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the event for the

CG Community


Welcome! We are proud to welcome you to Vertex 2018, the event to bring all of us together, no matter where you are from or what field of CG you are in, as a seasoned pro or a student just starting out. You will find a wide assortment of activities, all of which should inspire, inform and intrigue you. Maybe you are looking to take the next step in your career, or are fascinated by the future of digital humans. Maybe you have come to learn a new skill, or to rub shoulders with your heroes. Vertex offers all of this and more, so enjoy yourself and come away invigorated and ready to take the next steps in your journey. Rob Redman & Carrie Mok


top talks

Get inside the greatest minds in the community

Industry veteran Scott Ross will be discussing the opportunities arising from Brexit, while Chaos Group Labs director Chris Nichols will be talking about the ethics of digital humans, and much more throughout

workshops

Learn from the best to increase your skill set

The workshops are the place to be if you’re looking to expand your knowledge, and will cover everything from Glen Southern’s VR workflow to Mike Griggs’ fundamentals of 3D session.

Ask an artist A chance to run though your problem with a pro A unique and fantastic opportunity to get some one-on-one time with a CG pro. Throughout the day these experts will be on hand to answer your questions and help fix your issues.

Portfolio reviews

Get expert advice on selling your skills

The portfolio review sessions will run throughout the day and offer you the perfect chance to discuss your reel or portfolio, so you can make the most of your skills when it’s time to land a new gig.

Recruitment

Meet the people who are searching for new talent

Studios and talent scouts will be taking part in Vertex, so if it’s time for you to move up the career ladder, then you can’t afford to miss out on attending our debut event. Get some face time with the decision makers.

expo

The cutting edge on show

The expo area is open to all, and is the best way to discover the latest developments in your favourite software and hardware, or to get a demo of something that you haven’t ever tried before.

networking

Make friends and influence people

In the evening there will be a panel discussion about digital humans, followed by the networking mixer. Chill out, rub shoulders with your heroes and make some new friends, relaxing after a day of practical inspiration.


Vertex

is a day full to bursting with thought-provoking talks, inspirational workshops and much more. To help plan your day, here is a breakdown of what is happening and when. We also have breaks planned between talks, so use this to grab a drink, book in your portfolio review or visit our Ask an Artist section to have your CG problems solved.

In the Auditorium 9.40 Chris Nichols Digital Humans: a look to the future Digital humans can really freak people out. Chris will talk about what he sees as the future of this area.

12.10 Simon Holmedal Simon Holmedal

17.45 Anna Hollinrake Love your limitations - defining low poly art By working with the challenges of low poly and stylised mediums, Anna will be explaining the process of building a highly efficient art style that uses traditional artistic principles.

19.00 Panel discussion Digital doubles: where are we headed? Chaired by Rob Redman, some of our speakers will discuss the way we treat digital likenesses not just from a technical standpoint, but also looking more philosophically at aspects like who owns the rights, possible misuse and more.

20.00 Networking event Rub shoulders with your heroes Stay and mingle with your fellow attendees, speakers and the Vertex team over drinks! Please note: available to AAA ticket holders only.

Art of the title sequence Simon is a veteran of the motion graphics and generative art scene, and in his talk he will be sharing his thoughts and secrets about working on such a sequence.

14.00 Hugo Guerra Zombies, Plumbers, and Epic Battles

Hugo discusses his remote pipelines for four new trailers for The Walking Dead March to War, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Heroes Arena and an unannounced cinematic for an AAA game.

15.15 Sebastien Deguy Augmented Artistry: How Substance and other ‘augmenting’ tools are empowering today’s 3D artists As tools become more accessible, new techniques and procedures arise. Sebastien will talk about them from the perspective of a developer.

16.30 Scott Ross British VFX after Brexit Taking the form of a fireside talk, 3D World editor Rob Redman will have a conversation with Scott, where he will use the benefit of his industry experience to discuss what he thinks.

Portfolio reviews Book a slot on the day to have an expert help you make the most of showcasing your skills.

The following experts will be available at the times shown:

9.30 – 10.30 Shayleen Hulbert Freelance character artist 10:30 – 11.30 Jorge Sanchez Lead environment artist, RARE 11.30 – 12.30 Ellen Parkes Animator, RARE 2.00 – 3.00 Victoria Hall  2D Concept, RARE 3.00 – 4.00 Nicolas Hernandez VFX supervisor & head of 3D, Milk VFX 4.00 – 5.00 Sam Lucas  Head of modelling, Milk VFX


Workshop room 1

Workshop room 2

11.10 Glen Southern

11.10 Bader Badruddin

Creation for VR, in VR Working within a virtual reality environment, Glen will show the process of concepting a character via the use of tools such as Oculus Medium.

14.00 Adam Dewhirst How to build a human in a day Adam Dewhirst, modelling supervisor at The Mill in New York, explains how to create a digidouble in less than a 24 hours, using a range of techniques from photogrammetry and mesh wrapping to The Mill’s custom human rig.

16.00 Saddington Baynes

A Blue Zoo masterclass in Cartoony CG Character Animation for TV Bader Badruddin will take you through a shot from beginning to end, showing you the thought process behind animating a character shot in a short amount of time.

14.00 Mike Griggs The fundamentals of 3D Becoming a CGI artist can be daunting, especially if you are just starting out. CG generalist Mike Griggs brings his 20 years of experience of working in (nearly) every aspect of CG.

16.00 Danny Sweeney

Mass customisation of visual imagery: The Total War: Warhammer challenges – and how technology can help character development Saddington Baynes present everything you need to know about the mass customisation of visual imagery – the challenges, and how technology can most effectively augment CGI to deliver volume assets.

18.00 Sergio Caires Shedding light on shaders In this workshop, Axis Studios senior CG supervisor Sergio Caires will reveal how shaders have brought depth, context and beauty to his diverse output over the years.

Ask an Artist

If you have a burning problem then head to our Ask an Artist section, where help is at hand. Get some one-on-one time with an industry veteran who can guide you and help you explore some problem solving techniques.

Valentina Rosselli MPC - Texturing TD Joel Best Framestore - Supervisor

Discussion of the pipelines and techniques used to develop real-time fantasy characters for Total War: Warhammer 1 & 2, talking about what Creative Assembly did correctly, problems that arose and how they overcame them.

18.00 Shayleen hulbert Creating characters for games Shayleen will talk about how she creates a game-ready model for stylised characters and the common mistakes.

Andrew Baggarley DNeg - Surfacing lead Zakaria Boumediane Framestore - Senior environment technical director Stephen Molyneaux MPC - Texturing technical director Ant Ward Indie - Generalist and 3D world contributor


Speaker

The future of digital humans is now Chris Nichols on the achievements and imminent developments in the world of digital humans

he truth about digital humans is that they make most people uncomfortable. There’s a biological reason for this. Since birth, you have been bred to look for threats. When something looks slightly off, alarms go off in your body, activating adrenal functions and big emotions like fear, anger and sometimes, disgust. This is supposed to help you survive. But appearances can be deceiving, and our brains can be tricked. Digital humans are one such example. When they look just slightly off, they can trigger the same sensations in us, and right now, most things still feel wrong. The world of computer graphics has spent the last few decades trying to overcome this challenge, which is known as the Uncanny Valley. And we’ve made a lot of progress. With better technology and better-trained artists in the mix, getting a digital human out of the Valley is much more achievable. As such, the demand for digital humans has gone up. We are also starting to investigate the role that they will play in our everyday lives. And because of this, a whole new set of problems have emerged, including questions of ethics, and the safety of our own well-being. The question of ethics really came into play when the entertainment industry started to bring celebrities back from the dead. You might remember hologram 2Pac; or hologram Michael Jackson (who some

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say is being prepped for a tour); or even Paul Walker’s last scene in Furious 7, which like the others was a product of digital restoration after his death. No matter what you think about these projects, they all raise serious questions. Including, first and foremost, who owns your likeness after you die? And what should they be allowed to do with it?

Sync from Audio came out of Washington University in 2017 and depicted a similar technology, with one key difference. Instead of using a live person as their modifier, this project seamlessly superimposed audio and lip movements from one video to another. When you see things like this, it’s easy to come back to fear. Fear of digital humans. Fear of technology. Fear of what could go

“if you were to grimace next to a video version of Donald Trump, for example, digital Donald would grimace too, in the exact same way” Christopher Nichols, director of Chaos Group Labs and a founding member of the Wikihuman project If the thought of bringing dead actors back from the dead makes you upset, recent research may actually terrify you. In the last few years, several papers have emerged that demonstrate how digital humans can be used to distort the truth. 2016’s main example was Face2Face. This was a paper from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Max-Planck Institute for Informatics and Stanford University that showed how webcams could be used to digitally puppeteer subjects from preexisting video. So, if you were to grimace next to a video version of Donald Trump, for example, digital Donald would grimace too, in the exact same way. A second paper called Synthesizing Obama: Learning Lip

wrong. But if you stop there, you’ll miss out on all the benefits. I like to equate it to the internet. There are a ton of evil things you can do on the internet, but is the internet all bad? Of course not. It’s a revolutionary tool that changed the world. The same will be said for digital humans. The process of achieving realism is already teaching us so much about human desires and biological responses, you have to wonder what we’ll learn when we achieve full photorealism. Or when digital assistants break out of their current box. In time, they’ll meet us where we live. And with the help of AI, they’ll be able to recognise our emotions and then respond appropriately. Suddenly, the same biological mechanisms that used to set


Digital Emily 2 work in progress, part of the Wikihuman project

An exploration of Sculpt of Digital Paul by Mathieu Aerni

off warning bells around weird humans, will help you feel soothed by ones that accurately mimic our characteristics – facial and otherwise. This can be seen in the recent research by Autodesk called AVA, which helps us remember that at our core, humans are social animals. We want to be a part of a greater whole, with people who get us. The rise of digital humans will be one avenue to this feeling. Another will be digital avatars. If VR takes off, we’re heading for a worldwide MetaVerse that will allow users to spend countless hours interacting with virtual versions of ourselves. At first, these will be low-poly versions, far from the types that cause discomfort in the Valley. But over time, people will want these avatars to reflect their attributes, meaning we’ll either have to confront the Valley over and over

again during our travels, or finally cross it. Mike Seymour, who works with me at the Wikihuman project, is especially invested in this subject and is making progress every day. You might have seen his #MEETMIKE exhibition at SIGGRAPH, which allowed him to conduct interviews using the most realistic digital avatar ever produced, in real-time, with people in a digital space. It was exciting to watch. And if you are like me, that’s the biggest takeaway. We are living in an exciting time. Yes, there are things to be cautious of. And there are things we have to self regulate. But ultimately, the technological leaps we are making are going to completely change the world. And it’s on all of us to make sure we do it right. I believe we can. Find out more about Chris Nichols’ FYI Wikihuman project at wikihuman.org

Hear Chris talk about this very subject at Vertex, the event that connects CG artists from every discipline, on 13 March 2018. As part of the Wikihuman project and his work at Chaos Group, Chris has a vast wealth of experience, informing him about this field and the cuttingedge developments in it. Joining Chris will be Scott Ross and many others. There will be workshops, an Ask An Artist section, portfolio reviews and exhibition areas to catch up on the latest tech developments.

Vertexconf.com


Speaker

China: The Next Hollywood? Is the Chinese film industry set to take Hollywood by storm? Scott Ross gives us his thoughts

here’s no question about it. China has become a world power. It is now the most powerful and influential country in the Asia Pacific area, and given its trajectory, could easily become the most powerful and influential country in the world. And for some reason, every time a nation gains great economic power, that nation wants to become the new Hollywood. China is no exception. The question is, why? I mean, Hollywood is sexy, but not the greatest business. I recall having had a dinner in Beijing several years ago with a cadre of Chinese media people, as well as several high-ranking generals. When the topic of “why is China so hell bent on being a major player in the film business?” came up, the answer was a resounding, no holds barred, “propaganda”. The powers that be in China look to film, television and online media as a way to spread the message: “China is a great place, with great people and a great government”. Many in China look at it this way: “The USA became a global cultural icon because of Hollywood”. That may well have been true back in the 1930s till the 60s, but if we take a close look at film and TV of today, American themes generally run to the dystopian, not the utopian images of the 50s. Hollywood is most definitely not a great business model. Making a film is tantamount to playing roulette in Las Vegas. Yes, there are some big winners, but the cost of entry is quite steep. There is no guaranteed path to

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success. One would think that if you made a film at the lowest possible price with the best possible people, then you would have a hit. Not so. No one (except maybe Pixar and James Cameron) has a continued track record of making successful films time after time.

The Exclusive Club of Hollywood Over the last quarter of a century, I’ve witnessed attempts by Japan, Korea and India (in that order) to try to become a major player in Hollywood. Japan took a very

powerful entertainment entity, decided to help start a new studio, DreamWorks. They invested a huge sum, and a decade later sold it to Paramount. Reliance Entertainment, a leading Indian media company, saw that owning or starting studios hadn’t worked, so Reliance focused on services to the studios and putting talent deals in place in the hopes of partnering with Hollywood. That didn’t work very well either. To quote Bill Emmott of The Baltimore Sun: “Cash, ambition, arrogance – with clues like that, Hollywood can spot a fool even before he has ridden

“Making a film is tantamount to playing roulette in Las Vegas. Yes, there are some big winners, but the cost of entry is quite steep. There is no guaranteed path to success” Scott Ross, digital media pioneer, co-founder of Digital Domain

corporate approach: acquire a major studio. In 1989, Sony bought Columbia Pictures for $3.4 billion, and in 1990 Matsushita paid $6.1 billion for Universal. Interestingly enough, they made these acquisitions in the hopes of winning the VHS/Betamax war. VHS won that war, but Matsushita realised that they had no idea how to run a movie studio; they sold Universal just five years later. Korea observed the mistakes made by Japan. It was obvious that even if you bought a major motion picture studio, it didn’t mean that you actually got to manage it. So, CJ Entertainment, Korea’s largest and most

over the horizon.” Hollywood has a history of playing with OPM (other people’s money).

China as offshore service provider China has become an economic powerhouse as a result of a dedicated, diligent and to date, very inexpensive workforce. It has become the world’s factory, and while there have been efforts on the part of the Chinese government to change ‘Made in China’ to ‘Invented in China’, not much has changed. It seemed to the Chinese that they could enter Hollywood in the same way they entered the tech business, by being a service


provider or a manufacturer. Unfortunately, that model has not seemed to work in the film industry. With the hope of attracting Hollywood projects, several giant sound stage complexes have been erected at great expense, in China. To date, that gamble too has not been fruitful. Additionally, China, through either acquisition (Digital Domain) or by building its own VFX services company, has not yet been seen as a worldclass post-production provider.

Global vs Local Over the last several years, a new model has emerged from China. The concept being that if one co-mingles the creative team with both Chinese and Hollywood talent, and if one bases the film on a Chinese theme and creates a fantasy, visual-effects-laden 3D movie… well, you can’t lose! The Great Wall, a $150m+ budgeted film, made $45m at the box office in the USA, while it did $290m internationally ($171m in China). In 2016, China was building 27 screens every day. With 1.379 billion people and close to 40,000 screens, China will soon be the largest movie market on the planet. To date, of the top ten films in China, seven are Chinese films, and in just ten months Chinese box office has passed the $7 billion mark (compared to US box office of $8.733 billion). It seems to me, from a business perspective, that given the enormous growth in the Chinese box office, China should focus on creating local content. While creating Chinese content exclusively

for Chinese audiences might be a much better business decision, that path does not address China’s desire to spread the glory of China through film like Hollywood had done so many years ago.

Truth The dictionary definition of propaganda is ‘information, ideas or rumours deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc’. In the West, many can smell propaganda. Audiences sense that we are being manipulated. Young adults recoil from advertising. While Hollywood might have shaped global opinion of what America seemed like after World War II, I find it difficult to imagine that Chinese cinema, or any cinema for that matter, could sway the minds of a global audience in the same way it had 60 years ago. And given the vast differences between Western and Chinese culture, the language, the customs, story structure, musical preferences and performance sensibilities, China should not use film as a tool of propaganda. Chinese films made by Chinese talent will do great business – in China. And given President Xi Jinping’s global perspective, his outreach with programs such as the One Belt One Road initiative and his desire to end poverty in China by 2020, speaking truthfully has more power than any piece of propaganda. Discover more at

FYI www.digitaldomain.com

Hear Scott talk about the industry at Vertex, the event that connects CG artists from every discipline, on 13 March 2018. Scott will be drawing from his vast experience as a businessman, not just a visual effects supervisor, to look ahead at what opportunities await the British VFX community post-Brexit. Take an objective perspective and get excited about what lies ahead. If you’re a student, hobbyist or working professional, then come and join us for an inspirational, insightful and instructional event in the heart of the UK VFX community.

Vertexconf.com


Get dream in


your  job  3D

Once you’ve read our top advice here to keep you ahead of the pack, head over to see our recruiters at Vertex!

recruitment

contributors

Amy Smith, head of talent, film, Framestore | Emma Audain, recruitment, Axis | Mario Aquaro, head of rigging, Axis | Sarah Tanner, director of HR, Jellyfish Pictures | Natalie Tidey, head of talent Acquisition, Double Negative | Ian Kirby, founder and creative director, The Sequence Group | Jon Neill, head of Lighting and compositing, Axis | Bruce Sutherland, head of animation, Axis | Ewan Wright, head of assets, Axis | Dave Cook, CG supervisor and joint head of 3D, Jellyfish Pictures | Jorge Formigós, generalist TD at Double Negative | Milen Piskuliyski, lead texture artist at Framestore


© Axis © Milen Piskuliyski

Staff at work in the Axis studios

Elf Archer, a project by Milen Piskuliyski, lead texture artist at Framestore

ou’ve got the talent to land a top job in 3D, but so do a lot of people. Sometimes the deciding factor in who gets the most exciting jobs isn’t what you can do, but how good you are at telling people about it. This month, we grilled the very people who look at your showreel and read your CV to find out what you need to do to make a killer application and get the job of your dreams.

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Starting your search When it comes to finding opportunities, one thing is clear: you need to put a lot of effort into LinkedIn. Framestore, Jellyfish and Double Negative all mentioned it when asked how to find out about available roles, and Jellyfish said that most of their applications come from LinkedIn. Double Negative told us that despite receiving a large volume of direct applications, they still often need to approach people via LinkedIn if they are hiring in high numbers, so you need to make sure that your profile is up to date so that recruiters can find you in

searches. It’s good to state when you’re available, too. Studios post vacancies and details of events they are attending on LinkedIn and other social media, so make sure you’re following them. It’s also worth keeping an eye on sites such as CreativeHeads, AnimatedJobs and CG Meetup. Framestore get just under half of their hires from their online

careers fairs and industry events so you can make contact in person, and connect with talent acquisition teams on LinkedIn.

First contact There are two key pieces of advice for putting your application together: it should be closely tailored to both the studio and the particular role in question, and you should try to find a way to

Above: A still from Halo: The Fall of Reach, an animated short produced by The Sequence Group that’s part of Halo 5: Guardians

“someone who works at a company you’re interested in could get you in the door” Amy Smith, head of talent, Framestore application process, around 20 per cent from referrals, and the rest through either in-person or online networking, so it’s vital that you work to expand your network and keep in touch with the people you already know. Studios regularly ask their employees for referrals, so just knowing someone who works at a company you’re interested in could get you in the door. Go to the

make yourself stand out. Natalie at Double Negative recommends finding out interesting facts about the company you’re applying to, including them in your cover letter and explaining why you want to work for them in particular. This will make you stand out from the rest: “It shows us that you’ve done your research, and that your application is thoughtful,” she says.

Right: The Sequence Group discussing work in the video room

Far right: A still from a short produced by The Sequence Group for Concord Pacific


Danger! Don’t make these mistakes Time and again, recruiters see people making the same old gaffes. The top blunder was people forgetting to change the company name on their cover letter, so watch out for that! Here are some other big no-nos: Offensive content “We quite regularly get questionable imagery and music with offensive lyrics. Be careful and sensible – this is a professional environment, and your reel should reflect that.” Amy Smith, head of talent, film, Framestore

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Breaking an NDA “Never show work under NDA – always check you have permission. This is a single point of rejection for us. We will need to trust you with our clients’ work too!” Emma Audain, recruitment, Axis

For your CV, “clear, concise, focused” is the mantra to keep in mind. Unless you’re just starting out, don’t put everything you’ve ever done on there – just include the things that are relevant for this particular job. The recruiter is scanning a lot of CVs for key criteria and they’re busy – help them do their job; let your CV be the one that gives them just what they’re looking for. It’s time-consuming, but you should even be tailoring your showreel to the company and role. Framestore, for example,

specialises mostly in photoreal work, “So a reel full of CG animation and a cover letter that doesn’t talk about why you are looking to make the move into more photo-realistic work is unlikely to be successful,” says Amy.

Making a great reel “Generally, when I watch reels, I am very pushed for time – the first ten seconds counts for a lot!” says Dave Cook, CG supervisor at Jellyfish. Studios don’t have time to watch long reels, so get the action underway quickly, put your best

A silly email address “Have a credible email address, something professional. This should be a simple name-based email that can’t be mistyped easily.” Sarah Tanner, director of HR, Jellyfish

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An inaccessible reel “If you provide us with a link to your personal website, make sure it’s quick to find your reel, and if it’s password protected, ensure this is included.” Natalie Tidey, head of talent acquisition, Double Negative

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Causing inconvenience “Other common mistakes are sending us Dropbox or downloadable demo reels, applying for every single job we have open, not applying via our online application form, and turning up at our reception and hoping to speak to a recruiter uninvited!” Amy Smith, head of talent, film, Framestore

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© The Sequence Group

© Fall of Reach, The Sequence Group

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and most distinctive work first, and cut ruthlessly to keep the whole thing short; no longer than two minutes. If you still have a lot of work to show, make separate videos that focus on different skills. The structure should also be tailored to the company; if the studio has a specialism, prioritise that work. “If you don’t have it, make it,” says Mario Aquaro, head of rigging at Axis. “If you want to work on a specific project style but you don’t have any work experience, spend time trying to build a personal project where you can show what you can do. Sometimes, an incomplete work tells more than a final production; it gives the person watching it an idea of your potential and real aspirations.” The final consideration when selecting work for your reel is to think about how you’re going to stand out from all the other applicants whose work is high quality and fitting for the role. “It’s worth thinking about the concept of ‘flair’.” says Amy of Framestore. “We see a lot of reels from certain schools/training programmes that look very, very similar because everyone has worked on the same training pieces. If that is you then it’s really worth thinking about how you could personalise these pieces and add your own twist to briefs you are given. You can also look at working on a personal piece or two outside of school if you feel your reel could do with standing out more.”

for lighting, a breakdown of passes; for rigging, a good range of motion and demonstration of any animation interface. Mario recommends adding space for a text description in which you should explain your role and what you have done, keeping the text short and clear. You can provide a separate breakdown that goes into more detail.

Music on your reel Music is a debate that comes up a lot, but of the recruiters we spoke to, most said it wasn’t a priority. “Don’t worry about any clever edits to music,” says Amy. “Personally I don’t mind whether you have music or not, but I do care if you have made a music video rather than a showcase for your work. If the cuts are too short and snappy because you’re trying to work with the music then we can’t see what you’ve done, and that’s just frustrating!” Mario of Axis agreed that it is a secondary concern: “Watching a

Break it down Jellyfish Pictures’ art director Ross Burt creating a character for Dennis and Gnasher

© Jellyfish Pictures

“Always include a breakdown,” says Natalie of Double Negative. “[Do it] either in the reel itself by providing turntables for models and showing the mesh, or layering in the lighting passes; or if this isn’t possible, provide an accompanying document describing what you did on the asset or in the shot, and how you achieved it.” The breakdown is vital for showing your working process, but Cook notes that it is also important to identify which elements of a shot you actually did: “This is especially true if you have shots from big shows that will be on quite a few folks’ reels.” For models, Dave likes to see a wireframe and even a UV layout;

showreel that is well synchronised with the soundtrack sure is cool, but don’t lose sight of your real goal: clearly presenting your work.” For The Sequence Group, however, the ability to synchronise your reel with compelling music is a skill they value in itself: “If you can create a pulse to your work and keep us watching beyond the first 20 seconds, that shows us you have talent beyond the content you’ve created,” says Ian Kirby. When you’ve made all these tricky judgement calls and put your reel together, get someone else to look at it with fresh eyes for you, and make sure the video itself is easily accessible by putting it on a streaming site such as Vimeo or YouTube. Multiple people from each studio are going to look at it, so it should be easy to share and work on any platform. You should also put a simple title card in the reel with your contact details so it’s easy for people to get in touch if they like what they see.

Right: Stills from a showreel displayed at the offices of The Sequence Group

Below: Production team at Jellyfish Pictures working on different elements of Dennis and Gnasher


Which role is right for you? Jon Neill, Bruce Sutherland and Ewan Wright of Axis explain the main job roles

©The Sequence Group

Character Artist As a character artist you will be responsible for creating the main focus of any piece: the characters! You should have a thorough understanding of anatomy, and the appropriate technical skill and knowledge of relevant software. An ideal character artist is someone who can take a model from concept to a fully realised CG character with realistic shading and grooming.

The interview If your application and reel have done their job and got you an interview, you’ll need to prepare for three key things: talking in detail about your work process, demonstrating that you’re a good fit for the company and asking thoughtful questions. “Really prepare carefully for how you want to present your work to us and what you would like to say about each piece,” says Amy from Framestore. “Interviews in this industry can be very informal, which often catches people out. Informal doesn’t mean that you or we shouldn’t or don’t care! All it means is that we want you to feel comfortable and not nervous and able to really talk us through the work on your reel; why you approached things the way you did, how you would do something differently next time, how you approached a challenge that came your way and so on.” Natalie from Double Negative recommends finding out what you can about the company’s culture and what values are important to them. “At DNeg, we value collaboration, teamwork

and initiative, so ensure that you have examples of how you have demonstrated these values in the past.” Your company-fit is being assessed as well as your technical and creative skill, so you need to give this some careful consideration. Finally, you should have some questions ready to ask your interviewers: all the recruiters mentioned this, so don’t leave it out. “Thoughtful questions demonstrate genuine interest in the company and the person who is interviewing you; perhaps ask them about their own experience at Dneg, and what they like about working at the company,” said Natalie. Getting your dream job is about timing, persistence and careful preparation, so spruce up your LinkedIn, follow every company you’re interested in on social media, keep in touch with your network, and get out there and attend industry events. Once you have an opportunity in your sights, if you follow the advice we’ve laid out here and take care to avoid the common blunders, you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of achieving your goals. Good luck!

Environment Artist This role requires a skilled artist with a broad background creating different types of assets using both hard surface and sculpted techniques. A thorough knowledge of modelling, sculpting, texturing and shading, as well as the ability to troubleshoot technical problems, is a must. There are more opportunities to begin your career with an entry-level position as an environment artist. Rigger/Animator Riggers create the joints of a puppet, and animators control the strings that move them. Rigging relates most directly to the skeleton and musculature of a model, which animators can then use to bend, contort and direct movements. Riggers need a solid understanding of maths, while success as an animator depends more on achieving a sense of rhythm, flow and movement. Lighter Lighting artists do what you might expect – they light – but that means far more than simply adding fluorescent strip lights to a scene. It means working with highly complex render engines to give a sense of physicality and space to digital environments, replicating the real-world lighting that surrounds us every day. If you can grasp the complex physics of lightning, then a number of technical CG jobs will open up to you later down the line. Compositor Compositors are the artistic maestros at the end of the process that take the work of all the departments before them and layer them into one final beautiful shot. The challenge is in blending various stratums of work – such as FX and matte paintings onto plate photography – without the seams ever being visible to the audience. Compositors should have a robust understanding of colour, real-world photography and image composition.


• QuadSpinner GeoGlyph: Animation, 3ds Max + Corona, 840 frames, full HD (1920x1080) • Rendering duration locally: 3 days, 13 hours and 10 minutes • Rendering duration with Ranch Computing: 1h25 with standard priority (up to 30 mins with highest) • Cost: ¤268 **Intel Core i7-4960X, 24GB of RAM

Vertex partner

scaleable power for your next project Take advantage of render farm power and versatility to spend more time being creative ince 2006, Ranch Computing has been the specialist for all 3D rendering solutions (24/7 cloud rendering, hardware sale and rental). During this time, almost 300,000 projects have been calculated on our servers. Computer graphic designers and artists from all sectors of activity (animation, VFX, architecture, freelance) trust us, and use our power to save a huge amount of time and focus on what they are best at: creativity. With more than 20,000 CPU cores, close to 950,000 GPU cores and over 250 supported software packages, renderers and plugins, our render farm is one of the most powerful in the world. It offers the best value for money on the market with a premium customer service (97 per cent satisfaction*). You can use our free online cost estimator to master your budget and our ¤30 free trial offer to see how simple and efficient the service is. Don’t waste time and energy with rendering anymore.

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*Clients’ satisfaction survey conducted in May 2017

Ranch Computing Render Farm

FYI CAP 18 BAT - A63 - 189 rue d’Aubervilliers - 75018 Paris France / Tel. +33 (0)1 8250 7008 contact@ranchcomputing.com

www.ranchcomputing.com

• QuadSpinner ForestFloor: Still image, 3ds Max + Corona render, 4096 x 2304 px • Rendering duration locally*: 4h37 • Rendering duration with Ranch Computing: 1 minute • Cost: ¤5 *Intel Core i7-6700K, 4GHz of RAM


Vertex Partner

Limitless creativity & artistic expression Lose the boundaries of traditional tools and break free for unconstrained creativity with Oculus Medium culus Medium is an immersive creative tool that enables you to sculpt, model and paint digital assets in a VR environment. Create expressive works of art where the limitations of the flat 2D screen no longer apply. Using touch controllers, your authentic gestures and movements form a natural, tactile experience, giving you the closest that you can achieve in traditional sculpting in a digital creative tool. With the power of the Oculus Rift and Medium’s versatile toolkit, the potential for artistic creation is boundless. Professional artists and developers are beginning to use Medium in all different phases of their production pipelines. Medium is especially helpful for concepting and pre-visualisation, allowing for quick design iterations in fast-paced, timecrunched production environments. Artists and stakeholders get an immediate sense of scale and proportion by reviewing assets inside of VR, which can cut pre-production time by more than half, ultimately resulting in better asset designs. “Building content inside Medium allows you to circumvent the whole step of verification,” says Kenneth Scott, art director of VR game studio Drifter Entertainment. “I can create things in front of my face that have physicality and believability. If I’m starting in VR, I’ve skipped a week of iteration.”

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Beyond concepting, Medium’s intuitive nature appeals to artists from all disciplines and skill levels. Exported Medium sculpts can be used as final assets in VR and non-VR content, experiences and art installations. Medium sculpts can also be 3D-printed as collectables, toys, and fine art sculpts. What will you make with Medium? To learn more, visit:

FYI www.oculus.com/medium

“Building content inside Medium allows you to circumvent the whole step of verification. I can create things in front of my face that have physicality and believability. If I’m starting in VR, I’ve skipped a week of iteration” Kenneth Scott, art director, Drifter Entertainment


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Vertex  

The event for the CG community

Vertex  

The event for the CG community