This may seem like a very specific niche to make a gift guide for, but us nerds can be really tough to buy presents for. I like getting presents as much as anyone, so hopefully this gives some ideas for the significant-others of compositors world wide. This list isn’t super specific to compositors only. It could easily be applied to almost any visual professional, from video editors to animators to illustrators.
Wacom tablet. Do they have one? They might want an even bigger one! These are pervasive in the industry. A lot of artists cannot work without one, and they are actually very good at reducing repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel. Most people would be lost with the extra large tablet, but the large and the medium are both very useable. One note – while wacom does make a cheaper tablet called the bamboo it is generally avoided by working professionals.
Wacom pen. It’s nice to be able to shift your grip up some times. Maybe the airbrush style, or the classic pen will switch things up. Even if you buy them the same one that they currently have it can be useful. Many artists will wrap them in tape or modify them to make them more ergonomic.
The VES handbook is a bible for vfx, The art and science of compositing is another good resource. I would also recommend Digital compositing for film and video
In addition to books, there isn’t any better bang for your educational buck than in taking classes at fxphd. They offer a ton of different classes, and it is one of the best ways to keep your mind sharp, and to continue learning.
Something like the Digital Juice Compositors toolkit can be a lifesaver for quick turnaround work. They have a ton of stock flame, smoke, fog, steam, particle footage ready to use. When your creative says “I like it, but can we make him look like he’s on fire?” this is the easiest way to get there.
Screen real estate is always at a premium. If someone has been really, really good, then maybe a 2nd (or 3rd!) monitor is deserved. The dell ultrasharp line is a very good bang for your buck, and the HP ZR24W is slightly less bang, for slightly less buck.
Movies – Almost everyone who works on movies is into movies. Get them the limited edition of that movie they won’t stop babbling about. For effects nerds the behind the scenes footage and extras can be as good as the actual movie.
Love – As much as it shouldn’t have to be said. We often work waaay too many hours, and having someone who understands us and can accept us for our passions and our odd job requirements is truly a gift in itself.
Domain name – If they don’t have their own domain, then it makes a great gift idea. They are really cheap- too!
Coffee-related stuff – We spend a lot of time thinking about how we wish we were not sleepy, so coffee cups, french presses, red bulls and high test tea are all appreciated.
We Be Jammin’ Good music can help a bad day go by quickly. Our jobs don’t often involve audio, so we can put on a track and jam out for a while.
Nice headphones – really help you block out the background noise.
iTunes/pandora/spotify – Give them music to keep, or music to stream. They both have their virtues. One note about spotify is that not all artists will be able to install the client on their work computer, but there is an iphone app.
iPod – It’s nice to separate your music from your computer and your phone.
We spend a stupid amount of time sitting. Any gift that gets us moving is a good idea. That could be yoga, spinning classes, a sports league, or even a hike. There are also a ton of things that make sitting for long periods bearable, like yoga ball chairs, special chairs, or standing desks.