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4 cgw j a n u a r y • f e b r u a r y • m a r c h 2 0 2 4 B ased in Bristol, UK, Timmy Willmott is a CG supervisor with an extensive background working with prominent VFX stu- dios. He has had a long-standing relationship with the Lux Aeterna (formerly BDH) team, having freelanced for them from the beginning of his career. Willmott made the decision to join the team permanently two years ago, aer leading the CG delivera- bles for the Emmy-nominated Netflix series Our Universe. Here, Willmott discusses his career path, his journey to becoming a CG Supervisor for Lux Aeterna, and what inspires him in his work. What led you to a career in VFX, and why CG specifically? Timmy Willmott: I didn't have the most direct route into the in- dustry. In all honesty, I didn't really know I wanted to be here—I just followed a path of doing things I love. I studied graphic design in Fal- mouth and there was one machine with 3D Studio Max, and no one to teach it. Aer graduating I carried on learning any 3D soware I could get my hands on—working at a hotel laundry, spending any spare time making short animations. A reclusive existence came naturally; I wasn't a particularly social or confident human. Eventually I moved back home to South Wales. Aer a brief stint as a VHS duplication assistant, I took a job at a corporate events company in Bristol. There I met Alex Dilworth, an excessively talented human. We shared an office creating all sorts of nonsense for event screens. While working 9-6, I was still consumed by my own projects at night. When Alex announced he was leaving for Hello Charlie, BDH hap- pened to be advertising for a 3D junior and he convinced me to ap- ply. My reel was mainly passion projects, a mix of all sorts. A junior position was a step down in terms of responsibility and they told me I was a bit overqualified, but the job was mine if I wanted it. I'd never used Maya before, but their head of 3D, Paul Greer, took me under his wing... and that was my start. Tell us about your relationship with Lux Aeterna. You collaborated with them on a freelance basis for some time. What led you to join them permanently? Timmy Willmott: I got my start with those guys as a junior. I was with them for about six years before being headhunted by a snow- boarding company. It was hard to leave, but the snowboarding ad- venture wasn't something I could turn down (another thing that came to fruition because of late night side projects). Returning to Bristol a few years later, I bounced around various studios as a free- lancer. I'd just done a stint with 422 South working remotely through COVID, and my mental health wasn't great. It felt like it was time for a break. I wasn't off for a week when Rob Hifle (The H of BDH— rebranded to Lux Aeterna) rang. They'd won the pitch for a Netflix space series. Space VFX was my jam! It didn't take much to convince myself that change was as good as a rest. That space series turned out to be Our Universe. Initially they planned to create all of the neb- ulas in Houdini, but I really wanted to be involved and started exper- imenting to muscle my way in on the action. I figured out a way of making nebulas with procedural node networks of VDB [volumetric breakdown] sets in Maya, without render times that made everyone anxious. Working closely with Paul Silcox (Lux Aeterna's VFX direc- tor), I quickly became the nebula/volume guy for the whole series. Two years later, we had delivered Our Universe, and Steve Burrell (The B of BDH, now Lux Aeterna) was starting Ancient Powers and wanted me to lead the 3D. I said I'd do it only if I could be CG su- pervisor on it. I knew we'd have a small team and it'd be a fast turn- around—it needed to run like clockwork. We came to an agreement, and everything fell into place. The project was seamless and a joy to work on. I'd mainly attribute that to the fact that Emma Kolasinska had just joined Lux Aeterna—that lady knows how to put ducks in a row! Off the back of Ancient Powers and Our Universe, Lux Aeterna of- CAREER PROFILE CG SUPERVISOR TIMMY WILLMOTT CG SUPERVISOR TIMMY WILLMOTT DISCUSSES HIS CAREER PATH & SHARES DISCUSSES HIS CAREER PATH & SHARES ADVICE FOR ASPIRING VFX ARTISTS. ADVICE FOR ASPIRING VFX ARTISTS.

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