V01 to Done – Spark FX 2021

Back in February this year I was asked to be part of the “Meet The Masters” – Compositing Panel as part of the 2021 Spark FX conference. The panel was hosted by Chris Van Dyke and he invited four compositors, myself, Ben McEwan, Aleksandra Sienkiewicz, and Fenner Rockliffe to join him. Between us we came up with he title of “V01 To Done” for our collection of presentations, and we tried to cover a little bit of all the skills a compositor might need to get a shot through the whole production.

Ben talked about some of the basic mathematics that compositors should know to understand how Nuke does some of the operations we use regularly. His section of the presentation is available on his website. Aleks talks about how she works with CG renders and shared some tips on how to add that little extra something special to your full CG shots. And Fenner talked about adding some creative stylization to finish your shots.

I decided that I should bookend those Nuke focused talks with two presentations that focus more on the softer skills of compositing that aren’t talked about as much as Nuke tips.

Steps To Success

My first presentation, Steps To Success, talked about the order in which you should approach all the tasks in your shot. I talked about time management, the fact that other departments might require things from us at different stages of the project, and how we should make sure we have a version of the shot that can be put in the final movie before we get hung up on tiny details.

Know Your Role

In this video I discus how visual effects requires you to think both creatively and technically, and how some people are better at one than the other. I talk about how these two approaches can sometimes conflict with each other, and how some projects require one more than the other. And how changing your personal goals for a project can help you feel content with whatever kind of your you have to do.