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VIEW Conference 2007: Day one with Pixar and Electronic Arts


Massimo Curatella reporting live for CG Explorer the beginning of VIEW Conference 8. After an explosive pre-start I finally took place in the press room.

Technology: not ok. Wireless connection at the hotel: only in the hall. In the Press room: only if I disconnect a local desktop. Nonetheless the difficulties I will try to do my best to report the juice of this fantastic happening.

Maria Elena Gutierrez celebrates the VIEW Conference’s first day hosting the opening remarks by representatives of all sponsors and institutions which support this initiative.

glenn-entis-electronic-arts-view-conference.jpgAt 10:00 sharp, begins the first session. The Vice Mega President of the World Leader of Game Development, Electronic Arts, gave his talk. Mr Glenn Entis, not only manager but also chief supervisor of an army of artists and engineers talked about the past and the future of videogames. Session presented and moderated by Jamie D’Alessandro.

His presentation was really interesting and useful to me: as a CG lover, expert, teacher and journalist I really needed to have an overview, a panorama up-to-date. Entis highlighted what was the “thrill” of CG during the past generations of films and videogames and everybody who is involved with these fields have very clear in his experience: from Pac Man to Tron, from Mario Bros to Star Trek.

The interesting thing is the shift from the believability of characters coming from motion and modeling fidelity and to responsiveness and intelligence.

This helps reminding me that being a professional in this field means being able to intersect several disciplines: the art of reproducing the human form and the science of creating believable characters which react in plausible way to interaction.

Precious as a gem: the single most important advice by who works in the field since 31 years: that is “!”. It means keep the job interesting to you. Don’t face the industry as something you have to conquer with the most innovative and revolutionary invention. Do something you like and you want to keep on doing. The rest will come. Thank you, Glenn Entis.
Paul Topolos Digital Matte Painter at Pixar Animation Studios worked on Ratatouille.
Paul Topolos, candidly met yesterday and already liked gave his contribution on the romantic professional role of the matte painter for the most creative company in the World: Pixar Animation Studios. Mr Topolos is an artist in the traditional way who put his efforts in giving life to environments with his digital brushes and his artistic capabilities. He has been in Pixar for “only” five years and with Ratatouille and the beautiful Paris backgrounds everybody can see what he did.

Mr Topolos is really nice and funny and gave a very dynamic and alive presentation. He mixed different contributions: slides, wireframes, paintings, photographs and exclusive interviews shot by him. I really enjoyed the informal and friendly spirit in his talk and I was really engaged by the personal opinions and views delivered directly by the people who actually work at the latest masterpieces by Pixar Animaton Studios. Brad Bird for Ratatouiile, then the film director for “Lifted” the hilarious 3D animated short film, the production designers the illustrators and so on.

I was quite surprised to learn that many shots in Lifted have been done using a lot of matte painting for scene elements like the ground or the sky or the crater. It really makes sense but I would have taught that Pixar, “the” 3D company would done “everything” in 3D. I can really see the matte painting department as a new key factor in the Cg filmmaking process. At least the Pixar’s one.

Nice to know that not everything is painted: photographs, rough geometry, front projection mapping are key to the final results.

When I asked about the connection of a matte painter to the story he is contributing to tell, Topolos replied (many things actually) that the director is the person who keep the various artist in the storytelling process so you have to be connected to it.
Group photo of Pixar Animation StudiosOnce again I re-discovered the tight connection between artists and technicians in Pixar as my friend Guido Quaroni told me many times: there is an artist sitting near an engineer building a production unit so that they can face together the flow of problems coming from the creative department.

Nice synthesis of what a CG artist should really be still comes from our nice friend, Paul Topolos, he says that a technician should try to think more as an artist while an artist should try to face technical problems. The fusion of the two frames of mind really creates what Pixar artists are.

On the friendly side: I met my good friends of, I met Marco Rolandi (CG Artist) for the first time. I met some fellows students and participants of some seminars I organized in Rome at the Tor Vergata University. I met again the friendly face of Federica Zanghirella, 3D animators in Turin. Ciao a tutti!

I took a lot of picture, if I can stay awake tonight, maybe I will post them. Don’t count on it!

Hey I managed to write in an horrible English my first official report! This is only the first part of the day, let’s see what VIEW conference 2007 will hold for the audience for the next hours.

Are you reading me?


3 people like this post.

2 Responses to “VIEW Conference 2007: Day one with Pixar and Electronic Arts”

  1. kishore Says:

    hi sir,
    this is kishore. i am from india i am vfx artist i have expreence in meraux animation in visakhapatnam as a( hair, fur, cloth) simuleation artist u can check my
    works (www. meraux i want to do work in big orgeneationes

    ……… i can say one thing i do hard work

    thank u sir

  2. narges Says:

    pixar I love you

    you are the best