The visual effects (VFX) industry has crossed a long way in India and is growing steadily while providing a new dimension to film production.
The VFX industry is thus developing at a unprecedented and steady pace, according to industry experts.
The year 2017 appears to be an all-time high for the animation and visual effects industry as big-budget; effects-laden films continue to dominate the theatrical motion picture release schedules.
When the official trailer of ‘Baahubali’, India’s most expensive movie was released on YouTube, it garnered more than 60 lakh views and 35,000 likes thanks to the two-minute long clip featuring lush landscapes of mountains and waterfalls, temples, and palaces battlefields – all made possible by 17 VFX studios with 600 artists.
If In film-making, VFX is the process by which imagery is created or manipulated outside the context of a live action shot.
It involves the integration of a live-action footage and computer-generated imagery to create environments which look realistic, but would otherwise be dangerous, expensive, or impossible to capture on film.
VFX involves multiple jobs and consists of compositors, concept artists, layout artists, digital artists, lighting technical director, match move artists, matte painters, producers, roto artists, runners, technical director, and supervisors.
The following are few roles in the VFX career:
At the pre-production level concept artists produce art work or illustrations based on the brief given by a client or VFX supervisor.
Creating new characters or unseen worlds help the production designers realise their vision.
BG Prep Artists/Digital Preparation Artists
Background preparation artists are responsible for rig removals, painting out markers or unwanted elements etc. before the VFX shot moves along the production pipeline.
Rotoscoping is the initial skill required by compositors.
Roto artists mark the areas of live action scenes where graphic elements will cover the live images.
They create clear mattes within the scene to allow all elements of the scene to be layered smartly.
In the case of a static camera while making a shot, rotoscoping may include one frame; however mattes will still be required if the computer-generated imagery interacts with moving people, moving objects or moving background elements, and in these cases mattes.
If the live action is moving, roto shapes are created for the relevant areas of every frame within the shot so that graphics can be mixed skillfully with the live action.
Tracking or match moving is also known as the invisible art of visual effects and is the basic most important process to integrate computer graphic elements or animation seamlessly into a live action sequence.
In other words matching the virtual or CG world to the live action world.
Matte Painters work with stills captured from live action photography, digital still photography, and rendered computer graphic elements to create beautiful environments or imaginary worlds which do not exist or are difficult to shoot in reality.
They work hand in hand with environment department and the virtual backgrounds are seamlessly integrated into the film by compositors.
A layout artist is responsible for CG camera animation using cinematography principles, shot composition and character blocking.
They do the job very closely with the storyboard artists and animation director and stage every shot and plot the action that takes place within each scene.
A lighting artist’s key role is to maintain consistency in the lighting, colour balance and mood throughout the VFX shot/sequence.
They ensure that the computer generated products look live and photo realistic.
They add the lighting that creates atmosphere and adds realism, depth and tone in a scene. They are also referred to as lighting TDs (technical director).
2D supervisors and VFX supervisors, composite the numerous elements that complete a VFX shot, along with a Compositor.
They receive data from various sources like roto, BG prep and lighting. And using the same data, they construct the final image by merging all the layers of a shot, including live-action and computer graphic elements.
It is very necessary for the compositors to have a thorough understanding of the computer-generated animation process consolidated with relevant artistic skills and at the same time maintain the standard also as well as the continuity of the project.
A VFX or animation producer manages all aspects of a project including the initial VFX breakdown and bidding, planning and scheduling of facility resources, managing the creative and production teams and checking their work during the post-production process.
The VFX supervisor is responsible for achieving the creative aims of the film director through the use of VFX.
They are the creative leaders of the teams of artists in the studio, guiding the artists throughout the show ensuring that good and clear communication occurs at all times between the artists, editor and client.
During production stage, a VFX supervisor would spend time on set,looking into that the VFX is filmed correctly to allow for a clean edit.
The VFX supervisor handles the project from its conception till completion, seeing to it that the good quality of work is delivered.
If you love cinema along with the enthusiasm to learn, perseverance and creativity, then this is the career for you.
All you’ll need is knowledge of relevant software, an artistic bent of mind, some engineering skills and a solid understanding of photography and the interplay of light, color and shadow.
The aspiring candidate must make sure that the VFX course offers a well-rounded and balanced syllabus giving him/ her firm grounding in the principles of animation and VFX.
It should enable them to work with industry standard software with quality film-studio facilities for production projects, alongside gaining the knowledge and ability to work professionally in the animation and VFX industry.
Finally, Individuals who want to branch out, grow and understand the industry as a whole stand out better than other artists.
Which is why, working in animation or VFX or gaming or web designing can open exciting career paths for you, in India as well as around the world.