1. Starting out, tell us a bit about yourself?
I’ve been working in the industry for almost three years, I graduated from NFTS with an MA in Digital Effects where I specialized in Compositing.
2- Is VFX something you always wanted to do? What inspired you
Working in VFX was not something I considered, to begin with, I left school with not many qualifications and even joined the Army for a brief time in my late teens, early 20’s.
3- how you got into this industry?
I tried to become a runner but it wasn’t working for me, if you’re not already local to the company, chances are they might not fully look at your CV, My route was through university studies and then a bit of luck, I applied for my first jobs with a decent graduate reel tailored to the role, along with a CV which only had relevant things on it
4- what made you step into compositing and how you got into it?
I developed a passion for VFX due to doing it as a hobby through online tutorials, using After Effects mostly, at first I learned how to make short films and started as an editor and a motion graphics artist. Unfortunately, if you want to take compositing seriously you have to learn to use software that the industry uses, I had no idea how to use Nuke at the time so I decided to further my education and study an MA.
5- what are the challenges you faced when you started and what was your first job in VFX?
I’ve been lucky to get support through scholarships, which enabled me to study VFX, financial stability is probably the biggest challenge when starting out, getting your foot in the door can be tough, but once you’ve got a decent reel and start applying through recruiters or online things become easier. I just gotta keep applying until something comes back.
6- what were the resources you had in your early years?
I had no resources of my own, that’s the benefit of a university, they do!
7- your experiences and challenges as a compositor?
I’m a junior compositor, every shot is different, every challenge is unique. Just got to apply what you know and ask for help when you need to from colleagues or other artists.
8- can you share some of your memorable shows and the challenges you had to overcome?
The Mandalorian was one of the best shows I’ve had the pleasure of working on so far, as a junior artist it proved challenging at times, we aimed to meet high-level film quality visual effects but in an episodic TV format, many of us had to raise the bar, improve our skills and learn in order to deliver the show in a timely manner.
I was also fortunate to work on Doctor Who, I am a huge fan of the series, the first show I ever worked on was Altered Carbon.
9- What are the skills a compositor should know and have?
Practice and also communication is the biggest one, you’re always dealing with other artists, producers, production assistants, VFX is a business, as your experience grows you’ll become better and faster at it. Which is why junior artists will get paid less than mid to senior-level ones.
10- how to be a compositor? how can one make his/her way to compositing? Tips and advice for them?
Learn to do roto, learn how to fix and paint a shot, to become a compositor you need to know core skills of a roto/paint artist. Roto and paint is sometimes harder than the composite if you can fix a shot, remove a wire, roto an actor it’s a good starting point. It can take a while to become a compositor in the industry. Usually, you will start out as a roto artist. After Effects was a good program to start with but Nuke is the software that will force you to truly understand what composting is and what it entails.
11- tips and advice for the compositors who wanna step up, resources that they can refer to.?
Make your own short films, if you need footage make it yourself. There is plenty of resources online just gotta look for it.
12- general advice for those who are starting in VFX.
Your reel needs to reflect your skills, If you have things in your reel that was done by copying tutorials online, then this will not help. Companies want to see your work, not see something that others have also done, showing tutorial material in your reel only tells someone that you know how to follow instructions. As a 2D artist, showing that you can roto/paint is a good start!
vfx express prabu – Thank you Robert Gittings interview with us best wishes for your career
Robert Gittings– Thank you prabu