MATCHMOVE ARTIST

DEPARTMENTS
3D COMPUTER ANIMATION

OVERVIEW
Translating and imitating the camera movements in live action shots and matching those movements in 3D computer animation.

For this role, you will need to:

  • Be skilled in the use of the relevant software
  • Be interested in computer graphics and/or computer animation
  • Be methodical with an appreciation for accuracy
  • Pay close attention to detail
  • Understand maths and physics
  • Have good communication skills
  • Have good team-working skills
  • Be able to take direction and be willing to address constructive feedback
  • Be able to deliver on schedule, working calmly and efficiently under pressure
  • Show 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 MATCHMOVE ARTIST DO?

Matchmove Artists translate and imitate the camera movements in live action shots and match those movements in 3D. They are also known as Matchmovers or 3D Trackers.

They work as a bridge between filming and visual effects by positioning tracking points on live action shots and, using those tracking points, they work out the co-ordinates in the relevant 3D programme. The information they provide enables the CG geometry to fit accurately and convincingly into the live action plates when the various elements are composited by the Compositor.

As this involves working on previously shot live action footage, the role more often exists on special effects work, within facility houses or on projects that combine live action and computer graphics.

Match Move Artists must be meticulous in their work. Without accurate match moving, the later stages of production will not work. Depending on the production, it is likely that Match Move Artists will be working on Maya, Nuke or one of several 3D tracking programmes including 3D Equalizer.

Will I need a qualification?

To be a Matchmove Artist, it is likely you will need to gain a degree in a 3D discipline, such as computer graphics or computer animation.

You don’t absolutely have to be a graduate, though. In some cases, you might be able to become a Matchmove Artist having gained enough relevant production experience, for example as a runner. In such a case, you would need a portfolio that demonstrated you had the necessary talent and skills. Training in at least one of the relevant industry-standard software packages will also be to your advantage.

WHAT’S THE BEST ROUTE IN?

You could enter the animation industry in this role, particularly if you have a technical bias. Matchmove Artist is one of the junior positions in the CG department and you can expect to spend between 12 and 24 months in the role before progressing to Junior TD (Technical Director).

The work is more technical than creative but, depending on your skills and interests, you could go in various directions including layout, modelling, texture, rigging or effects.

RELATED JOB ROLES

COMPOSITOR
Compositors construct the final image by combining layers of previously-created material, including computer animation, special effects, graphics, 2D animation, live action and static background plates.

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

3D COMPUTER ANIMATOR 
Animators in 3D computer animation produce three-dimensional images which create the illusion of movement.

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