There is a lot of nonsense out there on the internet, and often the line between fact and fiction is a blurred one. For the VFX industry however, the net provides a sturdy back catalogue of fact based webinars, tutorials and breakdowns, with many of the key players in the business regularly exhibiting online what they do. The internet is truly a tool that when utilised, can inspire and educate.
Ben Cantor is an escapee now working with MPC, a company who are a pretty big deal when it comes to the world of VFX. Some of his time there is spent introducing budding work experience students to the industry, sharing his fountain of knowledge with those who are willing to learn. And he is one person who admits to making use of the many advantages the internet has to offer when showing students the mechanics behind VFX.
"We take turns at MPC in spending a few hours showing the work experience students what we do. It is always insightful seeing what they actually find interesting and what they do and don't understand. Most surprising is how much most young people with an interest, do know already about the industry and how things are done."
This kind of information being right up our street, we asked Ben what he regards as some of the most useful ways to utilise the power of the World Wide Web, in order to further share it online to our prospective students. In his response, he provided us with a list of videos, freely available, that exemplify some of the most ground breaking special effects out there today, and here are Ben’s top 3…
1. Dylan Cole's matte painting show reel. It shows his paintings in films like Lord of the Rings, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Fast and the Furious, Superman and Daredevil. It is great for showing students how some of the environments are created and how images are projected onto cards in Nuke to create parallax to good effect.
3. I usually also show students the 'Boardwalk Empire VFX breakdown' on Youtube – it’s a very effective way of giving somebody a quick insight into both DMP, 2D and 3D elements of the industry.
The latter is littered with comments from dumbfounded viewers who would never have imagined the extent to which visual effects was used in the series.
One particularly encompassing remarks reads… ’If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion' - Noam Chomsky. A succinct phrase that I feel sums up the alter-universe one can create with advanced skills in Visual Effects, skills that can be enhanced by sharing the knowledge that is available at the press of a button.