Alexander Hickman

Special Effects Technician

Alexander's job title is Visual Effects Artist at The Mill

What I do

I create digital visual effects and sculptures for a variety of creative productions, including video games and advertisements. 

What my role entails

In my role, I am assigned a brief and then I go away to model or sculpt whatever is required for the brief I am currently working on making the clothing for an avatar. I make the clothing by drawing it out, and I then create a digital pattern and stitch it together and fit it to the avatar, using software like Z Brush to add details right down to the fluff on the fabric.

My work is usually either sculpting, which means working with organic matter like humans or creatures, or modelling which is working with hard surfaces which are not organic, and we use different software depending on each. After this, the models I have worked on will be integrated into the final production. 

How I became a technician

A typical day in my
working life

A little more about
my everyday role

What I love most about my job

Being creative and doing something different from one project to the next – it could be making armour for a knight, making a creature or bones, making clothes or a cart for puppets. It’s so varied.

My favourite piece of equipment

The software I most enjoy using is Z Brush, we use a Wacom tablet and draw with a pen while we use it. Coming from an organic sculpting background, it’s closest to home for me.

The most exciting thing I’ve achieved so far in my job

To get in with a top company without much experience has been amazing – I’m straight in at the deep end! Also, I’ve worked on a lot of video game trailers, one of them called Wild Hearts has just been released, it’s about mythical creatures and hunters and was great to work on.

The advice I’d give to someone younger

Don’t cave into social pressure and do what you want to do! There are so many choices, it can be hard to pin down one thing – try different things and focus on what you love.

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