3DTotal: You currently work for UPP, a visual effects and post-production studio in the Czech Republic. Can you tell us a little about your role there? Tomas: Yes, that’s true. I work there as a senior CG artist, which covers such things like modeling, texturing, lighting etc. Most of the 3D artists in UPP are generalists, which means that you have to deal with most types of the production; there are only a few people specialized in one area of work. So it really depends on the actual request as to what work I do. But most of my work includes the lighting and tweaking of the renders. That’s why I find it important to know at least one compositing package and try to be as independent as I can.
3DTotal: It seems as though there are an increasing number of artists now using post-production more and more, even when creating stills. How do you regard this process compared to pure 3D? Tomas: Personally, I like to use all the available methods that can help me to achieve the best possible final artwork. In fact the clean 3D render is only half of the job; the post-processing is as important as a good quality render and it can save a lot of time. I can add very quickly, and in real-time, nice colors, contrast and exposure tweaks to my creations. I use post-processing a lot even on my personal stills because I find the process of tweaking the shapes, colors and stuff like that very creative. I love to use a set of various dirty textures which I usually blend in Photoshop and combine with my render.
3DTotal: There are a number of images on your website relating to the Ashfall game. Can you explain the idea behind the project and what it involved on your part? Tomas: The idea of making the game came to us some time ago. We later named the project Ashfall purely for our own satisfaction. We started putting together various ideas, thoughts and of course, numerous graphical concepts and our two game designers were doing their best to build something from this crazy mess! This game was always meant to be a mix between adventure and RPG style of playing, with a very strong storyline. There were supposed to be fully 3D characters moving freely in pre-rendered environments. And these environments were my part of the work. Unfortunately we never found any publisher or investors so this project will sadly end as an unfinished dream.
3DTotal: Your portfolio covers both environments and characters, but what particular subjects interest you the most and why? Tomas: You know, I don't really separate it like that. I just enjoy working on my artworks and I don't care if it is an environment, character or maybe even a cartoon. Mostly I care about the story or thought that I put into the image to make it come to life or some feeling that the image is supposed to convey to the viewer. I've never considered myself as some great artist. I think my pictures are rather decorative or illustrative. But in any case I try to put more into my creations than just pretty colors. I think that the viewers will know when there's something more in the picture than meets the eye, when the pictures are made peculiar and with passion.
3DTotal: What areas of CG do you feel you have made the most advances in during your career so far? Tomas: That's a tricky question. I guess drinking gallons of coffee? [Laughs]. No, really, I think I've got much better at one thing for sure. I used to be incredibly careless and any kind of a reasonable scene management was way below zero level. Now, when working at UPP, it’s expected that my work is not only of a high-quality, but also neat so that others can work with my scenes. I came to realize that using correct naming conventions and other things is an absolute necessity, otherwise the mess will eat you alive. Other than that, with programs such as ZBrush the quality side of modeling has gone up significantly up, as well as the speed and efficiency. I'm able to model exactly what I want nowadays. The rest is just all about practice.
3DTotal: Which piece from your gallery do you feel conveys the most interesting story in your opinion and why? Tomas: I don’t know, it’s very hard to say. Every one of my artworks means a different thing to me. In the majority of cases it’s an expression of some sort of mood. For example, when I was creating Marv I was feeling angry about something and I think that this mood soaked through to the image. But the most valuable artwork for me is the It likes candy picture. This artwork was created as a series of three
pictures based on a "toy" theme. I wanted to create the perception that even in an innocent environment relating to childhood and toys there are things that, when seen under a different angle, can be perceived as horrifying. That's why I took a traditional Russian Matrioshka toy and came up with a little chicken-like creature that lives inside it. I didn't want it to appear too frightening so I adjusted the theme to the
cuteness of toys.