Names Andrew Paxson.
FX Artist / Compositor
Hobbies: Snowboarding, Tennis, Math, and Football.
Favorite Films: Pursuit of Happiness, Finding Nemo, Wall-e, Apollo 13, The Pixar story.
Skills: Houdini, Maya, Nuke, Python.
“When we’re infused with enthusiasm or awe, it changes perceptions of
the things that we see and what we remember.”
– Robert Legato
“The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art.”
I am a young visual effects artist aspiring to be a FX Artist and later a FX TD. I love film and visual effects. Ever since I was young I knew this was my calling. I often get asked in interviews “What is your favorite part about VFX?” and to be honest, I love it all! I love taking HDRIs and then sewing them together, matchmoving the plate, creating the models, texturing them, lighting and animating them, but the BEST part is the FX work and Compositing. To me FX isn’t about just making it look sweet (though you should always make it look awesome) its about helping the emotion, story, and the impact. For me each explosion, break, or hit has its own personality and its own story. I know this sound quite up there but it’s true in my mind. I think becoming an expert FX Artist means becoming a story telling. Not a story teller in the sense of screen writer or director but in the sense that your actions can make or break that story. A poorly done effect can take the audience out and for me I am passionate about being invisible. Then there is comping. The ultimate art in my mind! You never have as much control over a shot then you do at the end when you comp it. For me I love this part because this is where the final touches go to make some thing sweet look amazing! For me a good compositor is also a good reader. You have to be able to read each shot and decide what unnoticable knob must I touch to make this shot jive.
Where it all began:
My interest for film started really young. I remember the exact moment I knew I wanted to be in the Film Industry. I was 8 and I was on the couch watching Titanic, Apollo 13, and the Abyss for the first time. I remember watching Titanic and just being in awe of the story and the Effects. Granted at 8 I still believed they had built a full size Titanic and Sunk it! Wicked Awesome! Then came the Abyss. Even though it was older I was still blown by the water creature. I was so confused on how James had made that! Finally, Apollo 13. This movie was where my love for FX was officially planted. I began learning Names like Robert Legato, Mark Lasoff, James Cameron, and Digital Domain. These names were my idols and still remains so. Apollo 13 wasn’t just awesome but it blew my mind that they were able to take me to the moon (or almost) and then do it in a way where I didn’t notice!
3 years later (11 years old) Finding Nemo was released. The movie, Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter, Steve Jobs, and Pixar changed my life forever and permanently. Before that movie animation and Fx was just a visual accessory in my mind kind of just a gimmick. I liked Toy Story but to me it was still only a gimmick. Finding Nemo presented a change and a violent one in my life. At that moment I realized I could be a story teller and bring an emotional experience to the viewer. My favorite part in the whole movie and the part that changed it for me was the opening scene. The Scene where Marlin (Clown Fish) comforts his only child left. The scores rolls in and the opening credits begin. To this day that opening still gives me chills. At that point the passion was lit and I…… I knew my goal.
Then in 2007 the Pixar Story, a documentary about the growth and start of Pixar, was released and I remember watching it and thinking. I want to feel that way I want to be able to bring an emotional impact to people. I wanted to work hard for something like that and achieve my goals.
From that point on I decided to become a 3D Artist. I later graduated from high school and I knew where I was going. Vancouver Film School. I decided that I was going to just go head in. I started studying computer science, math, programming, Maya, and so on.
For me, Visual Effects, Film, Animation is more than a job or something I enjoy. Its a necessity in my life. Without it I am not complete and one day I hope to be as passionate and talented as James Cameron, John Lasseter, Robert Legato, and Andrew Stanton. My only thought is forward.