_ Looking to the future

At the beginning of my artistic research, I had a traditional understanding of visual effects and the scope of their application.  However, VFX technology contains many specialized tools for picture manipulation, 3D world creation, visual planning, or storytelling development. It appears that you can use them not only for visual effect realization but also for different types of artistic development. My research proves that visual effects tools can also be used successfully for solving artistic problems in fields different than making feature films. They are well suited for all kind of conceptual work. Moreover, the VFX theoretical framework should draw from various fields of classical art theory, such as storytelling rules, aesthetics, harmony, proportion, rhythm, color composition or form.


A spontaneous artistic act can be planned using contemporary technology and even realizations which have a large margin of uncertainty on the production stage and which can be supported by creative VFX methods. Particular media techniques can also be applied effectively to different media. For instance, VJ projection for performance shows can be successfully adopted on-set for documentary filming. Such spillover among various media and techniques is characteristic of the contemporary moving-image culture. Furthermore, this approach is necessary for transmedia and hybrid media realizations. Visual effects are just a creative instrument of communication with the audience. The ability to do proper context research and visual development plays a key role not only in modern cinema but also in all artistic teamwork realizations. The process of creation is common to different branches of art. The new logic of form is deeply encoded in the interfaces of software packages and the tools they provide. The idea of the new type of an artist who can collaborate with the creative team to bring the story to life is deeply ingrained with a sense of storytelling.


The name “creative technologist” is not widely accepted yet. I proposed an exact description of this profession only at the end of my research. My participation in the feature documentary was described in the closing credits as a “VFX on-set supervisor and production development”. During the virtual reality Philharmonic realization my main assignment was named “supervising art director”. In both of these productions, I performed typical tasks of creative technologist. The film industry is like a big ship: it is hard for it to make sudden changes in the course. More hopes for such changes lie in the new media, since it is an entirely new, yet unexplored field. The propagation of the name of a creative technologist will certainly be a long process during which its description will probably evolve further.


The documentary had a premiere screening at The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in November 2018 and received a Special Jury Award for Mid-Length Documentary. According to an Icelandic online newspaper Vísir, this Polish-Icelandic coproduction was the first Icelandic documentary to win prizes in the main competition at the festival. The virtual reality presentation had the official opening in December 2018 and received positive reviews in the Polish press and the media. During the premiere, the production director told me that it still remains one of the bigest virtual reality projects made in Poland.


I believe that storytelling is a factor which makes the use of interactive media not only a technical performance but an artistic spectacle. After finishing my artistic research, I am convinced that a creative technologist can productively participate to designing the visual universe of film and the new media in order to produce artistically compelling results.

2019 >> Rafal Hanzl >> Ways of expression: the impact of VFX technology on modern storytelling in film and interactive media production.