Learn from the artist. Check out academic and professional journey of 3D artist Mark Bradley.
Mark Bradley is currently a 3D Artist at Peerless VFX. He started his career in Visual Effects industry as a runner and has now been working as a 3D Artist for almost 3 years. Find out more about his journey into VFX and his advice for anyone else looking to start their career in the industry.
Why the creative industries?
I’ve been at Peerless VFX now for nearly three and a half years, and a 3D artist for just over a year. I initially studied a design degree at university but couldn’t get into the industry when I graduated. It took me a while to decide where I wanted to go with my career but later I felt VFX (Visual Effects) was the way forward. Escape Studios came up as a good way in, with an opportunity to do a short course full-time. I could get a fresh break and I haven’t looked back.
What is your current role?
Peerless is a VFX studio working on films and TV shows. I am part of a small 3D team. We invariably find ourselves doing a lot of asset work and layouts, as well as some dynamic and fluid work. One aspect of the job that is very important especially in a smaller company is to be adaptable and that’s what I like so much about the work, I’m expected to pick up shots on the projects at any moment or work with software that are new to me and run with it. I work on all aspects of the shots before it’s passed on to the 2D team.
One of the first mistakes I made after learning Maya at Escape Studios was to assume all studios used it, but I soon discovered this wasn’t the case. At Peerless, the primary software used is XSI SoftImage (now Autodesk Softimage); so my first challenge in the 3D team was get to grips with a completely new workflow. I also had the opportunity to work on-set, including a night shoot, getting a completely different perspective on the industry. Doing something different on every project is the best part of the job.
What projects have you worked on? And what was your favourite?
Working on The Alienist for TNT which is now on Netflix was an amazing experience. The stand out memory from this project was being involved in a show that won an Emmy and getting a chance to see one of those awards in person. We did some great work on the series, long hours and some of the time we went up to the wire. There’s one particular shot in a later episode which I was heavily involved in and to see the finished article was very satisfying.
What are you working on at the minute?
We’re currently working on a follow up to The White Princess, on Starz, which we did back in 2016, called The Spanish Princess. It’s part of a series of books which dramatises the events of a very interesting period of British Medieval history during the War of the Roses. The 3D requirements have been mostly layouts and environment work, building cityscapes and street extensions, as well as a big sequence involving fluid sims. This has involved both Maya and XSI.
How did you get into the industry and is there anything you would have done differently?
I studied Product Design at university, graduating in 2008 just as the recession hit. So, prospects didn’t seem great and I found myself getting a job in retail for a number of years but always planned to move on and do something creative. I’ve always had an interest in films and enjoyed the making of movies. I became aware of how much VFX work went into even the smallest productions not to mention TV and that’s when I then found myself naturally gravitating towards 3D rather than 2D. I spoke to a few companies and they all suggested studying at Escape Studios was a great place to start.
As with any change in career path you quite often need to wait for the right moment, whether it’s finances or opportunity, especially if you choose a private course or qualification to get you started. I had that opportunity a little later than I would have liked, but took the plunge and haven’t looked back.
Once I finished the course at Escape Studios, I found myself needing a job. I worked on developing my showreel, but 6 months later I was struggling; then completely out of the blue someone I met at Escape was working for a company who needed a Runner on a short-term, 6 week contract and I jumped at the chance.
What advice would you give to budding creatives?
Perseverance is key. Get your showreel or portfolio together, but bear in mind that building your network is just as important. It’s not uncommon to get jobs by knowing someone. Word of mouth is currency in the VFX industry, get to know the leads, supervisors or heads of department not just the recruitment people. There are no written rules on how to land your first job in the industry.
Check our various demoreel of Mark – https://vimeo.com/markbradleyvfx