As a Lighter/Compositor at Luma Pictures, Xander Kennedy (Bachelor of Art & Design graduate) has worked on an array of blockbuster films. Whether it be 'Black Panther' or 'Doctor Strange', you will find his craft etched into the core.
Tell us what you do…
"I am a Lighter/Compositor, also known as a "Lomper" at Luma Pictures."
Take us through a typical day for you at Luma Pictures…
"A typical day at Luma for me Involves working on a shot/shots to meet milestones and deadlines that have been outlined by our production team. As a Lomper, I receive assets that have been textured and or animated and I have to recreate the lighting environment the client desires. Depending on the complexity of the shot or what stage it is in, it can involve quite a few other people. Collaboration from other departments, colleagues, and supervisors is always involved no matter what, so its best to bring a creative mind to work everyday."
What’s it like working on the big league films? Is there a lot of pressure?
"Working on blockbuster films does have quite a lot of pressure. With Luma being a slightly smaller company there's definitely no time to waste. It's a fast paced studio and things can change quickly, but we all support each other right up until the end. It's super rewarding sitting in a theater with the entire crew to see months of hard work up on the big screen."
Can you tell us about one experience you’ve had while working in the industry that had the biggest impact on you?
"I remember shortly after I had finished working on 'Doctor Strange', quite a few of the artists had gone on holidays which left us with a fairly small skeleton crew for a few weeks. We were just starting to get into 'Spiderman Homecoming' and there was still lots of work to be done. It gave me insight into how projects were set up, trying to forecast what could happen in the coming months. I was able to work closely with my supervisors and help put in place the foundation of the project that would help us in the future. Being a part of the team that was asking the questions and doing the necessary research early on, was a perspective I hadn't really seen before."
What are some of the most important lessons you learned during your time at Media Design School?
"Media Design School has all the right ingredients needed to make cutting edge visual effects artists. The diversity of skills you learn while studying with their faculty is phenomenal. I think one of the most important lessons I learned while studying, aside from all the technical skills, was how to articulate myself. Being able to accurately verbalise an idea or problem is extremely powerful, especially in a creative environment. It was something that I didn't have a whole lot of experience or confidence with before my degree."
How has Media Design School helped to pave the path that you are currently walking on?
"Media Design School not only helped me pave the path I am on, but it also gave me the tools I needed to continue. I feel well educated in my field of study and evermore passionate. Through the years that I studied, I was always finding new sources of inspiration — be it an artwork a teacher or a peer. It helped teach me where to look and how to find the right pieces of knowledge I needed to better myself as an artist and a person. Before I started my journey I only had a sense of where I wanted to go, but after graduating I felt that I had a direction and a compass to find it."
What tips would you give others looking to get into your field?
"I would suggest taking up photography as a hobby. Ultimately that is every visual effects artists goal. To create photo real computer generated imagery. What better place to start than the actual thing! Study the images you take, the lighting, the subject, the lensing. How could you improve it?"
What’s the biggest dream of your career?
"I have always loved creation, I think that is what drew me to be an artist in the first place. Being able to evoke an emotion through an image is a very powerful thing. I would love to be a part of the bigger picture in film making and to be involved with a film from the ground up. It would be amazing to have my own ideas visualised and brought to life on the big screen."