For this post, we take a look back in the archives at something we completely forgot to update everyone on! A few months ago, Kate Walshe (SFX producer and Co-Director of Millennium FX) and Chris Goodman (Millennium FX's in house designer and Z Brush wizard) hosted a couple of guest lectures on Zoom, specifically for our SFX students... and we had a BLAST!
First up was Kate Walshe! Staff and students always love having a chat with Kate. She's a bundle of knowledge and gives our students so much inspiration for their work. This time round, we had two main topics.
One was project planning, and she spoke through how she starts planning for a new project, including how Millennium FX budgets for each job, how they plan out their timeline for the project and the starting points of the planning stage.
At the time, our students were just embarking on their Project module (I know, I know... it's like we planned it!), where they plan and execute their own mini project, working towards a brief we’ve set them (this year it was based on the artwork of Mike Mignola).
As always, the students got to chip in, ask questions and get advice from Kate on how to tackle their own project planning. It's so important to us that we prepare our students for industry, so getting this kind of contact with Kate is fantastic for them and it's what makes our graduates some of the best in the country.
She then went on to talk about life as a Special Effects technician and how to actually work in our chosen field. We spoke through life on set, how to break into the industry and what to do on your first job, along with a little bit on how Covid is impacting the way the work happens currently.
Getting to chat to a director of one of the biggest SFX companies in Europe is the best kind of networking our students can do, and they get first hand connections with industry professionals which helps to help them become more confident when they leave our course to start their careers. Here's what our Technician Kate Bagshaw had to say about the day! "Talking to Kate about the way she approaches project planning, and what a career as a Special Effects trainee is like, is a great way for our students to get some first hand information from the Pros and see how life in industry actually works. It's all good being able to tell them the theory of it, but until they meet these people and chat to them about it, there's only so much they can understand. Kate's always a great help to our student team here, and we're really lucky to have her drop in so often!"
"(University of Bolton) is the perfect environment for creating the next generation of artists - incredible facilities and a team of skilled and passionate staff really do make it one of the best institutes to study SFX" - Kate Walshe
Next up we had the awesome Chris Goodman back with us, this time doing a live ZBrush sculpting demo for our students. Chris is one of Millennium FX’s top concept artists, and he’s a digital sculpting and concepting genius. He takes the initial ideas from the brief the company is given, and creates amazing designs and concept work!
During this time with us Chris took an initial idea through the digital sculpting process, starting with blocking out the basic forms, adding details, textures and clothing and finally, photo editing and finishing to enhance the look of the piece. This is a really valuable skill for students to learn as our industry is using digital software like this more and more, and opens them up to a new technique they might not have explored yet. Watching a professional at work in real time is an amazing experience for our students (and staff of course), and we love that we get to offer this kind of education on our course. It's part of what makes Special Effects for Film and TV at University of Bolton so unique!
Here's a little of what Lecturer Jack Myers had to say about Chris's demo! "Chris spent a day and half taking a brief set by us through every single stage of his workflow. It was great to get an insight into his researching processes along with the several stages of concepting until he had produced a render of a character that he deemed suitable to pitch to a professional client. Not only did the students gain some incredible tips in zBrush and Photoshop, but I can say that it also paved the way for students to really consider the presentation of their final pieces of work including colour tone and composition. I really look forward to seeing the students put this into practice!"
“We’re really proud of our relationships with industry, they’re a core tenet of what we do on SFX at Bolton. Talks like these are essential for getting our students ready for going out into the world. The wealth of experience and skill that these industry talks offer is incredible.” Rik Mcevoy-Crompton
Many, many thanks to Kate, Chris and Millennium FX for coming to spend some time with us again, and we can't wait to have you back soon!