The art of compositing is rooted in the pre-digital era, from the trick films of George Méliès in the 19th Century to the ground-breaking work of the father of stop-motion animation Ray Harryhausen, who matted his creatures using a combination of rear-screen projection and a front, hold-out matte.
Nowadays, the often invisible art of compositing can be seen, or rather not seen, in a vast array of big and small-screen productions. Larger studios have entire departments of compositors working at the final step of the pipeline in a VFX facility or acting as a standalone department working purely on compositing shots. Common production tasks such as wire, marker, reflection and object removal, green screen and blue screen compositing, shot stabilising, tracking, sky replacement and more are all part of the job.
To help aspiring compositors looking for their first break into the industry we interviewed leading experts to explain how to get started, what’s expected from a junior artist, tips for progressing and responsibilities for once you get to the top of your game and working on those all-important complex shots.