Can you give us an overview of how you got into visual effects?
I never knew that I was going to be a part of the VFX industry, but I always knew that I’d be doing something creative. I used to edit photographs for a small photo studio during my college days. Also, I was mixing and editing songs for a choreographer friend of mine who was running a small dance academy.
One day, while working for a finance company and studying as a graduate student, I saw a newspaper article that had Spider-Man’s hand holding a computer mouse. I liked that image so much that I started reading, and it turned out it was an advert for an animation institute. Luckily, I was familiar with some of the image and video editing software mentioned in the advert. I enquired about the course, started my animation course, and was hooked!
Did you always aspire to be a CG Supervisor? What route did you take to get there?
I never intended to be a CG Supervisor, it kind of happened because of my background. I started my career as a 3D Generalist and then specialised in Lighting. I was doing portrait photography for a few years which helped me understand the concepts of lighting and compositing.
As a Lighting Artist, I had to deal with data that came from lots of departments, arrange it, and make a beautiful shot. As well as creative lighting we had to deal with technical issues, too; issues not only related to lighting but from all over the studio. Problem solving is one of my favourite parts of the job that I always like to be involved in.
Presenting a shot or a problem in a way that’s easy to understand by my Supervisor was also something I was always good at. All those qualities led me to move onto a CG Supervisor role.
What brought you to Outpost?
I always wanted to be a part of a company from its launch and grow alongside it. Outpost is already respected in the industry, and with the launch of the new Mumbai studio, I feel that I’ve got the opportunity I always wanted.
What part of being a CG Supervisor do you enjoy most?
Troubleshooting an issue.
In your opinion, what qualities do you need to have to be a CG Supervisor?
I believe a CG Supervisor is a bridge between many disciplines. A CG supe should have a good understanding of the pipeline to provide solutions to any technical issues. At the same time, you have to be creative enough to make sure CG is delivered to the expected standard.
A CG supe also needs to have patience to understand issues and resolve them with the best possible solution. They should be ready to learn new things and keep up to date with changing technology.
We also help in planning the delivery schedule along with Production, who helps in planning the render times and storage estimations for shows.
Can you talk us through some of the highlights of your career?
Before leaving Prana Studio, I worked on the King Kong ride at Universal Studios Orlando, and it was one of the most complex but exciting projects that I’ve done. It’s a U-shaped screen with lot of on-site animated camera projections on a travelling tram that had to match with the CGI. As a Lighting Supervisor on the show, the challenge for me was to render a seamless 24K resolution on a cloud render farm for more than 5,000 frames. The rendering cost was so much that we couldn’t make mistakes. On top of that, my DFX Supervisor had to leave the show, and I filled in during the second half of production. It wasn’t easy, but we delivered it on time, and I’ll always remember that project.
What would you say the culture is like at Outpost for an artist?
It’s been few months now since I joined Outpost but one thing that doesn’t go unnoticed is the people that I’m working with. Everyone is supportive and helps each other, and people respect each other’s time. From an artist’s perspective, what Outpost is creating is ideal for the VFX industry, and I’m glad to be a part of it.
What’s been your favourite thing about working at a new Outpost studio in Mumbai?
This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to work for a newly opened site in Mumbai. This brings a new level of responsibility and challenges. Understanding the current pipeline and getting slowly involved in its development is my favourite thing to do so far.
I always wanted to be part of a company from the beginning of its journey, and it really excites me to contribute to building a new studio.
What advice would you give to aspiring CG artists?
Technology changes rapidly and there’s so much software developed for each discipline. Choose a discipline that you like and focus on developing that craft, and don’t learn every piece of software at once. Once you master your discipline, and your basic understanding is strong, it won’t take much time to learn software in the future.
Finally, some quickfire questions:
What’s the one thing you always keep on your desk?
You can eat one thing for the rest of your life – what is it?
What would be your superpower?
To control time.
You’ve got a couple of hours to kill – what do you watch?
What are you currently learning?
Scripting in Python for Nuke and Houdini.
Favourite way to relax?
Watching romantic comedies.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
On top of the Himalayas.
What irritates you?
When someone fails to understand the effort and hard work it takes to get a job done.
Having ice cream in the middle of the night.
Never had one, but I like listening to old Hindi songs.
Last present you bought yourself?
My Asus ZenBook Laptop.