CG Futures 2018

CG Futures 2018
March 23, 2018 Gnomin

CG Futures 2018 was a stand out event for animation and VFX artists in our region. It has been a privilege to build a community training program for such passionate and committed artists. Thanks to all who got involved.

The weekend event provided a valuable opportunity by bringing together emerging artists, local industry leaders, established artists, the education sector and international peers. Following the success of the first Entertainment Art Masterclass presented by Ideas on Design in April 2015 and the subsequent Gnomon Live events in 2016 and 2017, this year’s event evolved to CG Futures, expanding the content to include a broader role for local studios across film and games and new media.

Responding to feedback from 2017 a carefully crafted master class program provided top-level knowledge sharing, networking opportunities for recruitment outcomes and advise and support on broader workplace issues.

The opportunity to work with Alex Alvarez of Gnomon to curate a speaker line up and craft a program has resulted in a resource that supports studio needs, the education sector and those of individual artists, and has provided value for all partners who supported the program.

The feedback speaks for itself. CG Futures is proving to be a highly successful and valuable model for upskilling and industry connection, in a sector that poses significant challenges for emerging artists to be industry ready and for working artists to adapt to the rapidly evolving technical creativity demanded in the animation and VFX sector.

The overall feedback is phenomenally positive with 100% satisfaction across all surveyed. The event is providing good technical knowledge for the development of skill capability from both a soft and hard skill perspective. The quality of talks and demos are highly inspirational and offered motivation to strive for personal triumph and mastery, provided information about career pathways, and the soft skills that assist artists to work well in teams and evolve within their careers. Reel reviews both structured and causal provided feedback on levels of present achievement and guidance on how to develop further. The sense of community that evolved throughout the weekend was remarkable and provided a sense of empowerment in what is a highly technical and creative profession, niche in nature and challenging to evolve within, especially in the areas of 3D animation and VFX.

All of the international mentors Alex Alvarez, Zach Mandt, Seth Thompson, Jessica Dru Johnson, Aaron Sims, Furio Tedeschi generously shared their knowledge and experience through masterclasses and demos. They not only provided top-level tips and techniques to improve quality and efficiency of work and insight into career pathways and cross-sector application of skills but also inspired us to achieve our own standards of excellence. They were representative of a range of production areas across film, games, and t.v and from positions of studio owner, freelancer supervisors and leads in major studios. All artists were leaders in their fields with sort after skills and talent having worked on some of the most successful entertainment projects of our times.

The program this year expanded to include more in-depth content from local leaders. Including: the likes of Josh Simmonds from what was Iloura, now merged with and renamed Method Studios; Noah Vice from Rising Sun Pictures; Dean Wood from Plastic Wax, the team from EA Firemonkeys; Adam Bax, Taylah Walker and Erin Halpenny, from Playside Studios; and the team from Luma Pictures; Ian Failes from VFX Blog and Andrew Price from Blender Guru; Christopher Coe interviewed by Paul Hellard from his newly launched VFX Science; and Alwyn Hunt and Andrew MacDonald from The Rookies. Alwyn was also representing Substance Painter and joined Noah Vice to demonstrate how RSP used Substance painter in their work on Thor Raganok. Andrew came from Singapore where he is also a Supervisor at ILM. Looking at the stunning work of all of these local leaders demonstrated that a small ecosystem does not inhibit global success.

The local presentations were expanded to allow for further insight into workflow and practices and technical tips and techniques. Studios embraced the sessions by bringing along additional marketing and HR staff, providing the opportunity to review reels in both structured and informal settings. The networking sessions, lunches and post event drinks were valuable for discussing recruitment opportunities and career development.

The Rookies Award founders Andrew MacDonald and Alwyn Hunt presented a dedicated session for folio preparation and strategies for getting your foot in the door. Luma ran a speed reel review session with 11 staff on hand to provide one on one feedback and advise on how to develop reels for job applications.

The networking elements of the event with both international experts and local industry leaders were also an important element in building a community event that provided optimum conditions for ongoing and meaningful connection, with like-minded peers.

The feedback about the CG Futures masterclasses demonstrates how this carefully crafted program can assist people to shift from internal doubt and frustration to triumph and mastery. It is the result of being inspired, being shown other ways of creating, being able to imagine the possibilities and by connecting with others who struggle with similar workplace challenges and have tripped along the path before us, whether they are creating assets or negotiating their place in teams and workplace hierarchies.

With the industry in a phase of rapid advancement and expanding possibilities, the potential for growth in this sector in our region is dependent upon strong capability within the workforce. A highly skilled and adaptable workforce and an industry that is invested in building capability, offers better potential for global competitiveness.

We are lucky with online communities that there is so much more possibility to share knowledge. But it is live human interaction that strengthens and invigorates community and creates the opportunity to mentor and support each other. This is essential for the our industry to evolve and adapt and remain internationally competitive.

It is true that it is not an easy path to be proficient as an animation or VFX artist. From the many encounters that I have had with those who have reached the lofty heights of supervisor, lead artist, art director, studio owner and the like, it is clear that amidst great frustration there is an enormous sense of satisfaction.

Surely a sign of a good life is not endless happiness, but fulfilment and that requires overcoming a degree of challenge. So the profession is potentially a good one. But to succeed we musn’t be afraid of the unknown or what appears insurmountable, rather keep practising and learn from our errors and find good mentors. Perhaps the White Queen who made it her mission to believe six impossible things before breakfast. Or one of the many artists who offered their skills, experience and wisdom as mentors at CG Futures.

We know how much time goes into preparing to present at our event, our expectations are high, and we thank all those who made the effort, especially those who came such a long way to share their stories and experiences with us.

This event was established to do exactly that, meet great mentors and find peers to support our endeavours.

Like a dinner party of strangers you never know who you are going to be seated next to. They could well be your next boss, your partner in your next project or your confidant. So thank you to all those who come out from behind their computers fronted face to face, and contributed to building a community to draw on for our future

The responsibility is each individual’s to continue to be industry relevant but doesn’t mean we can’t ask for help. Some of it will be luck most of it will be hard work. But we count everyone who attended CG Futures 2018 lucky that they were here, at this weekend, at this dinner party, where we had so many great guests to meet.

It is only right for me to thank all the people who made this event possible.

To the Collie Print Trust. Collie was an innovative company and through their philanthropic trust continue to invest in creative people who they believe can gain so much form learning from the mentor model and contribute so much to our economy in return. Without them, this event would not be possible.

The volunteers who have believed in the value of community, who helped us to bring everyone together and host the event. Thank you, James McIntosh, Zac Rae, Angela Sae-lam, John Feeley, Jasper Goodrich, Carly Cheung, Jess Hunt, Amanda Disilvestro,  Sarah Brennan, Matt Scaife, Kkye Hall, Flynn McMurray, Gurkaran Singh, Shay Lavi, Alessandro Calipari and Blake Sala.

Thank you to the Ideas on Design team – Chloe, Rebecca, Cass, Elise and Jesse. A special thank you to Aaron Down who works with me tirelessly to deliver world-class programs for the benefit of our creative community.

To our industry partners Wacom and Artstation, and Masters of Motion. These are companies who also recognize the value of contributing to building a strong community for artists. It was great to see so many people sharing their remarkable talents by playing with the Wacom demo station and of course our stellar presenters demoing on the Cintiqs. We were pleased to see many people referring to their Artstation folios when sharing their work. There were lots of tips and techniques to improve profiles.

For artists, studios and art organisations alike feeling a community of support in a small country can be tough. But we are lucky our State Government through Film Victoria has backed us. They recognise the value of digital artists to our creative economy and understand the struggle to compete with international peers and the need to build an industry by attracting significant work and projects.

They are a very welcome partner.

It is difficult to know how to thank Alex Alvarez. He has brought curatorial leadership to the development of this program that draws on over 20 years of experience. Not only as a successful artist with a deep and committed passion to bettering his own craft, but also the lessons learnt from developing the world’s benchmark in training for artists in the entertainment industry through his Gnomon programs.

A particular acknowledgement to Gnomon Workshop and Dani Volpe who has been so supportive and a pleasure to work with.

A special thank you to Liz Rice Photography for capturing all the magic that was CG Futures 2018.

We look forward to seeing everyone in the next edition of CG Futures. Until make sure you connect on our new dedicated CG Futures social channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.