Join Rob Garrott for an in-depth discussion in this video Part 1: VFX background, part of Artists and Their Work: Conversations about Mograph, VFX, and Digital Art.
- You know, I think there's a little kid inside of every visual effects artist. When I knew for sure, "Man, I want to do this. "I really want to do this" was sitting in the theater watching "Jurassic Park" with my parents. Yeah, I remember that. (dramatic music) - What's your background? Like, how did you get into the business? - Well, specifically into the business was, let's see.
I mean, I was always interested in digital media, since I was a kid, but it started off trying to find work in digital media, however I could. And it was, I think there's an insurance company I was working at, doing just 3D visuals. I wasn't trained as an animator specifically, or anything, but... Basically doing motion graphics for various shops. There was one in Emiton as well, I think it was called "Dinocore," if I remember.
And just sort of transitioned from way back, things like Deluxe Paint 2 Enhanced, or whatever. And on the 2D, and then moving into 3D graphics. Initially wasn't even animated for projects, just even stills. And I just sort of reached a point where I was having a harder time breaking into the field, and ended up going to film school. And I did some video editing afterwards.
I think I went into, I think Playstation 2 game I worked on initially. I took character animation, program, not even visual effects, but after the funding on the game I was working on got pulled, I ended up heading into television visual effects initially. On shows like Andromeda and Stargate. And then wound up in feature films and commercials. So it was, you know it was never anything, any specific software, or even necessarily any specific field.
Initially I was just whatever I could get my hands on, work-wise. It could be print, maybe it was video editing, maybe it was bits of after effects, and then rolling into computer animation. But I always wanted to get into actual 3D animation, whether film or a video game. Whatever the medium. - So what was the very first 3D animation project that you did? Either a commercial or otherwise. - Business or otherwise? Personal as well, or? - Yeah, exactly.
I think it was, let's see. I was using a program called "Ray Dream Studio," and I was trying to build an entire goblin village. And I didn't understand that the computer would have limitations, that it wouldn't be able to handle. I didn't understand even the paradigm of cameras and sets. That you would just build what you needed for this camera angle. I just set about building the entire world that all these goblins lived on, and the little island, and the mountains, and the computer just got slower and slower.
And, oh but I had a blast doing it. I have the idea somewhere. I think the water wouldn't render, so there was just sort of these flying boats going around, and yeah, the key frames all got corrupted, and so there's, I remember arms spinning like pinwheels, and I didn't understand even, I think literally like eyes were just pushed through spheres in the head, because I didn't know what I was doing modeling at all. But I had fun.
- Tell me a little bit about the Embassy, and where you've been working. - Sure. Well, the Embassy, I've been at I think four or five years now, I'm not sure. It's a good sign that I can't actually remember exactly how long. I'm enjoying it there. Yeah, the Embassy is a smaller visual effects company compared to some of the bigger shops that have been moving into Vancouver over the years. - [off screen] About how many people? - I think roughly, I don't know off the top of my head, but I'd say between 25 to 35 people would be my rough estimate.
- Is that counting free lancers, or is that full time staff? - I think about 20 to 25 people full-time staff, I believe, and then like lots of places, ramps up and down slightly, but not massively. It's got a pretty core group of staff there that have been there for years, and yeah, it's a cool shop.
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Watch for fresh insights into the careers and creative processes of these working professionals.