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Simon Jokuschies

Senior Software Engineer

Article By Rebelway

Simon Jokuschies : Senior Software Engineer

Introducing our newest instructor: Simon Jokuschies! With over 20 years of experience and a passion for visual effects, Simon brings a unique blend of creativity and technical expertise to our team. Through this interview, you’ll get to know our newest instructor better as he shares his journey in the VFX industry, insights on essential skills for aspiring artists, and the exciting role Python plays in this field. dive into his background, notable projects, teaching philosophy, and more.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got started in the VFX industry ?

My journey in the VFX industry began in 2012, where I initially worked as a motion graphic artist and compositor for commercials. However, my fascination with programming started long before. During my time as an artist, I developed a growing interest in tool development in Nuke, which gradually led me to transition into a technical director role. Since 2017, I have been working full-time in pipeline development. I started as a Pipeline TD at Pixomondo and later became a Senior 2D Pipeline TD at Scanline VFX. Recently, I have expanded my focus to encompass more general core pipeline concerns and am currently employed as a Senior Software Engineer at Scanline VFX.

Can you share some of the notable projects you’ve worked on?

As I am now fully dedicated to pipeline work, I no longer generate images directly. Instead, I focus on behind-the-scenes tasks to ensure that shows meet their deadlines and that artists have stable and efficient tools to enhance their productivity.

Some of my notable projects in terms of pipeline work include revamping Pixomondo’s 2D pipeline, helping implement their 3D publish system, and overhauling their delivery tool. Additionally, I was responsible for designing and implementing Scanline’s Silhouette pipeline and developing and maintaining tools for the 2D pipeline.

One of the most notable projects might be my work on cragl VFX tools. In 2016, I created my own software brand focusing on creating various tools for Foundry’s Nuke.

What are the essential skills a VFX artist should have? What advice would you give to students who are interested in pursuing a career in VFX?

I think the most important and valuable thing is having a passion for what you do. With that, skills will come automatically over the years. There are so many things to learn in VFX. Try to master the topic that interests you most and be open-minded to learn new things. Understand workflows and underlying concepts rather than just knowing all buttons in a particular DCC.

What do you think the future holds for the field of visual effects, especially with Python?

Python plays a fundamental role in VFX and is used heavily in all VFX studios around the world. Similar to the image creation process, programming itself will also become particularly interesting and change in the upcoming years due to AI. Nobody knows at this stage where we are heading, but I am sure software development will continue in the VFX industry – it will change though.

Can you tell us about a few pieces in your portfolio that you’re particularly proud of?

I think I am most proud of smartElements, and I have definitely put the most effort and time into that tool. smartElements is a fully-featured element library to organize your stock elements. It contains a large number of features, has great flexibility, and you can inject your own workflows and code to fully customize it to your needs. Besides that,    I am also very proud of smartRender, the multi-threaded render manager, smartCollect, a multi-threaded archiving tool, and smartMedia, a multi-threaded media converter, ingestion, and delivery tool. All in all, each tool focuses on one particular concern and tries to give the user real value.

How is Python used in the VFX industry and why is it important for VFX artists to learn it?

Python is the most important programming language in the VFX industry and is used in all major DCCs. Pipelines rely heavily on Python, making it a fundamental part of how VFX studios operate worldwide. Using Python, you can automate many different tasks. Often, it’s the little helper tools that play a big role. Due to its simplicity, Python is a very good choice to learn as a first programming language, yet it is still very powerful if you need to accomplish complex tasks. Everyone can learn it and simplify and automate their workflows.

What is your approach to teaching Python to students who are new to programming or to the VFX industry?

There are several things to mention here that build on top of each other. First, it is important to have a solid understanding of the overall concepts of Python. You should be confident with simple variable types as well as container types like lists, dictionaries, sets, and tuples as you will use these every day. You should know how to loop over containers, how to write functions and classes, and how if-else structures work. Simply putting something together using some internet research without knowing the underlying concepts does not help in the long run.

To create great and flexible tools you simply need a solid understanding, which I will give in the course. Most Python courses stop here. But we are not done. The next step is to see how larger software projects are designed and how they can be accomplished. It is crucial to understand the importance of creating clean, sustainable, and well-documented code as well as getting some background on software design and design principles. With that and a little bit of practice, you will be able to create interesting tools on a larger scale.

Join Us on a new Journey

We are delighted to welcome Simon Jokuschies to the Rebelway community! His knowledge and enthusiasm will inspire and motivate both budding artists and seasoned professionals alike. Stay tuned for details on his future course and prepare to take your abilities to new heights with Rebelway.

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