Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your beginnings?
Hi, my name is Stefan Jevremovic, born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia. I make Realtime Visual Effect for games.
I was always passionate about art and games. I started playing with LEGO when I was four and playing games on my Commodore 64 when I was six. My beginning was the same as a lot of other digital artists with Windows Paint, then Photoshop. I started self-teaching 3D computer graphics in 1998. mostly for fun. Back then there were no video tutorial and in fact not many tutorials at all. Many I found online had a lot of text and few screenshots, so I had to use a dictionary to translate them.
I also spent a lot of time playing video games. That was the reason I wasn’t improving much with 3D for some time. I was teaching myself 3D until 2006. when I enrolled to the Chiron School for VFX for movies in Belgrade. This time I was learning Autodesk Maya and the courses covered Modeling, Texturing, Rendering, Lighting, basic Rigging and Character Animation. When I finished the courses I had problem deciding on which area of 3D I want to focus and specialize in.
As soon as I finished the university for Business and Management I started getting work as Freelancer focusing on Hard-surface Modeling. Most of the work I got was the leftover project from a friend. After few project I became faster and better and I was working alongside that friend on cinematic trailers for World of Battleships and World of Warplanes.
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.
Vladimir is founder and CEO of 3Lateral, a multidisciplinary company built around passion for creation of an appearance of life in digital medium. Vladimir’s focus in career are high fidelity digital humans starting from capture systems (3D and 4D scanning, appearance capture) to modelling and articulation systems to data bases, statistical modelling and engine integration. 3Lateral has received several prestigious awards including Most Innovative Entrepreneur by EY (2014) and Best Real Time Graphics and Interactivity (SIGGRAPH 2016, as part of team of companies Epic Games, Ninja Theory, Cubic Motion and 3Lateral). Portfolio of his company includes many AAA game titles including Grand Theft Auto IV and V, Red Dead Redemption, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Star Citizen, Until Dawn, Battlefield 1 and The Order:1886. We had an opportunity to hear about the 3Lateral’s “behind the scenes” works at CGA Belgrade conference, where Vladimir exclusively premiered some of their fresh developments.
Milica Zec is a New York City-based film and virtual reality director, editor, and screenwriter.Her directorial debut in the virtual reality medium was a short narrative piece called, “Giant,” which premiered at Sundance Film Festival New Frontier 2016. “Giant” is a virtual reality experience based on true events, that transports the viewer into the experience of a family struggling to survive in an active war zone. Since its premiere, “Giant” has been lauded as a seminal expression of the potential of virtual reality as a storytelling vehicle, and has been featured in numerous press outlets as one of the top VR experiences at Sundance 2016.
First of all, tell us how did you continue you career in New York, after graduating from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade?
After graduating from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts I moved to New York to pursue a career as a film editor. I was working on numerous feature narrative films and documentaries. I also worked for nine years with Marina Abramovic as an editor, director and producer.
Did political situation in Serbia and the wars in the former Yugoslavia pushed you into thinking more about the issues of conflict, identity, human struggle?
Yes definitely, because of that experience I wanted to create a VR project called Giant where I wanted to share my experience through a narrative fictional story. What mattered was to transfer the emotion and realism of what people are going through in conflict zones. I wanted to share that primarily with a Western audience who have never been in such situations, so that they can broaden their understanding through being immersed in the story. The family in Giant is Western, too, so the audience can relate more.
Nikola is Principal PD/PO based in Toronto, working with multiple teams and projects in Autodesk. He is responsible for Maya Color Management, Hypershade, Render Setup, directly working with Arnold Team and designing Maya future workflows like MaterialX – LookDevX and Procedural world building. He was previously working on various positions with smaller and large studios as Sony Imageworks and Framestore. Nikola will be presenting Maya Modern Rendering Workflows at Computer graphics and art conference and share his knowledge how to advance academic programs at Education in Computer Grapnics panel.
You were working in VFX productions such as Sony Pictures Imageworks and Framestore, and now on development of software that you used as a lighting artist. What is the feeling when you know that some of your solutions will affect the development of the VFX industry? Is there something you are missing about the VFX?
I feel challenged since working on beast as Maya it’s not easy task, it’s kind ‘a nerve-wrecking because you are aware that specific change will affect many users through a whole planet. Additional “good” problem is that Maya is CG industry standard that surrounding large sets of different workflows but in same time it’s used in many other diverse Industries that dictating different requirements. To complicate even more, you can divide CG industry requirements in at least 3 groups that in some cases dictating quite different requirements. Yeah, choosing right path many times would need some brave decisions that are based on many factors.
We could truthfully state that I am in some interesting position where I am affecting industry to lean in to specific direction however, greater truth is that behind every struggle and final success is a group effort and there is nothing different in my case.
Working on shots, struggling trough Pipe and finding solution is something that I miss a lot from industry. I guess biggest difference is that in VFX Industry you would see ramification of your work on daily basic, compering to Software developing where your products are coming out after one or two years and actual feedback is delayed even more.
Vitaly is often a guest in Belgrade.
As a Regional Sales Manager from Foundry, we were, obviously, curious about him. We’ve asked him about his experiences visiting Serbia and the latest Foundry’s developments.
What is Elara?
Elara is a cloud-based service for post production that gives an edge to independent professionals and small to medium-sized studios. Offering a cloud service gives users the freedom to spin up a virtual studio with a global team, central pipeline and resources with just a few clicks, and without having to worry about high capital expenditure and management complexity. You don’t need any expensive infrastructure locally, as even a basic laptop will provide the same experience of using a powerful workstation.
Elara centralises infrastructure, creative tools and pipeline in the cloud, giving users fast and flexible access to Foundry and third-party applications, integrated cloud rendering, scalable storage and compute all in one place.