Vancouver Career Spotlight is an interview-style blog series that features the amazing professionals that live and work in the Greater Vancouver area. Our vision is to showcase the many career opportunities that exist in Vancouver and provide inspiration to the future generation of workers and career changers.
Roberto Flores is a 3D Matchmover at Image Engine in Vancouver. He obtained his Diploma in Visual Effects from the Art Institute of Vancouver, which is now known as LaSalle College.
Why did you choose this career path?
For a long time after high school, I did not know what I wanted to do. However, I always knew I loved art and computers. Visual Effects allowed me to combine both. I chose this career path because I have always loved watching movies and was interested in the post-production side of this field. I wanted to learn and be a part of what it takes to complete and bring a movie to life. I love knowing that I am a part of a large team that contributed in the process of the movie or show.
What are your main responsibilities?
As a 3D Matchmover, my main responsibilities include: camera tracking, object tracking, rotoanimating a character, setting up the 3D scene to proper scale, and publishing and outputting work for the next department (Layout). If no Layout is required, it will be sent down to Animation, then to Lighting and Rendering, and on and on, it will go downstream until the shot/sequence is complete.
What are the opportunities for career growth and advancement?
Once you have at least 4-5 years of experience and are comfortable leading a team, you may choose to be a Lead for the department if given the opportunity. The Lead’s role is to assist the team of artists through quality control of published shots and attend meetings for upcoming shows in order to brief the team about the scope of work.
What kind of person would like a career as a Visual Effects Artist?
I believe that this career is perfect for somebody who is creative, artistic, tech savvy, likes a challenge and thrives under pressure. Visual effects is a wonderful career choice because it has many different departments. For truly artistic types, you can choose to be a concept artist and for the technically advanced, you can write code for the programs that artists use on a daily basis. Or if you are a people-person you can join the human resources or production team and support artists in many different ways.
What is a common misconception people have about this career?
I feel that the misconception is that since we work in the movie industry, it’s a carefree and easy job. The reality that it’s a challenging job as you must meet daily deadlines and must stay up to date with current software and hardware. Another common misconception is that we get to meet and work closely with actors and talent, and unfortunately this is not true as we only deal with the footage that has already been shot and sent to the studio. We will, however, get acknowledged by the Director and some actors, praising us for a job well done once the movie has wrapped up.
What school subjects would a person in this career typically excel in?
The school subjects you would want to focus on include: computer arts, art courses, and Python and MEL (common computer language code if you wish to be a programmer to write tools).
What type of education would you typically need to work as a Visual Effects Artist?
For me, a few years after I graduated from high school, I decided to attend the Art Institute of Vancouver. It was a 3 year course which focused on visual effects for television and movies. There are many choices these days as this career keeps growing in popularity.
What are the best programs to get this education?
The most popular schools in Vancouver are: Vancouver Film School, VanArts, Think Tank, and Lost Boys (links below in the Resources section). All of these schools offer programs to start your career as a Visual Effects Artist.
What types of organizations would typically hire Visual Effects Artists?
There are a variety of post-production studios from boutique to global companies. In Canada, Vancouver and Montreal (Quebec) are the main hubs for visual effects work.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in pursuing a career in Visual Effects?
My advice is to have a deep passion for the post-production process of television and movies. You must fall in love with the idea that you will be part of a large team that will finish and bring a movie to life and be part of the “movie magic”.
There are many different departments in this industry so it’s very important to know your skill sets and where your passion truly lies so you can pursue and join that particular department. That is not to say that you can’t jump around and choose a different department later on, but it will be more difficult if you choose to do so.
Connect with Roberto on LinkedIn.
I hope you enjoyed this Career Spotlight interview about the visual effects artist career track. Below are additional resources if you’re interested in researching this career further. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. If you’re interested in seeing if this career is right for you, send us a message here, and let’s help you find a career that aligns with your personality, interests, and goals.
More information about Visual Effects in BC:
WorkBC – Graphic designers and illustrators (earnings, workforce statistics, related careers, etc.)
Education Programs (in the Greater Vancouver area):