In the early days, movies like Starship Troopers, Armageddon, and Independence Day got me interested in the VFX idea. Who doesn’t like a super real looking explosions and space battles? I was always interested and started slowly exploring the variety of software out there to create them, like Maya 3.0 (even though I didn’t know what the hell I was doing), Bryce, and Poser. With VFX evolving every year and getting better and better, it got me more and more interested to understand the behind the scenes and VFX creation process. That’s what led me to enroll into 3D animation school first.
I think most people think that VFX is only CG, robots, explosions, and destruction, but a compositor has an important role in that as well, layering all the elements in a shot, live action, CG renders, FX, and blending them all seamlessly to create a photorealistic final shot. Other than that, a lot of VFX is done only by compositors in 2D, for example, replacing an image on a monitor, changing a billboard, removing objects and even people from footage, making actors look younger or even things that might seem like 3D but are actually done in comp.
I came to Lost Boys with almost zero knowledge in Compositing and had some doubts that changed fast after diving into the program. Right at the beginning I saw the dedication of all of the staff to help, teach, and guide me through the program. Lost Boys is not your usual school. They have small class sizes with more focus on students. From day one, the environment is like you are an artist in a studio and not a student in school, with a strict studio workflow, dailies, and shot assignments. The great staff is there to teach, help you troubleshoot, and guide you towards success with an excellent curriculum and smooth transition from practicum to your job.
Your demo reel is the most important thing you need to think about when trying to break into the industry. When somebody tells you that your portfolio needs to stand out, it’s not only with crazy shots but even the smallest task, like sign replacement, make sure the work you did is seamless and perfect. Bad things pop out immediately to the eye of the person that is reviewing your reel and will ruin your chance to get the desired job, so take some time to polish your reel and after you are done and have rendered it out, don’t upload it to YouTube. Use Vimeo.