Cinesite awarded Firtina Ozbalikci, a second year computer science student, its first
Technical Effects placement under the facility’s 2012 Inspire Internship program.
|The six-week paid technical effects placement, which Firtina just completed in July 2012, was launched this year to encourage skilled computer programmers to consider a career in the visual effects industry. Firtina was chosen from hundreds of applicants. “Firtina’s application showed a real determination to investigate graphics programming beyond what he’d been taught in his computer science course,” said Alexander Savenko, head of pipeline at Cinesite. “He demonstrated a keen interest in the subject and went far beyond what we asked in the initial brief, taking it in interesting and novel directions.”
Under the supervision of Alexander and senior pipeline technical director, Don Boogart, Firtina was handed a tool to develop for potential future use in the facility’s pipeline, essentially a framework for efficiently building plugins for 3D applications already in use in the pipeline. His task was to evaluate, improve it and see how it could best be used, especially to increase efficiency. As a student, he had worked projects of this nature on his own, but his assignment at Cinesaite was a challenge mainly due to its complexity, and the need for it to fit into a larger facility meant more factors to consider, in particular a team of other artists. Also, because his primary strength up till then had been in programming, he also had to gain an understanding of 3D software applications like Maya and 3ds Max as well.
Firtina explained, “The main aim for the project was to evaluate whether the new plug-in would be beneficial for Cinesite. After integrating it with the facility’s library for loading scene information, I had been testing how it fared with some visual effects, with which the task would take some seconds or minutes using other methods. The results were close to ‘real-time’, which means this tool could be used to aid artists to preview some of these effects more efficiently. For example, they would make some changes to the scene and instantly see how that would affect the render on their own machines without having to send anything to the render farm.”
He said the environment throughout the six weeks was friendly and helpful and his mentors were very supportive. Having worked and experimented with software mainly on his up until then, he is now aware how important and beneficial communication is in a professional environment. Following his last year at the University of Bath, coming up after mid-year, he will be applying for a permanent position at Cinesite.
“I was looking for an internship when my placements officer at the University of Bath told me about Cinesite’s Inspire program,” said Firtina. “I saw that Cinesite has worked on an impressive list of movies and realized that this would be a great opportunity to broaden my horizons, as I’ve wanted to work in the entertainment industry since I was young.” Previous winners of Inspire visual effects internships have worked on ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ and ‘John Carter of Mars’, and are currently working on ‘World War Z’ and ‘Skyfall’.
Antony Hunt, managing director at Cinesite, said the company sees a particular lack of skilled programmers coming into the visual effects industry which is why we decided to offer a technical effects internship this year. “Programmers play a vital role in creating the tools we need to deliver visual effects. We hope we’ve inspired other talented programmers to consider visual effects as an exciting career option,” he said. www.cinesite.com