After debuting its season premiere on December 30th, we are now already three episodes into Season Two of "The Orville," Fox's sci-fi "dramedy" on which I have been working as Visualization Lead for over seven months. It has been my longest stretch on a project in a leadership capacity, and I have immense pride in the work the team at Pixomondo has been able to accomplish this season. Episodes air every Thursday at 9PM PST on Fox, and my first episode of the season is coming up on January 17th! I hope you will tune in and share your thoughts online. You can view the project page for it on my website here.
Although I have never written a yearly write-up post on this blog, 2018 was a banner year for me in terms of projects, so I thought I would take a moment to briefly mention them here:
May: Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Solo mashup poster
August: The Predator
December: Aquaman, Season Two of "The Orville" (I began work on this show starting with the fourth episode, which airs 1/17/19)
Avengers: Infinity War was a great way to reconnect with the franchise that kicked off my film career, and the team I joined was remarkably talented. It was a humbling reminder that if you don't feel at least a little self-doubt every day at your job, you might not be trying hard enough to do great things. The mix of hard work, fun, and fitness that the team achieved on the project was possibly its most impressive aspect, and the fact that it was incredibly successful at the box office was the icing on the cake. It and Deadpool 2 remain the gold standard for me in terms of the right balance to strike for overall team harmony.
Deadpool 2 had a very similar team spirit to Avengers: Infinity War, but with a smaller, more intimate team. Our output was enormous by the end, and I attribute the calm and light-hearded mood of our workdays to the great job our previs/postvis supervisor did with setting a low-stress tone from day one. Seeing the footage come in for our postvis made us laugh every day, and it was the first time I've animated a body ripping apart in a slow-motion explosion, so there's that.
I completed my months-long pet project of a Big Trouble in Little Corellia mashup poster a few weeks after Solo: A Star Wars Story hit theaters, and the level of support it received was very nice to experience. Due to copyright law, I am not allowed to sell copies of it, but it will forever be on the internet for people to enjoy.
The Predator was a great experience with Shane Black and his team at the Fox Studios lot, but I switched off the project early on once production left the country, and many revisions were made after that, resulting in a finished product that I nearly didn't recognize. Despite this, there's still nothing like working on a film lot to me, and I regained a new respect for the original Predator as we watched, and rewatched the original to analyze what made it the classic it remains today.
Venom and Aquaman were brief stints for me, but I enjoyed animating these comic book characters. The level of commercial success each enjoyed in theaters was a big surprise to me, but it serves as even more evidence that passionate comic fans remain a box office force to be reckoned with.
Finally, "The Orville" had its season two premiere on December 30th, and as of this writing I am still working on layout for upcoming episodes. I am very excited to hear how next week's episode is received, because that was the one where my time on the series as Previsualization and Layout Lead began. The episode airs next Thursday, January 17th, at 9PM PST on Fox. It airs the same night as the Season Two premiere of "Star Trek: Discovery," which I also did previs on, but that write-up is yet to come...
Here's to making 2019 a year filled with valuable experiences, useful skills, exciting projects, and lots of joy.
Thanks for reading.
I am a Visualization Supervisor in Los Angeles with over seventeen years of experience crafting powerful, cinematic moments for the entertainment industry. Clients include Disney, Marvel Studios, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios. Before my career in the film and advertising industry I worked at Rockstar Games, where I was a Senior Animator on Red Dead Redemption. I also make visual art in my spare time.
WHAT IS VISUALIZATION?
Visualization is a process that allows a complicated production to be imagined in advance, usually with the use of computer animation. It is commonly used to help plan out sections of entertainment projects like films, television shows, commercials, VR experiences, and theme park rides.
An example of visualization in action is "previsualization" artists using 3D software to animate an early version of a feature film sequence that will rely on complicated visual effects. The extra amount of detail provided by this first pass of the sequence is a crucial blueprint for the director, cast, and crew once production begins.
After the film is shot, "postvis artists" use software to finish a rough pass of incomplete shots that feature bluescreens and other stand-in material. These updated shots become clear enough for editors and test audiences to follow the action of the film, so studios can get a sense of what is working as a film evolves in post-production. By the time the final VFX are finished, the previs and postvis work is fully replaced, with no trace left for audiences other than the guide for compositions and timing that only a team of skilled visualization artists can quickly provide.