is not something you need to get into right away. Focus on comping first, and when you are starting to become good at that explore some scripting.

3. Match moving and rotoscoping will be a big part of your job. You might not have to do it every day, in rare cases you hardly have to do it at all, but big chance that you will come across some match-move heavy projects along the way.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:12 PM   #3
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jake mr
makaha, US
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Get some courses from fxphd on compositing. They are taught by pros for pros and I think will give a really good idea of what it takes, and if it's for you.
Old 08-02-2013, 12:01 AM   #4
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Wow guys thanks so much! This really clears my head up
Old 08-08-2013, 02:48 AM   #5
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Devin Uzan
digital compositor/animator
Los Angeles, USA
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 124
The standard things to know for a compositor are

1. Keying
2. Color Correction
3. Rotoscoping
4. Tracking/Matchmoving (more 2D, but 3d is getting more common to know)
5. Integrating Elements (depth of field, blur, grain, color, perspective, composition, timing)
6. Digital Paint (for fixing things like wires, mistakes on set)

and the most important:

the ability to problem-solve, be resourceful and not give up!

Color and roto are things compers do every single day. Tracking, paint and keying less so. It depends on the project.

Old 08-08-2013, 02:48 AM   #6
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