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Interview with Carlos Ortega


By Simon Morse

Web: http://www.zigrafus.com.mx/ (will open in new window)
Email: moc.liamtoh@knat_ggorts

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Date Added: 9th April 2013
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Hi Carlos. I have been trying to do a little research into your background and training and although I couldn't find much I did see that you have a huge skill set and have experience in quite a few fields. How did you become interested in CG and how did you end up in your current employment?

Hi Simon! First of all, thanks for taking your time in doing this interview, I'm very flattered and excited to share a little bit of my personality and my passion. One of the first things I remember that got me interested in CG was the first time I saw Jurassic Park at the cinema as a kid. I've always been a big fan of dinosaurs and that moment was a milestone for what I wanted to do with my life, so despite the fact that I always wanted to be a paleontologist, I decided to study graphic design. I forced myself to learn how all those amazing VFX, dinosaurs and video game cinematics were done, and be able one day to do something similar myself.

My first job involved web pages and multimedia development, but as a hobby I learned CarraraStudio, just for fun. That would lead later to getting a full time job at the university in my town, thanks to a friend's recommendation. As a fun fact, my first paid job was to model and animate a bunch of dinosaurs for a paleontological exhibition running in my town. It was the best way to blend two of my biggest passions in one project.

After a couple of years using CarraraStudio I decided to learn Maya and improve my skills as a 3D artist.

Ha, I love Jurassic Park too! The CG in that film differs in style to most of your work, in that your work is more stylized and cartoony. Do you ever think about taking on realistic projects like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park?

Sure, I think about it most of the time, one of the many things I would love to master is digital set extension, which is one of those areas nobody notices when it is perfectly done. It's funny because I admire and enjoy a well-done, realistic scene, but I grew up with Disney, Hanna Barbera, Chuck Jones and Looney Tunes, Filmation etc., so as far as personal work goes most of mine involves cartoons (Laughs)!

One of the things about being a 3D generalist artist is that it involves tons of different disciplines, one of these being photorealism. I think it is fundamental to know how a realistic lit scene or character works and looks like. As a freelancer I've had some projects involving realistic scenes, and from start to finish, I always learn a bunch of technical but important stuff that I end up using on every new project if required, even if it involves just cartoons.

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With your love of Jurassic Park, do you hope to work in the film industry at any point in the future? If you do, what kind of film would you like to work on?

Of course! I think it has been one of my biggest dreams. When I watch a good movie, I not only get moved by a good VFX scene, a fantastic creature or charming cartoon acting, but I also get moved by all the talented and passionate artists that are behind all those incredible scenes. That is the reason I always watch the whole credits after a movie! It is incredible to see what a good animated movie can convey to a child or a grown-up guy like me, in just a single scene, through its characters. I would love to be able to convey that feeling myself through my work someday. I'm currently working on an animated feature film being developed here in Mexico. It's great to have the chance to share seats with passionate and talented colleagues; the friendship, mutual feedback and learning experience is priceless.

I notice that you use both Mudbox and ZBrush. How would you compare the two programmes? And do you have a favorite?

I tried both packages when I decided to get into digital sculpting. I started with ZBrush because of my hardware limitations; it was a bit difficult at first to get used to the interface, but it ended up being a very noble application. Later I tried Mudbox just to develop my skills and I fell in love with the application. Right now, I would say Mudbox is my favorite, mostly because of its texturing capabilities and intuitive interface, and I feel it is better integrated with Maya. But honestly, both applications are great and can make the same things in the end. It is all about finding the best tool to achieve the desired goal, and the one you feel more comfortable working with - it's the same for Max/Maya, Photoshop/Painter, Corel/Illustrator etc. As I always say, all the magic comes from the guy or the girl behind the keyboard and the monitor.


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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 191626, pid: 0) Milad on Wed, 10 April 2013 8:59pm
Hey Carlos,i am one of the fans of your superb work... you are awesome!
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