Painting with Pixels: A Chat with Navaneetha Krishnan

1. Could you share the story of how you entered the world of VFX?

My passion for drawing led me to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). After completing my degree, I got into the creative field of Visual Effects (VFX), starting in Digital Matte Painting (DMP). It’s been a journey of dedication and perseverance, and I’ve been fortunate to contribute to over 500 films. Each project underscores my passion for creativity and the potential of VFX. It makes me want to keep being creative and pushing the limits in my craft.

2. What aspect of your role brings you the greatest sense of joy?

Being Head of the Department of Paint at Basilic Fly Studio, some key responsibilities that bring joy are as follows. Mentoring and guiding aspiring artists within the department, witnessing their growth and seeing their contributions elevate the overall quality of our projects.

Collaborating with talented teams to solve creative challenges, finding innovative solutions that push the boundaries of what’s possible in VFX painting.

Seeing the final product on the big screen, knowing that my contributions have helped shape the immersive worlds that captivate audiences and leave a lasting impact.

Bring in the latest technologies to the team, leveraging advanced tools and techniques to achieve significant improvements in our workflows and final output. In my view, artists represent one aspect, while production serves as another. Both are equally important to me.

3. Among the projects you’ve worked on, which one stands out as your favorite?

All the projects I’ve worked on hold a special place in my heart. Each one has contributed to my growth and provided unique experiences. However, if I were to highlight a few favorites, they would include three Oscar-winning films. Additionally, I’ve been privileged to contribute to acclaimed projects such as Avatar, Aquaman, She Hulk, Antman Quantum Mania and few installments of the Spiderman, Suicide Squad, Dead Pool, Dustbunny, Furiosa Mad Max Saga, Breaking Point, Onelife, and Orphan. Each of these projects has not only enriched my career but also provided invaluable lessons and experiences that have shaped my journey in the world of VFX.

4. Could you describe the typical tasks and responsibilities of a Head of Paint on a day-to-day basis?

As HOD paint at Basilic Fly, my day to day activities includes Overseeing the execution of paint-related tasks, ensuring consistency and quality across projects, Providing guidance and support to the paint team, resolving any issues that arise during production, Collaborating with other department heads to ensure seamless integration of painted elements into the overall VFX pipeline, Managing schedules and resources to meet project deadlines and client expectations.

5. If someone were aspiring to enter this industry, what advice would you offer?

Focus on building a strong foundation in both artistic skills and technical knowledge like perspectives, colouring, anotomies etc, as these skills are key for the VFX industry.

Stay up to date on the latest trends and technologies, continuously honing your craft to remain competitive in the field.

Network with professionals in the industry, seek mentorship opportunities, and be proactive in seeking out internships or entry-level positions to gain hands-on experience.

Embrace challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth, and never stop learning and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in visual effects.

6. Apart from your professional work, how do you nurture your creativity?

Outside of work, I nurture my creativity by exploring different hobbies like drawing, playing music. I also enjoy spending time outdoors, taking walks in nature or gardening. Traveling to new places and experiencing different cultures inspires me and sparks new ideas. Additionally, I like to read books, watch movies, and engage in conversations with people from diverse backgrounds to broaden my perspectives and fuel my imagination.

7. What do you envision for the future of VFX in the next five years?

In the next five years, I envision VFX continuing to advance rapidly, with even more realistic and immersive effects becoming commonplace in movies, TV shows, and other media. Additionally, I expect to see increased integration of VFX in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences, providing audiences with entirely new ways to interact with storytelling. Furthermore, advancements in technology may streamline production processes, making high-quality visual effects more accessible to a wider range of creators and industries.

Rapid Fire questions: 

1. If you could have dinner with any celebrity, living or dead, who would it be?

Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam

2. What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day?

Listening to music & some time with a long walk.

3. If not Chennai, where else?


4. Favorite way to relax?

Playing with my kids whenever I have time.

5. Finally, Describe BFS in three words.

Innovative, Supportive, Ethical.