Introducing our Visual Effects programme lead Matthieu Schmit – visual effects artist/supervisor and professional think-outside-the-box-er.
Do you believe in magic? Have you always dreamt of being a tech wizard, conjuring up impossible realities? Well, think of Catalyst as your wand and our visual effects course as your real-life grimoire.
From day one, our students pick up industry-standard tools, collaborate on a stunning variety of projects with like-minded filmmakers, then walk away with a bulging portfolio of original work that is both technically impressive and personal to them. Yes, there’ll be green screens. Yes, there’ll be CGI. Yes, there is still time to apply. And no, there definitely won’t be any tyrannosaurus wrecks on our watch.
At the opening credits of his Catalyst story, we caught up with the digital creative for some quick-fire questions.
“It will be intense, action-packed and full of fun”
Welcome! What are you doing here at Catalyst?
We’re on a visual effects and animation adventure with our Visual Effects courses! They’re intense, action-packed and full of fun.
What were you doing before you came to Catalyst?
Well, all kinds of things – mostly related to media production and visual effects. I run a collective in Berlin, named GhostRaum, where we have the opportunity and the freedom to explore storytelling and technologies through physical and digital worlds. As a freelancer, I have worked mainly as a producer in recent years, and as a visual effects artist and supervisor for VFX companies. Generally, I always try to stay multidisciplinary and open to new challenges.
“At Catalyst, I feel we have the opportunity to go far beyond traditional education and create a playground where we can truly explore and experiment"
To be honest, I am not such a big fan of classic education. I have always thought that you can learn faster by yourself and by doing. Actually, visual effects and animation is also not a classic field. It is broad and wild; it is about creating magic and constantly exploring, manipulating concepts and visuals like an illusionist. At Catalyst, I feel we have the opportunity to go far beyond traditional education and create a playground where we can truly explore and experiment. Instead of teaching for the sole purpose of having students execute a task, we want to allow the visionary artists inside them to grow.
What impact do you hope to have at the school this year?
Because of the diverse experiences I have had in the industry, I can measure how visual effects and animation are involved in so many fields today. There are various ways to make visual effects; many techniques and creative approaches. It is still a lot of fun and it is not as complicated as we think. However, it is a great asset to have a powerful and open-minded overview, because I believe you need freedom and knowledge to be creative.
Throughout the course, we will also be talking about how we perceive reality, and the world we are creating for ourselves. Everything leads us to explore new and fundamental questions, to develop imagination and be ethical about using it, and, most of all, to not be afraid of thinking big. I kind of feel responsible for that. There are crazy tools and innovations coming our way. At Catalyst, I want to open all these doors to the future. The truth is that magicians need to be up to date.
“I want to open all these doors to the future. The truth is that magicians need to be up to date”
What do you recommend we watch, see or listen to this weekend?
Well, if you are in Berlin, watch the Milky Way from the Futurium. It’s a beautiful and contemplative experience. And I would say go to the lakes on the weekend, go to the open airs, open your mind. To me, it is truly a privilege to live in such a diverse and creative playground.