“DNEG is one big family in which success is encouraged at every level and everyone is willing to assist in your growth. Teamwork is absolutely essential to what we do here”
What if we told you that you can be part of the VFX industry with just a penchant for the arts and crafts, a creative mind with a dash of technical ability? Would it intrigue you? Well, one of our tenured VFX trainers Vinod Kumar V is a living example of just that. Read on to discover how he honed his passion for the art and crafted his way to be part of the VFX fraternity and continues to make it large at DNEG’s India studios.
Hi Vinod! What brought you into the world of VFX and Animation?
I have always had a strong affinity for both painting and photography. Being a self-taught photographer, I used to borrow my neighbour’s camera and spend every weekend on the streets of Chennai, photographing everyday life. My fascination with photography led me to analyse film genres and cinematography, which ultimately led me to the field of visual effects and animation. I had the good fortune of living in a neighbourhood with friends who shared my interests and provided me with relevant books and art magazines.
How did your journey start? Any career highlight(s) so far?
I have a degree in Information and Technology (IT). During my college days, I was exposed to animation via a close college friend of mine who had enrolled on a short-term course. Skimming through his study material, I developed a keen interest towards animation so much so that I actually wanted to enrol for the course! Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford the course back then so took on small jobs to help pay for my education, and eventually was able to enrol for an animation course. I went for my first interview in Chennai, India, expecting to be hired as an animator. Instead, I was given the option to work in video editing and motion graphics. Gradually I started connecting with directors, storytellers, and VFX artists to gain insights into the entire movie-making and the VFX process.
As luck would have it, the same animation school where I trained, called me back years later to speak to their students about the industry. That’s where I developed my love for training. Later, I started working as a VFX instructor at a media college and was shortly promoted to Head of the VFX department. I was further elevated as Academy Head and then spent another 15 years in training at universities and colleges in India and overseas. I Joined DNEG as a VFX Trainer in 2019 and here I am working very closely with the Creature and FX departments.
Could you elaborate on your role here at DNEG?
My role here at DNEG sees me collaborating with the project leads and supervisors for the CFX & FX departments on a daily basis. This collaboration allows me access to learn about prospective shows and helps me anticipate the requirement for training. Based on the needs I develop assignments, set up feedback systems and look into content and delivery methodologies while working closely with my training coordinators and co-trainers.
What do you like the most about your job?
Training! The time I spend with the artists during the training sessions is the most significant part of my day as I get to learn and share knowledge with them. Every day, I get to communicate, mingle, and meet individuals from all departments. Being a part of DNEG’s success journey has been incredibly uplifting because I get to work with so many incredible people. I am proud of the fact that trained artists then go on to use their abilities to work on some of the most sought-after projects in our industry. Meeting young, talented learners during Greenlight India training sessions is extremely inspiring and energising to me.
I have been always encouraged by my colleagues and managers to never settle and keep pushing the boundaries of my abilities. DNEG is one big family in which success is encouraged at every level and everyone is willing to assist in your growth. Teamwork is absolutely essential to what we do here at DNEG.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
The global VFX market trends are known to be quite dynamic in nature and are in a constant state of change. Don’t question yourself if you want to pursue a profession in VFX or animation instead have faith in your passion. A degree or substantial knowledge in maths, physics, computer science, and art is advantageous. To be a good VFX artist, you must possess both technical skills and creative ideas that will help you excel at this craft. Work towards keeping your morale high and having a positive attitude; the rest will follow.
Time for some rapid-fire questions – What’s one thing that is always on your desk when you work?
My cap, it adds to my ability to stay focused.
What’s your ‘special power’ at work?
My smile and patience. As a trainer, I should keep myself and my trainees motivated.
What do you look forward to every day?
Innovating new ideas in teaching, and not always using the traditional methods.
How did you feel on your first day at DNEG?
I felt mentally very strong being at DNEG, and currently, I feel even stronger and more confident than the day I started.
What is your proudest moment to date?
It was incredibly rewarding when the young talents of the Greenlight India programme received permanent job offers after completing training.
Finish this sentence: DNEG is…
A place where you feel empowered and special. Each employee exhibits traits of passion, creativity, professionalism, and love for their work.
To find out about Training and Career Development 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.