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VFX Graduates at Rising Sun Pictures Follow Different Paths to Success

21/04/2021

VFX Graduates at Rising Sun Pictures Follow Different Paths to Success

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Brie Clayton April 20, 2021

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The training programs at Rising Sun Pictures (RSP), operated in partnership with the University of South Australia (UniSA) provide prospective visual effects artists with the essential skills they need to work in industry. The Bachelor of Media Arts and Graduate Certificate programs both have an admirable record for success with its graduates regularly finding employment at visual effects studios throughout Australia and beyond-including at RSP itself.

Sash Elliott, Maddison Green, Ryan Woodcock, Olivia Mitchell and Monica Quan are excellent examples of the value of training at RSP. Each of the six Adelaide natives participated in one of RSP's training programs accredited through UniSA last year and were subsequently hired by the studio in junior roles.

Each of these young artists has a different story, but they share commonalities in their commitment to hard work, eagerness to become accomplished professionals and determination to achieve big things.

Here are their stories:

Sash Elliott completed the visual effects (VFX) specialisation of the Media Arts degree last October and was offered a position with the studio just a few weeks later. Initially hired as a front-line services wrangler, managing data and providing artist support, she moved to the layout department after two months and is currently a junior track and match-move artist. I love layout, she insists. It was challenging at first, but as long as you know the under-pinning principles, you can apply it to the software.

Sash's passion for visual effects ignited when she enrolled in an introductory computer animation course as a Media Arts student at UniSA. It blew me away, she recalls. I immediately saw it as a career opportunity. When I learned that I could specialise in visual effects and take third-year courses at Rising Sun Pictures, I signed up straight away.

The training was demanding, but Sash applied herself diligently and undertook tasks beyond what her instructors required. I did my assignments to the best of my ability, but I also pushed myself further and took on side projects to show my passion and interests, she recalls. At the end of the semester we gave presentations and I shared some of my extra work. It helped me stand out.

Securing her first job so quickly, Sash looks forward to a promising future. I'm focused on improving my skills in layout, she says. I hope to progress to senior artist, but that will take experience. I'm eager to see what happens.

Maddison Green came onboard RSP as a frontline services wrangler in February. Having been cautioned, following her graduation last October, that it could take six months or longer for a position to open, she was pleasantly surprised. The learning curve is steep, she says of her new role, but it's going very well and so much fun. The camaraderie is great. Everyone here loves movies, so it's easy to chat and have good conversations. Everyone's keen to help each other out.

Maddison trained onsite at RSP as a third-year Media Arts student at UniSA. She received intensive instruction in compositing, tracking and other skills, but what she found most rewarding was the opportunity to interact with working professionals. Talking with senior artists and learning how they progressed in their careers was super valuable, she recalls. The teaching assistants, who also trained at RSP, reinforced the principles covered in class. They understood what we were going through and knew how to slow it down and explain things.

Anxious to flex her creative muscles, Maddison is interested in becoming a compositor. However, her experience thus far has taught her that the most important quality for a young artist is adaptability. You need to take advantage of every opportunity, she insists. If you have a chance to talk with senior artists, go talk with them. If you're in class, you need to stay focused and engaged. You need to be a good artist, but you also need to network and cultivate connections.

Ryan Woodcock set his sights on a visual effects career in high school. His interest was piqued by a showcase presentation from the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE). He completed AIE's two-year advanced diploma program, then went onto UniSA and undertook RSP's Graduate Certificate program. By year eleven, I knew I wanted to work in visual effects, but it was only when I got to study at RSP that I learnt how to get my foot in the door, he says. The program is amazing and offers a doorway to industry through its recruiters and connections to other studios.

Ryan is totally absorbed in his work as a junior paint and roto artist in RSP's layout department but he maintains a strong interest in compositing, which was a focus of his training. Compositors apply the final touch before the image goes to the screen, he observes. They put it together and make it look gorgeous. They deliver the shots that people see. I find that so appealing.

Hard work and persistence are obviously essential to success in visual effects but being lucky doesn't hurt. Ryan says that he landed his job, in part, by being in the right place at the right time. I phoned an RSP recruiter just to stay in contact and it happened that the studio's head of 2D had just informed her of an opening, he recalls. She said she'd get back to me on Thursday, but the next day I received an email with a job offer. One week later, I was starting. There's nothing like
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