At Workhouse we have an incredible post-production team that is an essential part of our soup-to-nuts philosophy. This month, we sat down with our lead Visual Effects Artist Jacob Shroades to talk process, things that inspire him, and how he got his start.
“When I was a kid, I always loved to watch the behind the scene features on DVDs, especially Star Wars,” Jacob explains. “I was obsessed with seeing and understanding how the illusions I saw on screen were created.” This fascination led to him to begin experimenting with visual effects when he was just eight years old. He believes that exploring VFX at such a young age has been foundational to his current success and interest in the field.
Beyond the process of building visual elements piece by piece, Jacob loves the ingenuity of trying to find a new way to make magic happen. Trying to create something that no one has ever seen before simply because it is computer generated is exciting to him. The creation of visual effects is similar to solving a puzzle, which Jacob cites as another engaging aspect of the craft. “I am a very visual person,” he says. “I like aesthetics so much that the excitement of seeing something so different and challenging, and knowing that there is a new problem to solve each time I come in to work is what keeps me coming back to VFX every day.”
Visual effects are fun because they allow the creator to build whatever they want – there are no actors to direct or sets to finish. Each component is the responsibility of the artist because each element is built from scratch. Though this creative freedom exists for VFX artists, one of its challenges is that it can be tricky to get a widespread audience on board and engaged. Audiences love to see video elements that are created realistically, and Jacob believes it will take great steps to get them to see purely computer generated as engaging as traditional film — it’s another reason why he is committed to perfecting his craft.
When Jacob isn’t hard at work on Workhouse’s latest project, he is developing his own projects and sharpening his skills. He often doesn’t finish these side projects, but notes that even though some may never reach a state of completion, he is still learning something along the way. To him, personal projects are important because they allow him to learn how to do something new, and figure out how he would do something in a real situation. Some of his favorite projects to work on are animated shorts, the integration of live action into short, and video games. “Whichever one stays inspiriting to the end is the one that is finished,” he says.
We are truly lucky to have Jacob on our team and can’t wait to see what amazing piece he comes up with next.