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Rozhovor s výtvarníkem v oblasti CG sci-fi a fantasy a animátorem VFX, Neilem Blevinsem

Autor překladu: Jan Melichardatum: 24. 1. 2006   20:20 h

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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 stuff.

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 as well.

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 spare time.

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 the time.

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.

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Datum poslední aktualizace: 26.01.2006

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