Alumni Spotlight: VFX Artist Joel Morillo on His Latest Project, Cosplay Dreams 3D
December 11th, 2014 | Natasha Englehardt
Platt College VFX Alumni Joel Morillo on His Latest Project, Cosplay Dreams 3D
If you’re a fan of Cosplay and Comic Books then do we have a treat for you! Platt College Visual Effects Alumni, Joel Morillo, has recently completed production on a fun and inspiring film about the world of cosplay called Cosplay Dreams 3D. Joel did a great job using his VFX skills to bring many of the cosplayers costumes to life through stunning visuals like fire, fairy dust, lightning bolts and more. From comic books to video games, this documentary shows a beautiful variety of cosplay, many of which were created by hand. Cosplay Dreams 3D is a great example of the ever growing cosplay community and the love people have for this form of art and self expression.
The film was finished just in time for it’s debut this last weekend at the LA 3D Movie Film Festival where they walked away with the award for Best Documentary and premiered the film to over 275 people. The film has already started receiving rave reviews from everyone who attended the event in LA last weekend. Which isn’t surprising considering some of the stars featured in the film are huge names in the cosplay community like Traci Hines and Dustbunny.
Be sure to check out the teaser trailer for it below and follow us on Facebook so you can be the first to know about an exclusive screening of the film we will be hosting here in San Diego!
Natasha: What was it like to debut your film at the LA 3D movie film festival?
Joel: It was an amazing experience. It was my first big production and to see my work up on the big screen was very surreal but the most exciting part of the whole thing was the reaction from the cosplayers. This is clearly a film with a target audience and to have that community respond in such a positive way was very rewarding.
Natasha: How long have you been working on the film? And what part would you say took the most work?
Joel: I came on at the tail end of the film, and worked on it for about six months. Four of those months were spent doing VFX the other two months were spent doing the motion graphics on the film as well as all the promotional web and print graphic design. The most work was always the 3D conversion, it took a little getting used to the stereoscopic tools.
Natasha: Do you have a favorite part of the film?
Joel: The contrast between veteran cosplayer Fanboy Brandon whose costumes are amazing and cosplay newbie Liam who is very smart about the cosplay choices he makes. Its easy to look at Brandon’s work and get inspired by how good he is. However, its also easy to get discouraged BECAUSE he is so good. So its nice to see the other end of the spectrum and see what Liam does and how he tackles the challenges of being a cosplay novice.
Natasha: While working on the VFX for this film, it looks like you were able to have a lot of creative fun adding elements to each persons cosplay. What would you say was your favorite cosplay to create VFX for?
Joel: My favorite was the shot of the guy dressed as Megaman. I grew up playing Megaman on the Super Nintendo so getting the chance to bring some extra flair to one of my favorite childhood characters was a highlight for sure.
Natasha: How many people did it take to complete this film project? And what were some of the challenges you faced along the way?
Joel: Any film takes a large number of people doing “their thing” in order to be successful. However the crew that physically worked on the film itself was a small team of 9 people (I was on VFX and fellow Platt Alumni Vanessa Robbins was the Assistant Editor).
The unique nature of this project meant there were some very interesting challenges. Biggest one being the footage itself. None of the shots were staged or planned since it would be impossible to do so given the nature of comic book conventions. So shots were generally unevenly lit, had too many elements in the background and were difficult to 3D solve. Then came the challenge of doing things in 3D. In more than one occasion I had finished a shot only to view it in 3D and find out that the shot didn’t look good or that some procedures just don’t work in stereoscopic 3D.
Natasha: You’ve just recently graduated from Platt this last year and are already gaining a lot of recognition for your work on this film, which is really exciting! Do you have any advice for current Visual Effects students at Platt who want to get their foot in the door on exciting projects like this one?
Joel: Go above and beyond! Find any excuse to hone your craft even if its a personal project. It was my student film Courier 37 that landed me the job at Passage Productions. There is a ton of information and tutorials out there and you should be doing all you can to absorb that knowledge, but most importantly develop your problem solving skills.
Natasha: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Joel: Don’t dismiss or forget the other skills you pick up at Platt. The VFX was what got me in the door but it was my knowledge of print design and video production that have allowed me to stay onboard even after the completion of Cosplay Dreams. Since the wrapup of the VFX I’ve been on several location shoots, designed a number of ads for both print and web, assisted with the motion graphics for an infomercial and I just recently started redesigning the website for the company. Can’t stress enough how important it is to be versatile as an artist in today’s market.
If you would like to learn more about Cosplay Dreams 3D and follow their creative journey be sure to check them out through any of the links below!
Hear what people are already saying about Cosplay Dreams 3D!