Beauty in the Chaos: Fractals and Sapphire – Spotlight on Flame Artist Jesper Nybroe

Jesper Nybroe became the first Flame artist in Scandinavia (Denmark to be exact) in 1994 and he hasn’t looked back. The visual effects artist spent a year and half heavily lobbying for a Flame after reading about it. His boss finally gave in — not only opening Nybroe up to a whole new level of tech but also a new way of thinking.

“After a three day crash course at Discreet’s HQ in Montreal, I was totally hooked,” says Nybroe, who is now a freelance artist based in Germany. “The GUI was, and still is, in my opinion, far ahead of any other software I’ve used. How cool was it to be able to track or stabilize a shot in seconds, and not have to do it manually. And the keying was miles better than what we were used to back then. All of a sudden, I had so many new possibilities.”

A few years after he started using Flame, Nybroe became an early adopter of Sapphire. Fast forward 20 years and Sapphire still sits front and center in his workflow. “Sapphire is part of the vast majority of my work. I really love its quality,” remarks Nybroe. “There are never any jagged edges that need to be fixed. Whenever I take them out of the bag, I know the fun is about to begin.” Recent projects include, The Shallows title sequence, The Wall (Amazon), The Get Down (Netflix), and commercials for Nike, Geico, IBM, and Powerade.

Nybroe’s mind-bending creativity really oozes in his fractal work (never-ending abstract mathematical patterns) which is often a reoccurring visual element. His love of fractals comes from his obsession with details. “Fractals are mind-blowing in 3D. I always want to get closer to things, like microscopic level,” comments Nybroe. “The cool thing about fractals is that you never really know what awaits around the corner. It can look amazing one second, then you make a tiny change, and the whole thing just falls apart. Or the other way around! And the fact that you have endless detail is amazing.”

(Sapphire effects used: Zap, Glow, Flicker, Distort, Shake, Feedback, Chromatic Aberration)

Once Nybroe completes his fractal work, he composites the raw footage back in Flame. “I attack them with Sapphire. It’s the most important ingredient in my fractal short films,” states Nybroe. “The effects really bring everything to life when you start combining lots of them in a procedural workflow.”

(Sapphire effects used: Distort, Warp, Bokeh, Flicker, Shake, Feedback, Glow, Lensflare, Softfocus, Rack Defocus, Edge Detect, Emboss, Chromatic Aberration)

His favorite part of his job? “Getting the brief, ‘Do your thing,’ ends Nybroe. “I love building a shot or sequence completely from scratch. Flame, a single black frame, and Sapphire.”

Visit Jesper’s website

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