High quality VFX for indies

Hello everyone,
I'm a VFX artist who has worked in most of the major studios, such as Pixar, ILM, Double Negative, and Tippet. You can take a look at my filmography on IMDb and check out my demo on my website. While the work on my website is older, I'll be updating it with newer work from projects such as The Mandalorian, Star Wars, and Boba Fett in about two weeks. However, the quality of my work remains consistent throughout.

I've always had the idea that it would be possible to do high-quality VFX for indies at reasonable prices, but it's only now that many of the necessary pieces are becoming available. The ability to reach artists anywhere in the world, cloud rendering farms, and the nascent field of AI have created what I believe is the perfect storm for this to become a reality.

I would like to give this a try and see if it's feasible. So, if you have a film that's in the planning stage, I would like to hear from you. However, you must have a real budget because this work will be done by artists expecting pay, so no freebies, and your time-frame should be as flexible as possible, urgency=$$$. But if we get together and talk about what you need at the planning stage, we can design shots that will maximize what you can spend, and give you the greatest bang for your budget.

Here's how I see this working: you contact me, and I help design VFX that will keep your budget reasonable, show you how to shot reference for the BG plates and what hardware to get; this will be the Consult and Design phase. This phase incurs a cost, but you don't pay for it until you start the work. The Consult and Design phase can be a large outlay for a production as it usually involves many artists and can run into many thousands of dollars.

I will find the artists who will perform the shot work and their costs, and at this moment, you will have a VFX budget. If you give me the go-ahead, you would pay for the design phase at this time and pay for the rest on a shot-by-shot basis.

Now, here's the crucial part: you have a limited number of revisions on the work (between two and four), negotiated at the outset. Each project would be different based on the director's ability to give precise feedback, but remember that the shots were designed at the outset, so surprises should be few and far between. There is a reason why Hollywood feature projects usually run in the hundreds of millions of dollars and generally account for about half of a film's budget. In all the films I have worked on, there is no limit to the amount of revisions. I once worked on a single shot for almost six months.

The work that I am willing to undertake includes matte painting (static or animated), full CG environments, sky replacements, and replacements in general, where the replacement is away from the action to make the work as easy and inexpensive as possible. Creature work(humanoid characters are easiest) and FX (explosions and destruction) is possible, but highly discouraged since the level of difficulty goes up exponentially, and so will your budget.

I would consider films that have already been shot and are in need of work, but the chances of me taking on the work are much lower since it's likely the work will be much more difficult because it wasn't designed and shot according to my requirements.

Feel free to contact me, I hope we can make some wonderful films and maybe make a little bit of history in the process.
Steven Quinones Colon
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Staff Member
Hi Steven,

Thats a great offer, and welcome to Indie Talk!
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Nice to meet another viz person! I was laughing in commiseration when I read your pitch. The traumatized dialect of the CG generalist. "sign here to acknowledge that triple overtime for rush jobs does in fact cost more" "You are not allowed infinite revisions for a fixed price" "Team members must eat and live in houses, and cannot do your job for free". That's the language of a person who has spent real time working with clients, lol.

I've actually been pitching something similar for years, in terms of the dramatically cheaper route that will become available when we can consolidate real time animation into a stable photoreal or stylized output via AI. I've been working on the AI layer for years, but as you said, the final pieces of the puzzle, UE5, fast AI training, controlnet, the new generations of GPUs with immense CUDA power at reasonable rates, are all coming together this year.