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Featured Artist: Sam Savage, London, UK

Interview to Sam Savage, FX artist/Td follows . . .


Sam Savage is a self taught Houdini Fx Artist/Td/ Specialises in pyro and flip simulations based in London, UK.

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When I was a young kid, i remember watching lots of movies like toy story, cars, nemo, wall- e as well as all the marvel films, star wars and spiderman. I think that sparked a lot of curiosity for me as a kid and was maybe the seed that was planted that later grew into my passion for VFX. I always liked escaping into these imaginary worlds made in movies as well as games and I think at some point I must have decided I wanted to make my own worlds which led me on this path. As well as to contribute to the industry that creates so many amazing stories that inspire and I like to think makes the world a happier place.



When I was starting to get into Fx I consumed as much content about houdini as possible, the hive talks, VFX podcasts, tutorials, anything I could get my hands on at the time I was watching it, writing notes, figuring out how to improve. To the point of an obsession really haha, I remember in my study period at school that was supposed to be for school subjects like history or science etc… I was writing vex code in my high school notebook and drawing up ideas I could work on when I get home and test what I wrote to see if it worked haha. All of my self studying was funded by me working a lot at pubs and I met some great people there. I'd put aside an amount each month allocated towards courses and mentorships. It was a lot of work juggling school, VFX mentorships/courses and pub work but I think it was worth it. 

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I'm currently still early in my career and don't have any film credits under my belt yet and unfortunately the ongoing strikes and turmoil in our industry have made that quite hard, But I have met a lot of amazing people throughout my journey so far already, it's truly incredible how willingly helpful our community is. I can however talk about some of the collaborations I have done, one of them being the big cliff project with the ocean crashing into it. I was approached by Nicolas Chan to be on the project and do the ocean and sims for Lorenz Antoni, the environment artist (both amazing artists and people, highly recommend giving their work a look). I was in charge of the simulation aspects/setup (the flip sim and the whitewater sim) and the shaders for the water and whitewater.

cliff project - fx sims and fx rendering/shaders
big cliff with the ocean crashing into it

This was a big learning experience for me, Nicolas taught me alot and working with him highlighted to me in area’s i lacked like scene optimisation, rendering, general pipeline stuff , definitely cleared up gaps I had in my knowledge of houdini. I've carried the lessons learnt into all my other projects that came after. I tried my best to submit dailies, hit deadlines I set for myself to avoid losing track of time and hit the notes I got. I think this was a good experience for me as it was my first time working in a team and I'm very grateful to have been a part of it. 

I'd recommend collaborating with other artists to anyone. I think you can gain a lot of knowledge from doing so and you get to meet cool people too.

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I've also collaborated with Daniel Albarracin on this boat shot where I again was responsible for the flip simulations and shaders (i like water haha) This had a tight deadline so this one definitely taught me alot about task prioritization and thinking optimally about how I can speed up the iterating process.

I also learnt some more things about the USD workflow as Dan provided the render setup and went through it with me and I picked up some cool tricks from him. I am again very grateful for the opportunity to work with him, and he is a great guy too.



I plan to in the future create a mini CG short film , as well as a mini series of projects with an overarching theme called Lost which I'm currently working on and hopefully get hired at a studio soon. 

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This Beach project that I called: A Journey's Beginning is the 1st piece completed in the series called "lost".

"Lost" is a personal series and I'm creating it as a way of inserting more of myself into my work and more of a story, so a lot of my inspiration for this series of projects I'm working on is drawing from personal experiences as well as some outside sources like music I listen to. It's also something that is helping me staying motivated, giving myself something fun to work on without much pressure that has more of me attached to it, I think has helped mitigate that feeling of burnout. 


These sort of projects are also allowing me to experiment with different grades, camera movements, overall story, composition, color theory. 
I think these things are sometimes overlooked and I'm guilty of doing it too as an fx person, I think sometimes we get trapped in the technicalities of things and forget about the art side sometimes but I think learning about lighting, compositing, cinematography, things like that can be a great benefit to an fx person and I think has improved my work and has given me a broader understanding of what a comp person might need.
If im handing over my shot to them or like for instance in the beach scene i knew that i could do the fog in comp rather than in render saving time (a mistake i previously made in my river, i rendered the fog I could have comped it, but we live and learn haha)




GridMarkets is an excellent choice for anyone that likes to make big ambitious shots on their home machine or anyone that just doesn't want to waste days waiting for their own render at home. The ability to simulate as well is a great feature of GridMarkets. It can come in handy especially if you have a big flip simulation. Having access to very powerful machines to take care of it instead of your home computer is a great benefit and time saver.


I actually found gridmarkets through the Axiom community, that's where I first heard about gridmarkets, I heard a lot of good things about it from there and so that's how I was introduced to it. 



Juri Bryan, Saber Jlassi, Urban Bradesko, Fabian Nowak, Xavier Martin, Miguel Perez Senent, Hideo Kojima, Paul Chadeisson, Adam Duff, John kunz. And many many more, To be honest if u make any sort of creation, I'm going to be inspired by it. Everyone has a story to tell no matter the skill level. 



My closing thoughts to people is to always help people whenever u can, this goes for real life too but also houdini/vfx. You make someone's day better. There really isn't a reason not to. Be nice, be respectful and keep creating awesome stuff.

By: GridMarkets marketing

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