Discover which feature he uses most — and why the most difficult shot from Captain America was known internally as Cry, Run, Cry.
Ask the Artist with Jay Joshi, Paint and Roto Lead/Supervisor
6 minute read
How he used Silhouette on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, why he relies on Mocha Pro too, and the power of focusing on yourself.
Jay Joshi has over twelve years of experience in the VFX industry. The Mumbai-born artist, who currently works as a Paint and Roto Lead at Framestore Montreal, has worked on feature films, episodics, and TV commercials as a roto/paint artist, lead, and supervisor, as well as HOD. He relies on Nuke, Boris FX Silhouette and Mocha Pro, Shotgrid, RV, and more to get the job done.
His recent credits include Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (now in theaters), Star Trek: Discovery, Wheel of Time, and Foundation: Season 1.
Where are you from? How did you get your start in the industry?
I was born and brought up in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, and currently reside in Montreal, QC, Canada. My journey in this industry has been quite interesting. There were many ups and downs and struggles, but I kept going. It all started when I saw the first Jurassic Park movie. As a kid, I was always fond of animated movies and movies that included special effects, like the Jurassic Park series and the Harry Potter series. I wondered how these films were made. Deep down, I knew that I would be pursuing a career in a creative field.
When I passed 12th Std, I did some research and learned more details about the process of making these special effects. I found out that there are institutes that teach Animation and VFX, so I immediately joined the course. After two years of learning, I got my first job opportunity as a roto intern in 2009. I currently work as a Paint and Roto Lead at Framestore Montreal. It’s been 12+ years and counting.
You worked on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. What was the overall experience like? How long were you on the film?
It was an amazing experience working on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. I would especially like to thank Cinesite London for giving me this wonderful opportunity. I spent a short but interesting time with the amazing team.
Can you give an example of what type of tasks you handled?
There was a particular shot in Wakanda Forever I worked on with many feather details to roto. I used Silhouette to do the rotoscoping. The Mocha tracking feature, which is integrated inside Silhouette, helped me get the shot done more quickly and efficiently than it would have been if I had done it manually. More amazing features were quite helpful in other shots, including layer stabilizing, magnetic freehand shape tool and reshaping assist, planar tracking and point tracking, and the cloning tool for speed paint frame by frame without any lags, etc.
Why is it important for paint/roto artists to have access to these tools?
As we know, paint and roto play a crucial role in any VFX-based movie, and Mocha Pro and Silhouette play a very important part in it. Most of the studios in the VFX industry use these tools. They are quite easy and user-friendly. They decrease a lot of the effort we had to previously put into doing things manually. It doesn’t matter what level of difficulty the shot is. Both make it easier and achievable.
Silhouette’s auto motion blur integration feature, which captures the motion of the object or any character, is very helpful in creating motion blur hassle-free. Silhouette is not only beneficial for roto. It’s also helpful to accomplish complex paint shots which require frame-by-frame paintwork. The new Mocha Pro version, which includes PowerMesh tracking, is the best thing we could ask for.
What was the biggest VFX challenge you faced on Wakanda Forever?
I believe there is always a bigger challenge when it comes to creativity. What’s important is that we enjoy the challenges and get a breakthrough for them.
What project are you most proud of — and why?
I am proud and honored by all the projects I have worked on, but there are some projects that are very special to me, like The Jungle Book, X-Men: Apocalypse, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and Suicide Squad, which helped me grow as an artist and upgraded my skillsets.
What's a keyboard shortcut you can't live without?
CTLR + S and CTLR +Z
How do you keep yourself fueled/your favorite snack when you're in an epic session?
I always try to keep some healthy snacks by my desk, but end up eating chips 🙂. I also drink a lot of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Where do you turn for artistic inspiration?
I mostly watch movies and TV series. I also watch a lot of “makings of” and “behind the scenes” to try to understand the back process of creating unimaginable things through VFX.
What do you do when you start feeling creative burnout?
I usually go to the balcony or window for a few minutes and take some deep breaths, relax, and then sit back to work. I believe small breaks every few hours are very important to relax your mind.
What's your favorite film and/or TV series?
Currently, my favorite film is Free Guy. I’m also a big fan of the Harry Potter series.
If you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
This is a tough one. There are too many on the list, but my favorite is Jon Favreau. I am happy that I got a chance to work on his movie The Jungle Book, which won the Oscar for best VFX (2017). Jon Favreau’s creative mind makes wonders. He always appreciates everyone who puts in the hard effort to make his movies successful. It would be my dream to meet him in person and have a chance to work with him closely.
What career and/or life advice would you give your younger self?
The only advice I would give my younger self is to concentrate on learning and improving yourself rather than trying to prove your capabilities to others. If you use your mind and focus in the right direction, then success is yours.