The-Artery’s VFX Aspire Higher: Sapphire and Flame

Tags: Sapphire

The-Artery’s stunning visual style draws strength from its dedication to inclusion. The New York-based creative company, founded by renowned award-winning Flame artist Vico Sharabani, prides itself on its diverse team, open communication, and nurturing every idea. The bigger the creative challenge, the better. Their bold work has garnered the attention of commercial, film, and television partners like Mercedes, Cartier, Nike, Netflix, Focus Features, and Beyonce.

Two members of The Artery team at work

(The-Artery at work: L-R, Kaya Ono, Flame assistant; Asaf Yeger, VFX Supervisor)

“Compositing is where the magic happens and Flame is an extremely powerful tool for someone who wants to carry a project from start to finish,” says Asaf Yeger, VFX Supervisor and Senior Flame Artist. “Almost every music video and commercial that goes through The-Artery utilizes Sapphire to some extent. Sapphire is our go-to Spark. It comes in handy when we want to create stylized looks that require live action environments to organically interact with elements like light and texture.”

(The-Artery demo reel)

“A large part of being a VFX leader is to always find solutions. Even when we get shots that seem impossible, we don’t turn away from it,” continues Yeger. “There is always something that can be done to produce work that everyone is proud of, and navigating challenges to come up with solutions is really rewarding.” Yeger, a long-time Sapphire user, relies on his deep knowledge of the plug-in to help find creative solutions and push his artistry forward not only during the finishing stage of projects but also during research and development. “Every time we have to do R&D, we browse through the Sapphire library and select a few Sparks to play with and integrate into a comp,” states Yeger. “The variety of Sparks that give us quick and fast results are unmatched by any other tools. Creating a quick comp with the addition of a few Sapphire Sparks deliver high-end results in no time.”

(Anastasia: Sapphire’s S_LensFlare effect)

The team recently wrapped a music video where the main VFX work was comprised of compositing a spaceship into night scenes. Yeger turned to his all-time favorite Sapphire Spark — S_LensFlare. “It’s by far the most used Spark on any project,” remarks Yeger. “The Lens Flare Designer lets me pick my preset and design, move or add the elements I want. It gives me the option of not repeating the same lens flare in every job, so every shot has its own unique flare.” Both S_LensFlare and S_LensFlareAutoTrack played a large role in building the spaceship. “It was extremely valuable to be able to intuitively manipulate the lights without slowing down the interactivity of the comp,” adds Yeger. “S_Glow was then added on top of that to create some hot spots that gave the spaceship a nice, natural glow in certain areas. We used Sapphire for almost every single shot and it saved us a lot of time.”

The-Artery also turns to many other Sapphire effects for much of their work. S_EdgeRays and S_Rays are often used to interactively create and seamlessly blend light rays into composited environments. “I love that the Atmosphere setting adds texture and detail,” says Yeger. “It goes a long way in making the rays look and feel real.” Sapphire’s effects lend themselves perfectly to compositing other natural elements as well like water. “Another all-time fave is S_Distort,” adds Yeger. “This Spark is the only one that gives me a realistic look and the ability to control the distortion/refraction of the water with the surrounding environment.”

\(Campari: Sapphire's S_Distort effect)

“Inspiration comes from working with so many people from different backgrounds. The-Artery as a company hosts a culturally diverse group of people who each bring a different perspective to the table, as well as diversity in talent and discipline beyond just visual effects” ends Yeger. “We’re all united in wanting to make art that is different and innovative, so we never shut down people’s ideas but instead foster them. I’m sure this is a sentiment all artists can relate to.”

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