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Monday, September 21, 2020

Giving life to Reel: Lead Visual Effects Compositor

Giving life to Reel Lead Visual Effects Compositor
Satyendra Chaturvedi
Satyendra Chaturvedi, one of the digital magicians behind the success of Oscar winning Life of Pi, Aquaman, Fast & Furious, Star Trek Beyond and Pirates of the Caribbean, is a craftsman in Special Effects.  In conversation with Brainfeed, the Lead Visual Effects Compositor for over 72 Hollywood and Bollywood Films, unveiled the world behind green curtains- the world of creativity, imagination and limitless possibilities.

What is the role of a compositor?

Compositing department is responsible to make the scene, the character, look real. We receive the animated scene with a rough lighting. We check it, comb it, enhance it, smoothen it by matching the blacks and whites. Suppose, lighting is already done, but the character is looking white in a night sky. So, here, we need to match the character with its environment or add fog to mix with the light from a vehicle. There are places where we have to position the 3D created object in between two objects shot together in live action like placing dinosaur between a bus and the house. Here, the technique of rotoscopy is used. Giving life to Reel: Lead Visual Effects Compositor Giving life to Reel: Lead Visual Effects Compositor

Steps of Visual Effects

How can students pursue this career?

Identify your interest:

When you think to pursue animation, first analyze what’s your interest in from the departments above. If you are good at drawing/sketching then modelling is the department where you draw on the software such as MAYA and JET Brush. While in the animation course when you are learning to work on MAYA you will be taught everything.  During this, you comprehend where you are better at- lighting, modelling, texturing or rigging- then specialize on the skill that is of your interest. In studios there are different departments. You can apply as a modellor or lightor or compositor as per your interest. Financially, all are equal in opportunities.

Choose the right course:

Institutes that offer training in animation have designed packages of training. Different combinations of softwares are grouped under the courses they offer. Students should do their homework and decide their priorities on which softwares they want to learn. As per their requirement, they can choose the most-suitable animation course for them.

Types of Software used:

Nuke, Adobe Photoshop, Silhouette FX, Imagineer’s Mocha, Adobe After Effects, Flame/Smoke, Digital Fusion

What’s the scope in India?

Numerous studios for Television and Film productions have newly started and many are coming here from Hollywood as well such as Legend 3D in Pune, MPC in Bengaluru, Digital Domain and Tau Films in Hyderabad. Jobs in this industry are available only in few cities of India presently- Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai.

You have worked for both national and international projects. What differences have you observed?

Firstly, budget is the major factor where the difference starts. Also, in India, the challenge was (and somewhat it is there today too) that people are not ready to invest in VFX. Recently, the graph is changing and the major credit goes to Bahubali. Their budget for VFX was really high. Thereafter, movies like Akshay Kumar and Rajnikant’s 2.0, Shahrukh Khan’s RaOne invested highly in VFX. Old movies like Jajantaram Mamantaram, Love 2050 also invested good amount but they weren’t successful. However, Bahubali broke that myth and now people are open to invest heavily in VFX. Otherwise, the trend in Bollywood is that the movies are pushed to success either through story-based plot or through stardom.

The truth is, every movie has some or the other type of VFX involved. The only difference is in the budget. Secondly, people in Hollywood, spend on quality and take time to research and produce a movie. For example, for Avatar, they invested seven years for research alone!

Nevertheless, gradually Indian market is gaining the momentum towards betterment too.

Prominent Institutions:

  • Pixelloid Studios
  • Maya Institute of Advanced Cinematic (MAAC)
  • Toonz Academy, Thiruvananthapuram
  • National Institute of Film and Fine Arts, Kolkata
  • Zee Institute of Creative Art (ZICA), Bangalore

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