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Image Engine VFX supervisor Robin Hackl on how big-budget television is changing the industry


IN THE PRESS | Digital Arts Online| May 16th, 2018 | Read More

We’re entering a new age of visual effects. Netflix, HBO, Amazon and more have pioneered a television revolution, bringing increasingly impressive content on the smaller screen. What does this influx of new work mean for the visual effects industry? As Deadpool 2 is released in the UK, Robin Hackl, Image Engine VFX supervisor on projects such as The X-Files and Deadpool explains.

VFX is a service industry

We’re here to help, and we’re happy to step in at any point during production. But the earlier, the better; no question. There are just so many problems that can come up along the way in a production – from the very first stages right through to hitting send on final delivery. Thankfully, productions always have a VFX supervisor or production team present who massively alleviate these issues along the way. But to get the vendors involved as early as possible always benefits the end result, without a doubt.

And by “as early as possible”, I mean from the concept process. If we can be involved in that creative process and contribute ideas with regards to a creature, for example, it can really mitigate issues later down the line. Many times we’ve been presented with creative artwork – ideas that have even been run up the flagpole and approved – but when it comes to physically creating and animating the concept in 3D, being as accurate as possible, we’ll find it can’t move in a specific way without losing its sense of realism.

This is one area where Image Engine excels: we have a team of talented artists tailored towards creature effects. They know anatomy and how a creature moves, from the skeletal system that holds it up to the muscles that make it locomote and the skin that holds everything in place. Thus, when they’re designing something they bear anatomy in mind. They don’t simply design for fantasy, but for physicality too. Having that knowledge and understanding involved in the process from the very first stages is hugely beneficial to a production. It eases issues later on in the pipeline, and that leaves more time for creative iteration on final shots.

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