As VFX becomes more commonplace, there is always the question of what that life is really like. With Marvel movies having more VFX than live action, what is the job like of an FX Supervisor?
Luckily, we are here to answer that question! With our own Lead FX Supervisor, Taras Burlin, we can get an insight into the world of VFX and what it is like supervising a team of VFX professionals. Taras lends his talent to Magic Media VFX services from our stellar partners over at Magic Room, our dedicated VFX experts.
What is an FX Supervisor?
An FX Supervisor is in place to help plan out VFX and FX work as well as oversee the project. They are there to work with the senior producers and director to ensure the team has the guidance they need to create the magic. As the Lead FX Supervisor, Taras works with the CG and other VFX Supervisors to realise the director’s vision for the ongoing project.
It’s Taras’ responsibility to take that vision and make sure it is communicated properly to the experts on the ground creating the shots. For Taras and Magic Media, the majority of this work is on films and cinematics. While we dabble in video production and advertisements, we leave that to the experts at Igloo Creative House and Igloo Gaming.
A typical day for an FX Supervisor
A typical day for a VFX and FX Supervisor involves communicating with the senior members of the project to double check on the work and how happy they are with the current progress. This involves planning FX assets on the script stage and finding and approving references with the director for each one. An FX Supervisor would also be supervising the FX team itself in the technical and artistic aspects of FX asset production.
And importantly, an FX Supervisor is always ensuring connections between his FX departments and the compositing teams. His lines of communication don’t stop there. Taras, like any good FX Supervisor, is keeping in constant contact with the Director, VFX Producer, FX Line Producer, VFX Supervisor, and CG Supervisor on each project.
Finally, as an FX Supervisor and a Lead, it’s his job to create solutions for any problems.
The tools of an FX Supervisor
For the FX work in his day to day, Taras uses a number of programs. These include Houdini, Nuke, Sublime, and Solaris.
For the management and organisation side of projects, they like to use Shotgrid. Taras says that while it’s an older solution, it’s dependable and very reliable for VFX projects. As the Magic Room and Magic Media teams are spread across the world, Shotgrid helps to keep all the updates and communication in one place. Meaning any and all project updates are clear and communicated directly to those who need them.
Life as an FX Supervisor
For Taras, it’s an ongoing and evolving life and career. Originally, he worked as an FX Lead and FX Supervisor. So, in a way, he worked and supervised himself for many projects. He likes to say that this was a very fun and challenging experience ensuring he didn’t get complacent.
As Magic Room grew and brought in more FX Supervisors, he now enjoys the collaboration with his fellow FX Supervisors. The driving force to good FX work, he believes, is interesting or challenging projects. Which gives artists, leads, and supervisors the drive and desire to give their all.
And for him personally, the best thing about the work is delivering great results. That what his team delivered was the best it could be.
Currently, the Magic Room team are transitioning to the USD method of VFX creation. USD, or Universal Scene Description, is a universal framework which allows teams to utilise multiple tools, like Maya, Houdini, and Blender in a single scene. Taras sees that it gives teams more potential for higher quality work and creates more possibilities for multi-user work.
We hope this piece helped show the job and responsibilities of a FX Supervisor. As such a rapidly growing and integral piece of the gaming and entertainment industries, our hope is that more people are inspired to enter the VFX industry and help create magic with us. You can see some of our cinematic work here. And if you’d like to get in touch, click here!