This week we talk to Edward Dawson-Taylor, a Senior VFX artist having worked on titles such as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Jungle Book , and the Lion King , while also working as a Virtual Production Generalist, and co-creator of CG Pro, an Unreal Authorized online Virtual Production School.
This interview dives into what it takes to work in Virtual Production, the exciting future of the industry, and tips on how to get started in Virtual Production, using Unreal Engine.
Interested in learning more, check out Edd's online content offering through Become CG Pro which teaches new and experienced users alike how to use Unreal Engine as well as other tools for virtual production and computer graphic simulation - It trains filmmakers and artists to use the latest technologies in filmmaking.
Josh Goossen: Introduce yourself? What is your role?
Edward Dawson-Taylor: My name is Edd Dawson-Taylor, I am a CG generalist, Co-founded the school CG Pro, I’ve worked on the Jungle Book, Lion King, and got to work on Jurassic World which was, to me, like my childhood dream coming true.
JG: Let’ say I’m a filmmaker, or I’m an animator, or I’m a gamer designer; where do I find where I fit in this world?
EDT: The real answer for me is experientially. Try things, you can’t know you’re gonna like something until you’ve tried it. But, Unreal is the king at the moment in terms of software that’s useful in this area and most commonly used. I would download it, it’s free, go to Unreal’s online learning platform and go through some beginner tutorials. I would just start that way and if you feel like this is exciting or something you want to do more and more and more of then take it a step further and do something that’s not just you, do something that is multiple people collaborating. Right now it’s potentially slightly easier because there’s a huge demand for people.
JG: Virtual Production is a clash of mediums and artists into one concentrated space, allowing people who would normally never work together to merge with an end goal of a final product in mind.
EDT: Being on the Lion King movie, I was in the Visual effects sort of end of the movie but in virtual production working next to the filmmakers, the story people are right next to me, the engineers were right on the next row. All these people never worked together before, all colliding and having their needs and ways of working and trying to figure out how to get everybody to work together, it’s super fun. The problem now is not finding the information like it was for me, it’s finding within that information the right information, the signal to noise ratio is overwhelming. Finding a structured way through that information that’s actually going to get your the result that you’re looking for is difficult.
I wanted to bring some of my experience from teaching and create an independent training resource for people to be able to get training from industry professionals, cut all the things that you don’t need to know out, simplify it so that you can focus on what you want to focus on.
I’ve accomplished more childhood dreams, many more I didn’t even know I had and I feel so lucky for that; I just want to share it at this point. I’m doing classes, they’re eight weeks long, they teach people through how to learn unreal from scratch or an intermediate level. On top of that helping more people to experience the renaissance that we’re going through at the moment in filmmaking and computer graphics.