VFX Artists

London is a massive hot-spot for VFX across the globe. There are over 140 VFX dedicated studios, varying from feature films, to commercials and games or even a bit of everything.

Double Negative: VFX TD

Job Description: FX Technical Directors gather a variety of 3D assets produced by our Build, Layout and Animation departments and use off the shelf software – primarily Houdini but also Maya – and custom pipeline tools to create particle, rigid body, fluid, cloth, fur and hair simulations.

-Use an array of commercial and proprietary software tools to produce photorealistic simulations of real-world phenomena while developing innovative solutions to complex problems.
-Create bespoke effects setups to fulfil client briefs.
Produce test and often final renders of FX elements for a shot.
-Create working test composites for review by the supervision team.
Work in partnership with lighters & compositors to ensure shots are delivered to the very highest standard.

Required Skills and Experience:
-Proven experience in producing effects such as smoke, fire, clouds, water, steam and explosions, plus experience with particle and voxel based rendering.
-An eye for details, good sense of timing, and thorough understanding of techniques and technologies relating to physical simulation in computer graphics.
-Experience in live action FX work preferred.
-Extensive knowledge of Houdini and/or Maya (Python, Hscript or Mel knowledge a plus).        _____________________________________________________________

Framestore: FX TD

Job Description: FX Technical Directors create CG renditions of naturalistic physical or magical phenomena such as fire, water, clouds, smoke, physical destruction and particulate.

-Creating particle, rigid-body, fluid, cloth, fur and/or hair simulations or animations
-Applying lighting and shaders to produce the final rendered image or passing the simulation on to a Lighting Technical Director
-Using a variety of commercial and proprietary FX tools including Maya, Houdini and Naiad
-Working in partnership with other departments to ensure that shots are delivered to the highest possible standard
-Working within the team to determine the various design solutions needed to create the effects
-Designing and creating images, elements, effects, pipelines, tools and techniques
-Helping to design solutions involving a more procedural approach in order to create the effects required
-Producing reviewable composites of all FX elements for a shot. Sometimes FX TDs will be expected to produce final renders too

Required Skills
-An excellent knowledge of Houdini and/or Maya
-A thorough understanding of the techniques and technologies relating to FX simulation and procedural animation
-Previous experience producing effects such as smoke, fire, clouds, water, steam and explosions in addition to simulation techniques for rigid-bodies, cloth and hair
-A good understanding of animation and an eye for motion
-A working knowledge of Renderman or Arnold
-A good understanding of the entire visual effects process
-A familiarity with pipeline issues, especially working between multiple packages
-A working knowledge of at least one compositing application (e.g. Nuke) and a solid understanding of the compositing process
-Strong Vex, hscript and/or Mel scripting skills

Desirable Skills
-Knowledge in other simulation packages such as Naiad
-Programming skills with C/C++ along with knowledge of the Houdini HDK and/or Maya API
-Python and Unix shell scripting
-Experience with other render packages

As you can see, the requirements to be and FX TD, at both Dneg and Framestore, are very similar. This is to no surprise as they require a lot of people with varying specialized skills to produce such high quality content. There seems to be a big emphasis on  Maya and Houdini being the main propitiatory software used within the industry. Having already got a basic understanding of Maya, I feel it is a good idea to start learning Houdini as well. I planned to use it for our current 3D environment project but I am unable to find the time, so it will be a project for over the summer.

I want to compare the big companies and the smaller ones, based in London, to see the difference between the way they operate. Sadly, after look at a few companies like BASEBLACK and Jellyfish, they don’t display what is required to apply for a job, so, I have contacted them asking if the can supply me with any information.




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