3DTotal: Hello Robert, could you tell us a little bit about yourself please and also what sparked your interest in 3D? Robert: Hi Chris, I am a healthy young German man at the age of 33 years and I've been working in the 3D industry since 1995. I was inspired, and I think everybody else probably was, by the short films that Pixar created. I was fascinated about the possibility of creating my very own 3D world as well as movies. I needed to know how to go about doing this and if it I could to do it here in Germany. As it happens, I had a friend who was working in the industry and showed me that it was possible. At the beginning I was interested in all areas of 3D and started to accumulate as much information as I could get. In 1995 it was not at all easy creating 3D, as the PCs where very slow and expensive, with almost no professional package good enough to work with. So I started an internship at a company called Tevox. They were doing real-time animation, on Silicon Graphics, Inc. workstations each worth about 40,000 Euros, working with 3D software costing another 20,000 Euros...you see, one workplace was very expensive.But not only, the hard and software made it difficult to start in 3D, also the knowledge base was not very big. There were almost no tutorials on the Internet, no learning DVD's, no tutorials books, and almost no 3D schools, so the only way you could learn was from your work mates....I think that somebody who starts nowadays can
learn in a much shorter time than somebody who started 10 years ago... it is all about how fast you can get your knowledge. I remember that some artists were not telling you they’re "Tricks" because they were afraid off you getting better than them. So knowledge was your investment, today all the knowledge is there you just have to use it. Nowadays it is even more about your skills and talent.
3DTotal: You graduated from the Film Academy in Baden-Wuerttemberg, and then went on to work on some big projects. How beneficial do you think going to an Academy like this will have over learning and teaching yourself? Robert: Well I can't tell you 100 % how it is to go study and then try to find work, because I was already working for 3 years before I decided to study, and I also worked along side my
studies. I think you don't necessarily need to study if you want to work in the 3D industry; the question is which way you would like more. If you start with an internship it will take you probably 6 months before you start working as a junior. The positive in this, is that you get paid for doing it and you also get to learn stuff. But depending on the company it can make the difference, with the quality of work and what you have to do every day. It can all get very boring and after some time you will learn very little, even though there is still plenty to learn within your field. Maybe doing modelling and lighting for industry or architectural
projects for 4 years and at some point you will get really good in it, but there are so many more fields to discover. Maybe you want to do your own stuff and then studying is the best way. But still, if you don't study you can take a break from working and create your own stuff. I was talking to so many CG Artist who didn't study and they all told me that they would like to make a short film but they couldn't because they have to work, and after work it would be to much effort. So I always ask them why they don't take some months off to make there personal stuff, I think, there afraid of not finding work again after there free time.
It's different if you start to study on a film school, animation school or 3D school, there you don't get
money for your work, you have to pay for it. If it is a good school you learn a lot in different fields. You can experiment with different styles and work with people you like, you decide, it is your project. But if you
study for 4 years and then start to work, you are "just” a student who just finished school. Where as if you start with an internship you have after 4 years already 4 years of production experience. You know exactly what you are doing and probably you will earn more money. But you don’t have the experience of making your own movies or projects. So it is a personal question everybody has to answer for himself. Would you like more freedom and have the money to finance your studies, then study, but if you want to get money, instead of spending it, try to start out in an internship.
3DTotal: Getting to work on Harry Potter 3 must have been a big break for you, could you tell us how the
job came to be? Robert: I have to admit that at the time I got the job offer, I was not aware that the project was as big as it was, or for that matter, so important for my career. At the time I had the offer from Framestore, The Mill
was also interested in me, as everybody knows, they mainly do commercials and one of the best at it.
But because I didn't have that much experience in working on feature films, I decided to work on Potter. But both companies are great.
So I decided to travel to London and try and get some interviews for one of the postproduction
companies. Before that I tried to get in touch by email, some answered some didn't. It's very helpful if
you know somebody within the company who you can forward your reel or even put in a word and give a good word on your behalf. Knowing a lot of people in the industry is very, very helpful and the more you know the simpler it gets.