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Alumni Success Stories

VFX for Film & Television
Nikki Snider
Original program: VFX for Film & Television

Alumni Information
School: LaSalle College Vancouver
Grad Year: 2017
Program of Study: VFX for Film & Television
Degree: Diploma

Employment/Professional Information
Company Name: DNEG
Location: Vancouver
Job Title: Compositing Assist

Describe a Typical Work Day:

A typical day at work for me would start with opening Nuke, opening my shot that I'm currently working on and addressing notes from the previous day. I would usually have anywhere from 1 to 4 shots that I'm working on at the same time. Once I have a new version that I'm happy with, I'll submit to dailies where the supervisors will look at it and give feedback. The cycle continues with receiving notes, addressing them, submitting, and eventually finalizing a shot.

What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?

The work that I am most proud of is my work on the film First Man. I feel very fortunate to have worked on the film that won the Oscar for Best VFX for 2018, and to have worked with such an incredible team. During my time working on First Man, I came across the most difficult shot of my life at the time, and it felt very rewarding to go from my lowest point to my highest point in my career, on the same film. I am also very proud that one other film that I worked on, Antman & The Wasp, was also an Oscar Nominee for Best VFX for 2018.

What do you enjoy the most about your career?

I really enjoy seeing the final product of the movie that I've worked on. It's very rewarding to see how the film all comes together after all the hardwork from every department and every cast and crew member. It's fun to be a part of a huge team of hundreds of people working towards the same goal and then end up having a beautiful film that people can get swept away into. I love seeing how the audience can be moved and affected by a film that I helped create.

How did your education at LaSalle College Vancouver help prepare you for your career?

My education at LaSalle helped me get a foundation for what I learned in the VFX studio. The teachers were very inspiring and knowledgeable and helped push me and challenge me to get to a level of knowledge that would be a great starting point for everything I was going to learn in the professional VFX studios. The career services were also very helpful in getting me interviews and helping me create my own personal VFX brand. Everyone at LaSalle was very supportive and encouraging. In the end, my demo reel helped me get my first job in the Compositing Department within a few months of graduating.

What advice do you have for people beginning their careers in your profession?

Advice I would give to new VFX artists and compositors is to be in the mindset of never stop learning and ask a lot of questions. The industry is constantly evolving and changing and growing and even the most experienced compositors have to continuously learn new skills, tools, and updates. It's also very important to be open to feedback and criticism, and have good communication skills. Feedback is a constant companion in the VFX industry so it's really important that you don't take things personally. Everyone is working together to make the best film or TV show possible so don't take it personally when you get criticism. Don't get too attached to your shots because they might get omitted from the show, or passed to a different compositor for reasons outside of your control. It's good to enjoy what you do and have a fun shot that you might really like, but be prepared to be flexible if it suddenly goes away. So be open to feedback and criticism, never stop learning and surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are and take advantage of that by asking them questions.

Game Design & VFX