In my early 20’s, I started a two year course called “Multimedia Production” in my hometown of Santos, Brazil. The course was packed with a bit of everything, from Art History to Web Design. My favorite practical classes were photography, audio and video editing. That was the first spark that got me into creating videos for the school projects and although being broad, the course made me understand and love the process of developing stories and how to apply my creativity more efficiently. For reasons unknown, the most successful and fun projects were horror and gore based ones.
At the end of the course, I heard from a classmate that he was starting at a small animation studio (Lightstar Studios) in town and they needed 2D compositors for a fully animated film (Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury). I got lucky and joined the team working on my first professional project. My colleague and I added all the shadows and highlights for the characters in the film using splines on After Effects.
After moving to Vancouver in 2015, I attended a Spark FX event and have the opportunity to chat with artists from the VFX industry, which is where I got to know about Lost Boys. From that moment on I chased the opportunity to learn VFX there and some time later I was finally able to start the full-time program focused on Compositing. It was a long road but definitely the best decision I’ve made for my career.
My transition from animated shows to visual effects was quite challenging at first, because it required a critical eye to live action details that I never had to focus on before working in animation or just while watching movies. I also had to learn how to use Nuke and other programs from scratch but fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to adapt to the new tools.
Lost Boys brought me a very different experience from my Multimedia Production course back in Brazil. The course is one year long but full-time and completely focused on visual effects. It fits perfectly when you already know what you want to learn, which was my case. The first time being at the school for a tour already felt great. Mark and Ria were very welcoming and conscientious and I was happy to know that I could use my previous experience to transition into Visual Effects.
One of the aspects of Lost Boys that I love is the reduced number of students and staff. That makes it much easier for getting to know everyone around you, creating a sense of family which helped me adapt and not carry my questions throughout the course.
Lost Boys keeps close contact with VFX studios, which allows students to directly visit the studios in town for a tour or sometimes, brings VFX veterans into the school for a meeting. The students have the opportunity to show their ongoing school projects to a VFX Lead or Supervisor, which is awesome. As part of the program, during the two final months of the course, the students are sent to a VFX studio to start a Practicum: a great first step into the Industry.
VFX is not a recent concept and it is used in entertainment way more often than I imagined. Only after learning compositing, my eyes were able to spot when a movie or TV show makes use of it. I believe compositors never see entertainment the same way after learning how it is applied.
Being able to contribute towards making films is a lifelong passion of mine. It’s great to have the opportunity to work at great studios and share experiences with incredibly talented artists from all around the world. I work with what I love and feel inspired to keep moving forward.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions to leads, supervisors, or even your colleagues. This is an industry where no one knows everything and everyone works in a different way. Be honest when facing difficulties and transparent with your delivery dates. And don’t forget to save your files!