What does a previs artist do?
Previsualisation (previs) artists help to plan out what a film is going to look like. Previs is the process of visualising a scene before creating it.
Previs generally takes the form of a 3D animatics, namely a rough version of a scene or scenes. Previs artists usually start with a 2D storyboard from a concept artist. They create draft versions of the different moving image sequences and they put it all together using their compositing and editing skills.
The previs process is used to plan shots, work out the scale and timing and to show roughly where the characters are going to move. It’s used to map out how the visual effects (VFX) will fit into an otherwise live-action scene. Creating previs can save films and television series and shows valuable time and money on set or in post-production.
Once a film is in production, previs artists help the other VFX artists maintain a consistent style in their work.
Previs artists are either employed by VFX studios or they work as freelancers.
What's a previs artist good at?
- Cinematography: have a good artistic eye for composition, particularly for camera shots and movements
- Creativity: be able to tell a story in the previs work that you produce, come up with original ideas for what the shots should look like and spark the director’s imagination
- 3D software: have a high level of skill using 3D animation and VFX software and a strong understanding of form and volume (the way that objects exist and move in 3D), coding skills are also useful
- Basic editing skills: have basic video editing skills as well as some knowledge of rendering and compositing, which you can use to create animatics
- Organisation: have excellent organisational skills, stick to production schedules and budgets, be on top of your data management
- Communication: work well within a team, understand and help to achieve the director’s vision