What is Visual Effects?
Here is a list of the disciplines we teach and what they are.
3D modelers build objects out of points, polygons and edges. Any kind of object from a balloon to an alien creature can be built. The only limit is the imagination.
Models need to be animated. Most animated models need some kind of control system called a “rig”. Characters will need a skeletal structure to deform the geometric mesh. The people who build these rigs are called “riggers”. Scripting is a light version of coding. It is very useful for any digital artist or technician to understand coding as it helps them automate their own tools.
Rigged models need to move in believable ways. Animators learn how to describe mass using the principles of animation. Where all 3D artists should understand how to animate, specialists become “Character Animators”
When adding CG elements to footage, we often need to match or “track” the motion of objects or the camera within the footage. This is a highly technical field and is perfect for people who love solving difficult puzzles.
Roto is used to cut elements out of a picture. For example, if an actor is in front of a green screen and the green screen was improperly shot, the actor needs to be manually cut out of the shot, frame by frame. This is also an entirely technical job suitable for people who love intense focus and don’t like subjective notes.
In this field, an artist brings a 3D model to life by giving it the appearance of having real materials like wood, glass, cloth, concrete or whatever. Texturing creates variance in the shader values, such as the wood grain. The shader defines what kind of material it is, such as matte, reflective or transparent.
Rigged, animated, shaded objects need to be lit and rendered. It is the responsibility of the lighting artist or TD to set up the lighting rig appropriate to the technical and aesthetic needs of the shot, to optimize render times so that quality is preserved without taking too long to render, and providing support to the compositor who is the last person to touch the shot.
This department is great for technically minded people who love to blow stuff up. Yes, blow stuff up. The FX department will also be responsible for fire, water, rain, smoke, cloth, hair, fur, tumbling boulders, blasting debris, tanks crashing through buildings or any other effect requiring a physical simulation.
The compositor assembles all the elements produced by the other departments. Compositors are shot finishers and are ultimately responsible for the final look of a given shot or sequence.