62 HAPPENING Access:VFX
Discover how the VFX community has created a multifaceted resource for training the next generation of digital artists
his summer, kids in London went back to school – and loved it because, for once, they were learning something useful, like
“A lot of senior learning and development professionals in the visual effects industry tend to only be focused on the tech,” says Devereux. “Not necessarily on how to communicate, troubleshoot and collaborate with people who may not think like you. You can be the most talented artist in the world, but if you can’t play well with others, then you’re doomed to fail.” Devereux is always at pains to show people how multifaceted work is in the visual effects industry. “We do a presentation where we break down a five- second shot into all the different roles that go into it – everything from lighting and texturing and all the research that goes into it, to character development, through to the rendering and tracking. There’s a reason why, when you watch the credits at the end of a movie, they’re endless.” IT’S NOT ABOUT THE WORTHINESS The Mill had become aware the VFX industry – like many other industries – is dominated by white males, and decided it
how to fly an X-Wing and how to turn shapes into humans. For a weekend in August, Access:VFX gave 120 children from the age of 11 to 16 access to workshops and tutorials courtesy of the world’s top visual effects companies in the world. Held at visual effects education centre Escape Studios, the three-day Animation Summer School held workshops in storyboarding, design and animation taught by experts from The Mill, Escape Studios, Blue Zoo and ILM. Simon Devereux is founder and director of Access:VFX, and group head of learning and development at visual effects house The Mill. The company brought him into that role six year ago, when it was decided The Mill needed some ‘softer skills’ training – communication, leadership and management – to supplement its focus on technology and artistic craft.
YOU CAN BE THE MOST TALENTED ARTIST IN THE WORLD, BUT IF YOU CAN’T PLAYWELLWITH OTHERS, THEN YOU’RE DOOMED TO FAIL
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