IFCC 3Q Interview // Jan Urschel

1. How did you get started in your field and what advice can you offer enthusiasts and beginners?

I got my start in graphic design back in 2000 and did that in various online and marketing companies throughout the years. After attending an industrial design school I was able to change industries and was hired by the now defunct LucasArts studio. One advice that is given to a lot of students is “you have to work hard”. The problem is, everyone works hard. You also have to work smart – meaning, think about what you need to work on, focus, organize, learn about time management etc. It will greatly speed up your learning process.

2. What was your favorite project so far and why?

Rather than a favorite project I have favorite people I worked with. Projects are quickly forgotten but the relationships you build last for a long time. I remember a commercial I was working on. Again the project was mediocre at best but I was able to meet Emmanuel Shiu who is one of the kindest and hard working designers out there and just a really great guy. My favorite art director/production designer I worked for so far is definitely Doug Chiang. He has a great eye for design. He asks for a lot but he’s fair and just about the nicest guy you can imagine.

3. How will you be involved in IFCC 2015 and what do you expect from the festival?

I will be a guest speaker at IFCC 2015. Mainly I hope that the festival establishes itself as one of the go-to events in Europe for the entertainment industry connecting professionals with students/beginners and other professionals as well. Transfer of knowledge is the key for these events so I hope everyone makes this their biggest goal and talk about a wide variety of aspects that touch on the life of professional designers in the 21st century.


IFCC 3Q Interview // Sławomir Maniak

1. How did you get started in your field and what advice can you offer enthusiasts and beginners?

I got started by taking small steps. In 2004 I graduated in Law and realized that it was not what I wanted to do in life. So I started drawing because it seemed like a very attractive activity. After a year or two I started doing black and white illustrations for a Polish publisher of rpg games. Then I got a job as an illustrator for educational books. In the meantime I also made some cover art. In 2011 I was invited to work on Crysis 2. And that’s how it started :)
To beginners I would say that one of the most important things is to keep enthusiasm and inspiration on as high a level as possible. It will make your hard work much easier.

2. What was your favorite project so far and why?

My favorite project so far is the one that I have participated in until today. It is, of course, Magic: the Gathering. Working on this game was a lot of fun and I gathered invaluable experience, mainly because of the great theme of the project. The worlds depicted in Magic always have a great mood and atmosphere and are very well designed with a lot of interesting monsters and characters. I am always excited when I starting work on a new piece. I have always been a big fan of fantasy in general.

My second favorite, but equally important project, is art directing at MtG production. There, you can always depend on your co-workers and they give you a great deal of artistic freedom for realizing your visions.

3. How will you be involved in IFCC 2015 and what do you expect from the festival?

I hope to spend some quality time with people of the same interest. I’m looking forward to gathering much inspiration and share some thoughts about art.


IFCC 3Q Interview // Alex Brady

1. How did you get started in your field and what advice can you offer enthusiasts and beginners?

Frankly I still feel like a beginner, but I can describe some milestones that were important to me up to this point. I played a lot with Lego as a kid and always enjoyed building unwieldy monstrosities from my imagination.  For being naughty in school I was forced to work on the school production of Oklahoma! and opted to paint the backgrounds. It turned out the punishment was actually great fun, watching the actors rehearse and building my sets, and maybe that’s where I got hooked on show biz. I watched the movie Aliens around then too, that was a major milestone. It still boggles my mind what they did on such a small budget. Total genius. I think the biggest thing after seeing Aliens was finding the work of Syd Mead. My now tattered copy of Oblagon is in terrible shape from the study I’ve poured into it and I still steal ideas from Syd pretty much every day. He is THE man! After school I did a degree in car styling and worked a little in that field, but, I was never that great at it, so left to do my own thing.

I decided to really get serious around 2008, trying to at least draw one thing every day. Once I got into that routine things seemed to progress surprisingly quickly in terms of capability and career opportunities. I started working on small indie games and then on AAA titles and so on. On the one hand money was often very tight, but I got addicted to working my own hours and have never regretted that decision. My life is like one long string of busy Saturdays rather than a depressing grind and I think that’s worth missing out on the latest phone or cushy apartment for a few years. It can be tough when all your friends go snowboarding or whatever, but when they’re all slogging into the office you’re tucked up in bed and have nothing to do but drawing later on. Stick with it, it’s wicked!

2. What was your favorite project so far and why?

Like everyone I’ve had a few dodgy clients over the years but I think overall I’ve been very lucky with who I’ve worked it. I enjoyed working on Battlefield because although the work rate was high, the workflow was extremely well organized and easy to manage. Sometimes the pressure itself can be a blast. Working in London on Guardians of the Galaxy with Jonas De Ro, Nadia Mogilev, Mark Tompkins, Ravi Bansal was a tremendously exciting time, and really made me realize how hard-working and talented folks working in SFX are. Like wow!
As far as the most creative freedom I’ve had, that was when I was working on Bastiaan Koch’s indie movie project “Is This Heaven”. Bastiaan encouraged me to work how I felt was right and that was really cool and fun!

3. How will you be involved in IFCC 2015 and what do you expect from the festival?

I’m really flattered that people are interested in how I work, so I want to respond by doing lots of demos and collabs, making sure everyone has a fun, engaging time. I spend most of my working time alone in a quiet room with only the Internet keeping me company so can be a bit shy and weird when in a big crowd. Please don’t be offended!! On the other hand I LOVE geeking out – I mean thoughtfully discussing- about art, science, science fiction, movies, art history, you name it. My favorite thing is collabing with people, so if someone gives me a sketch I see where I can take it and then return it. That kind of thing. As a byproduct of this process we talk about our techniques and swap ideas. That kind of interaction is among the most fun you can have with your clothes on.  And of course I’m excited about all the art heroes that will be at IFCC 2015 who’s work I’ve studied and enjoyed. I’ll have my notebook out and try to listen carefully. Really looking forward to that!


IFCC 3Q Interview // Chris Rosewarne

1. How did you get started in your field and what advice can you offer enthusiasts and beginners?

I started in the film industry as a model and prop maker, building and making things in the workshop for four years. Then I saw the “Art Of Star Wars” book which totally turned my attention to the art department. I quit my job and began work on my portfolio. What helped me was that I was able to present my conceptual work alongside my prop making portfolio. The main reaction from art directors and designers was “so you know how to build what you draw!”. It’s something that I still get hired for now and what I consider to be one of my strengths; the ability to see beyond the shapes on the page and consider the workshop development. Since the majority of what I draw usually has to get built, if it doesn’t work or make sense then you get people asking question and rising issues. Soak up everything around you. I’m really into tech and props so every time I see something like a crane operating on the back of a truck I’m taking photos, watching it move, making mental notes. I love being in workshops too, handling equipment and looking at the machines, admiring the wear and tear on certain parts, the patina and oil stains, all those surface details that breathe life into your designs.

2. What was your favorite project so far and why?

All projects are very unique and fun in their own way but so far my favorite one was “Avengers 2: Age Of Ultron”. I was designing a lot of props whilst being heavily involved in the workshop’s activities as they were building them. It was amazing being there, watching how your designs were being made. I love resolving design issues as they develop and receiving input from the technicians, they really shed a lot of constructive light on problems, things that you wouldn’t think of. It’s a very organic process and I learn more every time I do it. The “real world” makes you have to deal with your designs head on, there’s no smoke and mirrors to hide the bad. I can’t show any of this work as the film is not out yet but you can watch the trailer > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqkR0SwFN_4&spfreload=10

3. How will you be involved in IFCC 2015 and what do you expect from the festival?

I will be involved as much as I can with lectures and demos but I will also be there soaking up the mad skills of other artists. IFCC 2015 has a really great line up! “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone”. I expect to get jealous, impressed, blow away and  just have a great time with some great and very talented people. In the end I think we will all come away with new ideas and methods to make us better artists!


IFCC 3Q Interview // Oliver Villar

1. How did you get started in your field and what advice can you offer enthusiasts and beginners?

I’ve loved drawing since I can remember. When I was young I noticed 3D videogames and visual effects and I was really interested, but I didn’t know a thing about how they are made. At the age of 16 I stumbled upon 3ds Max and started learning by myself. It was overwhelming at first, but with some motivation I started doing some cool stuff (when I look back at my 3D works from back then, they’re actually crappy, but I thought they were cool :P). After several years working with commercial software such as 3ds Max, Maya and XSI, I found Blender and kept using it since then.

My advice for beginners is to understand that 3D (as well as other cool things in life) is complex. It doesn’t matter what you want to do, or what software you’re going to use, 3D is complex. There are no magic pills or “cool render” buttons, you need experience, practice and motivation. So don’t worry if you feel it’s very complex when you start. it doesn’t mean you’re not good, it’s just really complex, and everyone else found it complex when they started! Keep at it and sooner or later you’ll be in control. :)

2. What was your favorite project so far and why?

For the last year (2014) I was working on a book: “Learning Blender: A Hands-On Guide to Creating 3D Animated Characters”, which was released in October. For a long time I wanted to write a book and finally did! It was without a doubt a hard task, it long long and it was stressful but it was absolutely worth it and a really great experience.

The book is about character creation in Blender, starting from the very basics (for beginners) and finishing with a fully animated character integrated into real video. You can check it out here: http://goo.gl/kUFY5j

3. How will you be involved in IFCC 2015 and what do you expect from the festival?

I will be at the IFCC 2015 talking about Blender and hosting a workshop to teach people how to create cool stuff using Blender :)

I expect to meet a lot of great people and artists, have a good time and share tons of knowledge! Also, getting to walk around Zagreb will be amazing for sure :D


IFCC 3Q Interview // Brajan Martinovic

1. How did you get started in your field and what advice can you offer enthusiasts and beginners?

My involvement began in a very typical way that involved watching Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Astma. Two of which I still love deeply.

Beginners shouldn’t worry much about choosing their software. They are all good and tutorials are easy to find. Instead they should focus on getting started and finishing a simple project and work their way towards the more complex ones. It’s not good to start with big ideas and don’t use excuses such as ”yeah but it’s anatomically correct” or ”but that’s exactly what I intended” when something doesn’t look right. Been there, done that.

2. What was your favorite project so far and why?

My commercial projects were the essential part of my learning, but the ones I really enjoyed were my personal animation and game projects  that I rarely finish. My favorite time is when I was deadline/client free to try things in 3D that I would have never had the chance to do. Specifically character design and gameplay prototyping. Some of my favorite projects were: The UDK project, the Unreal Engine 4 learning thing and the Starpoint Gemini 2 development that gave me a great chance to improve my sci-fi picture making workflow.

3. How will you be involved in IFCC 2015 and what do you expect from the festival?

I hope to make enough new personal material by the summer, particularly a small game in Unreal Engine 4 and take the participants through the process of making the visual assets and the gameplay logic. After a quick glance at the guest list. I expect a truly mindblowing event


IFCC 3Q Interview // Mathias Zamęcki

1. How did you get started in your field and what advice can you offer enthusiasts and beginners?

I have 3 years experience in the game and animation fields. After a 1 year course of VFX and 3D animation I started working as a concept and character artist in a small mobile game company. After that I start working at the Juice/Platige Image art department.
I can offer the following advice: if you are looking for quick money change industries. First, there is so much work you must put in to develop your skills, only then will you slowly start to get some work. My best advice is work hard! And be nice a person.

2. What was your favorite project so far and why?

So far the most exiting project I worked on was the “War Thunder” cinematic. I made 4 or 5 key visuals for the project. I’m currently working on something exciting but it won’t be released until next year so I can’t talk about it yet.

3. How will you be involved in IFCC 2015 and what do you expect from the festival?

I will probably be doing a live demo on environment design and how to use 3D+2D to achieve a realistic or stylized vibe quickly. I hope that IFCC will be another great European event and I can’t wait to pick up on and add some positive energy that is always present at these events.


IFCC 3Q Interview // Mohamed Abdelfatah

1. How did you get started in your field and what advice can you offer enthusiasts and beginners?

I went to Faculty of Art Education in Egypt in 2006 just because I loved art and wanted to learn more about it. In the first 2 years I was there I realized that it is not informative enough and I didn’t even learn the fundamentals. At the same time resources for learning art on the internet were growing. These are really opened my eyes and I found that I could be doing art for animation, games, movies, etc, things that I have passion for and could make a living doing it. So I stayed in college to get my BA degree and started learning the fundamentals of art on my own from the internet tutorials, forums, and books, and while doing that, I also started learning 3D. I was doing and publishing 3D stuff on the internet and was soon doing some freelance work in 3D and 2D. During this time I had a chance to work full time as a character modeler for a studio in Egypt. That work officially started my professional career as a character artist. I’ve been working in studios in Egypt and freelancing worldwide with both character design and character modeling. I also worked as an art director on advertising projects in Egypt, but now I’m focusing on Character Design and Modeling for movies and games.

When beginners ask me for advices I always talk about enjoying the whole journey, don’t take shortcuts, because, especially in 3D, I see a lot of beginners start modeling characters without giving themselves enough time to study and observe the figure and human anatomy. Every time I take shortcuts I regret it. Study and give yourself time to make a good foundation and visual library. You have to observe well what’s around you in so you can develop your own vision and create original artworks. Focus on the artistic part more than the technical part, software is easy to learn, it’s just a tool. The developers help us by making them easier to use every day. Focus more on the artistic part because it makes you what you are, an artist.

2. What was your favorite project so far and why?

I have to say my favorite projects are my personal projects because they depict my vision without it being affected by the commercial and financial factors.
My latest personal project, that I’m still working on, is a short oriental fantasy film. You’ve probably seen the characters. I’ve been publishing them online.

  1. CHARACTER 1
  2. CHARACTER 2
  3. CHARACTER 3

It’s really hard to target quality on such a big, risky project that you are doing on your own time. In the near future there will be more artists working on the project. I hope we will be able to finish it soon. I will share more info, and artwork from the project as we go.

3. How will you be involved in IFCC 2015 and what do you expect from the festival?

I will be holding a live presentation to talk about my experience in the industry and explain my workflow. I would be happy to answer any questions. There may be also a workshop. I will try to prepare something. I’m really excited about the festival. I’ll be happy to meet everybody and I’m sure we will all learn from each other’s experiences.


IFCC 3Q Interview // Alex Negrea

1. How did you get started in your field and what advice can you offer enthusiasts and beginners?

I started my drawing career in 2009 when i decided to go and study at a design school. I did that because i wasnt really into Computer Science (what i did before this). So my advice would be: always do what makes you happy! You will become good at it because its easier to learn when you have a passion for it! I was 21 years old when i started and had no art training before that. In two years i managed to land a full time job and become a professional artist. If you have the will and the passion you will succeed in anything you want to achieve!

2. What was your favorite project so far and why?

I worked on a lot of professional projects but by far the best one that i have ever worked on was actually a training one called Crimson Daggers. When i attended that group i have become something else because i was surrounded by super hard working and passionate people, that had only one goal: to get better. That pushed me to work even harder and to face my problems.
Professional wise i worked on mobile games titles like: The Dark Knight Rises, LoTR, NOVA2, Modern Combat5, Legend of the Cryptids, Galaxy Saga etc. My favorite one was The Dark Knight Rises even though it was a long time ago (2011). It did some concept storyboards that in the end they actually used them in the game as intro to the missions.

Examples:

  1. ENVIROMENTS
  2. STORYBOARD 1
  3. STORYBOARD 2

3. How will you be involved in IFCC 2015 and what do you expect from the festival?

For the IFCC i am planning to motivate everyone! Im gonna show everyone the hard work that i’ve put into my skill and how they can achieve what i have achieved so far. Also i’m looking forward to talk with the students:)
I am expecting to find a great new community that I am already happy to be a part of!


IFCC 3Q Interview // Milivoj Popovic

1. How did you get started in your field and what advice can you offer enthusiasts and beginners?

I started back in the Amiga/Commodore days when it was all just fun and the PC was for boring office work! :) My involvement with computers evolved through the years to become what it is for me today – a way of making a living doing what I love to do.
My advice would be follow your “glowing gaze”. Find where your passion lies and stick with it! Don’t be afraid of new things and new software and new ways of doing things.

2. What was your favorite project so far and why?

It’s hard to single out projects, they are all great in their specific way. I love storytelling through images so I would like to single out Stipe in Trouble (http://milivojpopovic.com/#stipe-in-trouble) and Moses – the beginning (http://milivojpopovic.com/#moses-the-beginning). I love working on my personal projects ’cause they are a lot of fun and an opportunity to learn. Regarding moving images,  I really enjoyed working on She Who Measures. This is one of my favorite projects (http://lemonade3d.com/#277).

3. How will you be involved in IFCC 2015 and what do you expect from the festival?

I’ll be sharing some of the stuff i learned in my 10+ years in the industry and some tricks and tips in Zbrush. That will be my professional input. Socially I’m looking forward to just having a laugh and a great time exchanging good energy with people. Building on last year’s awesome experience I expect the festival to be packed with knowledge, good food, good people and good times! I am very much looking forward to it!


IFCC 3Q Interview // Even Mehl Amundsen

1. How did you get started in your field and what advice can you offer enthusiasts and beginners?

I got started with the whole drawing shtick way back when, because someone has to do pirate-ship-drawing-duty in the family, and as tradition dictates, the duty falls to the youngest. As for getting started in the industry I started doing a little freelance during my first year in color, and after dropping out, I was lucky enough to be picked up by the good folks at Volta, who took me abroad  to Quebec, where I have spent the last 3 years. Now I live in Prague, freelancing and causing mischief.

2. What was your favorite project so far and why?

Right now, my favorite project is my own little brain fart, Vølurheim (example), the fictional magic school in the Harry Potter universe I am doodling around with. Reasons are quite simple, great amounts of artistic freedom and getting to make viking wizards! As commercial projects go, getting to work on Warhammer and Warhammer 40k for Games Workshop is the most fun I have had.

3. How will you be involved in IFCC 2015 and what do you expect from the festival?

I am doing a presentation, will be presenting my basic work flow and showing off some of my viking ways. From the workshop as a whole I am looking forward to meeting a bunch of new folks, put some faces to names, learn a bunch, and help out any way I can.


IFCC 3Q Interview // Titus Lunter

1. How did you get started in your field and what advice can you offer enthusiasts and beginners?

I got started because of artists that worked on games I loved. They inspired me with their work. That initial impact and inspiration really got me going. If you are new in the is line of work – work hard, talk to people, make friends and just have  a good time in general. Your initiation should be as much about fun as it is about getting started in this field.

2. What was your favorite project so far and why?

Right now I’m wrapping up my work on The Division by Ubisoft (http://tomclancy-thedivision.ubi.com/game/en-us/home/). It’s a huge game and therefor an exciting challenge. As far as concept art goes there have been numerous fun projects and it’s very hard to choose a favorite. As an illustrator however it would definitely be Magic: The Gathering (http://magic.wizards.com/). That one takes the cake .
Magic is a cardgame I’ve been playing for years and a year ago I got the opportunity to contribute to it as well. It’s just a bad ass game – plain and simple. If you ever need anything to get you inspired or to keep you on your toes look into the world of Magic: The Gathering. A lot of very talented artist work on the game.

3. How will you be involved in IFCC 2015 and what do you expect from the festival?

I will soak up all the available knowledge while sharing my own. I’ll be doing some painting and lecturing – maybe even at the same time! It will mostly be about concept art in video games but also about everything related to environment painting. I expect a lot of insanely cool people to show off their amazing talent. I hope to meet a lot of people I’ve never met, hear a lot of things I’ve never heard and get familiar with a culture I haven’t experienced. All in all, I’m super pumped.


IFCC 3Q Interview // Edon Guraziu

1. How did you get started in your field and what advice can you offer enthusiasts and beginners?

I always drew as a kid but really got into Concept Art 3 years ago when I started my Game Design study. But after 2 years I felt that school didn’t steer me in the right direction so I quit, and went my own way.

What I really advice to those just starting is go learn the fundamentals, these include: Perspective, Anatomy etc. Read books and find out everything about what you like most!

2. What was your favorite project so far and why?

I had to design and develop weapon concepts for a short film (in the making). This work included designing scifi weapon props under art-direction and eventually modelling them in 3D before they got Printed. It really pays of to see your work come to life.

3. How will you be involved in IFCC 2015 and what do you expect from the festival?

I hope I can provide the slightest inspiration and help during my workshop demo. But overal I really look forward to meeting all the amazing artists out there in Zagreb!