Interview with Djordje Ilic

  1. Please, tell us something about you.

My background is art. I finished the School of Art: ”Bogdan Suput” in Novi Sad. In the meantime, I discovered the unbelievable 3d world and I started to learn by myself. The first thing that I learned was modeling. I literally modeled everything that I saw around me, from apples to characters. After modeling, I started to learn other parts of the production. Since I wanted to upgrade my skills, I enrolled in School of Visual effects ”Chiron” in Belgrade. I was lucky enough that my mentor of animation was Kostadin Martic, which will later turn out to be my first employer at Spring Onion.

2. What sparked your interest in VFX?

Actually, that happened accidently! I got a demo version of Cinema 4d, from my uncle which he got in the newspapers (Svet Kompjutera). Funny! At that time I’ve been in some different world. I did automotive airbrush and I was pretty good at it, but I wanted to broaden my horizons.

3. Your personal project “Legend 964” is very immersive. Why are personal projects   important for artists?

Thanks, mate! In my opinion, personal projects are very important for artists because they can completely express themselves and made something that has no boundaries. They don’t need to worry about tight deadlines, there is no pressure… just creativity and RAM’s are the limits! Personal projects also allow other people to see all your skills, the way you were thinking and a bit of your personality.

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4. You spent four years on this project. Why so long and what were the challenges?

Oh man, freelance killed me!!! I struggled a lot between 8-10 hours on my regular job in the studio and a freelance. Not to mention that my social life was 0` at the time. On the ”LEGEND 964”, I have worked only when I managed to pinch a bit of a free time- if there was any… Looking from this perspective now, I think I would need less than a year to finish it, but it is over anyway! The main challenge was certainly modeling. The reason is very simple: the car is very old and rare and I couldn’t  find every detail that I needed on the internet. One interesting situation was that one time I even contacted a guy on the ebay, of course as a ”potential buyer”. I needed desperately that one part of the interior, so I asked him to take a few closer pictures of the item so I can see better… of course, he had never heard from me again. I apologize, sir!

  5. Which software did you use for render? 

For my personal project, I’ve used Vray, because, in my opinion, a great render engine is a perfect balance of quality and render time and Vray is definitely the one. The key thing is scene optimization. I spent a lot of time making the flexible workflow.

Besides the Vray, I’m using Arnold, Redshift, Corona… Every of those renders had pros and cons, but they are all equally used in the industry.It’s not a question anymore which one is better because render engines have really progressed for last several years, especially now when GPU rendering is more and more popular (faster).

6. Why is knowledge of classical art important for a digital artist?

Classical art is very important because everything starts from simple drawing, composition, good choice of colors and lighting. Art history and Color theory are perhaps the best basis for learning most of the things you are going to use in the future. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can not be a great artist without knowing this.

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7. Do you have any advice for young artists that are preparing to jump into machine called “entertainment industry”?

The key thing is portfolio/showreel, but before that, they have to ask themselves what do they want to do… If you love modeling, do modeling. If you like texturing, do texturing. I think that the best way for progressing is to do just one part of the production. Keep pushing the boundaries, always strive to do more and try to be more creative.

Prepare your portfolio as best you can. Don’t put unfinished work in it. If you must to do that, just emphasize that this is still “work in progress” and put it on the end. For the first employer choose some great local studio and prepare yourself to absorb as much knowledge as you can..

8. Is there anything you are currently working on, or are excited about starting, that you can tell us about? Will some of the next projects be about Yugo or Zastava 101?

At this point, I am not working on a new project, but I am thinking about one. Currently, I am looking for some great references, doing some tests, trying out some tools and thinking about potential problems that might occur.

Ha, ha, maybe in some distant future… I know for sure that this time it’s not going to be related to cars.

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9. What kind of projects would you like to work on in the future?

Last couple of years I mostly worked on commercials, prints and stuff like that… I am now ready to do something more interesting…by something, I mean films 🙂

10. What do you like to do away from the computer?

Just from recent, I am fascinated by Korean cinematography, so I spend my free time watching some good movies. Besides that, I like drawing, photography and traveling whenever and wherever is possible.

Djordje’s personal web page: http://djordjeilicvfx.com

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