WTH does a HEAD OF CG do?

Oct 19, 2017



This week, we’re getting to know Atomic Fiction’s Laurent Taillefer. He gives us a glimpse of what his role as Head of CG for Atomic Fiction’s Montreal office entails.

So what exactly is it that you do?
I oversee the 3D supervisors (i.e. CG supervisors, department supervisors) and advise them on strategic, technical, and creative decisions. I also manage the studio-wide decisions as far as software infrastructure and pipeline goes, in conjunction with our Head of Development.

What does a day in your life look like?
I share my days between show supervision (I stay attached to at least one show in production as CG supervisor, to stay in touch with the team's reality), studio-wide planning, software evaluation, tool design, and a bit of development.

Shotgun is the centerpiece of our pipeline. Every single version of each asset is registered in Shotgun, as well as every reference, tool, macro, etc. We rely very heavily on it, not only to exchange published data from one department to another, but also to drive environment variables, software versions, tools and templates.

Our review system - based on RV and Screening Room - is fully connected to the database, and allows us to navigate very efficiently through notes, dependencies, edits and cuts. Staff management is also run through the Crew Planning app, so the human aspect of running the studio is also connected to Shotgun.

Shotgun has drastically changed in my daily routine in so many aspects! On a personal note, I'd say the Web UI review app improvements have been a real game changer. Passing notes, comments and directions is now instantaneous, consistent from one user to another, and fluid. We even use it for internal communication, beyond comments.

Crew Planning is also changing the way we deal with assignments, making it shareable and visual, bringing the ownership to the department supervisors.

How do you explain your job to someone who’s totally out of the loop with the film and VFX industry?
In a nutshell, I am responsible for making sure all the 3D content is delivered on time and with the proper quality. This involves areas as diverse as cameras, models, textures, lighting, animation, and special effects.

All these fields require a large variety of software, some of them very specialized - to run simulations, for instance - which all need to communicate with one another. My primary mission is to make sure this communication is efficient, and that the artists using them don’t have to worry about technical constraints, and can express their creativity as freely as possible.

Another aspect of my job is to make sure the very large volumes of data each one of these departments produces are tracked and handled from one area to the other seamlessly.

Finally, I need to make sure communication between the members of the teams is fluid.

What’s the most fun aspect of your job?
I get to interact with a great diversity of artists throughout many different departments.

And the most challenging aspect?
I get to interact with a great diversity of artists throughout many different departments!


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