Special effects in the media industry have been around for a long time but over the last few years we have seen an explosion in the use of special effects and 3D animation, such that it’s often pretty difficult to separate the effect from reality. For me, the most obvious jump in quality came with Pixar’s Toy Story and from that point it seems to have gone from strength to strength. Of course, the creative media industry isn’t the only industry that utilises the benefits of 3D animation. You’ll find them used in interior design, architecture, stage shows, medicine, business and, of course, it’s huge in the gaming industry.
In many ways the gaming industry has perhaps seen the biggest advances in this kind of technology. I’m showing my age here, and I’m no gamer by any means, but if you compare Tomb raider which kicked off in 2001 with the games on the market now, the advances are incredible in graphics and design. It would be easy to think that 3D animation in the film world would be the same as that of the gaming world but there are differences as Mark Masters suggests in his article on the subject. In the film world it’s all about the shot; the director decides what it is they want you to see and from what angle so, as long as the shot looks right, that’s all that matters. Of course, in gaming, the world is much more interactive. As the gamer you have control of the character and the world in which they interact, which means the animator needs to consider the world from every angle.
Here at FPS Media, we haven’t yet ventured into the world of animation for games but, hey, who knows… one day maybe. We do however, venture into the world of 3D animation on a regular basis. So this is the perfect time to introduce you to Csaba, our resident 3D commercial artist. I had the opportunity to chat to Csaba about his work recently. You might have inferred from the name, he’s not originally from Britain. Rather, he hails from Hungary but has been around the UK for a number of years now having completed his studies at the Birmingham City University in 2013. Like many of us in the creative industries, Csaba supported his development as a 3D artist working in restaurants while honing his skills. He came on board with us here at FPS Media as a contractor initially but joined the team full time last month. We are very excited to have him on board.
I asked, Csaba what got him into working with animation and 3D? He told me, “Whilst I never imagined that I would work in the creative industries (he previously studied law!), I have, for as long as I can remember, been an avid gamer and a fan of animated features of all kinds. I spent a year as an exchange student in the USA where I realised I was pretty good at drawing and I really enjoyed it. I probably imagined that I would work in the gaming industry as a character designer but, to be honest, it’s pretty difficult to gain a full time job as a video game designer so I focussed my attention on specialising in 3D and I love it.”
Csaba believes that 3D is going to play a huge role in the future of commercial media and I tend to agree with him. With the rise of NPR (Non-Photorealistic Rendering) allowing the animator to create a world that doesn’t necessarily represent realism, but one of impressionistic artistry. A beautiful example can be found here, where an Airbnb guest took a trip to Berlin with her father and she wanted to tell the story of the man they met at their Airbnb flat. Csaba adds, “In the commercial field I believe 3D will play a huge role, if you think about it, it already does. 3D gives you the ability to present objects in a manner that would simply be impossible to record on a camera. The freedom of special effects, transformations, camera angles, environments and lighting that can be created in this manner of workflow truly bring powerful imagery to the viewer, without the need for location shooting and any sort of special equipment apart from your computer. With these skills in our possession mixed with traditional mediums we are absolutely ready to tackle the future.”
Well with that in mind, Csaba, pass me the Atari joystick and let’s have a game of pacman! No… moved on from that have we… Better get practicing my COD moves then!