The Edge: VFX with Anselm von Seher-Thoss, The Particle Guy.

June 07, 2016 4 min read

Novedge: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. Anselm von Seherr Thoss-1Anselm von Seherr-Thoss: I am a visual effects Artist and Supervisor from Germany, living in New Orleans, Louisiana. I have been part of the 3dsMax world since 2004 when I started an internship at Soulpix in Hannover, my hometown. Freelancer demand then brought me all over the place for years. I literally went from gig to gig living out of my suitcase until I joined Frantic Films in Hollywood, where I worked on a number of movie projects . When Frantic was bought by another company and the culture changed dramatically, we all left one by one. I then moved to New Orleans to live with my then girlfriend, now wife (believe it or not, someone voluntarily chooses to stay with a VFX Artist and their crazy work schedule). Over the years I went from being a generalist, to become a vfx Artist handling mostly particle and other simulation work using a range of tools in 3dsMax. Inside of vfx there is still a variety of task that can come up, from building something out of particles, to destroying stuff and blow things up. I work remotely and therefore mostly on commercials and TV shows right now. I have a home office with a bunch of workstations and a hand picked group of freelancers I generally utilize. If you are good and know how to work under tight schedules and need a gig, hit me up

Novedge: What is your background? Did you always wanted to blow up things?

Anselm von Seherr-Thoss: I went to a Waldorf School in Germany and received a very art centered education. The College for Design came next. It was during the last year of college that a fellow artist brought in Cinema4D : I was hooked immediately! Next thing I did was to apply for an internship at Studio that used 3dsMax: I had zero background in that particular software. I spammed them with funny cat videos (YouTube was just coming up) until they invited me if I promised to stop the spamming.They kept me for a 6 months internship and afterwards I transitioned smoothly into working there as a freelancer. It was at SoulPix (that was the name of the Studio) that I picked up the love for particles, when one of the other artists brought in Allan McKay's first DVD. I stayed after hours to soak it all in and soon made my first showreel in 2005 ( luckily that's nowhere to be found ). From SoulPix I went on to travel around, still freelancing, working on my own. 

Novedge: What is a recent project you have worked on? 

Anselm von Seherr-Thoss: I am the on-set visual effects supervisor of NCIS:New Orleans which is shot on location right here where I live. We just wrapped Season 2 and we will be back for Season 3 in July. We recently finished projects for Comic-Con and an immersive roller coaster ride and a few car commercials. Always something going on, often multiple shows parallel. I am not going to complain.

Incendii_Reel_2015 from Anselm von Seherr-Thoss on Vimeo.

Novedge: What software do you use?

Anselm von Seherr-Thoss: My pipeline is centered around 3dsMax with all it's powerful extensions and plugins. Fumefx, RayFire, Thinking Particles, V-Ray, Krakatoa, to name a few. I also use RealFlow for fluid work. I know Houdini is the hip kid on the block but I usually outsource my Houdini needs. I use a group of remote freelancers I trust if I need hands on deck. 

Novedge: Your work was featured in many blockbusters; is there a project that was particularly rewarding in term of experience? Why?

Anselm von Seherr-Thoss: All projects are rewarding when the checks fly in….Just kidding! I think my body of work at Frantic Films was pretty good. I did work on StarTrek 2 and a few other features since I left L.A. Scouts VS Zombies was fun, gory stuff is always a hit in my book! Transformers 4 was pretty memorable too. Even if I tackled only a few shots in each movie, the tasks have been often challenging in a good way. I also worked on a fairly low budget viking movie called Northmen- a Viking Saga and the TV show Cosmos.

Novedge: How broad is the range of your services?

Anselm von Seherr-Thoss: I specialize in particle simulation and simulation work in general. Fire, Smoke, Ice, Explosions, Debris, Rigid Body Dynamics, you name it. The elements basically. Everything that's more or less procedural. I don't model or animate/match anymore. I source that out. So I am known as particle guy. Anselm von Seherr Thoss 21 JumpStreet Limo FlipNovedge: What does it take to make it in your field?

Anselm von Seherr-Thoss: Lots of practice! I stayed after hours and did tutorials. And then continued at home. I am self taught. I didn't have a 3D class in my life. There are so many tutorials out there on YoutTube and Vimeo, there is no excuse. My tutorials are available on Volatile Training with even a section for free stuff!

Novedge: Is there an artist or film maker you would like to work with but you didn't get a chance….yet?

Anselm von Seherr-Thoss: Too many to name them all.  I haven't worked at Blur in a while and never worked at ILM. So I miss a lot of friends who went there. I really like the work of UnitImage in Paris and Platigeas well. Those I have yet to get off my list too but we talk . Stay tuned! Anselm von Seherr Thoss-Running movement

 If you would like to find out more about Anselm, visit his website and follow his Vimeo Channel.

 If you are inspired by the particle guy and want to follow his path, make sure you get the best Design tools for the road at Novedge

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