Viduttam Katkar - 2015/2016
What education did you have before you took the Visual Effects for Film and Television course?
Before joining the course I had completed my Bachelors in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering from Mumbai University in India. Thereafter I was working for 4 years in the IT industry as a systems and test engineer and had absolutely no CG/arts background whatsoever. However, my childhood passion for cartoons and animated movies drove me to start learning CG as a hobby and developed my portfolio. That’s when I decided to join Seneca as a first step to pursue my dream career in Visual Effects.
Tell us a bit about your experience at the college.
My experience at Seneca for the VFT program literally felt "like studying magic at Hogwarts!" The course structure was well defined. I'm really lucky to have studied under and being guided by some of the best professors/artists in the industry at Seneca. All the professors teaching at Seneca were real life "Gurus" who had left their unique marks working in the VFX industry. Their humility in persona, clarity in action and communication, willingness to help students after lectures and passion towards their work trained me well in the different subjects of the VFX field and prompted me to keep pushing forward no matter how hard the challenge was!
How do you use the education you got at Seneca in your job today?
I currently am working as a Lighting Artist. Most of the tools/software packages that I use today in my day- to-day activities (like Maya, Vray, Houdini, Nuke, Mari and ahh.. add Python programming too) were just words that I had barely heard before the course began. I knew nothing about their internal functioning and why and where they fit in the VFX pipeline. The education imparted at Seneca armed me with a solid foundational understanding of each of those packages. I feel confident enough to face the new challenges in the VFX industry. I clearly remember a few of the phrases that our program coordinator, Joe Raasch (one of my all-time favorite professors) used to repeat often during classes and I had literally jotted them down as quotes in my notebook - "Shots will come and shots will go. What matters at the end of the day is what new things did you learn!" At Seneca I just didn't learn how to use a few software, I learned to keep myself motivated and hungry to learn even more.
What advice would you give potential students who are thinking of taking the course?
Working in this VFX industry for the past couple of months, I've started to observe a common thread/pattern among great artists. They are really good at understanding not just their job role or their position in the VFX pipeline, but also can visualize how their work fits into the complete VFX pipeline i.e. the big picture. So it is very important for budding VFX artists to learn as much as they can of all aspects of the VFX pipeline. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you will be to tackle day-to- day problems while working in the VFX industry and deliver the best results. Hence it is very important to not just narrow your learning avenues to specific roles (e.g. I just want to be a compositor, why should I learn a 3d package such as Maya or Houdini OR I just want to be a CG lighting artist why should I learn Python programming or even Nuke).
At the end of the day we are all artists trying to produce visually appealing images and hence it would be helpful if you know all the tools that you have at your disposal to achieve the task and have fun while creating it! So your dedication and devotion towards each of the subjects in the course would be crucial. Needless to say, do complete your weekly assignments diligently as they prepare you for the bigger challenges step-by-step. I would like to end with another of professor Joe's quotes "Everyone can think of an idea, but it's the execution of the idea that matters!" I wish all the budding VFX artists the very best and am sure of their success here at Seneca!
(Written in 2016)