COMPOSITOR

DEPARTMENTS
2D COMPUTER ANIMATION | 2D DRAWN ANIMATION | 3D COMPUTER ANIMATION

OVERVIEW
Constructing the final image by combining layers of previously created material, including computer animation, special effects, graphics, 2d animation, live action and static background plates.

For this role, you will need to:

  • Have the talent to make artistic judgements
  • Have the technical skills to make practical decisions
  • Be able to analyse and solve problems
  • Possess extensive knowledge of current compositing software such as after effects
  • Have knowledge of various other programmes including Photoshop
  • Understand the 3D animation process, particularly lighting
  • Have a good eye for composition, colour, light and shadow
  • Have good knowledge of the keying process
  • Have a methodical and thorough approach to work
  • Pay close attention to detail
  • Have good communication skills
  • Be able to work as part of a team
  • Be able to take direction and be willing to address constructive feedback
  • Be able to work with a minimum of supervision
  • Be able to deliver on schedule, working calmly and efficiently under pressure, if required
  • Have respect for the procedures and requirements of a particular studio, production or pipeline
  • Have knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures

WHAT DOES A COMPOSITOR DO?

Compositors are responsible for constructing the final image by combining layers of previously-created material. They work at the end of the production process. They receive material from various sources including rendered computer animation, special effects, graphics, 2D animation, live action and static background plates.

Although it is primarily a 2D role within the 3D world of CGI and VFX, Compositors need a thorough understanding of the computer-generated animation process combined with relevant artistic skills.

They creatively combine all the elements into the final image, ensuring that the established style of the project is respected and continuity is maintained. To achieve this, they enhance the lighting, match blacks and other colour levels, add grain where required, add motion blur where required, and create convincing shadows. They make sure levels combine together seamlessly, keying, rotoscoping and creating mattes where necessary.

They work closely with Lighters and need to have technical knowledge of how 3D lighting works in order to understand the ‘multi passes’ that the Lighters create. They also work closely with Render Wranglers to progress work through the department.

Will I need a qualification?
To be a Compositor, it will help you to have a degree in an art-related subject, such as animation, design, illustration, painting, drawing, photography or computer animation.

By the time you reach this role, you will need a minimum of two years’ professional experience. You will also need showreels which demonstrate your artistic talent and technical skill.

As a Compositor it will be vital for you to have a thorough knowledge of the relevant software currently in use by the industry.

WHAT’S THE BEST ROUTE IN?

You’re most likely entry route will be to enter the compositing department as a Roto Artist and work your way up. Alternatively, you could gain an understanding of compositing in layers for 2D Animation using programmes such as After Effects.

There are several levels within the compositing department. The role described here is that of a mid-level Compositor.

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ANIMATION DIRECTOR
Have an overall responsibility for the quality of an animated product.

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