NUKE Compositor / Stereo Conversion Artist - Cinesite
“Knowing NUKE is a must for any compositor. Studying compositing in the evening with Escape Studios was the best decision I’ve ever made”.
Alexander Kirichenko’s story reminds us of many other students who’ve walked through our doors. All it takes is one film and they’re hooked. Seeing one jaw-dropping scene that strikes a chord and gets those creative juices flowing is often all it takes to make the decision to work in VFX. For Alex, that inspiration came in the form of “The Lord of the Rings”, but not just the film, his initial passion actually started with the books. He quickly started creating drawings, but great as they were, they didn’t quite capture what he had in mind. It wasn’t until a friend introduced Alex to 3D programmes that he started to dream the impossible.
Alex had already begun a career in CG before starting his compositing course at Escape Studios. Having first worked as a Modeller for a game development company and also as a Texturer for TV programmes, Alex decided he wanted to be involved in VFX for films. Just before he moved to the UK from his native Russia, Alex made the leap into 2D compositing, working on many commercials using Fusion software. It soon became clear though that NUKE was the way forward. NUKE has become the most commonly used programme by London post-production companies, and knowing how to use it like the back of his hand wasn’t just a bonus, it became essential. Alex soon realised that he needed to go back to school and learn. If he didn’t, he’d be overtaken by newly qualified NUKE compositors.
“I couldn’t afford to give up work to study full-time so I looked into Escape’s evening courses. You learn everything you would on their 12 week classroom courses; you just study in the evening and over a longer period of time, which suited me perfectly. The main thing for me was that I didn’t want to study under lots of pressure. Working everyday can be stressful and what I loved about this course was the fact that it complimented my working practice. I’d learn something in the evening and then apply it the next day. The course covered all aspects of NUKE as well as the key principles in compositing. In lots of ways, the course became my bible”.
Alex also speaks very highly of his tutor and mentor, Hugo Guerra. "He’s such an experienced compositor. Being taught by someone like that was priceless – he still works at The Mill and so his take on the latest trends within compositing is totally refreshing. Can’t thank him enough for the support he has given me throughout the course – he’s really shaped my professional development”.
The industry, its techniques and software used are constantly changing. Staying ahead of the game is key to getting the best jobs. Alex is now working at Cinesite and is so glad that he decided to go back to study “If I hadn’t come to Escape – I would never have been given half the job opportunities that I have now. Studying at Escape in the evening was never a chore, it was a pleasure”.