How Alt Became a Leading Visual Effects Studio and How You Can Too

Penny Gaulbatz, Community Manager at CG Spectrum, and Magdalena Bisogni, Partnership Manager at Alt VFX, worked together to put on an event just for students and alumni. The event was an insider’s guide to visual effects and featured expert advice on how to break into the field.

Alt VFX special guests Hayley Gibson, Global Talent and Culture Manager, and Genevieve Camilleri, VFX Supervisor and mentor for the Nuke compositing training at CGS, joined hosts Penny and Magdelena.

Hayley and Genevieve talked about everything related to visual effects, from how to get hired to what software is used in the field to how much work goes into making a single shot. Plus, they showed us what went on behind the scenes of one of the studio’s newest movies, The Pope’s Exorcist, which stars Russell Crowe.

About Alt+ or Alt VFX

Alt VFX is a small, independent business that does VFX and post-production work for movies, TV shows, and ads. People like Nintendo, Sony, Vogue, and Toyota have hired them, and their amazing creature work is well known (check out their most recent showreel below).

Alt VFX has 70 employees spread out across labs in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. The company hires a lot of generalists, which gives artists the chance to try out different roles and learn more about the VFX pipeline as a whole.

How Alt Became a Leading Visual Effects Studio and How You Can Too

Hayley talked about how important teamwork and communication are at Alt VFX. When they hire new people, they often look for artists who are good with people. Hayley said that they think it’s harder to teach soft skills than technical skills, even though soft skills are important for good teamwork.

How to get into the VFX business?

Without giving away too much about this special event, here are three tips that Hayley and Genevieve shared that were very helpful:

  • Make sure you learn how to use software that is commonly used in the field, like the software taught in CG Spectrum’s visual effects classes.
  • It’s important to network because the business is pretty small, so you need to get to know your peers and become friendly with them.
  • Be patient and determined to keep learning. It takes time to get better at what you do and learn how to use the right tools. It can also take time to get into the field. Don’t forget to keep learning while you wait for your big break into the business!

How did Genevieve get into the VFX business?

Through a job, we learned about Genevieve’s path into visual effects, which began in 2009 in Melbourne.

Genevieve studied for years before she got her start in the business. She took a multimedia course at TAFE and went on to get a Bachelor of Multimedia and Digital Arts and then a Graduate Diploma with a focus on VFX.

While she was in school, Genevieve learned a lot of skills that are useful in many areas of VFX. She said that training places like CG Spectrum have made it so that people who want to become VFX artists don’t have to go on such a long (or expensive) journey to get started in the field.

How Alt Became a Leading Visual Effects Studio and How You Can Too

Genevieve showed her work from the beginning of her studies until the end of her student showreel. This helped her get her first job in the field. Seeing how much she changed over time was a great example of how you can do the same. Plus, it showed that even very good paid visual effects artists like Genevieve had to start somewhere.

Genevieve stressed that if you want to be a great VFX artist, you have to be willing to learn new things all the time. She is actually taking one of CG Spectrum’s virtual production classes right now because she knows how important it is to keep learning. Also, she told the people there not to be too picky about their first job because getting the job was more important than being picky.

Since Genevieve wasn’t able to get a job, she looked for an internship. Her first big break came when she worked for a small firm making boring ads for late-night TV. She learned at this point in her journey that it didn’t matter if the content of the work she made was “bad” as long as it was good. What mattered most was that she was still learning and growing as an artist. Genevieve learned so much during her internship that she was ready to apply for a job at a VFX company.

After registering for a job at Iloura (now Framestore), Genevieve was hired right away as a Roto Artist. She was quickly given her first compositing job at Iloura, just six months after starting there, because of her skills, hard work, and desire to keep learning.

As a VFX artist, Genevieve has had the chance to work on some great movies from around the world and grow as an artist. She was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Visual Effects for her work on the Netflix movie Love and Monsters.

After Genevieve and Hayley’s talks, there was a Q&A with interesting questions from CG Spectrum students and alumni and thoughtful replies from the guests and hosts.

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