“When I saw CGI as a kid I was impressed and couldn’t figure out how it was made, it was like magic to me. DNEG has taught me so much, and I’m still learning.”
Keny Castro Moreno is a Creature TD based in our London studio. He’s been working at DNEG for the past three years, originally joining us as a Creature Graduate Trainee after completing our Greenlight programme. He progressed as a Creature Assistant and then moved into his current role: Technical Director (TD) on the likes of The Matrix Resurrections and Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Keep on reading to see how Keny went from freelancing as a 3D artist after university to landing his first role in the industry, what his day-to-day is like, and how he felt when he saw his name on the credit list of Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
Hi Keny! What brought you into the world of VFX and Animation?
I always knew I wanted to work in media so I studied Film and TV Production at University. At the time I thought I wanted to be a video Editor but I wasn’t enjoying it that much. There was a module that I really, really liked, which was VFX. It became my favourite module! My teacher worked in a London studio and he’d share all these stories about the studio which sounded amazing. I decided to pursue VFX and went to VFX events and festivals to meet people, get tips on how to apply and what I needed to work on, like my showreel. The university module I did focused more on 2D and learning Nuke, but I was leaning more towards 3D, so after university I learned ZBrush – I liked it and decided that I wanted a job that would allow me to use that software. I loved sculpting so I did my portfolio based on sculpting characters, used that to apply for DNEG’s Greenlight program, and got into the Creature department. And now I get to use ZBrush on a daily basis!
Any career highlight(s) so far?
I think it was during COVID when we had a period where we could all actually go out and Venom: Let There Be Carnage came out. I went to see it with my family and, although I’d seen my name in the credits when I’d watch films on my laptop, it was very strange seeing it on the big screen. It felt different and unique, and I felt very proud!
What is your day-to-day like as a Creature TD?
My supervisor or coordinator assigns me a task in the morning and then it’s my job to take the shot and fix the muscles and intersections caches. Depending on how big the task is, that might take me all day. I’ll submit a WIP (work in progress) to dailies and my supervisor will give me some feedback. If it’s approved, the shot will go over to the Lighting team or, if there are some notes, it’ll come back to me and I’ll work on addressing them. Some days are rushed if we have a delivery deadline coming up, but mainly it’s quite chilled. I still enjoy the busier days because I get to do some problem-solving – it feels great to fix a problem when you’re in crunch time! Most days I’m shotsculping. Recently I’ve also started doing some training for other members of the team, and writing out process documents to guide them. I find this really enjoyable, I like that I get to teach and share ideas alongside my day-to-day work.
What do you like the most about your job?
Two things: sculpting and problem-solving!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Research the companies that you’re interested in working for, and look at the artwork they create. Basically stalk them! If they’re on LinkedIn then follow them, see what their entry-level requirements are, and aim for that level. It’s surprising how many people coming out of university don’t have any idea which companies they want to work at. It’s really important to research the industry as much as you can and see what you like or don’t like. Be creative in your own way but use these companies as a guide for your portfolio.
Time for some rapid fire questions – What’s one thing that is always on your desk when you work?
My tablet. I always like working with some sound so I use my tablet to listen to music or a podcast in the background.
What’s your ‘special power’ at work?
Definitely being a problem-solver – I have some tricks up my sleeve for fixing things when they break…
What are you most looking forward to every day?
Using ZBrush! It’s such a cool software to use and you can play around with clay to create anything. If I have a task that requires me to use it, it makes my day more enjoyable.
How did you feel on your first day at DNEG?
Nervous! It was very intimidating, everyone was very talented and I didn’t know how to act or what to say. It was very exciting but very scary at the same time!
What is your proudest moment to date?
Definitely seeing my name in the Venom: Let There Be Carnage credits on the big screen!
Finish this sentence: DNEG is…
A teacher. When I saw CGI as a kid I was impressed and couldn’t figure out how it was made, it was like magic to me. DNEG has taught me so much, and I’m still learning.
To find out about VFX at DNEG, click here. And if you are interested in joining DNEG’s Oscar-winning team, stay tuned for our next ‘FOCUS’ and click here to find out more about our open positions across our studios in North America, Europe and India.