Role: Art Director & Digital Matte Painter at Goodbye Kansas Studios Graduated: 2007
I'm Mikael Widegren, art director, digital matte painter and concept artist at Goodbye Kansas Studios in Stockholm, and an LTU gsCEPT alumni. My responsibilities as art director at GBK includes establishing the overall look and feel of our cinematics, often focused on environment- and lighting design, working closely with artists, supervisors, the director and the client. This involves creating concept art, research, collection of reference material as well as reviewing the work of, and communicating with, our team of artists throughout the duration of the project. Apart from art direction and concept art, I also do digital matte painting work for our VFX projects. Discovering the gsCEPT Computer graphics course at LTU was a pivotal moment for me - as long as I can remember, I've had a lot of imagination and a passion for storytelling, art, film and games. Watching the making of "The Lord of The Rings" during my time in high school convinced me that a career in VFX is what I wanted to pursue, but with a background in the video game modding scene, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to focus on or what I could do. This education in Skellefteå provided me with the time and space to really dig in and find my focus as well as meeting lot of incredible people with common interests. I grew up in Stockholm, and finding myself in a smaller town away from home also helped me with this. After three years, I found myself wanting to work as a concept artist and digital matte painter, and went on to work at video game developer Funcom AS in Oslo, VFX studio Ghost in Copenhagen, working on both Scandinavian and international films and TV shows, often as a partner studio for ILM. I also briefly worked at Framestore CFC in London, and have taught multiple classes both at gsCEPT and for other educations and for the past five years I've been here at Goodbye Kansas Studios in Stockholm.
I would whole-heartedly recommend university studies for pursuing a career in VFX or games, especially as a way to give yourself time to develop your skills together with others in a social setting, learn to collaborate creatively and communicate in s team as well as finding your own way, exploring your creativity and finding your focus.