Ajoy Mani talks about his work on Conan the Barbarian.
from the The Art of VFX article:
What is your background?
I started out doing CAD in 1988 and graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Industrial Design. I started 3D modeling and animation as a direct result of background in CAD and Industrial Design. After college I started my career in visual effects at Available Light Ltd in Burbank, CA. There, I was mentored by John Van Vliet and Laurel Klick, both veteran visual effects supervisors. Back when I started as a digital artist, due to an acute shortage of digital artists, I was doing 3D modeling, animation, compositing and even some colour correction. I would get a shot folder on my desk and I would handle all aspects of it and see it to finish. I am thankful for that opportunity, because it gave me a more well rounded understanding of the whole visual effects process. I moved up the visual effects chain the old fashioned journeyman way. At Available Light Ltd, I worked on numerous Disney and Universal features. I met Scott Coulter, the Visual Effects Producer of CONAN THE BARBARIAN during my stint at Available Light Ltd. We worked closely on Disney’s MY FAVORITE MARTIAN for which Available Light was one of the primary visual effects vendor.
In 2001, I moved to NYC where I started a post production studio called Blinking Eye Creative Services. We primarily worked on commercials, documentaries and independent features. I helmed Blinking Eye Creative Services for 7 years.
In 2007, Scott Coulter contacted me to work on RIGHTEOUS KILL as the visual effects supervisor. This started my relationship with Worldwide FX as one of their visual effects supervisors. CONAN was the fifth feature I worked on with Worldwide FX. I was brought on during the post process to coordinate and oversee the visual effects post production pipeline at Worldwide FX. Worldwide FX is a full service visual effects house with two facilities. The primary facility is in Sofia, Bulgaria and the second is a brand new facility in Shreveport, Louisiana. I coordinated all visual effects post work between Sofia, Shreveport and editorial in Los Angeles.
What sequences did you make?
As visual effects post supervisor at Worldwide FX for CONAN, I oversaw all 1000+ shots that were produced between the two Worldwide FX facilities. I was intimately involved with all the work in the 3D, Simulation, Massive, Compositing, Concept and Digital Matte Painting departments at both facilities. I was very much in the trenches and flew between both facilities to ensure a clean delivery.
Can you tell us in details what you have done on the Conan’s village???
The village for the most part is a practical set, however, the water wheel and some of the key buildings were added as CGI elements. Another thing of particular note is that due to storyline continuity, we ended up replacing the entire background with snow clad mountains and cloudy skies. This was done seamlessly and the fact that it hasn’t been recognized as replacement is a sign that we have accomplished the the task successfully.