Art: The VFX sector - How to specialise? Advise?
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  1. #1
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    The VFX sector - How to specialise? Advise?

    Hi. I just wondered how you'd go about getting into the business of VFX for live action films. I'm going into my second year of my animation course, its an umbrella course which covers everything in very little detail, but I want to find something I can specialise in. I'm most interested in computer animation and have always been fascinated by VFX and SFX. I love watching behind the scenes and reading articles about how certain aspects have been achieved. I want to learn more.
    This is one of the options I've considered, and would like to start thinking about a bit more as I only have 2 years left in uni and believe it's important to begin on the right path as soon as possible.

    The facilities at the uni I'm at don't cater for green screen, we don't have the equipment such as the cameras or motion capture, and we don't have a green screen room. I want to be comfortable with the fundamentals animation first as without this learning everything else is pointless.

    Can anyone recommend any good articles, websites, online courses etc. or just any advise about this sector of the industry.

    I'm planning on doing an additional course after my course finishes, I want to be able to specialise in a certain area, I'm still unsure what I want to do I did want to do a course on animation mentor for character animation. I'm looking everywhere, I still have 2 years to make my mind up as this year I have taken the option for computer animation so hopefully I'll have a better idea of what I enjoy. I live in the UK, so if anyone can suggest a course in the United Kingdom for VFX I would be very grateful.

    Thanks

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  2. #2
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    So I wrote a bunch of advice and then switched tabs on my browser and lost all that I wrote.

    Here are some of the highlights:

    http://www.fxguide.com/
    google search vfx breakdowns (and anything you liked the effects in)
    follow scott squires blog
    Look at the websites of MPC, Framestore, Cinesite and any other good vfx house for their job postings to get an idea of what kinds of jobs are out there.
    Go to SIGGRAPH

    There is so much more than character animation in vfx, if thats what you like, then great, do it. I would explore other areas of specialization first.

    How do you get into the industry? Make a good reel and then be in the right place at the right time.

    You probably don't need more school just a good work ethic. I work with a lot of dudes that went to Bournemouth, you might check that out.

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  3. #3
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    Make sure you have after effects and mess around with it. That is a major tool for both animators and vfx artists. It is one of the best adobe products. Specialization is neat but dangerous, sometimes post production teams might want someone who knows a little bit of a lot rather than a lot of a little. I would say check out online tutorials see if you cant get a greenscreen to play with, take a lighting class if they offer it, that sometimes uses greenscreens, also and type of film class, they may give you access to a greenscreen and help you with editing. I do apologize I dont know how the schools across the pond work but those are just some things I have picked up on, I am a Senior Animation Student about a quarter away from gradutating so that is where my experience comees from.

    Also see if they offer Master Classes, one of the most influencial classes I attended was a Pixar Masterclass. They can get expensive but they are worth it and definately fluff your resume up. Also try for internships they will teach you more specialized skills.

    If you are playing with after effects try this website. It is fun and lets you experiment with the tools http://ae.tutsplus.com/

    Also Lynda.com is a great resource for learning a new program

    A Cartoonist is just a lazy Animator.
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    If you're in London, there are a large number of VFX houses in the area (Motion Picture Company, The Mill, and Framestore come to mind). Keep an eye out for junior or internship positions in areas you're interested in. They come around infrequently, so keep your eye on their career pages. For now, attach yourself to mentors in the specialization you want and find in-depth classes. If you want to have a more technically oriented specialization (technical animation, rigging, render wrangling, pipeline, etc) then I HIGHLY recommend some computer science and programming classes. Look into Animation Mentor or iAnimate if you want to do more advanced animation stuff.

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    The UK film industry is riding high. In 2010, a record 1.1bn was spent on UK film production. With effects-heavy blockbusters like the Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean series' driving this boom, it's hardly surprising that UK film's fastest growing component is visual effects. In fact, if the UK's visual effects (VFX) industry continues to grow at its current rate, its annual revenues will pass 600m in 2014.There are some fantatstic Digital Effects courses in the UK that provide the perfect platform for a career in VFX, many of which struggle to find the best people to teach. Any guidance or encouragement for school-leavers to encourage them to join a wonderful industry that is crying out of UK talent is essential.

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    You might also nail down a bit what you want to do. Animation for film is very different than VFX, character animation is acting and performance based while the actual VFX/compositing side is a lot more technical. And on bigger productions those are rarely the same person.

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