Computer Graphics World

July-Aug-Sept 2022

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18 cgw j u ly • a u g u s t • s e p t e m b e r 2 0 2 2 O riginally from Russia, Alexander Sokolov is an LA-based VFX artist who specializes in previs and post visualiza- tion. Sokolov has been working in the field since 2005 and has credits that include contributions to Stranger Things (Season 4), Chip 'n' Dale: Rescue Rangers, Jumanji: The Next Level, and Terminator: Dark Fate. He recently took some time to share details of his career path, including learning 3ds Max while in Russia and his move to America. He also has advice for new talent that will serve them well in professional workflows. Marc Loftus (ML): Are you an independent, or do you work with a studio? Alexander Sokolov (AS): It is so common in the industry just to hire huge amounts of artists and animators for a project, and it's totally fine. Technically, we are working here in LA on the short con- tracts just attached to the project, show, or film, which usually lasts from three to six months, in general. The huge blockbuster requires probably half a year [of] work on the pre-visualization or post-visu- alization stages. I'm a freelance artist who works on short contracts with several companies here and there. ML: So a studio will secure a project and then sta it with the people they need? AS: Exactly! Yes, because it is hard to predict. Sometimes you need to extend it. Usually, it's about extension. On the last project, I was asked to join the team last autumn. The director was so happy with the impact on the project that the pre-visualization team made that he extended the pre-production stage almost twice. I was free nine months later and they still wanted to hire me on this project. Currently, I'm working on the final stage of finishing and polishing all this stuff, the third act of the film. It's really common, and teams are really flexible, because in this ever-changing world of moviemaking, you need to be flexi- ble. Pre-visualization and post visualization, in general, is about effectiveness: how effective production is, and how quick can you adjust yourself and your team to provide something new if [there's] a change in [the] needs of the director. ML: Who are some of the studios that you are partner•ng with on these dierent jobs? I know T e T ird F€oor is a specialist in pre-visualization, so I'm not sur†r•sed to hear that. Is that one that you work with regularly? AS: The other big studio is MPC Technicolor. I like to work with them, and I did several recent projects with them, and there are sev- eral more. Since the amount of work in pre- and post visualization is so huge, Double Negative [DNEG] and Sony opened their visualiza- tion departments here in LA as well. I'm trying to work with different companies since, again, it's not super stable. Some of them have projects right now, and some of them can hire you or book you for half of the year. The market is still growing, and the term 'pre-visualization' re- cently has changed to 'visualization.' In general, it shows how this is still growing. We are still trying to catch the possibilities of this field. I worked with smaller studios as well. It's a relatively different experi- ence working with the smaller studios rather than huge pipelines and huge monsters like MPC Technicolor. I worked the last nine months with Opsis. They provide more flex- ibility and freedom. It's just different, and you adjust yourself. Since I'm a freelancer for almost 15 years, for me, it's even better and even more interesting. You control more things than in a relatively straightforward workflow. PROFILE: VFX ARTIST/ PREVIS SPECIALIST ALEXANDER SOKOLOV BY MARC LOFTUS Alexander Sokolov has worked in the VFX field since 2005.

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