Rozhovor s výtvarníkem v oblasti
CG sci-fi a fantasy a animátorem VFX, Neilem Blevinsem
Autor překladu: Jan
Melichar, datum: 24.
1. 2006 20:20 h
JME: Firstly, how are you doing ?
Neil Blevins: I'm doing well, thank
you, looking forward to a 2006 filled with a lot of cool
JME: Can you briefly introduce yourself
to our readers ?
N. B.: My name is Neil Blevins, I am
an artist who specializes in scifi/fantasty themes, monsters,
robots and environments. I primarily use 3d as my main
medium, but also use traditional and 2d digital techniques
JME: What is your employment besides
author work ?
N. B.: I used to work at a studio in
Venice California called Blur that does videogame cinematics,
commercials and ride films. I currently work for Pixar in
San Francisco, and do a lot of personal art projects in my
JME: How did you get to 3d animations
and CG production ?
N. B.: I started doing computer art
back in highschool doing pixel by pixel art (programming the
positions of each pixel, then later using a mouse when they
became commercially available). One day I bought a book that
included a raytracer called povray, and got hooked on the 3d
experience. I then moved onto using 3dstudio, started making
my own personal artwork, and eventually got noticed by Blur,
who hired me when I graduated from University.
JME: You do use 3ds Max for your work.
Which was the main reason for choosing this software (instead
of, say, Maya or Cinema4D) ? Is there a special reason ?
N. B.: Yes, back in the first days,
3dstudio was the only major piece of 3d software available
for your pc. Maya didn't exist yet, xsi didn't exist yet,
and softimage and alias were only available on sgis, which I
didn't have access to. But having now tried maya and a
number of other pieces of software, I believe max is a good
app, especially for the one man shop. For example, maya is
best if you're working on large projects and have a lot of
melscripting knowledge, since it's missing a lot of tools
you'll need to write yourself or have someone write for you.
And something like Houdini is very cool with it's procedural
workflow, but that's a bit of overkill for many simple tasks.
If I had to start all over, I'd probably use xsi though, it
has a good variety of tools for both the artist and the
teckie. I've also got my eye on Luxology's Modo, as it
develops into a full 3d app.
JME: Which of your existing projects
you find most successful ?
N. B.: I've enjoyed so many of my
projects, some of my favorite images I made would have to be
Fallen Angel, White Room, Alternative Birth, Entry Point 2.
At blur I was proud of the work we did on the "Fellowship of
the Ring" videogame and a ridefilm that never got finished
called "Out Of Time". At Pixar I am proud of what we
achieved on "The Incredibles".
JME: When did you start using MAXScript
for your work ? How long did it take you to learn the
necessary fundamentals in order to write your own scripts ?
N. B.: I started learning maxscript
while I was at blur. I just started with really simple 4
line scripts, then started taking other people's scripts and
modifying them to do what I wanted, eventually leading to
doing really long and complex scripts. I'd say it took me
about a year to get the basics, but it was more a hobby, my
job at blur wasn't to write scripts, but to produce shots
for whatever project we were working on. If I had devoted
more time to scripting I might be better
JME: Could you outline your co-operation
on projects at Blur Studios and Pixar Studios ? Which films
have you participated until now ? And which are going
to participate ?
N. B.: I worked on a number of
projects at blur, including the "Fellowship of the Ring"
game, the ridefilms "Out Of Time" and "Batman", effects for
the film "Soulkeeper", several scifi channel spots, wbkids,
probably 2-3 dozen or more projects. At Pixar I have worked
on "The Incredibles" and am just finishing up work on "Cars".
JME: You also contributed few chapters
to books "3D Studio Max 3 Magic" and "Inside 3dsmax 4". Have
you considered writing your own publication ?
N. B.: Yes, but doing so would take a
lot of work, and I'd have to give up making new artwork for
awhile, which is my first love (well, 2nd love, my first
would be my lovely girlfriend). For the moment, I'm happy
sharing my knowledge for free on my website in shorter
lessons on my cg education page. But I may take these and
enhance them and sell them in a book one day, when I have
JME: Finally, let me ask you a typical question :-)
. could you tell a word to our readers who do not
have an opportunity to study at CG school but do want to get
down to their own projects ?
N. B.: Well, don't despair I guess
would be my big statement, I didn't go to school to learn
3d, I did it in my spare time as a hobby, and instead went
to an art school learning drawing, painting and design. I
love doing 3d, and love creating, and if you love the same
thing, you can totally learn at home with the help of
textbooks, tutorials and people on online forums. If you do
decide to go the school route, just make sure you school
teaches more than just what buttons to press, make sure they
teach a lot of art fundamentals, these are the things that
will be most important to your career.
AA: Thank you for the interview.