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Interview with Rudy Massar


By Emalee Beddoes

Web: http://www.rudymassar.com/ (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 27th August 2013
Character designer Rudy Massar chats to us about life in the 3D industry, working as a freelancer and how he comes up with his character concepts.

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Hi Rudy - thanks for chatting with us today! I want to start by asking what brought you to 3D in the first place. Did you have any formal education or are you self-taught?

I'm mostly self-taught. I was learning to become a graphic designer and got into 3D by coincidence. Back in 1994 I was doing an internship at the MediaLab of my school, the Graphic Lyceum in Rotterdam. This R&D lab was run by two teachers and two interns. We explored everything that was new media and how we could use this in education. By new media I mean the internet, interactive CD-ROMs, 3D modeling and animation - all of which is considered common media now.

In the corner stood a Silicon Graphics IRIS Indigo workstation running Wavefront TDI Explore and manuals as thick as the computer itself. One day we sat down, grabbed the first manual and started figuring out the software and this machine from the future. It was impossible then to afford a workstation with software like this; it would have cost a fortune to own and maintain.

From that day on I was only interested in 3D. In the following years I was teaching 3D modeling and animation at the Willem De Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. The classroom was filled with 24 SGI O2 workstations running Alias|Wavefront PowerAnimator. You could say were pioneers of 3D modeling and animation for art students in the Netherlands.

Eventually, PowerAnimator was replaced by Maya and the SGI workstations replaced by Windows NT machines. Everything became cheaper and available to a broader audience. More and more people started sharing information online and the 3D community grew rapidly, as did the industry.

In 2000 I worked as a part-time instructor in Rotterdam and as a 3D artist for a creative studio/photography agency in Amsterdam. There I learned a lot about working for production and pushing the limits of 3D modeling and rendering, and about working to tight deadlines.

The cool thing about working in the 3D entertainment industry is that the technology keeps developing, your skills keep growing and you'll never stop learning.

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What led you to specializing in character design? Are there any other areas of 3D you are interested in?

I was lucky to get the opportunity to focus solely on characters at Guerrilla (Sony Computer Entertainment). At a smaller studio, I would probably still be a generalist as for a smaller studio, the cost of an employee, workstation and software licenses are simply too expensive. The budget for developing a triple-A is huge, so this way it is easier to hire specialists for each department: characters, setup, animators, weapons, vehicles, environment, etc. But in return, the publisher expects the game to be of the highest quality.

Like many other artists, I am fascinated by the human form. I especially love classic figure sculptures and the realistic oil paintings of the old masters, not so much contemporary art. I'm lucky doing what I love most: 3D character sculpting and modeling.

Of course, I am interested in many areas of 3D, CGI and VFX, and I believe you do need to keep up-to-date on developments made in the industry. If days weren't so short I would love to do more drawing, practical sculpting at Phoenix Atelier and even start learning traditional VFX at Stan Winston School, because all that is still the foundation of making digital art. There are tons of things I'd like to get my hands on, but as a professional artist I focus on characters and creatures.

Still, there are plenty of aspects involved in character art that will keep it forever interesting: modeling and sculpting, organic shapes/anatomy, sculpting cloth/ncloth, hard surface armor/robots, UV-layout and texturing, shading, hair, lighting and rendering, realistic/toony. You could say that everything from texturing to rendering is a specialism too, but in my opinion you need to master all of these techniques as well.

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 215034, pid: 0) Erik on Tue, 27 August 2013 2:38pm
Wow nice work Rudy!
You just gave me some flashbacks to the time at the Willem de Kooning academy :)
keep up the great work!
het gaat je goed,
Erik
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