For this week’s New Kids on the Block interview we chatted to CG Artist Luke Tickner.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: LUKE TICKNER
27 May, 2022
What made you choose Coffee & TV?
I could feel C&TV had the right vibe the second I walked into the office. I had decided to try freelancing to get a better work life balance after working in the industry for a few years. I was out of the house 8 until 8 every day and I was missing out on too much of my son’s life. I was hoping freelancing would give me the chance to do some remote work but there was very little around back then. I did manage to do some remote working with Aardman but then having to travel to Bristol from London for the rest of the week wasn’t ideal.
When the lockdowns started in 2020, companies were forced to set up for remote working and for many it turned out to be an improvement. So much so for Coffee & TV that they are now fully committed to artists working remotely. I’m very happy to be in such a flexible environment and after freelancing here for a while I knew it was somewhere I wanted to stay.
How did you make your way into the industry?
I actually grew up hanging around film sets as my dad is a DOP. When I was around 10 he worked on a horror sci fi b-movie called Split Second which was right up my street. I was fascinated by all the fake blood and gruesome prosthetics and It sparked an interest in special effects. As computers became a bigger part of school, and I started using photoshop and animation packages at home, my interest in special effects evolved into an interest in visual effects.
When it came to look at uni options there were only three courses in England aimed at this kind of work. I think the options were Cumbria, Teesside or Boursemouth so I decided to stay down south where the weather is better! After doing the first year of ‘Computer Visualisation and Animation’ I realised it was way too technical for me, I would go from life drawing in one class to designing circuit boards in the next. Luckily by then, Portsmouth had started up a similar course but split it into a BA and a BSc so I transferred over and could focus on the creative side of VFX.
After uni I ran at various places making coffees but was finding it hard to get an opportunity for actual work. Then one day I just got lucky at a big facility. I got talking to someone who said they needed a junior in the 3D animation team and a three week trial suddenly turned into 10 years.
What happened after?
It felt like a good time to leave after a nice round number and I had been wanting to try something different. After working in ads I thought it would be good to venture into long form and landed a new role. I did like working on longform but after a while I realised I much preferred a smaller collaboration and the ability to really be part of the creative process from start to finish.
What is your favourite job and why?
So many it’s hard to pick just one! Working at Aardman was a childhood dream come true. The office space is packed to the rafters with sets and models, and has such a fun vibe it just rubs off on everyone who works there.
Also a friend of mine is a brilliant writer/director who I have had the opportunity to work with on a few of his short films. Being involved in the process from pre-production and supervising on set, right through to the end of VFX and grade is so rewarding.
More recently at Coffee & TV, I really liked working on the Freesat campaign. The style of the ad with cartoony characters in a realistic environment was just so much fun to light. I also got to design the layout and lighting from scratch in the full CG shots, which is always more fun than matching to shot plates. The fact it was also directed in house by Martin Allan made it much more streamlined and a really enjoyable collaboration.