The first time I saw your work, it was mostly sneakers ads. Are you still in the waters of the fashion industry or have you moved on to some new ones?
Yeah, sneaker work was pretty much dominant in the beginning as it related to our first project for the Nike football boot. One thing led to another. There’s still sneaker and “fashion” work we do just not being published as we tend to publish more full 3D animation work against our asset work.
It is generally believed that it is easier to work for clients from the gaming industry than for others. What are your experiences with that?
So far we have had a similar experience. Gaming guys already know how CGI operates. Kind of a geek-to-geek love relationship (which is always a strong bond).
In an interview, you said: “I would like gaming creators to turn to domestic studios (Serbian VFX and animation studios) when they need content, launch trailers, and other things, and not to go to The Mill when they earn their first million.”. So what is the chance for small studios like yours to survive in competition with big studios?
Man vs Machine is a small studio compared to Buck for example. Get your quality sorted (among all other things) and you should be able to swim with big fish.
People mostly associate your work with commercial activities, but we had the opportunity to see that you also worked on films. Is it related to film market research or is it your break from commercials?
We’re multidisciplinary, we really are no matter how often that word is used among VFX houses around the globe – advertising, tv show, cinematic, film – we love it all. We’re trying to position ourselves better these days and focus on our niche which should be gaming and advertising mostly but we’re not turning down cool film work ever.
You worked on the short movie “Just for the Record” which was released on HBO. Can you tell us your impressions of working on this film and more about the production of the film?
That little robot got my heart. We were 30% co-production on that one with ToBlink animation with the other 70%. I think it’s amazing what we produced here. Shout out to Stepko who pulled out the majority of the work. I just think we weren’t mature enough in those days to advertise what we did there. And we did something like 5min of full CG work in our spare time like a side project.
Some of the projects you worked on have won awards. Can you explain more?
Just for the Record won several awards. Also, we did asset work for Sehsucht’s Naraka trailer project which won the Shots Bronze award. So yeah, we’re kind of an award-winning studio category.
How big is your studio and how do you manage it?
We’re 8 people. Small group. We train our people to be 3D generalists as much as possible, so we can do a bunch of things bigger studios can, or can’t.
When hiring, do you prefer seniors or juniors and for what most kinds of artists?
Depending on what we need. We have both and they co-exist and make their paths. Juniors are there to learn from seniors. It’s always nice for the studio to build an artist “from scratch” so they can implement all the studio’s pipeline needs but it is always nice to hire seniors who know how to deal with the problems by themselves. Love them all and they’re all welcome.
The production of assets for gaming, commercials and film is very similar. Do you see yourself transitioning from making video trailers to making games?
Not at the moment but nobody knows what the future brings. From this point in time, it looks like a totally different business while on the other hand it might just be adding a developer or two and getting used to UE.
After all the various projects of all these years, which one is particularly memorable to you and why?
It’s definitely the Cricket Manager. The biggest bite we ever took and the biggest creative freedom we were ever trusted (thanks Woodblock) – and the outcome in those cases is always amazing content for the client.