From Compositing to Virtual Production in Real-time 3D with Azra Alkan

1 minute read


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Maxine speaks with Azra Alkan, Compositing Supervisor and Real-Time Look Development Artist, about how to determine your worth as an artist in film and games. In this episode, you’ll hear about Azra’s career journey — moving to the United States from Turkey to study computer programming and then into compositing supervision followed by real-time 3D virtual production. Azra breaks down why authentic networking is so valuable and how important it has been in her profession, including landing the highly competitive Epic Games Unreal Engine Fellowship in 2020. Plus, practical tips like how to research to create opportunities for yourself!

Episode Breakdown

00:00 Intro
01:14 Azra’s background, growing up in Turkey
04:58 Studying computer programming 
07:48 Getting a sign, moving to the States, and starting film studies
11:54 The value of going to school vs. self-guided learning
14:32 If it’s not the right job for you, there is something else
19:55 How to overcome the challenge of not working in a studio 
22:30 How to network authentically
26:35 Moving from compositing supervisor to virtual production in real-time 3D 
31:32 Epic Games Unreal fellowship
36:18 Advancing by combining skills and talents 
42:29 Knowing your boundaries
47:30 Prioritizing your health and keeping perspective
52:08 Making a liveable wage
55:55 How to give helpful critique and feedback 
59:44 Listener questions: staying current with software, creative applications for software
1:07:10 Where to find Azra

About Azra Alkan

Azra Alkan is a California-based Unreal Engine Artist, Visual Effects Compositor, and Filmmaker. She has been predominantly using traditional tools such as Nuke, Maya, and Houdini to work in the film industry for over 10 years. After being selected for Epic Games’ Unreal Engine Fellowship in 2019, Azra has been trying to unlock new ways that bring power to the traditional VFX pipeline with the addition of real-time tools. New technology often creates confusion and feels intimidating but Azra believes in democratizing knowledge and starting with small steps to understand and apply new tools — a play-and-experiment approach that gets you to results rather than perfectionism.

Azrah's compositing and lookdev demo reel showcasing work done in Nuke, Houdini, and Unreal Engine.

Short film by Azrah using Unreal Engine for Epic Games. 

Check out more of Azra's work by heading to her website and IMDB and by following her on LinkedIn.

Additional resources about real-time 3D and compositing career paths:

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Meet the hosts

Meet the hosts of the CG Spectrum Podcast!

MAXINE SCHNEPF: From Producing to HR, Maxine's worked on 40+ blockbuster films at studios like Mr X, Deluxe Animation and Technicolor VFX. Now as CG Spectrum's Career Development Manager, Maxine helps students get industry-ready. Her credits include: Blade Runner 2049, War for the Planet of the Apes, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Doctor Strange, Star Trek Beyond and three Star Wars films.