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Digital Artists?
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Default Digital Artists? - 05-28-2011, 10:20 AM

I recently went to see the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie and, as usual, I waited to read the credits and see the folks who worked on the VFX part.

Not little was my surprise when I saw that everybody was now labeled as 'Digital Artist', followed by a huge list of names; There were no longer matte painters, roto artists, 3D, or whatnot, no, everyone was thrown into the same pot and - if that's not the worse part - it made the list so huge and unreadable that it almost seemed as a mockery.

Add to that even the drivers and bodyguards were credited before us, the VFX guys, and I have to ask:

1) Is this a new trend - to put everyone in the same pot - or a particular case?

2) Are we (vfx dudes) so unimportant that even the drivers and catering guys are listed before us?

Maybe I take this a bit too seriously - it's just a job, yes, but still...

In my humble opinion, I think that the VFX dudes are the ones that actually make the movie successful (or not), next to actors; If you ask me, I think they should be credited right after the actors, alongside with sound and music designers.


"Digital Art is like magic...and we are all it's Wizards"

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Last edited by Suirebit; 05-28-2011 at 10:23 AM..
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Default 05-28-2011, 10:43 AM

That does sound insulting. Sure, we are at some point "digital artists' but piling all the names under that title undermines the work effort and knowledge put into these films.
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Default 05-28-2011, 12:12 PM

If I am not wrong, I think ILM do categorise all artists under Digital Artists section or was it same for other studios who worked on this project?

Btw officially still all the production crew credits before post production crew, its one of the thing that's on top agenda of VES 2!


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Default 05-28-2011, 12:38 PM

yes, it was for all studios, that's what got my attention...I would agree it's somewhat insulting


"Digital Art is like magic...and we are all it's Wizards"

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Default 05-28-2011, 02:33 PM

I agree its not ok.. no offense for anyone, but its absolutely disrespect to name all the people after some catering or drivers.. Maybe next PoC could be done without such "un-important" guys like VFX and than it would be definitely obivious how much is VFX important for movie industry nowdays.. or replace VFX team with lady from catering company :D


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Default 05-28-2011, 08:07 PM

Yep, I went for screening with the guys and colleagues here at Lucasfilm and I've been surprised a bit too. I don't mind if the names and departments are under Digital Artist section.. still we're digital artists, but yeah, I found it funny to see the catering, drivers etc. before VFX.
I think they just separate it on the sections of movie shooting people (actors, catering, drivers etc.) and than VFX and so on. I've finished recently more films( damn I have to do a new webpage and reel from them,but damn no time for it) and this is the first time I've seen it. But I was laughing at it.
Its still a business, nothing is personal anymore except the work you do itself :)


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Default 05-29-2011, 02:20 AM

Yep, most of us got bundled under the same title on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 1, I'm waiting to see if the same happens on part 2 in a couple of months...
Its not that Digital Artist is a bad title as such, but it just seems a bit insulting that after all the hard work and lost weekends we do to get these films complete and looking amazing, its not deemed worth the time to even show their seperate job titles.
Still, the credits thing doesnt bother me too much, there are other aspects of VES 2.0 that i feel are much more critical to the wellbeing of the industry and all involved...

I'll just stay fingers crossed that this doesnt become the norm...

N


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Default 05-29-2011, 03:44 AM

If this becomes the norm, then I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of angry artists soon.

Also, I'd say that after those hard weeks and weekends you spent to make the movie look great, you deserve to be credited before the driver or the bodyguard who walked the dog.


"Digital Art is like magic...and we are all it's Wizards"

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Default 05-29-2011, 09:22 AM

Yes, I think there probably will be some people that are more than a little disappointed if that happens. It has become much more of an issue recently though. Many artists are worried that the vfx industry literally can't sustain itself if the culture of underbidding and just trying to scrape enough to get to the next project continues. That has brought many of the issues surrounding vfx to the surface, and credits has been a point among them that has divided artists. Some people believe the credits simply aren't important and if you get one, great, but the main thing is that studios are stable, work is secure, and pay is definite each month. Others really put a lot of stock in a film credit, and for good reason in a lot of cases too, as getting credits is important for career progression, depends on your view on it..

N


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Default 05-29-2011, 10:43 AM

Hi guys,

I consider this lump credit situation as proof that computers are messing with people's perception of how exceptionally valuable matte art is, and also speaks to how challenging it used to be before you could layer photo texture and transform an object in the blink of an eye. Folks, having the computer technology, undo buttons and layer systems for example which all allow for a convenient (never needing to repaint, but always easy to change things) process, is hurting digital matte painters. Digital Matte Artists are more replaceable now!! Why? Because of 3D and Photoshop.

As Nick mentioned, the underbidding thing (or studios competing and underbidding on a shot by shot basis) is a big contributor to this as well. Thankfully, I left the industry quick as I could see very early on in my first project there are major problems in vfx, definitely not the same respect as there apparently once was for vfx craftsmen and women before the hugely digital fx heavy films with shot by shot budgets we have now.

Of course I'm sure there are some great untold stories and complaints from the pre-digital era about not receiving credits for years. I've read articles about some of the matte painting legends who worked uncredited for a long long time.

Anyway, I'm an old school mindset who doesn't like change, and I think the computer, while it's a great tool and is a lot of fun sometimes, is at the heart of this problem. Studios can abuse it. That's why I don't like people making asset repositories and algorithms to make art. It's a scary combination, because you see how much Holywood likes to REDO old hits. There's nothing unique about a reused asset, or a movie remake.

I watched a clip on YouTube, of an interview from the 80s with Harrison Ellenshaw about TRON and computer graphics, where he was asked if computer graphics would ever replace human actors and he said no, he didn't think that Jeff Bridges could be replaced by a CG version. Talk about scary, because if you have seen the new TRON, then you're familiar with a CGI Jeff Bridges. I think, if he can be replaced with CG, then Digital Matte Artists can be demoted to Digital Artists and then booted out the door altogether in some cases, because the assets are already on the studio hard drives, there for reuse on the next boring remake.

I think we need to make a stand, and refuse to make everything on a computer. Puppet Yoda was 100 times more unique than CGI Yoda. The Warehouse from Raiders of the Lost Ark is a memorable, iconic piece of matte painting history. It can't really be reused, or done any better on the computer.

Just my opinion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts everyone.

-Gary
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