Who is who – The Professional

I suggest to start here and here.

The Professional

The 'FIRST CONTACT' memorial park in the future

The ‘FIRST CONTACT’ memorial park in the future

– So, Mr. Professional, please tell us, how this image was born?
– Well, it is not the finished version yet, just the last one we sent to the client; they asked for some changes, so the final version will be ready for 15.30.
But – getting more detailed – we do generic 3D viz here and since the last year we make book covers for a publishing company, too.
This client is specialized on syfy novels and last year they decided to support a CGI artist competition as a sponsor, but someone f…d up something and now they have no rights to use the images on the invitation card they would like to print. They asked our studio to make an illustration very fast, so I started to work on it at 09:00 and it will be ready for 15.30 as they asked for.
I got some example images and basic sketches for the composition. I had to make a draft version by 11.00, send it, then wait  for them to accept it and let me to continue.
I sent this version about 13.30, they answered very fast now.

– How regular is this ‘tightly scheduled’ work-flow?

– I would be happy to say that it is not regular, but honestly it is.
I mean the studio is a part of the pipeline. I am a part of  the pipeline, too.
My job depends on the client’s wishes, my boss’ wishes, the time factor, the budget factor, the quality factor…
It is all about finding the balance; if you are able to find the balance, you will fit to the work-flow and you get a nice salary. If not, you are fired.
Some of the clients has no clue how to prepare a job correctly or how to help our work in the studio, so we have to have the skills to correct their mistakes, too.
Sometimes it is not easy to guess what they want, I especially hate to work with some of the creative agencies; of course I cannot tell you names.
But a significant number of art directors I worked with  just have an extraordinary ‘bullshitting’ skill with average creativity level and almost non-existing technical knowledge.
I could tell you stories… I mean I don’t know if you ever tried to send a file for an agency guy what was not PDF, PSD or JPG.
They used to call us back that ‘the file we sent is ‘damaged”.
I had to write a tutorial for handling compressed file formats, too…

– You sound a little bit disappointed. Am I right?

Definitely not. I like my job. It could be really exciting sometimes.
I mean it is like …. on Monday you model race cars for tobacco advertisements, on Friday you animate smoke for an anti-smoking campaign.
The next week you model gas stations or oil tankers, a week later you render trees and bushes for environmental protection.
Or this job, the  ‘first contact’ between humans and aliens.
It is exciting.
And I like to learn, too.
In this profession you forced to learn; not just the new softwares, but new technologies, photography, art…
Last year I got a nice Christmas bonus because I found an alternative tool for the pipeline, what costs significantly less and offers better results.
And it is good.
Also the feeling that we are dealing with cutting edge technologies.
And it pays well, too.
I mean my girlfriend was a nurse before she got pregnant and earned the quarter of my salary.

– I see. Would you tell us  more about the picture? Something about technical details?

– Time was a factor, so I reused what I could. The trees were made formerly for an estate visualisation project in OnyxTree.
They are identical, just scaled and rotated randomly; the ‘uniqueness’ is nicely hidden by the strong depth of field effect and the shaders.
The buildings are copies, too. They were modeled for another project in MOI3D. I think it is funny to hear, so I say it: the shape of the building is very important.
Not for the composition, but for the client.
She doesn’t like ‘traditional-like’ buildings on syfy book covers.
She thinks that in the future everything must be ‘more organic’ or ‘curvy’.
So when we work for this client, we always go for ‘spheres’ instead of ‘cubes’.
By the way, we had a client who never accepted an image if any japanese cars were on it.
We had to guess it by ourself…. …his wife was from Japan and they got divorced…I asked her secretary, he eats neither sushi nor rice.
Clients could be funny. Sometimes we have to be psychologists instead of 3D experts.

Back to the picture: the sculptures were made in Blender Sculpt, specially for this project, then ‘decimated’ and multiplied.
The human was modeled formerly for another syfy scene in MakeHuman.
The composition of the scene elements was the idea of the art director of the client.
I wanted to keep render times low, so I solved all the FX parts with Blender compositor.
The final image will be printed in really small size, so I used not more than 50 passes in the Cycles renderer, then filtered the noise with NeatImage.
Thats all, I think.
For 15.30 I have to remove the penis of the human sculpture and change the sky to be more ‘greenish’, because it looks better with the logo of the client.

 – I don’t want to keep you up, so thank you  for the interview.

– No problem, originally I planned to have 30 minutes for rendering, but I will use PS for the final touches. I rendered out passes separately with alpha, so it will require not more then 10 minutes.

(While I’m leaving I hear him to swear because of an email he just got: ‘who is that f…ing idiot who guessed to change the whole alien conception just 20 minutes before the deadline?’)


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