Our friends over at Ceiga recently started a feature entitled 'Getting into the Industry', as Escape Studios have been training people in VFX for 10 years, they asked if our Recruitment Manager Garreth Gaydon would be kind enough to kick things off and answer a few questions.
So just in case you missed that post we decided to repeat the Q & A session here...
- What software do most Visual Effects studios prefer to use for 3D modelling and why?
The most commonly used package is Autodesks Maya. It’s also what we teach our students to use at Escape. It’s a very versatile package that is relatively easy to use and is also competitively priced.
- What are the important do’s and don’ts for a showreel in general?
Keep it relevant, research the skills that are required in an entry level position and make sure you show these skills in your reel. Play to your strength, always lead with your best piece of work. Breakdown and annotate your work. Do this in the 2nd half of your reel. Keep it original, i.e. don’t copy other people's work. Keep it simple; don’t attempt overly complex or ambitious work. Don’t show work in progress or include sub-standard work. This is your “show” reel make sure it is doing you justice! Don’t make it too long; no longer than 2 minutes including breakdowns.
- Is it best to become an expert in one area of visual effects (such as tracking), or is it better to study a bit of everything?
We teach all our students a range of skills that are aimed at getting them work in the industry, but we make sure that they're especially proficient in the entry level skills that employers are looking for. For example, a lot of our VFX students enter the industry as trackers and a lot of our Compositing students start their careers as Roto Artists. So while it is important to show a range of skills, you must remember to research the specific skills that are going to get you that first foot on the ladder.
Artists tend to specialise in areas later on in their careers, so while you should always have one eye on where you eventually want to be, it's a good idea to be open minded about the roles you apply for at the start of your career.
- What job positions usually have the most vacancies and is that the best route to take to get started?
On the 3D side of things a lot of artists start out as trackers. In compositing it is rotoscoping. These are both good entry level roles and a lot of artists careers start here.
- Once starting at a company as a runner, how long does it take on average to move up and begin specialised work on projects?
This entirely depends on the company you are working for. We have heard some horror stories of people working for years as a runner and still not getting any hands on experience. However most studios don’t tend to abuse this system and see it as a great opportunity to integrate juniors into the company. On average I would say 6 months is roughly what you should expect.
Special thanks to Garreth for taking time to answer and also to Richard Bray from Ceiga for running the feature. Remember if you have any more questions regarding getting into the VFX Industry please leave a comment below, or contact us and we will be happy to help.