Interview: Yavor Stoykov – Chaos Group

Yavor Stoykov is a 3D Artist with many years of experience in 3D modelling and visualization. Yavor joined the Chaos Group 3D team in 2010, after working for an architectural practice. Since then he has been one of the main driving forces behind the creation of the V-Ray Training Programs and all the companys arch-viz demos.





You were a representative of a Chaos Group at CGA in Belgrade. What are the impressions of the conference and can you tell us more about your presentation?

Feeling very happy to be in Belgrade. As a part of Chaos Group, I was honored to have the opportunity to be part and contribut to the CGA conference and share the latest V-Ray developments with the community.

In this session I  summarized some of the most interesting examples, focusing on tips and optimal use cases of V-Ray’s 3.6 most advanced features between 3ds Max and Maya, GPU and hybrid rendering, cross-platform scene transfer, very convenient approaches to working with third-party assets, and touched on the optimal way of employing Chaos Group’s own simulator – Phoenix FD. The final touches were happen in the very potent ray-tracing addition to the compositors’ toolset – V-Ray for NUKE. All this – in the optimal render time, of course.

Moving from being an Architect student through CG artist to consulting some big companies. Was this natural progression for you? Do you still do your own CG work?  

The passion to render first started as a hobby. Later, as a way to illustrate and present my projects in the university. This passion to be creative drew me to 3D. Used to work in an architectural studio, in Sofia for 5 years. Then I reached the 3D arch-viz summit of the studio and making details in AutoCAD wasn’t my way. Wanted to move forward in my progress. When started working in Chaos Group I was so happy – this was a huge step for me. With the years I learned a lot, not only for V-Ray, rendering, softwares and plugins , but how the workflow in the different industries is set. This knowledge guides me, when I find a gap in the pipeline to optimize and streamline it. The CG environment is so dynamic that you need to learn something new every single day and I feel good with that.

Years of hard work serving the industry has won Chaos Group the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards 2017. Your team must be very proud of it? 

It was a genuine thrill. One of the things that Vlado and Peter have fostered at Chaos Group is this sense that we are all working toward the same goals, so when one of us wins, we all win. When we were told about the award, you could feel the energy throughout the office. Everyone was so excited, and to be recognized at this level was really validating for the entire company. It was fun to be a part of. 

V-Ray has been used on over 150 feature films since 2002, including hits like Doctor Strange, Deadpool, and Captain America: Civil War. Which of these movies are you most proud of?

I’m proud of all of them! Every year V-Ray gets used in a new way on a big production, so as an artist, that’s what I always look for. How did the team push the software, and how did they do it? It’s really stunning how far the industry has come in the last 10 years. I’m just happy that V-Ray came through for so many talented artists. When you work at a company like this, that’s what you think about a lot day to day: the effect the product has out in the world. I know everyone at the office feels the same. One of our favorite things to do is to go see V-Ray movies as a group. It’s fun and helps keep everyone grounded in the art, which is ultimately the reason all of us do what we do.

How far does your perfectionism go? If you’re watching movie on the big screen, after the premiere, do you think – this or that should’ve been done better? Does it happen to you?

I think as an artist you are always thinking about your preferences. Different colors, textures, cuts, styles, etc. appeal to different people so that’s all bound to pop into your head from time to time. The other side of that is that when you focus on 3D all day, you know when something is amazing. When I see an incredible piece of art, I always try to deconstruct it. I get some of my best ideas this way. I try to balance both sides out, though, so I can admire as much as I critique.

What is the new mountain to climb? What is your thought about the future of rendering?

I keep coming back to “CG for all” products like Dimension CC. Photorealism shouldn’t just reside in the high-end. When you make it accessible to graphic designers and other types of artists, the world starts to change. People get to be more creative, without spending hours and hours learning a new piece of software. That’s why I was so thrilled when V-Ray was built into Dimension. It lets people start their 3D journey the right way, with photorealism a button click away. I think it’ll inspire a lot of people to keep going.

V-Ray is used around the world in many VFX facilities, but this is only one of the industries that Chaos products cover. 

Yes, V-Ray is actually the most popular renderer in the world. It started in architecture, and today it is used by 92 of the top 100 firms. Since then, it has expanded to visual effects, animation, automotive, industrial design, broadcast, films, games and commercials. At this point, any industry using 3D is using V-Ray to some degree, including recent immersive technology like VR and AR.

V-Ray for Nuke is giving us the combined Compositing and Lighting workflow, which creates the great power mix. Where is this power the strongest?

Because V-Ray for Nuke allows compositors to light and render their scenes, it fundamentally changes their workflow. Before, if the lighting was off, compositors would have to send offending elements back to the 3D team for more work. Now, they have the creative control to handle these changes in the moment. It’s cut out several steps and empowered a lot of artists. It was even used on high-end productions like “Spectre” over at Framestore. We are very proud of it.

Which skills does the artist need in order to create the photo-realistic images?

A good eye for textures, composition, form and details. Fooling someone is really about being hyper aware of what makes objects and scenes look real. Understanding the ins and outs of photography helps as well.

Thanks for the answers and see you next year on CGA!




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