There has never been a better time to be a VFX supplier. With so much content coming from streaming, high-quality television, feature films and commercials, the demand for visual effects and VFX
artists continue to grow.
Santa Monica-based visual effects studio Luma Pictures, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, has seen an increase in everything from creature effects to animation to expansions to full series.
To keep up with all the extra work, Luma expanded to Vancouver in January, after opening an office in Melbourne in 2012 to take advantage of the emerging market there. A staff of more than 200 employees works for the company in all three locations, providing effects for a client list that includes Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Disney and Warner Bros., and films such as “Elvis”, “Dr. Strange 2” and “Ever”
There was a time in Hollywood.”
Vincent Cirelli, VP and head of digital production, notes that this growth has impacted the industry in part as more filmmakers turn to VFX studios for help at the start of a project.
“Filmmakers look at the tools we develop to creatively visualize films from
childhood to the final image,” he says. “We are no longer mail; we are previsualization.”
Shauna Bryan, executive producer of VFX and head of business development, adds that being involved from the start results in better decisions across the board, improving delivery time and, ultimately,
what the public will see. “It helps us to know what the process will be and how we can
fit in best, and how we cast our best performers, accompanists, and producers,” she says.
Most recently, the team worked on the new Disney+ series ‘I Am Groot’. Animation director of Luma
Raphael Pimentel explains that for the “Big Takes a Bath” episode, right from the start with the show’s creator and director, Kirsten Lepore, he had the ability to think outside the box.
As part of his animation previz, he stepped into a kiddie pool with motion-capture dots
and wore a large face mask so the team could have an idea of what Lepore was looking for when it
came to illuminate and animate the character.
Also useful for the “Large” ads, Luma had the motion capture technology on site, as well as an LCD volume screen, so the data processing and animation effects could be done locally.
Basically, it was a matter of everyone in the pool.