in

The Journey from Photography to Professional VFX, Feat. Gurvand Tanneau

The Journey from Photography to Professional VFX, Feat. Gurvand Tanneau

Last Updated on July 20, 2021

Gurvand Tanneau 

Today’s inspirational guest, Gurvand Tanneau, is an accomplished visual effects artist, and his career has included digital effects work, stop-motion animation, motion graphic design, on-set practical effects, VFX supervision, and digital VFX supervision. 

He is also a Flame Artist, which is a somewhat rare skill in professional VFX. 

Tanneau has brought his expertise to many studios and companies around the world, such as 72 and Sunny, Method, Ntropic, Mr. Wold, Spy Effects, Framestore, and Moving Picture Company. 

In addition to working on many global commercial campaigns, Super Bowl commercials, and music videos, Tanneau has worked as a VFX collaborator on major television shows like Chicago Fire, The Act, Preacher, New York Undercover, and The Walking Dead. 

Before discussing some of his more recent work in this field, let’s start at the very beginning, at the origins of Tanneau’s affection for image creation and manipulation. 

Through the lens of photography 

Photography

Tanneau’s relationship with image production can also serve as a summary of how both photography and film have advanced over the last few decades. 

As a young boy, Tanneau wasn’t fiddling around with advanced VFX software; it didn’t exist at the time. 

But through a family member, he was introduced to the power of the image. 

“My grandfather was an avid photographer and film enthusiast, so I grew up with all these cameras around me. It was natural that I started to use these cameras myself. It was only film back then, of course, and access to labs was limited, so it was necessary to start learning these processes to do it all on my own.”

The chemical processes of film development were one of the earliest forms of image alteration. 

Parameters that are now quite easy to alter via software, such as contrast, saturation, and image size, could only be changed through specific chemical processes.If a mistake was made, it meant starting all over again. 

Many of the principles of film development have lived on in the form of advanced editing and VFX software, but it’s arguable that Tanneau’s extensive hands-on experience served as the best possible entrée to software-based manipulation and effects.  

The move to digital 

When forward-thinking developers started to create image manipulation software for relatively early personal computers, Tanneau was there for it. 

At the time, however, this type of software was new and therefore expensive, despite its fairly limited capabilities. 

Still, it offered a tremendous advantage to anyone who wanted to edit images. You could suddenly save as many copies as the computer’s storage space allowed. 

As tends to happen with various technologies, iteration over time led to reduced costs and greater capabilities. 

“I tried to experiment as much as I could with image making, but using film, the process was limited and complicated. So I started to use computers to work on photography. As the costs started to go down, it became possible to experiment on moving images as well.”

Eventually, these early programs evolved into versions of the software we are familiar with today. 

Video editing software gave rise to non-linear editing, and it was only a matter of time before 3D modeling and VFX software became commercially available. 

To put it lightly, there have been several major strides since then, and today, VFX masters like Tanneau have found incredible ways to seamlessly integrate effects into any genre of film and television. 

Studio nuances 

Tanneau carried many of those early experiences with him as his career progressed, and they helped to mold him into the endlessly talented VFX artist he is today. 

But one of the most crucial lessons from his early days of image making was the need to adapt to each situation. 

It’s an idea that has been incredibly important to Tanneau as he has moved from studio to studio to offer his talents. 

While the actual work of VFX follows certain standards and often uses many of the same software programs, the way that each studio operates is heavily affected by the people running the studio and the artists working there at the time. 

Some of these differences are also influenced by the geographical location of each studio– work and leadership nuances are often colored by cultural differences. 

Tanneau says that he greatly enjoys this constant pressure to adapt. 

“All of them have their particularities of course, whether it’s cultural or technical, and I had to learn and adapt to each of them. I love having to adapt because I learn something each time. This industry is constantly and rapidly evolving and there is always something new to learn about.” 

VFX isn’t a purely technical task. It requires the involvement of both technical and creative thinking. 

Not only that, but since VFX work for mainstream entertainment requires many skilled artists, the way in which those artists work together and communicate with each other is extremely important. 

Managing tight deadlines 

Working with a team to complete a project can present its own set of challenges, but working with a team to complete a project in a very short amount of time is even more difficult. 

Professional VFX work today is incredibly demanding, and though you may think drastic advances in computing hardware and processing power would help make the work easier and faster, Tanneau clarified that this isn’t really the case. 

“I can’t remember a job that didn’t have tight deadlines. Even though computers are getting faster and faster, we’re still working with extremely high-resolution images, so it’s always going to take time.” 

If VFX reached a certain threshold and simply plateaued, then yes, faster computers with greater rendering capabilities would make the work much easier. 

But the entertainment industry is constantly engaged in a kind of arms race to create the most impressive, the most seamless effects possible. 

VFX is always on the way up another steep hill, and that means both VFX artists and their tools are always being challenged by the work. 

Despite these challenges, large teams of VFX artists still manage to consistently meet tight deadlines, and Tanneau explains how he’s been able to cope with these deadlines over the course of a long and demanding career. 

“I’ve been lucky to work with so many great artists, and on most jobs working with the team is easy and smooth. Commercials have particularly tight deadlines, and TV shows as well because their airing schedule is not flexible. To work more than a hundred hours a week, you need good communication and endurance.”

As with any team-based project, lack of good communication and cooperation can lead to a total breakdown of the project. 

But when everyone knows what they need to do and when they need to do it, their talents can be put to use in the most effective way possible. 

Sourcing motivation 

Whenever we get the chance, we here at Inspirationfeed love to ask people across many different professions about their sources of inspiration and motivation. 

These are not concepts that have been successfully quantified and measured by scientific disciplines, so the answers we receive tend to be subjective and individual.  

Tanneau’s source of motivation when working in VFX isn’t necessarily representative of others in the VFX artist community. 

For Tanneau, there can be many different sources of motivation, and they can even change from project to project. 

“The motivation comes from different places. It can be solving new problems on a particular film, returning to a team of artists you worked with in the past, or discovering a new team. Having to adapt quickly is definitely a big source of motivation to keep working in VFX.”

To highlight an interesting, unstated aspect of this comment from Tanneau, motivation rarely comes from the basic completion of a project. 

In other words, this isn’t a punch-in, punch-out kind of job for him. Tanneau is passionate about the work and he enjoys the challenges it puts in front of him. 

When you work a job you love, motivation is abundant because finishing the work isn’t the only enjoyable aspect; actually doing the work, step by step, is stimulating, challenging, and requires you to do your best no matter how tight the deadline is. 

The next level 

The timing of our conversation with Tanneau was fortunate, as he’s in the process of starting his own company, which will make use of his extensive skill sets and years of industry experience. 

“I am currently preparing to start a company with two other friends. We’re still in the process of developing the script for the first project. We’re combining experience in post-production, production, distribution, and writing. It’s very exciting, and we hope to make inroads in multiple countries as soon as possible.” 

For Tanneau, this is the next step of his already impressive career. 

With plans to establish the company in North America, Asia, and Europe, this process will definitely present a whole new host of challenges. 

But based on Tanneau’s history with image creation and his clear passion for the work, we’re sure he and his company will be able to bring incredible images and stories to people all over the world. 

Tags: 10 careers in photography 50 photography projects a college degree is required for professional photographers a level photography theme ideas aa photography cost all about professional photography alternative careers for photographers amazing creative photography ideas amazing picture ideas art photo feature art project photography artistic ideas for photography artsy photography ideas aspire photography training liquidation associate’s degree in photography bachelor of photography bachelor of science in photography bachelor’s degree in photography bachelors in photography salary beautiful picture ideas become a licensed photographer become a photographer online become a photographer uk become a professional photographer online become a professional photographer uk become certified professional photographer becoming a family photographer becoming a full time photographer becoming a great photographer becoming a photographer becoming a pro photographer becoming a professional photographer becoming a successful photographer being a photographer being a photographer is easy besides advertising fashion what does commercial photography do best creative photography best degree for photography best human photography best photographer photos best way to start photography black and white photography theme ideas blog photography inspiration camera ideas at home camera ideas for photographers camera project ideas can i be a photographer can you be a photographer without a degree can you become a photographer without a degree can you become a photographer without going to school capture the moment theme ideas career in photography and videography career options for photographers career photo certified photographer certified professional photographer cost choosing a career in photography concept based photography constructed photography ideas cool creative pictures cool digital photography cool ideas for photo shoots cool photo ideas cool photo taking ideas cool photographs cool photography cool photography art cool photography ideas cool photography ideas for beginners cool photography ideas with people cool photography photos cool photography pictures cool picture ideas cool picture ideas to take cool studio photography courses to become a photographer crazy photography techniques creative at home photography ideas creative ideas for photography portfolios creative ideas for pictures creative ideas for pictures of yourself creative ideas for taking pictures of yourself creative ideas to take pictures of yourself creative night photography ideas creative photo ideas creative photo ideas of yourself creative photo prompts creative photo techniques creative photography creative photography examples creative photography ideas creative photography ideas photoshop creative photography inspiration creative photography of people creative photography portfolio ideas creative photography styles creative photography techniques creative picture ideas creative picture ideas of yourself creative simple photography ideas degree needed to become a photographer different careers in photography do you have to be certified to be a photographer do you need a degree to become a photographer dslr photo ideas easy photography ideas education needed to become a photographer exciting photography famous photography projects feature photography ideas film photo project ideas final project ideas for photography first steps to becoming a photographer fun photography ideas future in photography career getting into photography career getting into professional photography good photo ideas good photography ideas good photography projects good picture ideas great idea pictures home photography project ideas how can i make photography a career how can you become a photographer how do i become a photographer how do i become a professional photographer how do photographers get started how do you become a photographer how do you get into photography how i became a photographer how long does it take to become a good photographer how long does it take to become a photographer how long does it take to become a professional photographer how many years to be a photographer how to be a photographer how to be a pro photographer how to be a professional photographer how to be a professional photographer in india how to be photography professional how to become a certified photographer how to become a commercial photographer how to become a full time photographer how to become a photographer how to become a photographer with no experience how to become a photographer without a degree how to become a photographer without college how to become a photography professor how to become a popular photographer how to become a portrait photographer how to become a pro photographer how to become a professional photographer how to become a professional photographer in india how to become a professional photographer uk how to become a professional photographer without a degree how to become a professional photographer without going to school how to get in photography how to get in to photography how to get into photography how to get into photography career how to get into professional photography how to get into the photography industry how to get started as a photographer how to get started in photography how to get started in photography career how to get work as a photographer how to get work experience in photography how to make a career out of photography how to make career in photography in india how to make photography a career how to make photography a full time job how to make photography your career how to start a career in photography in india how to start becoming a photographer how to start photography how to start photography as a career how to start photography career in india how to work as a photographer i wanna be a professional photographer i want a photographer i want to be a photographer where do i start ideas for taking pictures ideas photo information about being a photographer innovative photography ideas inspirational photographs interesting photo ideas interesting photography interesting photography topics is it hard to become a professional photographer is photography a career is photography a good career is photography a good career choice is photography a good profession is photography a profession jobs that deal with photography knowledge needed for photography learn to become a photographer list of things to photograph making a career out of photography making photography a career modern photography ideas most creative photography need for photographers original photoshoot ideas photo career photo clicking ideas photo feature ideas photo ideas photo ideas for photographers photo project ideas photo series ideas photo series themes photo suggestion photo taking ideas photo theme ideas photographer knowledge photographer qualifications photography art project ideas photography article ideas photography career information photography career path photography career requirements photography careers photography certification cost photography concepts list photography cool photos photography experiments for beginners photography ideas photography ideas people photography photo ideas photography photos ideas photography picture ideas photography portrait series ideas photography practice ideas photography project ideas photography project themes photography series ideas photography tasks photography theme ideas photography theme ideas for students photography themes list photography things to do photography topic ideas photography topics to shoot photoshoot inspiration ideas picture ideas professional fotograf professional photographer professional photographer career professional photographer skills professional photography qualifications pursuing a career in photography qualified photographer quick photography projects really good photography ideas requirements to become a professional photographer should i be a photographer simple photography projects skills needed to become a photographer skills to become a photographer so you want to be a photographer starting a career in photography steps becoming professional photographer steps to be a photographer steps to be a professional photographer steps to becoming a professional photographer studio photography inspiration stuff to photograph three career opportunities in photography tips on how to become a photographer to be a professional photographer train to be a photographer training needed to be a photographer unique photo ideas unique photograph unique photography ideas unique photography images unique photography projects unique photography techniques unique photography themes want to be a professional photographer want to become a photographer what are the requirements to be a photographer what careers are there in photography what classes to take to become a photographer what do i need to become a photographer what do you have to do to be a photographer what do you have to do to become a photographer what do you major in to become a photographer what do you need to be a photographer what do you need to be photographer what do you need to become a photographer what does a professional photographer do what does a professional photographer need what does it take to be a photographer what does it take to become a professional photographer what it takes to become a photographer what qualifications do i need to be a photographer what qualifications do i need to become a photographer what qualifications do u need to be a photographer what qualifications do you need for photography what qualifications do you need to be a photographer what qualifications do you need to be a professional photographer what qualifications do you need to become a photographer what schooling is required to become a photographer what should i study to become a photographer what subjects are needed for photography what subjects are needed to become a photographer what to do if you want to be a photographer what to do to be a photographer what to do to become a professional photographer what training do i need to be a photographer what you need to be a photographer what you need to become a photographer why become a photographer