Week 4 – Assistant TD, Production Coordinator, Modelling and Texturing Artists

1) Assistant TD

Assistant TD means Assistant Technical Director, you can know from the word assistant, this is a relatively introductory and basic position in the VFX industry.

Assistant TD supporting visual effects (VFX) projects by providing technical assistance to creative departments, troubleshooting workflow issues, and managing data and resources.

Assistant technical directors (ATDs) may perform a diverse series of technical support functions in order to ensure the smooth running of a

visual effects project. They are responsible for:

  • supporting and troubleshooting the pipeline and workflow tools
  • providing technical assistance to people in creative departments
  • managing data and resources.

ATDs utilise a variety of industry-standard graphical applications, scripting languages and operating systems. They may support projects by gathering artist requirements, designing solutions and coding small-scale tools using established employer workflow requirements. They are expected to work well within a team and to be good communicators and problem solvers.

Upon successful completion of their apprenticeship, the individual could have a diverse career progression. Some may progress to become Pipeline Technical Directors, Software Developers, Riggers, Technical Directors or FX Artists. Some will eventually become Supervisors in their field. ATDs will typically be employed by a range of small to large post-production companies servicing the British and International Film, Television and Commercial industries. They will usually be based in an office environment working on television commercials, television series and feature films.

2) Production Coordinator

Production Coordinator‘s primary emphasis is on scheduling, communication and coordination for a specific group (discipline) of VFX artists (or multiple groups) on any given project. Reports to Project (Show) Producer and Production Manager, while also working with other Coordinators on the project in keeping the show operating in an organized and efficient manner. Coordinators are also responsible for working with and delegating to the project Production Assistants. Each Coordinator usually works closely with their specific group of artists Supervisor or Lead in crewing, scheduling, and managing that groups body of work. Coordinators are significant points of information on the show and need to be able to balance multiple needs, projects, and tasks at one time.

The VFX Coordinator is central to visual effects project management. They liaise with all aspects of production and post-production: Director, Editor, Producers and Supervisors as well as artists. Working closely with and on behalf of the internal VFX Producer they help strategise and implement tasks and targets crucial to the delivery of the project on time and on budget.

3) Modelling Artist

Modelling Artists are responsible for creating the 3D character and creature models which artistically meet the brief but also technically meet the needs of other departments. 

Modelling artists create 3D models of buildings, landscapes, characters, weapons, plants, animals, and various real or virtual world objects on the computer.

The first step of their work may be 2D or 3D art made by concept artists. Or, they can directly use photos or hand-drawn sketches to reference modelling.

In engineering design, CAD drawings are mostly used for direct modelling, which is very common in the fields of construction and products.

There are two ways of modelling today, NURBS modelling and polygons modelling. Then, modelling techniques such as subdivision modelling and sculpting are separated on top of this.

If they use engraving modelling, they often use digital tools (such as engraving pens) and physical graphics pens and tablets. Because this method will be more free and efficient than mouse operation.

Modelling artists work in the early stages of the CG and 3D parts of the VFX pipeline. Then, the 3D model they generated can continue to be animated and given texture and lighting. If modelling artists specialize in creating specific types of 3D models (such as characters), they may refer to themselves as character artists. In this case, they may create models and textures for the characters. Similarly, if modelling artists specialize in creating scenes or environments, they may also call themselves scene artists.

4) Texturing Artist

A texture artist is an animation professional who creates textures, colours and 3D effects and applies them to computer modelling of video games, movies, TV shows, and websites. When working with other members of the visual effects team, the texture artist must be both artistically creative and proficient in industry software. The artwork produced by texture artists is essential for creating visually exciting 3D effects. Working as a texture painter usually requires several years of experience.

Creating texture effects is a very complex method of colouring between lines. Texture artists apply colours and textures to computer models created by other members of the special effects team. They must be able to foresee which textures will create attractive surfaces for 3D computer models.

Generating textures from digitized photos may be the first step taken by a texture artist, or he or she may use imaging software to generate textures from scratch. Texture artists can also use existing texture artwork and enhance or change it to suit the desired effect. Then map the texture to a 3D character or other objects.

Skilled texture artists can generate realistic textures as well as imaginative and wonderful textures. To this end, they must not only have expertise in industry software, but also an understanding of visual art concepts. Design elements such as composition principles and balance, rhythm and proportions are not only suitable for animation, but also for traditional painting or sculpture art. Any texture artist should have a certain understanding of other aspects of the animation process (including modelling and colouring). The video game industry also requires texture designers to be familiar with the technical limitations of the system they use to avoid overloading memory and reducing processing power.

The design made by the texture artist is the key to the animation process. They make the animation world more authentic and believable to the audience. Attention to detail can make animations come to life, while texture artists provide subtle touches that can make or destroy animation works.

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