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VFX Artists Are Tired of Fixing It in Post

Photo: Courtesy of Disney

The CGI in The Little Mermaid was criticized for having an uncanny and soulless look. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was called out for lackluster visual effects. So much of what we see onscreen relies on computer-generated imagery, and it costs a lot of money to make. So why does it often look so bad? Vulture’s Chris Lee explains there is a long list of reasons: a lack of qualified workers, directors with limited visual-effects experience, and studios such as Marvel overworking and underpaying. “It’s an unsustainable business model,” he tells Into It, “and I’m told over and over again by not knowing what they want, and by overworking these employees, it’s basically a race to the bottom. The films decline in quality, and the fans revolt.”

Visual-effects artist Maggie Kraisamutr hasn’t worked for Marvel — but she has experienced 28-hour shifts and co-workers drinking and using substances to finish their work. Kraisamutr is a 2-D compositor, which she likes to describe as “Photoshop for video,” compositing many different elements into one scene. She says many of her friends are working gig to gig, paycheck to paycheck. They are scared of speaking out about their experiences out of fear of being blacklisted, and unlike so many others in Hollywood, they aren’t unionized. “Most union workers, whenever I tell them I’m not union, they are shocked because everyone assumes that we’re in a union,” Kraisamutr says. She is helping her colleagues unionize and is volunteering on the advisory council of IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. To learn more about the efforts to unionize, working conditions, and what it means to be “pixel-fucked,” listen to the full episode here and subscribe below.

Into It with Sam Sanders

VFX Artists Are Tired of Fixing It in Post