advanced photoshop

How to be a successful VFX artist: Part 2

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Tips & Tutorials, by AprilMadden

In Part 2 of expert Amedeo Beretta’s guide to becoming a successful VFX artist he looks at how to train the eye to visualise scenes and spot tiny mistakes

Still from Paul
Paul and his friend. Paul’s eyes were one of the animation challenges. The eyeballs are so large that what looked like a regular glance to one side when animating on a regular computer monitor could easily look too extreme on a big theatre screen © Working Title, Double Negative VFX

The application of VFX is and always has been about seeing. VFX artists must possess the ability both to see the big picture and the finer detail. You could be working on the facial expressions of an animated character, requiring much finesse and attention to detail, but you need to be able to visualise this task within the concept of a scene. Many people place great emphasis on the technical abilities of becoming a VFX artist, and whilst these are important the ability to see is the foundation for all the work you will carry out, regardless of technology used. Therefore great importance should be placed on learning this skill and training the eye.

Unfortunately there aren’t any hard and fast rules to help you train your eye to notice virtually unnoticeable imperfections in a matte painting (backdrops used by VFX artists to build upon scene locations), or to visualise a complete scene sequence. Luckily, though, generations of artists and scientists have paved the way for us. Practice truly does make perfect, and studying animation, films, sculptures, paintings and photographs in detail will help train your eye to the fundamentals and nuances of light and volume; fundamentals which will form the foundation of all of your work.

In the next part of his guide, Amedeo Beretta will look at the need for flexibility; learning how to successfully work with directors, animators and other creatives within the VFX pipeline and how to approach Photoshop and other software. Check back next week for more!

Amedeo Beretta

Amedeo Beretta is a Module Leader for the six month Visual Effects for Film course at Met Film School. His cinematic credits include Paul, John Carter and Planet 51.

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How to be a successful VFX artist: Part 1