Thursday, October 18, 2012

Interesting times ahead

One thing ends, another begins. In the words of Dave Stewart: "Now show me frame two"

Trying to wrap my head around the question, whether there is any potential in starting a company that specializes in some specific supporting areas for vfx. There are companies that do that but none that I am aware of in the scandinavia or baltic states. Probably I just don't know them. It seems that most companies try to be end-to-end solution to vfx or animation which has it's advantages but also shortcomings. To specialize on some specific time-consuming piece of image manipulation takes both time, opportunity and practice. And there is a very practical limit that comes from the number of people working in the company - the less people, the more generalists they have to be if end-to-end workflow is the goal. That in turn equals lower efficiency and quality.

Two main problems seem to be lack of specialists in the area and possible lack of work due to not being an end-to-end facility. First problem could be solved by slowly building a capable core team of skilled specialists by investing into learning and knowledge. Second is a bit more difficult but with fast, cost-effective and high-quality work, existing post and vfx houses might see the that outsourcing some self-contained parts of work can leverage the quality of their work and let them do what THEY do best.

Keeping a highly specialized artist in the team is not cost-effective for most small(er) vfx houses. It works with some fields (modellers, animators) but not so well for others. Hiring freelancers for specific projects can solve the problem but freelancers need to be coordinated, workload distributed and so on. Not too bright either. Doing things by assigning team members to special work they are not too comfortable with usually results in 3x more time=budget spent and mediocre results. Plus it keeps them away from doing things they do better. In the end, this might even make the company avoid projects that require some special work or thy to come up with different workarounds that aren't necessarily any cheaper or less time consuming.

I see some light in the end of the tunnel but it is yet difficult to tell if it is a choo-choo train or bright future.

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