Time sure flies by!

Hey there!

Now it is the beginning of November, 2018. I was reading my last post, about how living in Los Angeles as a roto/paint artist is becoming more and more obsolete.

What I’ve done since then is study compositing like crazy, and then I got a paint artist job at Method Studios for a few months, which was very cool!
But then, the day after I finished up at Method, I was contacted by Digital Domain to work as a compositor. Of course I said yes. And so, my career has taken a turn for the better (and busier pace!) since then.

I worked on some very difficult shots that the senior level artists were doing. Wow, what an opportunity!! And, my fellow comper coworkers were so nice and super helpful and I am so grateful.

I had been avoiding being a compositor all these years because I didn’t want to work the 70-80 hr work weeks that are usually required. I was going in every day for 3 weeks, I think, with no days off. Well, it’s what’s the reality of working in the VFX business, no matter what location.

Prior to that, I was seeing how if I wanted to keep working in L.A. I definitely needed to expand my skills and the most logical step is to move into compositing. I got some great advice from others who moved from roto/paint into comping and the best thing I heard was, “You’ve got to just make that leap!”. Well, working on Lemony Snicket at DD as a compositor was definitely making a jump.

But I gained some skills, and then I got hired after that at Dreamworks Animation! Another crazy wonderful step in my life and career! I’m currently working as an Image Finaling Artist (basically, a 2D compositor for 3D animation). I love it!!!! Wow, I am learning a great deal now, and it’s an awesome team of folks to work with.

I know that I am always going to need to grow/learn/change in order to keep up with the changing industry. I have been telling my fellow coworkers from roto/paint (in L.A.) that they need to move into compositing or move to Canada for work. Or, some are taking the route of becoming a supervisor which really means, Q.C.’ing the work coming in from Outsource.

Many have just given up on VFX, and moved on to other careers instead. I have loved my career so far, and it’s taken me many places when I decide to take risks and increase my skills. Whenever I’ve moved out of my comfort zone I’ve benefitted. Or, if it was an awful experience, I was still blessed because it showed me my weaknesses and I could only move towards strengthening them. See, we always win if we stay open to change and roll with it. Life is all about learning and growing and changing. We become stagnant human beings if we stay inside our comfort zones.

Not Going to be a Dinosaur Anymore.

dinosaur

Work is getting more and more scarce as a roto/paint artist living in Los Angeles these days. It’s kind of scary, with all the competition from using outsourced and subsidized work that really is cheaper and faster, and now it is also better quality. Why not pay a cheaper price for your rotoscoping and 2D paint, when you are running a business? I can understand that decision.

So… my job is becoming obsolete. It doesn’t matter that I really love it, or that I know things from experience that I can do by hand, that cannot be done procedurally. I’ve made the decision to finally move up into compositing for a living. I would hope that I am a valuable asset if I can do my own roto/paint work. I am already performing at a junior compositor level now, why not take on the challenge of being one of the compositors that are responsible for bringing the shots to the screen?

I think I have been intimidated all along, with all the things you need to know how to do. But when I think about it, I already know so much already! I already have a fantastic foundation. And I also want to be able to have more creative input with my shots instead of just with absolute results. I’m ready to expand now. Well, I’m kind of forced to, because I need to bring in some income!

OK. So for the past month or so I’ve been studying keying and creating my own composites. I also want to expand this website so that I can have a page dedicated to my portfolio and works in progress.

Here is an example of a lovely green park scene that I changed into a winter scene. It is still a WIP but so far, so good! I will make sure I keep on posting more and more examples of any fun projects I’m doing, as always. But now that I’ve got a fire under my ass (and more free time) I will continue to learn and grow, and post what I’m doing here. This is what I’ve been wanting to do with this blog all along anyway!

In this example, I had to find a dark cloudy background, then graded it down, and keyed the tree tops, and then created a bump map so that the tree leaves get “snow” on them, and then added a thicker layer of snow on the surfaces. Then I had to punch through the tree trunks and parts of the bench. I still would like to keep working on the edges, but I think this is a good WIP for now.

before:
GreenTrees_2snowyPark_v02<img