When I started to get interested in VFX, I kept looking at the VFX breakdowns of the big studios, like Marvel, for example, dreaming about working with amazing shots.
While I was getting my degree in design, I started studying through tutorials in my spare time and being very honest, I felt like the best artist in the world. I followed step by step, and when I saw the final result, I was thrilled. After a year of tutorials, I tried tackling personal projects and realized I could not do anything. During a conversation with my teachers, they taught me to take advantage of the tutorial and actually learn from it.
I was studying (the tutorials) for a while until I got an internship opportunity, it would be as a compositor in one of the biggest studios in Rio, Conspiração Filmes.
I confess that I was feeling myself, and it lasted until I got my first shot: erasing a logo on a sneaker. I froze. I realized that I did not know how to do it. My ego, which was significant because I thought it was the only person who liked compositing and who knew Nuke, suddenly became very small.
Tutorials, you do not learn the day to day, the real techniques of how to do things. You learn isolated techniques, which serve for particular situations. I felt I was a button pusher. Anyway, my coworkers had a lot of patience, they sat next to me, explained everything and answered all my questions. Looking at the jobs they were doing, I saw incredible things that I only dreamed of doing, but I knew I was still far from doing it.
I stayed for 8 months at the studio, and for the first 5 months, I was afraid to do the shots. I was very eager to do the shots (and still am), and I was scared that I could not deliver everything correctly and in the time. But in those final 3 months, I became more comfortable with compositing, got more complex shots, was less embarrassed to ask and with that I got more confident in my abilities.
After Conspiração Filmes, I went to Canada for the Lost Boys | School of visual effects compositing program.
I arrived thirsty for knowledge. I asked questions, I wanted to take in everything if it were possible to absorb the information by osmosis I would have done it. I was doing tutorials at home and filming everything to do personal projects later on.
When classes really began, for the second time, I realized that even though I went through a studio, I still did not know much. I still didn’t understand why certain shots were made one way or another. That was another part of my learning. The curriculum of the course was built to go through all the stages, you start in the basics, go through the intermediate, and there you go doing advanced scenes. Logical, right? I did not know the basics entirely and wanted to jump into the advanced. I needed to stop wanting to skip phases, it’s something I have always done. Trying not to be too anxious was not easy.
During the 10-month course (full time) there were times when I did not know where to start some shots, scenes that were extremely difficult and others very easy.
I began to feel competitive energy in the air. That was not good. I went through ups and downs and even thought about giving up several times, I felt overwhelmed. Most of the time I could only see what was in front of me where I was focused. I could not notice how much I had already learned. After 10 months of school, I went to an internship. For 2 months I was at the CoSA VFX.
On my first day, I was assigned some shots, and for the first time in my life, I felt calm. I knew how to do it. I could choose the technique that best applied because I knew several. The most important thing for me was that I knew the reason for the choice.
I learned from the Leads, with my friends from Lost Boys working at the studio, I was able to open up scripts by other artists and study the way they did their shots. I talked with the artists about what their experience was like in different studios, market trends, and how we're going to adapt to working with 6K and 8K projects.
I was realizing all my accumulated learning, what I had learned at Conspiração Filmes, at Lost Boys, beginning with what I learned in college. I look at my reels from 2014 until now, and I see not only the quality difference, but that today I know what I'm doing.
Today, if you give me a scene that I have doubts about how to do, I know that I have several people to ask, either in the studio that I’ll be at or with a friend. Today, I have confidence in my skills, I know that I can’t do everything, I still have a lot to learn, but I also know that it is possible to ask for help and I already know several experienced people in the market that can help and that there is no problem in being assisted. I'm excited to learn the most from other artists. I also know that QC is needed, I'm getting better at QC’ing my shots.
For me, studying at a visual effects school was the best decision personally, not only to learn how to make the effects. But to find out who I am as an artist, what I want to be, find my potential. I know I did not do anything alone, I had friends who listened to me when I wanted to cry, teachers who gave me advice and relatives who talked to me about during the night when they needed to sleep. People from Brazil and Canada helped me to be a better artist and person. I may have liked VFX since I was a kid and have talked about it all the time, but I could not have found my confidence and figure out my skills. I have found that I prefer to learn more from others than to stay home alone, watching tutorials, trying to learn on my own and being afraid that other people know more than I do. Learning is the exchange of knowledge, of experience, because you grow as a person and as a professional and your life becomes lighter and more manageable.
Conspiração Filmes (English)
Lost Boys | School of VFX (English)
CoSA VFX (English)