Imagine working on a theme park ride featuring one of America’s favorite animated families, or bringing a popular children’s snack to life through a series of advertisements. Animation and technology skills are in demand across several industries. It’s using these tools to entertain that Chris Bedrosian loves most about his job as a scene assembly lead at Blur Studio.
“I'm easily most proud of my work on the new Simpsons rides at Universal Studios in Hollywood and Orlando, Florida,” said Bedrosian. “I helped to develop the look and feel of these rides. I spent many hours at both parks calibrating the projectors and composites to provide the sharpest, brightest, most colorful experience for the audiences. It was six months of intense, non-stop work, but it pays off in incredible ways...
“Every day for the last year, and every day for at least the next five years, our work will entertain hundreds of families. Until they tear that ride down, our work will continue to entertain daily. One helluva payoff if you ask me."
"That's my aspiration—to entertain and, more importantly, to inspire.”
Bedrosian began his career at Blur shortly after graduation. As a scene assembler, it is his responsibility to model and texture environments, vehicles, props and other elements required for production (with the exception of characters). After the scenes are modeled and textured, he lights them, then takes them to the compositing stage where his team develops the look of the scene through light, color and “a little post-production compositing magic.”
“As a lead, I usually work with a small team of artists on projects as the creative and technical go-to guy, working closely with the project supervisors and producers to make sure they are completed on time and to the best of our creative and technical abilities,” Bedrosian explained. “It is as much an organizational and technical effort as it is a creative effort.”
Blur is known for providing industry-leading cinematics for video games, but over the past decade the company has branched out to produce content for advertising, ride-films for theme parks, various television bumpers and some feature films (including the upcoming James Cameron film, “Avatar,” and the latest “Rocky” film, among others).
“We don't work directly on the games, but our clients include Bioware, THQ, Activision and other game companies looking for great cinematics but without the internal resources to create their own,” he said. “Because we're a client-based company, we've usually got at least a dozen projects in production at any given time. This affords me the opportunity to work on multiple projects over short periods of time.”
CCS offered me a structured and immensely creative atmosphere to develop my own ideas and carry them through to completion
Over the past four years, Bedrosian has developed game cinematics for “Halo Wars,” “Wolverine,” “Prototype,” “Hellgate,” “Dark Void” and “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance” among others. In 2007, he was part of a small team that developed and produced an entirely CG trailer for “The Simpsons Movie.” Most recently, he worked on a massive advertising campaign for Goldfish crackers that spanned about a dozen commercials, each with a unique look and feel.
“Think Pixar, except with Goldfish crackers,” he laughed. “They've already begun to air and will continue airing throughout the fall (09) on networks like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.”
Even before Bedrosian emerged into the cut-throat entertainment industry, he had a well-developed portfolio containing short films that demonstrated his creativity and CG skills. He believes this body of work convinced Blur of his dedication, focus and ability to complete projects under deadlines.
“CCS offered me a structured and immensely creative atmosphere to develop my own ideas and carry them through to completion,” said Bedrosian. “One of the things I'm most proud of at CCS was that each year, unfailingly, I finished at least one short CG film. The structure of the CG courses at CCS gave me the time and room to explore these ideas, provided appropriate deadlines and the faculty always gave support, input and a unique, professional perspective. I could also count on faculty to help my films get outside the studio and into the world where people could see them. One of my films, Lumio, played in Germany at the 2005 Bitfilm Animation festival. I didn't realize until years later that it was actually playing alongside one of Blur's short films!
“Encouragement and support from faculty is what got me through CCS successfully. Most of what I know about CG animation I knew before I started courses there (after all, it's what got me the Award of Excellence scholarship—essentially, a full ride). Rather than spend my time focusing on learning how to use the software technically (via assignments), I could focus on using it creatively and getting the ideas out of my head (via short films). Professors like Steve Stanchfield were supportive when it came to the amount of time and focus needed for these long-term projects. They offered fresh eyes when mine were tired from hours of work and lost sleep.
"The Professors are as knowledgeable creatively as they are technically, and that's an invaluable resource for artists.”
Outside of Blur, Bedrosian has been developing a portfolio of photography and is planning to begin working on a few films of his own.
“Although I only took two photography-related courses at CCS, it was enough to plant the creative seed,” he said. “Today, photography helps me to lend real-world photographic principles to our photoreal CG projects, such as how f/stop, aperture and shutter speed each influence the image in different ways, and how that's important to capture particular looks, styles or simply realism.
“I'm an active DP (director of photography, also known as a cinematographer). CG has taught me a lot about creative lighting, while compositing has taught me about the use of color and form to create striking imagery, as well as how to polish an image and make it look complete. Combine this with a love of movies and you've got the ingredients for a cinematographer. I'm currently developing a few short film ideas that I intend to write, direct, and shoot in the coming months. Keep your eyes peeled!”