Learn tips and tricks to become successful VFX artist.
Alexander Scherffig has worked for leading creative studios, including ScanlineVFX, RISE, MPC and Method Studios. Find out more about how he got into the creative industries, plus gain an insight into some of the projects he’s worked on and find out more about the journey to becoming a Compositor.
Why the creative industries?
I’m really into art and tech, so the VFX industry is the best of both worlds from my perspective. During my teenage years I watched a lot of movies which sparked my interest for the whole film making process. I remember seeing Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 when I was at the end of high school and I got really curious about how they created the aliens, so I read every VFX article and watched every tutorial video I could find online. This obsession of trying to figure out how artists achieved these visuals in post-production eventually led me to pursue a career in the industry, in early 2014.
What is your current role?
At the moment I’m a Compositor at Method Studios in Montréal and responsible for finalising shots. As an artist I think it’s important to train your eye and keep up to date with technical advances. I found having passion and dedication at work, being open to constructive criticism, doing personal projects on the side and communicating with other people in the industry is a good way to improve.
The best part about my job is that I get to create amazing visuals and be part of a team which contributes to the overall narrative of a film. Due to companies being spread all over the world, another big plus is that you can explore a lot of different places and make friends all around the world.
What projects have you worked on? And what was your favourite?
Over the years I’ve mostly worked on feature films and a couple of TV shows. My most mentionable projects are Men In Black: International, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Dumbo, Hellboy, The Meg, Tomb Raider and the Netflix show, Dark.
One project where I had a very memorable experience was Bumblebee, whilst working at ScanlineVFX. The team and especially my supervisors and colleagues were amazing and I got to work on some exciting shots which included the main character, Bumblebee.
What are you working on at the minute?
I just finished working on For All Mankind, a series for the upcoming Apple TV+ streaming service. One thing I learnt is that communication with production, other departments, your leads and supervisors throughout the project and trying to get ahead of potential problems is always a good approach to successfully delivering a show.
How did you get into the industry and is there anything you would have done differently?
As part of my studies I did an internship at ARRI in Berlin. They had a small VFX department, mainly focusing on comp. Prior to that I had very little knowledge of NUKE or the VFX pipeline, but I tried to be as productive as possible and soak up everything the other artists were teaching me. Once I received my bachelor’s degree I went to London to study on the 18 week advanced compositing short course at Escape Studios, to build on the techniques I acquired during my internship. ARRI contacted me while I was still in London, offering me a junior position to start right after the course and that’s how I got my first job in the industry.
What are tips and tricks to become successful VFX artist to budding creatives?
In my opinion, to land a job there always needs to be a little bit of luck and correct timing involved. I would like to believe that I got the offer for a junior position at my first company because during my internship they saw a really passionate and enthusiastic kid who was hard-working and hungry to learn.
My advice would be to stay persistent and dedicated to what you do because that’s how you create opportunities which will get you where you want to go. In short: just keep grinding.
Alexander Scherffig studied the Advanced Compositing course at Escape Studios and has since worked on projects including Black Panther, Tomb Raider, The Meg, Dark Phoenix, Hellboy, Bumblebee, Dumbo and Men in Black: International.