As part of an ongoing University series on visual effects, digital artist Andy Willcot who worked on special effects for the movie “X-Men” spoke Friday to a large audience in Pierpont Commons.
“I was right on the other side of this a few years ago. Now this is what I do everyday, working with technical directors,” said Willcot, an employee of commercial and movie effects house Digital Domain Inc. of Venice, Calif. “I feel lucky because I actually do what I love and want to be doing.”
Willcot introduced his audience to what goes into a project and the tools used in computer graphics for revision and refinement. He also gave students advice on how to get into the job market and what to expect.
“You have to be a perfectionist. You”re always going to want another day, five more minutes,” he said. “You”re going to have to be able to give your client their vision that”s what our job is.”
Friday”s seminar was part of the Visual Effects series aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of the field. Each week a different professional from the industry will be speaking on his experiences and endeavors.
Future speakers include people who have worked on movies including “Star Wars: Episode I,” “Mission: Impossible: 2” and “The Grinch.”
Student program organizer Julie Anne Mayfield, LSA senior, said she hopes the program will allow students to have their questions answered and make new contacts.
“There are five more talks focused on visual effects,” she said. “We”re just trying to educate people on the industry we want people to get more involved.”
Mayfield said the seminar series is part of an ongoing effort to expand the University”s graphics curriculum.
“I hope people walk away with a deeper interest in the field and know that they can get into it,” she said. “And I”d like them to be active in bringing more graphics education to Michigan.”
Engineering sophomore Kevin Tang said he found the program educational as well as a rare opportunity.
“You don”t get to see something like this very often, someone who does this kind of work,” Tang said.
LSA senior Jeannette Godbey said she felt Willcot raised student awareness on career choices and the opportunities available.
“This sort of thing is more exposure to the real world as opposed to the academic environment. It”s a new thing they”re starting to do, and I”m glad they”re doing it,” she said.
Engineering sophomore Brian Walsh said he enjoyed getting insight into the computer graphics behind the scenes of movies.
“It”s an area I want to go into and its nice to see what we can do these days,” Walsh said. “And I think anyone interested in how movies are being made should be coming to these seminars.”
The program, sponsored by the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department and advised by EECS Prof. John Laird, continues every Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. through Feb. 16 in Pierpont Commons” Chrysler Room. Additional lectures will be held Feb 20 and March 16.