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January 09
2024

ISSUE

Winter 2024

ON THE RISE

Rutul Patel NairCEO & VFX Producer, Digital District India & Co-Chair, VES India VES Member: 6 years VES benefit most enjoyed: Networking events and VES nominations event.

Rutul Patel Nair
CEO & VFX Producer, Digital District India & Co-Chair, VES India
VES Member: 6 years
VES benefit most enjoyed: Networking events and VES nominations event.

Born and raised in Gujarat, India, VFX Director Rutul Patel has always seized opportunities and worked towards reinventing herself throughout her professional journey. Her impressive portfolio and multiple Addy Awards helped her land a job in the VFX industry. “After completing my MFA from the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco, I joined a leading VFX studio in Los Angeles as an intern. I hadn’t really trained to be a matte painter, but my then-supervisor, Ken Nakada, felt I had a natural flair for it.” Rutul soon found herself being part of big Hollywood projects like Avatar, Tree of Life and Sucker Punch.

“I was in School when Titanic released, and I fell in love with the movie. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that in a few years I would not only get to work on Avatar, but also meet the genius behind it all, James Cameron.” When Rutul came to India she joined Oscar-winning VFX studio Rhythm & Hues in Mumbai as a texture painter and worked on projects like Life of Pi, Snow White and the Huntsman and R.I.P.D.

In 2012, Rutul started her own production house specializing in creating visual effects for commercials, having previously worked for a couple of ad agencies in India and interned for one in San Francisco. Rutul has worked on a number of VFX projects for clients like Unilever. Films, however, remain her first love. Since 2017, Rutual has been CEO of French VFX house Digital District in Mumbai. Her work includes Irma Vep, My Brilliant Friend (HBO), Mortel, Mortel 2, The Kissing Booth (Netflix), Coeurs Noirs, Too Old To Die Young (Amazon), Snowfall (FX) and movies such as Apache, Eau Fourte, The Deep House, Germinal, Last Journey of Paul W.R., Hellboy, Extinction, Playmobil and At Eternity’s Gate.

Her advice for newcomers to the VFX industry: “Join the VFX industry only if it’s your obsession. It’s a tough business, and artists need stamina to make it. And stamina comes with an irrational love for the work. And generously absorb all kind of new knowledge, and don’t restrict yourself only to your specialization.” In her spare time, Rutul likes to paint and grow her own vegetable garden.

Natalie A. PalumboMotion Graphics Designer & VFX Compositor VES Member: 1 year VES benefit most enjoyed: Professional discussions/interviews and VFX breakdowns

Natalie A. Palumbo
Motion Graphics Designer & VFX Compositor
VES Member: 1 year
VES benefit most enjoyed: Professional discussions/interviews and VFX breakdowns

Natalie is a Motion Designer and VFX Compositor based in New York City. She is an Adobe Certified Professional in Visual Design & Video Design and a member of VES N.Y. Chapter. Born outside of Baltimore, Maryland, Natalie’s interest in visual arts started at an early age. Her older brother, Anthony, has low-verbal autism. As children, conversation was missing from their sibling relationship. After trying and failing with words, Natalie found she could bond with her brother by drawing his favorite cartoon characters from Animaniacs (1993). She realized art was an effective form of non- verbal communication and decided to pursue art as a career.

Natalie became fascinated by VFX and animation in motion pictures. She was particularly struck by the iconic “rose petals” scene in American Beauty (1999) and how animation and complex editing were used to convey intense emotion throughout the film. From there, Natalie decided to study VFX compositing and attended Ringling College of Art & Design as a motion design major. After graduating with honors in 2017, she went to New York City to intern at Marvel Entertainment. From there, she worked with AOL, Yahoo, Netflix, Adobe, Behance, Nielsen, and independent filmmakers in Manhattan and L.A. doing VFX and post-production.

Natalie is most proud of the visual presentation she created for an uncut audio interview hosted by Tom Frangione with Sir Paul McCartney discussing the 40th anniversary of his Tug of War album special for Sirius XM The Beatles Channel. The visual presentation is included in the Paul McCartney Archives. “To have my name associated with anything Paul McCartney is a dream come true. I thank Tom Frangione for allowing me to lend my creative skills to such an iconic interview.”

Natalie advises creatives to always do their research. “Motion design is all about creative problem-solving. I research technique until I get the result I want. I never want to say, ‘I can’t.’” In her free time, Natalie enjoys filming N.J. classic rock band the Black Ties on location, visiting art installations in New York City and spending time with her brother.



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