Artist Spotlight

Le Yang

Compositor | Lost Boys Alumni 2017

Demo Reel

Credited on:

and many more...

I like to think of visual effects as a tool to enhance storytelling and immerse audiences more completely. From the building of an alien world, to something simple like scars on a wounded warriors face, visual effects is the embodiment of fulfilling a creative vision.

- Le Yang

What inspired you to pursue VFX/Compositing?

To be honest, I wasn’t really into VFX-heavy movies until I went to film school. As much as I enjoyed the visuals, it always felt like it was a joust between either a great story or great visuals, but rarely both. But then, Ex Machina came out. And it was incredible. The visual effects were sleek, and somehow subtle yet obvious at the same time. It never distracted from the cinematography, but rather it was vital to how the movie looked and felt. I loved it. At this point, I was studying film production at school and ended up dabbling here and there for a couple of years on set. I never quite found a role I truly enjoyed, and then a friend of mine (who had just started his VFX career) recommended looking into Compositing. I did some research, and was hooked. There’s a sense of instant gratification working in VFX — especially Compositing — that I think I was missing from being on set. Being able to physically see the end result render right in front of your eyes is so satisfying. I felt like I was finally contributing to the final result of the movie. I decided to go with compositing as it felt the most familiar to me coming from a camera-centred background, and it’s been a wild ride ever since.

What was the scariest or most challenging part of learning Compositing?

Imagine this scenario: you’re working on a shot of a girl looking at herself in the mirror and you’ve just painted the most exquisite, realistic looking teardrop on her face to make it look like she’s crying. It’s taken you almost half a day to paint that teardrop and make her eyes look like they’re watering. But then you realize… that thing’s got to be animated over the next 50 frames because movies. That for me, was the biggest challenge while learning compositing. Coming from prior background in Photoshop, it was too easy to fall into the trap of making a single frame look amazing, and forgetting about the rest of the shot.

Visual effects is about telling stories we wouldn’t otherwise have any way to tell. It’s our way of building worlds and characters that can’t be created properly physically; a way for everybody to envision a movie (or show) the way the director sees it in their mind.

What was unique about your experience with Lost Boys in comparison to your previous education?

My experience at Lost Boys felt much less like school and more like an intensive 1 year internship at a VFX studio. The transition from learning at Lost Boys to working in a studio was absolutely seamless and that made it such a unique experience. Starting my first job outside of school didn’t feel nearly as intimidating as I would’ve expected because it felt eerily similar to being in school. Lost Boys prepared us incredibly well for working in the VFX industry.

What is something you wish people knew more about VFX/VFX Artists or Compositors/Compositing?

I wish more people knew how long it takes to get shots done! Sometimes artists are working on the same shot for months at a time for something that’s only a couple seconds in the final movie/show. Some shots that look like there’s nothing done to it at all can actually be a super complex invisible effects shot. VFX isn’t always about the crazy spaceship fights or the giant monsters smashing up the cities. I think 80% of the time it’s stuff you wouldn’t think twice about, like creating natural landscapes such as forests or mountains, or extending the interiors of buildings to complete a movie set. Sometimes you spend days fine tuning a smoke wisp that probably goes undetected to most audiences. There’s so much work that goes into every facet of VFX, and I wish that the artists and everyone involved in the process would get more recognition.

What do you enjoy most about working in visual effects?

Working in visual effects is basically just visual problem solving. Every shot has a solution — be it creative or technical — and the satisfaction you get upon completion (or approval from the supervisor) of a shot is quite a great feeling. Especially if it’s something you’ve been working on for days, or even weeks! I also love working with like-minded people and collaborating on big projects together. It’s a great feeling to be working in a team that you get along with. Some of my teammates I’ve worked with in various studios around the world are now my closest friends. This industry is wonderfully international: both in the sense that you can work in many places around the world, and meet lots of people from around the world in pretty much any studio.

Thank you, Le! Check out her demo reel.

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