ftrack just added its support and multiple licenses to Hugo Guerra’s new and improved Kickstarter compositing course.
We caught up with Hugo to learn about the course and to discuss ftrack’s role in teaching its students the less-obvious aspects of compositing etiquette.
Before we discuss the course, could you please introduce yourself for those who don’t yet know you?
Oh gosh, where do I start? I’m from Portugal and graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts. I’ve worked all over the place but I’ve lived and worked in London since 2009. I used to be the Head of the Nuke Compositing department at The Mill London.
Today I’m a director and VFX supervisor and I have collaborated with many studios across film, TV, and videogames. I’ve worked with places like the BBC, Nexus, Jellyfish Pictures, The Mill, Fire Without Smoke and Sony Studios. I’ve also worked with brands like Audi, Adidas, Nike, IKEA, Panasonic, Discovery Channel, Activision, Deep Silver, and Ubisoft. You’re making me feel old remembering all this!
Director & VFX Supervisor
Most recently I’ve been chasing my long-lasting love for video games – I’ve been playing since I was six years old on my Sinclair ZX Spectrum. I’ve been very honored and lucky to be a director and VFX supervisor on several triple-A cinematics for titles like Just Cause, EVE Valkyrie, The Division, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Warhammer Vermintide, and Far Cry New Dawn. I love my job – I know I am very lucky to do what I do.
Can you tell us a little about Kickstarter and what you’ve been doing there?
This is the third time I have run an educational course on Kickstarter on aspiring artists. The first Nuke compositing course we ran was a huge success – we reached 450% funding. We were over the moon! That funding allowed us to create a very compressive compositing course with over 75 hours of videos for 119 students from 27 different countries.
The second time we tried to create a full VFX course with Nuke, Houdini, Maya, Maya and more, but it was overly complicated. People liked the simplicity of the Nuke course. So we’ve dived back in for a 2.0 version of the Nuke course that’s bigger and better than ever!
We have new classes, new stretch goals: the works! We are very happy, as it was funded in just 24 hours. We’re currently at 215% funding and we couldn’t be happier. People are really responding well to the idea.
What do you hope that attendees will get out of this course?
The objective is to create a full compositing course that focuses on both the core, underlying skills necessary for compositing alongside the compositing skills themselves, using only production material. The course will cover photography, production, quality control, pipeline, and more. It’s exceptionally complete.
This exhaustive approach is important. People forget that being a compositor is not just knowing the software. Far from it; you need to know so much more. You need to be ready to work in a team, to respond well to feedback, to deal with clients. We will teach all of that by sharing our struggles and success stories in the industry.
We want our pupils to come away software agnostic; we want to make compositors not Nuke technicians. This is super important, especially since we are all about to be replaced by robots! Haha – I am joking…kind of. But knowing core skills is what will enable any artist to enjoy a long career and not depend on a specific piece of software.
How else is this course unique from other compositing courses?
Between the three teachers – myself, Ricardo Ferreira and Justin Gros Desir, we have decades of experience at companies like The Mill, DNEG, ILM, MPC, Sony, and Ubisoft. We are not academic teachers; we are full-time artists still working in the industry, so our classes are completely aligned with the demands of today’s VFX.
Secondly, we only use plates from real productions I have supervised over the years. That means we can cover all of the typical problems students will face in production: we are using plates and CG with the typical flaws found when coming up against tight deadlines and last-minute client changes.
Why is it important to include ftrack in this course?
Running ftrack natively inside Nuke and Nuke Studio really helps any production, so we thought we should teach our students how to use a tool like that!
It comes back to the thinking that composting is about more than one piece of software. You need to learn management, timekeeping, how to handle reviews, how to talk to clients, how to better schedule your time and especially how to divide your shots and tasks. Having ftrack classes on production tracking and version management will bridge that gap and bring the necessary core skills to the table.
These extra classes are fundamental in becoming a successful VFX artist. People sometimes think that they can just use a spreadsheet to track a project, but that is so far from the truth. You need a robust management tool like ftrack if you want any hope of delivering on time and keeping track of all the different moving parts.
We are very happy to have ftrack on board for Complete Nuke Compositing 2.0. It makes for a complete course.