STEP INTO MY STUDIO AND MEET MY DOG - Mat & Jack - Palace, VFX Studio

June 21, 2017

This story originally appeared in the Black Lagoon Volume 2.

 

 

PHOTO: KARL SHERIDAN 

 

 

 

Mat was after a dog to help him ‘reset’ and clear his head from the relentlessly unlimited creative pixel pushing potential of the digital world. Mat runs visual effects company, Palace.

 

 

“I think for some time I actually wanted to get a dachshund - one those little sausage dogs. But after reading about rescue greyhounds (and their sleeping habits), I knew one would be the right fit for the studio. He’s also a great quiet, albeit giant cafe dog.”

 

 

Mat adopted Jack, who is now a 6 1/2 year old retired racing greyhound. “A lot of the clients who visit the studio love him. Most of the time he pulls himself out of bed for a pat whenever someone arrives. Sometimes I say ‘be a bit careful of him - he’s getting old’ but I’m really talking to the dog.”

 

 

“Taking just a 10 min break to take the dog for a walk around the block is such a good way to reset when stuff gets hectic. Even on weekends when it’s pouring with rain I always feel better."



 

“Sometimes I say ‘be a bit careful of him - he’s getting old’ but I’m really talking to the dog.”
 

 

I chatted to Mat about the studio. Positioned in the beautiful old fire station on Beresford Square, the open planned, minimally furnished, big window white space took me by surprise. “Shouldn’t your studio be dark, sectioned off, and full of tech stuff?” I asked. “Yea I get that a lot. It probably comes from years of working in studios without it, but I’m a big fan of natural light and it’s glorious vitamin D. For presentations we usually black out the rooms, and often the colourists still work in darkness.”



 

Mat hires freelancers on a job-to-job basis - he has had up to eight artists all VFXing things at same time. “Palace really just works as a container. We’re all freelancers so we crew up based on the job’s requirements. It’s much easier to manage, and I always get to work with a variety of really talented animators, modelers, colorists, compositors and other VFX people. For myself, I find with being a freelancer in this game I’m always up-skilling and diversifying from what was main craft. It’s all become really accessible in the last few years - the hardware is just desktops, and most of the high-end software is now an affordable subscription model.”



 

“My advice for any VFX artist looking to get into VFX is this: Be completely adaptable by continually up-skilling and diversifying - it’s totally endless. Send emails and meet with other people. Offer up your time to assist on a few jobs, being on one can be the fastest way to learn and carve your own niche.”

“Be completely adaptable by continually up-skilling and diversifying - it’s totally endless.”

 

 

Mat is heading over to London to do a stint as a freelancer himself soon. Talk about putting money where his mouth is. Just when it looks like Palace is hitting cruising altitude after working with clients such as Katy Perry, Got Milk, Air New Zealand and Tokyo Dry - Mat is aiming higher.

 

 

 

Furthermore, he would love for anyone to hit up Palace for creative collaborations. “I’d love to collaborate on some more arts based projects. I think more and more you see these tools being used to create anything from simulations to some crazy organic growth structure, and these are used on variety of visual projects.”

 

 

 

© 2017 by Karl Sheridan

 

This story originally appeared in the Black Lagoon Volume 2.

 

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