But what do we really do?
What do compositors do?
For all the VFX parents out there..
Compositors work in most areas of animation and post production.
They are responsible for constructing the final image by combining layers of previously created material. Although it is primarily a 2D role within the 3D world of CGI and VFX (Visual Effects), Compositors need a thorough understanding of the CG process combined with relevant artistic skills.
In post production companies, some TDs (Technical Directors) may do their own compositing.
What is the job?
Compositors work at the end of the production process. They receive material from various sources which could include rendered computer animation, special effects, graphics, 2D animation, live action, static background plates, etc.
Their job is to creatively combine all the elements into the final image, ensuring that the established style of the project is respected and continuity is maintained.
To achieve this they enhance the lighting, match blacks and other color levels, add grain where required, add motion blur (if appropriate), create convincing shadows and make sure levels combine together seamlessly, keying, rotoscoping and creating mattes where necessary.
They work closely with lighters and need to have technical knowledge of how 3D lighting works in order to understand the 'multi passes' that the lighters create. They also liaise closely with render wranglers to progress work through the department.
As this is the end of the production line, there can be occasions when it is necessary to work very long hours to catch up on a schedule. Compositors need to keep up to date with technological developments within their field.
This is mainly as it applies to a Digital Compositor role which has evolved from its traditional roots in matte photography and optical printers to achieve similar results.