International Women’s Day 2018 – Celebrating Women’s Achievements

It’s International Women’s Day! Observed for over 100 years this day is dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements in everything from business to politics to social and beyond. Our studio benefits tremendously by having women across all departments and functions. For example, we’re proud to have a senior management team that is 50% women! To celebrate the multitude of achievements made by the kick-ass women of Image Engine we interviewed a few of our key crew representing artistry, production, and leadership about some of their recent contributions to film, television and the VFX industry.

Janeen Elliot - Senior Compositor

Janeen discusses collaboration in visual effects and the contributions to her recent project Thor: Ragnarok.

Visual effects is all about collaboration, and I think we do it particularly well here. I was brought onto the Thor crew, for example, to help out on the sequence where the character Odin disintegrates and floats away over the seascape. The sequence turned out to be much more challenging than anticipated, as what was meant to be a simple background replacement, and added FX, turned into almost a complete environment enhancement, sky replacement, adjustments to the extra characters’ positions, as well as the FX of the disintegration. Luckily, because I was brought on to help out towards the end of the show, and the sequence had already been worked on through other shots, lots of that work on the environment was already setup, and I had to simply make it work for my series of shots.

The main work on my shots was integrating the FX work. I enjoy working with elements provided from the FX department here at Image Engine. I find that at Image Engine, collaboration is one of the key facets – something that works well in a company our size – and collaborating with the FX artists is very easy. On a look such as this one – a magical effect – there’s lots of room for direction from the client as we’re not matching to a “realistic” look, so that can prove challenging when we are taken in different directions as the look gets sorted. However, with our flexibility to try different looks both from FX and from comp, after many iterations, we got to a look that satisfied our client and that the crew was happy with as well. Not only do I enjoy collaboration, but I do also enjoy working on magical effects as it’s a fun way to tell a story.

Jenn Taylor - Animation Supervisor

Jenn reflects on the challenges and triumphs of animating Game of Thrones’ Drogon.

Getting to work on Drogon was one of the most challenging and rewarding characters I’ve been able to animate.  The expectations were high and the timelines were tight, and all of us wanted to create something we were proud of.  Understanding and portraying realistic flight dynamics with a creature of that size was an undertaking, but seeing the final results on screen made the difficulties worthwhile.

Winning the VES Award was a really exciting and proud moment for us; being recognized for the hard work the whole team put in to bring Drogon to life and the impact that sequence had for the fans (us being fans ourselves!) was a career highlight for us 🙂  It was great to be down in LA celebrating as a team and being able to represent Image Engine and the amazing work we create together.

Cara Davies - VFX Producer

Cara talks about tackling the unknown, collaborating with her clients, and seeing her team’s work come to life for her latest project Lost in Space.

Lost in Space was a great learning experience for me at Image Engine as I’d never worked on a first season show and didn’t know what to expect. Working on five different episodes, each with a distinct scope of work had its challenges, but also kept us freshly engaged in the work we were producing over the year.

The collaboration with the clients on the show was great, and their welcomed approach of having us work with them in helping establish looks and previs for one particular episode allowed us to really feel part of the overall process, which is not something we always get to do.

Seeing our shots in the trailer together with the work of the other vendors got me excited about watching the full episodes come April. The quality we delivered was very high throughout and you see that come across in the trailer.  I love the reveal of the Robot with the butterfly flying down. The robot looks photoreal to me, and the subtlety of the animation conveys great emotion without any facial expression or talking. That was something I felt we managed to do really well throughout the show, and it’s what I’m proud of.

Liz Roberts - Visual Effects Executive Producer

Liz reflects on Image Engine’s growth, its culture of excellence, and its place in the VFX industry.

This year is particularly exciting with further expansion and growth at Image Engine.

By increasing the studio capacity to 320 seats in the summer, we are able to offer our clients bigger teams, take on greater shot counts and an increased number of projects. That also makes it possible to bring even more talent to Image Engine adding strength and energy to our teams across all departments and at all levels of experience.

Most importantly, as this happens, we will hold tight to the culture of Image Engine which is well recognized in the local industry. Whilst being intensely focused on creating outstanding visual effects we respect and appreciate the artists who are responsible for it.  Work/life balance is often talked about in many companies but, at Image Engine, we really follow through to make that happen. I’m proud to be a part of a Senior Management Team who are committed to that focus as we grow.