NMMU graduate makes it big in Chicago

APRIL 26, 2016

A holiday visit to a high-end visual effects company in New York led to a dream job offer in Chicago for Port Elizabeth graphic designer, Udesh Chetty.

Port Elizabeth graphic designer Udesh Chetty is a visual effects supervisor at The Mill in Chicago – one of the world’s biggest post-production houses.

While on holiday in New York City a couple of years ago, Chetty visited his then future company’s office in downtown Manhattan where he met some heads of department and discussed work opportunities. A few months later, he received a phone call from their office in Chicago, offering him a job.

Chetty is now the visual effects supervisor at Chicago’s The Mill, one of the biggest post-production houses in the world.

Since completing his BTech in Graphic Design at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2003, Chetty has worked primarily on television commercials as a visual effects artist and supervisor.

In 2014, he won a craft gold Loerie Award for his visual effects work on Prudential’s “South Pole” TV commercial directed by Velocity Films  – it  was the only visual effects craft gold awarded that year. 

The prestigious Loerie awards are presented annually to honour the finest brand communications specialists across Africa and the Middle East, in fields including video, digital media, design and advertising.

Chetty’s accolade made his relocation process and the transition into his new job at The Mill much easier.

“Besides having work published and having won internationally recognized awards in my visual effects work, having a BTech degree was also helpful,” said Chetty.

NMMU lecturer and head of the Applied Design department, Mike Swanepoel, said he remembers Chetty, who received a mark of 100% for his BTech practical portfolio, as a diligent and talented student.

“He was a talented illustrator and this served him well in constructing characters and scenes within the 3D environment,” he said.

Swanepoel continued to express how proud he was of Chetty’s success. “It is always rewarding as lecturers to see our students succeed, especially on an international stage.”

Before moving to Chicago, Chetty worked as a graphic designer and motion graphics artist at Searle Street Post Production in Cape Town.

Some of his work includes the Jeep “4x4ever” TV commercial, Alfa Romeo’s “If emotion made a car” commercial, and the Cadillac Escalade "The Herd" TV commercial.

Chetty creates digital pop art, exploring visual parodies and narratives through illustration, 3D rendering, and photo manipulation. He does this using among other apps, Autodesk Flame, a software application which allows artists to manipulate digital film footage.

When asked to advise those hoping to make it in the industry, he said newbies in the industry needed to spend more time dedicated to their art.

“A vocation in the arts, like any other field, requires a lot of time, dedication and passion in order to attain your goals. Constantly learning and creating in your spare time definitely gives you the edge in a professional environment,” he said.