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The "How Do I Get CG Artists?" Thread

Discussion in 'Scifi 3D Forum' started by JinxKatarn, Mar 18, 2005.

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  1. JinxKatarn

    JinxKatarn Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jan 8, 2001
    (Figured this might help if it was stickied for those wanting to get CG Artist in on a project from here...everyone posts comments & more suggestions and anyone coming in can be thrown righ on over to this.)

    If you've come by the forums here to ask for help with CG for your film you are already working on, you definitely should read this first!

    If you've always wanted to make one and haven't known where to start, and somehow ended up here, then you can use this as the first few steps to at least get an idea on getting CG Artists onboard.

    To get right to the point, if you plan (or hope) on getting help with CG from the many artists who roam here for your film--which seems quite often--there are things to consider...

    1. Why would they want to help me?
    2. How much work do I think they would have to do?
    3. How much work are they likely going to have to do?
    4. How much material do I have, at the time of making the request, ready to send them?

    You're the only one that can answer those things, but I CAN help you to increase having success with #1 and prepare you for #4. Two and three directly relate to one and four. Answers...

    1. Since it is highly unlikely someone would want to help you because you're going to pay them (don't think I know of a fan film that has paid anyone), your best bet is to:
    A. Get them interested in the story
    B. Get them interested in the effects
    without being overwhelming
    C. Be professional & consistent
    D. Show them you mean business

    Realize that the story of your film is the most important aspect of it. Lucas had a solid, strong story that he built the effects around which is what made it classic. For any film, it is the story that builds interest long term, and makes it watchable over and over--long term. If you show me a story that blows me away or seems at the least different from the stereotypical films, I'm considering it.

    If you can get CG Artists interested in the effects, which isn't nearly as easy to do, you get a big bonus. But DO NOT BE OVERWHELMING! Coming straight into a post and talking about three dozen explosions and over two hundred starfighters ripping about, then having a closeup of fully animated CG characters having a conversation while working out is over the top. Don't limit the scope of your film, but realize taking on a CG Artist is going to be more like a partnership than anything. Discuss ideas for scenes, but hammer the details of it out with them.

    Be professional and consistent, if this confuses you then you should read this entire thread a few times over. Always approach each initial post you make as though it was an interview for a new job, on you really want. If you had an interview with George Lucas to work on the Star Wars TV series, would you show up and say "Can you tell me how to make a movie and write the script and come up with cool ideas? Thanx doodz." If you would, it'd be a short interview. Write a post, review it, make sure you have step four prepared, and respond quickly to inquiries and replies.

    Mean business! A lot, lot, lot of people want to or start making a film, and it crashes. That's why step four, having material ready, is so important! No CG Artist wants to spend a ton of time and energy on something that will never be released, especially when they're working for free.

    So, that's number one. Still with me?

    2. Time, time, time. You probably have a timeline in mind for when you'd like to see your CG, right? Realize that the true decision-maker on time is going to be the CG Artist themself, it is them that is doing you a favor. Getting an extremely fair timeframe to propose, however, is better than jumping into the post and saying "...but I need all this stuff in two weeks." The only result you'll get is an end to your request.

    Applying what you read in step one, be professional and logical and guess how much time you think it'd take your prospective CG Artist to do their work. Very important, over-estimate like crazy and once you get that number (CG work can be mo
  2. -OC-

    -OC- Jedi Youngling star 1

    Sep 23, 2004
    Very interesting, nothing to add I think... Should be a sticky topic, but the problem is that nobody think to read them
  3. DVeditor

    DVeditor Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Dec 21, 2001
    Nice work Katarn!
  4. JinxKatarn

    JinxKatarn Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jan 8, 2001
    Thanks :) Got out of class and felt inspired, love being back in school.
  5. George Mezori SCIFI 3D

    George Mezori SCIFI 3D Scifi 3D Forum star 4 VIP

    Sep 10, 1999
    I don't get this at all. There's already a REQUESTS thread for people who want to ask for help. All these other questions people are asking are just silly. Well all know... it's young naive people daydreaming about make some sorta high-end fan film with top quality CGI effects. It just doesn't work that way. I don't think there's a FAQ or STICKY you can make to explain this to people. It's just common sense. If they spent just a little time figuring out what it is they are trying to do they'd realize how futile it is. Instead, they come here... God knows why they all come here... and ask how and who will help them make their fan film to rival a Hollywood film. These people... they need to just draw pics, used low-rez models, or low-end cgi or other effects...and just see if they have a story that is good enough to entice people to help make it better. At least they'd have something to show, they'd spend a little time doing something themselves before asking for all this help, they most certainly become more experienced and educated about the entire process, they'd concentrate on shooting the principle photography which could be used later, etc. etc. Either way... anybody who asks such naive questions will never entice anybody to waste their time making a bunch of CGI effects for them.

    I personally would rather just remove these dumb threads when people ask stuff like this. Why do they come here?? The Fan Films forum is more approriate. Besides there is a requests thread for those who are looking for something to participate on. Otherwise... this is a forum for people who like CGI and want to talk about that. It's not a recruiting ground for every naive person who wants to make a big fan film. Especially if they don't know what they are doing and have nothing to show the work THEY'VE done. They just expect people to drop their lives and spend 100's of hours doing work for them?

    What I suggested was making a "How to make a Fan Film thread" or something like that. And it'd just be a place to share links and other info like that. BUT the more I think about it the more I realize that the LINKS page and FAQ can cover this. We don't need any more stickies. There's a BIG huge "Fan Film FAQ" at Fan Films on TFN too. I think people just need to stop coming here talking about how they want a bunch of people to make effects for them. If they have an idea and want to see if people are interested go to the REQUESTS thread. I'm telling you... somebody could spend a very short period of time and make some rough animations just to use in their fan film. And if it's that good of an idea they would have no trouble finding people who would redo the effects. Until then I wish people would stop coming here and starting their own threads about how great their ideas are and how everybody should jump onboard and start pumping out effects for them.
  6. Darth_Steven

    Darth_Steven Jedi Youngling star 2

    Jul 14, 2002
    I think there is a couple of ways to go about requests. The first being through PM's. This way you can speak directly to the person you would like to work with, if they accept that is. However, you must realize that if they don't respond don't keep hounding them!

    It also makes sure that your request would get seen, moreso than in the Request Thread. Perhaps a better type of thread would be an "available artist" sticky thread. This way people making requests could just look through and find somebody who is available to do stuff for them, whether it be something general or something specific would be up to the artist posting in this sticky.

    For example, I would post something along the lines of "available for 3ds questions" or "help with compositing available here..." or "3d modeler available for fan film work."

    Does this make sense? I think it does, and I think it would keep the Request Thread from getting overrun and nobody looking in it.

  7. DVeditor

    DVeditor Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Dec 21, 2001
    Steve - that seems like a pretty good system to me too. I can't help people full time but here and there is okay and that seems like a good way of telling them. I'm all for keeping the forums cleaner!

    Zoo - I totally respect what you're saying. There are times when it's tough to think because of so many repeat questions that get asked, but at the same time I would think that there would be a way to point them in the right direction without cluttering the forums up...I like Steve's idea because people could see the topics before they posted (maybe if they aren't stickies they'll look) and that way it would keep the forums fairly clear because most of the traffic would be through PM or other methods. It would also be good because as people come and go the topics would rise and fall according to their usage and not have one huge topic full of little tidbits.

    Just my two cents. This is a great site - I want to do my part to help keep it that way with what I can offer. See y'all around...
  8. Jedi2016

    Jedi2016 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 3, 2000
    In my opinion, Rule #1 (as posted above) is probably the single most important one. I've denied quite a few requests for help on that basis alone.. someone will ask, and as I'm reading it, I'm thinking.. "Why should I?"

    There are things I'll usually look for when getting into a new project:

    1) It's going to be a good film. If it's a film that I believe in, mostly if it has a great story, I'll be much more interested in helping to make that story a reality. Most of the time, I'd want to read the script first, but sometimes it'll be based entirely on the person making it. For example, if Joe Monroe asks if I can whip up some shots for him, I'll be inclined to say "yes" just because I already know it's going to be good.

    2) A challenge. Now, there's a difference between "challenging" shots and "difficult" shots. Huge space battles aren't really a challenge, they're just time-consuming. But if you have some sort of wacky effect in mind, especially if it's one that I've always wanted to try, then I'll probably want to help, just so I can finally get a handle on a certain effect. Give the artist something that he WANTS to crack, rather than something that will simply be a pain in the ass for him. For example, I was contacted a few months ago to create some VFX for a Stargate fanfilm. Since A) it wasn't Star Wars (which gets old after a while), and B) I'd always wanted to do some Stargate work, I accepted. I've only worked on two shots, but they were both a challenge (without being especially difficult), and they were a lot of fun for me to work on. And I haven't even read the script yet.

    And even number 2 works into the whole "why" thing. Even if I don't care one way or another about the film itself, if it's a shot (or multiple shots) that I WANT to make and simply haven't done it yet, I'll be much more inclined to jump on board. The problem with #2 is that a lot of fanfilmmakers, especially the "newbie" filmmakers, don't seem to have the imagination to come up with neat effects sequences to make. Usually they just want a space battle or a series of flybys. Yawn. Been there, done that, not interested. That's the kicker.

    Resources are also important, depending on who you contact. There are some fantastic modelers out there that can make virtually anything. But I'm not one of them. If you can get the necessary models (of the necessary quality) and supply them to me (or to whatever artist you've got), I can do virtually anything you'd need done with them.

    If you have the ability to assemble a "crew" of VFX guys, that's probably the ideal way to go. Create a solid pipeline.. This person does the modeling, this person does the animation, this person does the lighting, etc. Work off the artists specialties and you'll get good results every time.
  9. DVeditor

    DVeditor Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Dec 21, 2001
    This is true - and I think a lot of people want to build a sort of pipeline but have no clue what it takes. There are times it seems like people think it's something that a few guys can IM to each other and in a few weeks pump something huge out. It takes a loooooong time to make good stuff and I imagine that most of the requests and ideas the new CG'ers have is based on BTS footage and a lack of understanding how long it really takes. Believe me I've been there, and it takes a while to learn all that lol.
    I like how you talked about approaching a project Jedi2016. You need to make sure it's something you WANT to get into before you sign on or ask people to help you with. You have to be totally in love with a project and be willing to give it all you've got for a specific reason, not just because it's fun and hopefully will be complete one day. That's why there are so many unfinished projects out there.

    Good stuff.

    EDIT: I will say this - if you can surround yourself with people that are determined to put everything they've got into something and want to learn and grow through something new it's the coolest thing in the world and it's definetly worth waiting for.

    LORDWROTH Jedi Master star 2

    Nov 5, 2004

    When I first started talking about making my film Contract of EVil
    I found nothing but, 'no way dude '
    thats impossible !' are you serious!!!;
    I even had a friend who worked on spielbergs ;Taken " series and he said no way!
    when he saw the storyboards alone!.

    but I have found that in this town or any other,
    talk is cheap especially when you ask for !~free~
    what I did was to just shoot the movie with no
    CG artist locked and hoped it would gain some interest
    luckily it did
    if you really want someone to help and do alot of work on their own free time, beyond work and play

    it has to be special, and if you feel this strongly
    about making your film then shoot it first then look for an artist to help later
    yes, it may set your release date back, but it will ensure the right person will be there for the job

    and as a side note
    I think you CG guys are great, and any one that works with me I try to pay as much as I can and give a little something for their troubles.

    ask mike scott. I respected his talent and gave all I could, he thought I was going to ask for free help
    which I feel is the worng way if you want it done

    many, thanks


  11. DVeditor

    DVeditor Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Dec 21, 2001
    Are you working on anything currently Wroth? Not because of what you said about compensation, I'm just wondering.

    LORDWROTH Jedi Master star 2

    Nov 5, 2004

    right now ,if I say too much it would really let the cat out of the bag
    I have things in motion yet I am reluctant to say much more...but many thanks for the interest
    I;ll stay in touch when the time is right!

    I feel that what you have all said is very true.
    in many ways, we new film makers do not know
    how to approach CG elements in our films and tend to make mistakes that can effect the quality and position of the CG artist (IE) Time ECT.
    one of the biggest mistakes we made was shooting against a clear sky.
    we had no idea, hence we were sans a CG supervisor on set, never knowing it would make M. Scotts life miserable for 8 months of roto scoping. Plus,
    he went back and added a background sky
    that , I feel saved us
    also, as for compensation,
    any of you that has done work on a film should be able to ask for something!
    especially if you have done multiple films
    that shows you can finish a deadline and the film maker can see you last works

    I love doing work to get work , that is why I did Contract,. yet ,even as other people want me to do effects for ~their~ film
    I ask either for a simple trade or something close to the budget
    plus it helps on those late nights when everyones asleep or watching a movie and I;m in the room working , to know that I am getting something in return.

    R J MCCasland, who did my makeup application
    asked for a Predator Helmet, for doing my film
    plus 200 dollars cash,
    if you never ask, you never know

    all the best !

  13. DVeditor

    DVeditor Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Dec 21, 2001
    Excellent - I'd be interested to learn more as your project moves forward. Hope all goes well for you!
  14. Crunchy

    Crunchy Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 29, 2000
    I have a friend that worked on Speilberg's "Taken" too :)
  15. Macro_Roshuma

    Macro_Roshuma Jedi Youngling star 3

    Aug 27, 2004
    PM me if you need CG work done on your fanfilm... for free

    LORDWROTH Jedi Master star 2

    Nov 5, 2004

    My friends name is CHRIS S.
    he did the crop circles shot in the fields as the detectives were walking around trying to figure out why the wheat was mashed
    what shot did your friend do?

    its funny , , You should have seen Chris' eyes when I just showed him the storyboards

    much appreciated all on the willingness to help
    and the notion of free is good, but ask M Scott
    I always feel that you should get something close or as good too, the work you are doing
    I know some guys out there will want to shoot me for saying that.
    but I do the physical effects. which can take a long time to sculpt cast and foam fabricated or cast into resin
    these all take time and money,even if you can't hand your CG guys a predator helmet
    I think something like a free costume and lightsaber would be nice
    I did that for a couple of guys too.

    I also would like to ask
    is there a comment about ~how~ to shoot better to
    assist your CG team
    Like M. Scott gave me some great advice about shooting with filters to prevent the same mistakes
    and shooting background plates.
    believe it or not there are alot of film students that come out of the schools who havn't been familiar with CG effects and how to shoot for them
    and I think that was Richard Marquades
    problem as well on Jedi? form T B S it sounds that way

    all the best
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