What does a CG Supervisor do?
Computer Graphics (CG) Supervisors are ultimately responsible for the delivery and quality of the 3D computer-generated (CG) elements of a VFX project.
Before a film goes into production, CG Supervisors identify areas of the VFX work that need to be researched by Software Developers. They design the VFX pipeline – which means they decide the order in which the work needs to be done. They manage the team of Technical Directors (TDs), helping decide which digital tools need to be created to streamline the pipeline.
Once production is underway, they supervise the creation of all CG imagery and manage the artists creating it. Some walk around the desks of the VFX Artists to check their work and provide feedback. They ensure the art is true to the vision of the film or TV Director. Once complete, the art, or assets, are given to the compositors who put the whole scene together.
CG Supervisors tend to be employed by VFX companies or studios. Supervisor positions are some of the most senior in these companies; as such, CG Supervisors are often involved in the hiring process for new VFX Artists.
What's a CG Supervisor good at?
Have a good eye, understand the principles of composition, know what looks good and why
Understand the VFX pipeline
Know the process of how VFX get created, be able to plan and implement an effective pipeline
Working with Linux or Unix operating systems
Know how to work with these operating systems, which are different forms of Microsoft Windows or macOS (Apple)
Knowledge of VFX programs
Be adept at using relevant programs such as Adobe After Effects, Blender, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maya, Nuke, RenderMan, and 3DS Max
Programming and coding skills
Have knowledge of programming in C++ and Python with a high level of technical ability
Manage the VFX artists and the TDs within the VFX pipeline, inspire them to do their best work, manage their output in terms of quality and deadlines, review and inform all creative work
Who does a CG Supervisor work with?
CG Supervisors work with the VFX Producer and VFX Supervisor to review budgets and schedules. They might also have discussions with the Producer and Director of the production company making the film.
In pre-production, they may identify areas of the VFX work that need to be researched and developed by Software Developers. They manage the TDs, such as Effects (FX) TDs and Rigging TDs, and lighting TDs. They are also responsible overall for the output of VFX artists such as Modelling Artists.
How do I become a CG Supervisor?
The CG Supervisor position is one of the most senior in VFX. Companies may ask for you to have at least five years’ worth of experience working in a senior film or TV production management or a senior VFX Artist role. Therefore, you can initially look for work in more junior-level positions in VFX, such as being a Motion Capture Technician, Prep Artist, Roto Artist, and then progress from there. Alternatively to the VFX artist route, you can start work as a Production Assistant in the production department.
Along with the desired length of work experience, employers also expect you to be skilled in using one or some VFX program(s). These likely include Houdini, Maya, Nuke, and RenderMan. It is also useful to have a knowledge of scripting languages such as Python and C++.
Here are some more tips:
Get a degree: There are degree courses available in computer animation, computer programming, computer science, mathematics, information technology that would provide you with useful experience and knowledge towards becoming a CG Supervisor.
Create your own showreel: An important thing that you can do is to create a showreel to illustrate your abilities (even established CG Supervisors can have their own showreels).
For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.
You might also be interested in…
Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.