Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ryan Wieber Interview

I believe we have to cover the obvious stuff first. How did you get involved in computer graphics? Did you receive any kind of formal education?

I never took any formal training in visual effects, I learned most of the basics on my own. It's something that I was always interested in, so when I was young and finally got a computer that could do that sort of thing, I became immersed in it. I think my parents were concerned that I spent too much time on the computer. I filmed a lot of tests with my camera in the back yard and followed tutorials online, or just experimented on my own, and soon had a home-made reel of goofy effects tests I showed around at school. They look very simple and silly now, but I was teaching myself the basics, and I attribute my fundamental skills to those kinds of tests. Nowadays, I learn and grow on the job, which I think is similar in that it's real world experience.

Browsing your IMDB page, I see you have an impressive portfolio. One thing I noticed is that you are often (if not always) credited as digital compositor. Of all the different fields in computer animation (meaning everything from modeling to finishing), why did you choose to become a compositor?

Well, as an artist who does not (as of yet) possess skills with a 3D program, everything else kind of falls into the category of "compositing". It's the final stage of visual effects, where all the pieces come together and receive the final treatment to become a finished shot. I think that's where the most fun is, for me. And it encompasses all sorts of things. For example, working on Heroes, one day I might be doing a virtual backdrop which the audience is not even meant to notice is an effect, and the next day I might be doing big bold electricity power effects. It's a great variety and I get to flex (or try to build up) many different muscles (so to speak) as a compositor.

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