I'm Rick Curts. From gathering elements and placing them in correct world space, to maintaining the vision of the edit reference, this was my experience on Marvel's latest superhero blockbuster.
Hi, I’m Rick
I’ve been at DNEG for two years. I was on Deadpool 2 when I was approached to take over as Layout Lead (or Layout TD) for Ant-Man and the Wasp. The original lead was called on to help set up our new Montreal facilities, so I stepped in.
My assets came from…
We gathered build assets, camera tracks, body and object tracks, character rigs, and possibly other odds and ends that editorial and compositors needed to publish to help get shots processed through the 3D pipeline.
I then passed them off to…
Depending on what the needs of the shot were, I then sent them to the Animation, FX, Environment and Lighting departments and sometimes even straight to the Compositing department.
"[Layout ensures that] updates to the edit references and assets are propagated correctly through the VFX pipeline."
What I had to make sure of
Aside from gathering elements and placing them in correct world space, one of our main responsibilities in Layout is to help maintain the vision of the edit reference. This can range from mocking up creative camera moves to matching the edit reference, retiming cameras, to making sure updates to the edit references and assets are propagated correctly through the VFX pipeline.
I worked closely with everyone on the Layout team
DNEG’s layout team is a great group of people. Even though we might not all be working on the same shows at the same time, someone is always willing to help troubleshoot and even help lessen the load if they are low on work and you're overloaded.
That said, I'd like to give a special shout-out to Debbie Langford and Levon Hudson. Like me, they started well after the show had begun. They were terrific to work with, efficient, and had a good sense of humor, particularly when things became challenging. Plus, they were able to help create some great looking shots, too!
My favorite shot was of Hank’s “matchbox-scale” van
My favorite shot I worked on was the shot of Hank's van at matchbox scale driving towards the camera, down Lombard Street as it tries to outrun the SUV that's crashed, with brick road debris that explodes all around it. I got to help enhance the camera work of the original plate, as well as work with the VFX Supervisor and other department Supervisors and Leads to make it part of an exciting sequence of shots to watch.
Getting up to speed was my greatest challenge
Transitioning to a project that was already well underway as well as in the process of delivering for a trailer can get a bit hairy. Everyone on the show was very helpful and patient, as I got up to speed. Doug Tancredi, the Layout Lead (TD) who I replaced, was a huge help in briefing me on the processes and procedures specific to the show.
Even after he had left for Montreal, he'd message me to see how things were going and he offered to help.
I can also be a bit shy or standoffish in groups. Breaking out of that was a hard at first, but I got a little more comfortable with it.
Working with talented people makes me pretty proud
I'm just proud to have been part of a great team of people, both in my department and the whole show, and getting the chance to collaborate with great talent from all the different departments.
"I can also be a bit shy or standoffish in groups. Breaking out of that was hard at first, but I got a little more comfortable with it. "
I now have a new respect for show and department production
I've always respected the production side of shows, but I gained a whole new appreciation for the amount of planning and coordination that they do, both onsite and overseas, to make sure we have what we need to get the shots done.
This show was full of firsts
I had a lot of ‘firsts’ on this project, so it's set a bit of a standard. For example, this was the first show where I was the point person for the Layout department. I loved getting a chance to more closely collaborate with the VFX and DFX Supervisors and other department supervisors and Leads. It was such a valuable and fun learning experience.
"Maya is an essential software. You need to know how to use it."
— VFX Supervisor on Ant-Man and the Wasp, Alessandro Ongaro
Who else made up the VFX team on Ant-Man and the Wasp and what exactly did they do? Hear from the other 3D artists who pushed themselves in big ways for Marvel's minute superhero:
Alessandro Ongaro, VFX Supervisor
Daniel Axelsson, Modeling Lead
Remi Cauzid, Creature Supervisor
Matchmove Supervisor, Kathir Manickam
Environment Lead, Matt Ivanov
Lead Animator, Evan Clover
Animator, Francois-Xavier Nhieu
Creature Lead, Dameon Oboyle