Oscar-nominated visual effects professional speaks to Reading media students

Media students recently welcomed a representative from the visual effects company, Industrial Light& Magic, to Reading College and University Centre.

Portrait photo of Amanda Johnstone-Batt, CG Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic in the Media and Television Production Studio at Reading College and University Centre.

Since 1975, Industrial Light & Magic has set the benchmark for visual effects, creating some of the most stunning images in the history of entertainment. The multi award-winning visual effects company was originally set up by George Lucas to create the groundbreaking special effects for Star Wars and has worked on hundreds of films since including, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, numerous Star Trek films, the Transformers films, films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Jurassic World films, and the 2023 Oscar and BAFTA nominee The Creator.

Amanda Johnstone-Batt, a CG Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic, talked about how the company created all the wide-ranging visual effects required for The Creator giving the students a glimpse of how different teams worked together to create different elements of the film, including character development, robots, scene environments, vehicles, and space stations.

She also talked about different roles within the visual effects company, to inspire students to pursue a career in this field.

After her talk, she answered questions from students and staff, covering how to get into the visual effects and animation industry, what roles are available for people with different interests and skills, inspiration for visual effects, and how they work.

Amanda Johnstone-Batt, CG Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic takes questions from Creative Media Production students at Reading College and University Centre

Inspiring the next generation

Amanda Johnstone-Batt, CG Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic said: “At Industrial Light & Magic, we love to communicate with prospective artists at every stage of their education.

“We hope to inspire the next generation of Visual Effects Artists, like the students at Reading College and University Centre, to take their knowledge of artistic concepts learned from educators. as well as draw from their experiences outside of the classroom when creating the art of tomorrow.”

Sean Egan, 17, from Wokingham, is studying a Creative Media Production Level 2 Diploma at Reading College and University Centre.

He said: “I thought it was really good as I would like to work in the industry. I liked it when she talked about digital modelling, it was interesting to hear how they do it.

“I’ve always wondered how to get into the visual effects industry, so I asked her at the end, and she explained it really well and how to get into it from Industrial Light & Magic’s point of view.

“It’s helped me to see the different visual effects avenues I could go down if I change my mind.

“She also explained how they create different visual effects which I’ll be able to put into my own work in the future.”

Group photo: Amanda Johnstone-Batt, CG Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic with Creative Media Production students at Reading College and University Centre.

A fantastic opportunity for students

Amanda Lewis, Media Teacher at Activate Learning, said: “Our students are very fortunate to be able to hear from a senior figure from the storied effects house, Industrial Light & Magic.

“The company who worked on hundreds of film productions including, Rogue One, Napoleon, The Creator, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and Mission: Impossible, Dead Reckoning, Aladdin and hit streaming series such as The Mandalorian, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

“It gives students the idea that they can get involved in global blockbusters. It’s also important for them to be able to see that people working in the industry are friendly and approachable, as it can give students an extra bit of confidence to help them to realise that they can get a job in the film industry.”

Mo Soliman, Media Teacher at Activate Learning, said “It was a very good talk which opened students’ eyes to what visual effects teams can do and what jobs are available.

“It was impressive how she walked them through each bit of The Creator that the visual effects teams worked on.

“She was very helpful to answer students’ questions about the work and how to get into the industry and what it will be like for them as interns, as it shows them the next steps that they should take and what it will be like if they start to train.”

Discover or contact Activate Learning via 0800 612 6008.