CG Supervisor, UK
Tell me a little about your background in VFX?
I started in the VFX industry quite by chance. I was a young civil engineering graduate looking for work during a recession period back in Malaysia. A post production company had opened in Kuala Lumpur (the very first in Malaysia), so I tried there as a temporary measure. I got a job as a runner and over the next 6 years worked my way up to become a 3D Graphics Artist. What started out as a temporary employment turned into a choice career.
In 1994 I moved to London. Got my first job as a Junior 3D artist at a studio that created content graphics and title sequences. It was here that I truly developed my passion for VFX. I had great mentors who patiently taught me everything I didn't know and helped me develop my skills as a generalist.
A few years later I joined Framestore to work on the Dinotopia franchise and subsequently my first feature film Troy. My focus started to turn towards lookdev and lighting.
In 2004 I joined The Moving Picture Company to work on Tim Burton's Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Being a huge fan of both Tim Burton and Roald Dahl, this project was a dream. I stayed on for another 18 years working on different types of projects focusing mostly on lookdev.
At the end of 2022 I left my role as Lookdev Supervisor to join Ghost VFX as a CG Supervisor.
In your own words how would you describe what you do at Ghost VFX?
I work closely with the VFX Supervisor and the Producer to facilitate all that is needed for shot production. This includes liaising with supervisors, leads and artists across different sites as necessary. I also assist the artists in getting them the support they need to get their tasks done. The needs at times require me to be hands on with some aspects of the production.
What part of the job are you most passionate about?
I love the process of planning workflow and strategies. The 'pow wow' that we have as a team to produce the best approach to produce the desired results. I love being part of the process of bringing a concepted character to life.
Is there a particular project that you’re proud of that you worked on in your career that you can discuss? If so, what was the project and what was the work you contributed?
I have been lucky enough to have worked on some fantastic projects, The Harry Potter films and The Jungle Book being some memorable ones. I loved working on the mythical characters in the Maleficent films. We were given artistic license to create the creatures within the constraints of the concepts. It was a dream team headed by a predominantly female supervision team. I was very proud to be a part of that team.
Any advice to others looking to break into VFX?
The trend from studios now is to expect artists to have a knowledge of every aspect of CG. So whilst it's good to have a specialized skillset it will be beneficial to have working knowledge of other aspects of the job. It's also a very demanding industry with the technology evolving almost yearly. Try to keep abreast with the developments in the technology.
Where do you see the VFX industry headed in the next 5 years? What excites you about the future?
The digital human has advanced in leaps and bounds over the years and will continue to do so in the near future. We will not only see better physical based material behavior but also animation that is more anatomically closer to real life behavior. There is currently so much development going into facial animation to make the digital human much more believable. I look forward to a time when we will struggle to distinguish real from synthetic.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention or add?
Despite being in the industry a long time there is so much still to learn. Knowledge share comes not just from experienced artists but all levels. Don't be fooled into thinking your knowledge is not worth sharing. Believe in yourself and have confidence.