Author Topic: VFX Companies Struggle Even as Their Movies Break Records  (Read 346 times)


Offline archonforest

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Re: VFX Companies Struggle Even as Their Movies Break Records
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2018, 04:51:56 PM »
interesting. thx for the share.

Offline ajcgi

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Re: VFX Companies Struggle Even as Their Movies Break Records
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2018, 02:58:05 PM »
The comments are better than the article here. ;)

Offline WASasquatch

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Re: VFX Companies Struggle Even as Their Movies Break Records
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2018, 06:25:23 PM »
I would contribute this to the rise of personal computer power, and independent artists. I talked with some people that were involved with Star Trek Renegades, and they got quotes from a few professional places, even for low budget, and they were "astronomical" in price, and even, as people familiar with the industry, all actors and directors and writers, thought it was a major rip off. They get large quotes, and long time-frames for artists that get involved, which is a big discouragement.

Than on the flip-side you have young artists, and independent artists freelancing, for a fraction of the price, and today, with the same level of quality. It's a no brainer. One of my friends who is a blender artist now works professional because of his independent work on a television show. And these artists work fast, surprisingly, being usually a single person, in contrast to a company.  B class  movies are being made for a fraction of the budget now because of independent artists over the visual effects in the late 90s and early 2000s. And the quality is a lot better. They're also utilizing foreign companies and circumventing all the Hollywood affiliated mess of deals and negotiating.

Cartoon Network has a whole animation studio in Sweden (don't quote me. - Denmark actually) I believe now, and the budget is a fraction of the US studio, and it puts out higher quality content!
« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 06:34:51 PM by WASasquatch »
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Offline ajcgi

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Re: VFX Companies Struggle Even as Their Movies Break Records
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2018, 02:45:49 PM »
Powerful machines at home and readily available graphics software that doesn't run into thousands of pounds does really help the little guy, but here's my opinion on that one.

I have worked many places, large and small, as well as working remotely for several individuals prior to that.
A current major TV show has hundreds of VFX-heavy shots in one episode alone, more than most feature films a decade ago. Although things are indeed quicker now, both in terms of hardware and software tools available, one or two individuals would struggle to deliver this to a high quality on time, though they'd be nicely underbudget potentially, leading me neatly onto... people!

The benefit of a small team rather than a huge one is that communication has to be clear and fast or things get delayed very quickly. One thing imo that I've seen in many places, especially the larger ones, is that if anybody in production or HR takes their eye off what their teams are actually working on and how long for, costs escalate super fast. Equally though, a new director wanting to prove themselves or one who has never touched VFX before might not appreciate the effort required to make certain changes and the costs associated with it.
Here's a lesson - people are  the worst people. ALL OF THEM. You, me, your best mates. Stick anybody in a creative situation and they will justify their position with pointless fixel-fuckery. This costs time and money if not reined in. With their long-established place in the greater entertainment industry threatened by the little places or those abroad in cheaper economies, studios really should learn to say 'No, we're not taking this. You asked for x and y. We allow you 2 changes. Here's x and y after 2 changes. You want more, pay more.'

Unfortunately I've seen situations where this caused clients to actually go elsewhere mid-project causing headaches all round as assets need passing to studios who use totally different software. So in this situation, the clients are costing themselves cash. That could happen if you're big, small, etc, and imo it's that fear of saying 'No' and 'Don't be stupid you pixel-fucking arse-fez,' that is adding to this work ethic of long days and cutting budgets again and again. It raises expectations of everybody.

Another contributor to cost is legacy pipelines imo. The smaller studios tend to have more flexibility around their workflow. A large team must be managed through a strict pipeline or else compositors don't know where to find the renders they need, the 3D team lose assets easier and so on.

Don't get me wrong. Every creative process has clients and inevitably their ideas and your don't always meet, but VFX is a business and many seem to forget that. In short, it takes a lot of people to create something like a Marvel film or a VFX-heavy TV or Netflix show, but that amount of people could be slashed dramatically if it weren't for hang-ups from the past and people being such people about everything.


Offline pokoy

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Re: VFX Companies Struggle Even as Their Movies Break Records
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2018, 03:34:33 PM »
I agree with that, especially the pixel f*ckery part - it's everywhere. Another thing that stand out in vfx for big studios is the fixed bid system that will punish everyone except the studios if things go wrong or directors/creatives want something to be re-done a 100th time because they need to justify their position... or their new friend doesn't like the latest visual.

I'm working as a subcontractor for a larger company for a few years and that company had 5,6 different ad agencies in that time. What I'm seeing over the last years is that creative & art directors become younger, have less experience, can't decide whether they want version A, B or C and quickly get into the pixel-f*cking game, requesting absurd changes without having a clue about technical aspects of literally anything. Of course, a deadline once set has to be met.
Another thing that worries me is that agencies (as they burn a lot of money) hire people with business related education in almost every position. Increasingly, as an producer/supervisor/artist you get to talk to business people about creative or artistic things - this can only go wrong. They won't listen to any of your doubts or thought because in business circles everything's a matter of money, nothing else.
In the last 6 months or so I have come across things I couldn't have made up a few years ago if I wanted to. I have lost all faith in the creative business to be honest, it forced me to quickly come up with a plan B (which I still don't have) but I'm looking forward to leaving it, knowing I'll be a happier person.

Offline WASasquatch

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Re: VFX Companies Struggle Even as Their Movies Break Records
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2018, 05:04:43 PM »
I think you unknowingly explained why dudes like my friend work for big budget entities, because you keep talking cost and costs going up when there really isn't any besides the companies taxes and power. That's the biggest illusion in the industry. Everything costs money. It's really just to make money. This is again, why we have these new shows with a few people working on VFX from home. It's also why contracts are negotiated and locked in on price.

The same thing is being seen with video games. Companies waste upwards 300 million on a AAA title, and than we have independent game studios putting out AAA games on their coffee break from work at Walmart. The biggest game of 2017 was mainly done by couple dudes on their own buck before doing alpha sales.

There is ironically also those independent companies that want to use his system for the money you can make. Star Citizen is the most expensive game in history and is independent, and still not released going on 5+ years. Biggest cash grab I have ever seen. They are still taking in money for a incomplete game.

We also see these companies like Dust putting out amazing visual effects and short movies on pennies.

Also won't go into the fact most visual effects artists think their work is gold. We still have people making Matt paintings and props IRL with much more time and effort put in, even physical, and it goes for a fraction of the cost of VFX. Same for just practical art you could commission
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 05:16:58 PM by WASasquatch »
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Offline ajcgi

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Re: VFX Companies Struggle Even as Their Movies Break Records
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2018, 12:50:19 PM »
I have lost all faith in the creative business to be honest, it forced me to quickly come up with a plan B (which I still don't have) but I'm looking forward to leaving it, knowing I'll be a happier person.

There's a danger the grass is always greener, but... you and i both.

WASasquatch - I began doing this stuff working at home. It can work, but the trick is to work for people who know what VFX is and why you charge what you do. I'd be intrigued to see the work of your friend by the way. Do you have a link handy to some work perhaps?

Offline WASasquatch

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Re: VFX Companies Struggle Even as Their Movies Break Records
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2018, 07:16:06 PM »
I have lost all faith in the creative business to be honest, it forced me to quickly come up with a plan B (which I still don't have) but I'm looking forward to leaving it, knowing I'll be a happier person.

There's a danger the grass is always greener, but... you and i both.

WASasquatch - I began doing this stuff working at home. It can work, but the trick is to work for people who know what VFX is and why you charge what you do. I'd be intrigued to see the work of your friend by the way. Do you have a link handy to some work perhaps?

Here something they had to release free when paramount and cbs did that whole rules things on Star Trek fan films



Heh Pokoy mentions a plan B, that's what I've been working on for my web development stuff. Lot of the stuff I specialize in isn't really used much anymore in favor of mobile websites and wordpress shopping carts lol Open source scene was a good idea until it saturated everything and everyone feels like they need it for free, or pay 5 bucks to build a insecure, terribly coded website with a drag and drop website builder service.
Art can be a window into the soul