Harry Potter 1-4, Children of Men, Band of Brothers, Entrapment and Spacejam – these are just some of the films I've worked on as a freelance compositor in the visual effects industry. I have experience compositing greenscreens and bluescreens, miniatures, matte paintings and computer-generated elements. My roles ranged from roto/prep artist to on-set and composite supervisor, helping me to develop a strong eye for detail, composition, lighting and colour.
I'm also a screenwriter and have recently completed a Masters in Creative Writing. I am interested in the way narrative and creative technologies can enhance each other.
Before coming to the University of Portsmouth, I worked for Cinesite, MillFilm, Moving Picture Company (MPC) and Double Negative (DNeg), creating visual effects for high-end motion pictures.
I became a CGI compositor after studying Visual History with Film Theory at university, followed by a graduate job at Cinesite, where I eventually became a supervisor. I was one of very few women on the team, so becoming supervisor was a pivotal moment.
VFX and photo-realistic compositing, real-time compositing, virtual production
Although I'm most involved with the BSc (Hons) Computer Animation and Visual Effects course, I teach visual effects and compositing to both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
What I like most about teaching is when students explain their problems then realise the solution as they describe the issue. Within an industry of ever-evolving technology, there are areas within visual effects where many students discover new aspects they can specialise in, while also becoming resilient and adaptable to change.
I'm developing industry projects, work placements and employment opportunities for Computer Animation and Visual Effect students. My current collaboration is with Portsmouth-based visual effects company Dark Cosmos Creative, and I hope to build more connections with the visual effects industry to provide client briefs for undergraduates so they can gain industry experience, make connections and expand their portfolios and showreels.
Women are underrepresented in senior roles in [visual effects] and said to be intimidated by the technology, but it’s just a tool to create the artistic results you want to achieve. Compositing is exciting – every project is different and new challenges always come up, so it’s never boring.
From bringing Looney Tunes to life in Space Jam (1996) to flying cars in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) – delve into the visual effects practice of Niki Wakefield, Senior Lecturer in the School of Creative Technologies. To discover her other works, visit her IMDB profile or follow her on Twitter at the top of the page.