A continuing series to get to know your Southeast Creative Summit Presenters. In this episode: Mary Poplin!
Why did you choose visual effects and motion graphics as your career path?
When I was a little girl, I used to dream of working at Disney as a 2D animator. However, by the time I got to college, not only was that style of animation going away, but also I found out that I did not eat, breathe, and sleep onion skinning the way you really need to in order to be an animator. So that left me with still loving movies and having a strong foundation in the arts and painting. I earned my degree in Illustration with top honors from the Savannah College of Art & Design and came out to the West Coast to seek my fortune, and I found work immediately with Paramount’s “Barnyard: The Original Party Animals.” For a first gig, it was a pretty good one, and for nearly a decade I have been creating matte paintings and roto-paint work for all kinds of companies, including the late Cafe FX, Threshold, Go-For-Launch Productions, Stereo D, and all sorts of freelance work.
As an editor, why should I add visual effects or motion graphics to my arsenal?
In my personal opinion, you should add visual effects and motion graphics to your arsenal because you must evolve or go extinct. It is a luxury in this market to not have to learn. If you are not able to do the small paint and screen insert fixes your clients need, or the simple titles and mograph work that most new designers out of school are capable of, you run the risk of being replaced by younger, hungrier, faster models. I have always learned the newest programs quickly, and it has helped me stay ahead of the game. In the game of Post-Production, you adapt or you slowly watch your work dry up.
Tell us about a creative challenge you had and solved by using planar tracking?
The best solve I used mocha Pro’s planar tracker on was back when it was still called Mokey, Motor, Monet, and Mocha. I was using Mokey to remove Bruce Lee and the 6 guys he was fighting from a shot in Enter the Dragon, but the challenge was that the shot was in the basement, very grainy, and I had to keep the shadows and caustics reflected from a pool on the walls. Also, there were parts where most of the background was obscured by fighting at points and there was a lot of motion blur. Mokey’s paint work got me 80% there, and the rest of the shot I fixed with hand painting. I finished the shot in a day, which I think deserves some sort of VFX Medal of Honor. The planar tracker even helped me match some of the motion of the water caustics.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given during your career?
The best advice I have ever received is to stay hungry, but to learn how to balance your work and your life. Work is literally the least important thing in your life, it is a means to an end and a living. You can be passionate about it, but do not be so passionate that you forget or lose sight of what is really important, like family, love, self improvement, and helping others. I think that’s one of the reasons I like working for Imagineer Systems so much, I get to show artists how to get their work done faster so they can go home on time and have a life.
What can people expect from you at the Southeast Creative Summit?
People can expect a enthusiastic and hopefully fun workshop about how to work faster and cleaner, and they should expect to be able to ask me anything about my work and get a candid answer. I am very excited to meet all of you, and in some cases, to see some friends smiling faces again. I am a Georgia girl at heart, and it will be good to be home and help local artists kick some butt with their work.
Learn more about Mary at:
Learn more about the Southeast Creative Summit, October 25-27 in Atlanta, and save $100 off admission with the discount code: creativecow2013