Meet the Artist :: David Luong

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Old 09 September 2013   #46
Hi David!
Almost everyone asked almost every question which I might ask David about his experience, so there is nothing left for me to ask about his professional experience. But as a professional artist at blizzard, lets get back to the past, you have worked with talented artists like Dylan Cole, Alp Altiner in Superman Returns project, can you tell me the experience on how you have manage yourself with those artists. Any incident which you still remember and haven't shared yet. Also, we have seen your personal and professional artwork, any artwork which you think, you have made for your enjoyment or any artwork which you think is very close to your heart.Please share it.
Usama
 
Old 09 September 2013   #47
what would you recommend like me who are all self taught artist..how to approach further...and also how you approached yours and overcome all..?and also everyone asked almost every question which I had in mind.
 
Old 09 September 2013   #48
Originally Posted by AneeshaRode: Hello David,

Do you think you could you give us all a simple walk-through of your daily life as a cinematic artist at Blizzard?

As an aspiring artist I still hold onto that dream of one day working for such a place like Blizzard Entertainment. I'd also like to end this by saying that your work is simply amazing and good luck to all your future projects!


Allo Aneesha,

I apologize for the late email. I didn't get notification of it until today strangely! I can definitely give you a general idea!

Usually the week starts with checking renders that were sent off to the farm over the weekend. I come in, and check my email, and settle in, and work on my notes that I had from the previous day from the supervisor and art director. It would be self sufficient most of the time, unless something comes up, in which case I would email my producer for help to communicating with other artists or talk to my lead if there are any technical questions about my shot. Right before noon, we would do our team dailies, and go over what we want to fix internally, and then work on our notes some more until later afternoon. During that time, we have company wide dailies where the director and art director look at the shots too and give us further notes if they have any. It would be more or less like this for the rest of the days in the week.

We're mostly autonomous and work on our own but still within the team, as great trust is tasked to us to make the shot look great, and be on schedule. There is some nice creative freedom most of the time, and if there is any difference of opinion, you can defend your point of view against your supervisor or director/art director. They will listen to it all and will take it in to alter the shot, or just go with whatever they believe is good instead.

Lunch is usually around 1pm or so, but it's flexible between 12 to 2pm. I usually start my work day around 9:30am, and get out around 6:30pm. So a full 8 hour day with 30 mins to an hour lunch time.

Blizzard is an amazing place to work and fully supports you having a life outside, so overtime is as minimal as possible. I hope that gives you a good idea of how my work is every day. Also, here's a picture of her at her work hanging out! I bring Xena, my furry daughter, to my office every so often.

__________________
David Luong

www.davidluong.net
facebook.com/ackdoh

I teach a DMP Workshop

http://photonicplayground.com art gallery!
 
Old 09 September 2013   #49
Originally Posted by Pitviper: Hi David!
Almost everyone asked almost every question which I might ask David about his experience, so there is nothing left for me to ask about his professional experience. But as a professional artist at blizzard, lets get back to the past, you have worked with talented artists like Dylan Cole, Alp Altiner in Superman Returns project, can you tell me the experience on how you have manage yourself with those artists. Any incident which you still remember and haven't shared yet. Also, we have seen your personal and professional artwork, any artwork which you think, you have made for your enjoyment or any artwork which you think is very close to your heart.Please share it.
Usama


Hio Usama,

Yes definitely! Those are great questions about my past. I worked with Alp at Rhythm & Hues. I was actually a compositor for one of his shots for which he did the matte painting for on Superman Returns. He's a really awesome and friendly artist who is willing to impart his knowledge and experience on you...I got to sit behind him as he did some of his work for Superman Returns back in 2006. I watched as he painted and used textures from other CG rendered ice crystal elements and other photos to get the look needed for the movie.

While I was working on Superman Returns, I also found out that Dylan was working on the movie too, but remotely at home, not on site at R&H. Being one of my main inspirations in school, I immediately contacted him, and was able to get him on the phone, he was nice enough to come meet me at R&H. He told me he'd be the really tall guy coming down the hall, taller than anyone else! So when I met him with my other friend/coworker Behnam, he was indeed quite tall, but super friendly! We chatted about his work on Superman Returns, and how he did some of the shots. I won't forget what he told me on how he created the icy glacier environments for the movie. It was created using Baking Soda, laid out on a board and lightly pressed with a flat object to shape itself like a glacier. Baking Soda is unique in that when you press it down, it kind of crushes down to look like mini glaciers and snowscapes, it even has tiny looking ice "rocks" in areas that break off. After shaping some of these, he would take light them according to what's needed in the matte painting, and then take photos of the "miniature set" with a high aperture, like f8 or beyond so there is little blurred out depth of field as possible. This would allow him to take these textures and put them into his matte painting while still looking "big" without having shallow depth of field from a miniature photograph of the usual sense. In Photoshop, he then colored it, and painted in additional details like specular reflections, sub surface scattering of the ice, and deep blue shadows.

I found this to be a quite amazing idea! Very inventive. And it just goes to show again that matte painting needs not be entirely in 3D, or entirely hand painted, it can be a mixed media approach where whatever looks the best in the end is what's needed.

Unfortunately, I don't have too much time myself to create personal art work other than what you see on my website already. Although I did create 3 entirely new pieces just for the upcoming D'Artiste: Matte Painting Vol. 3 book along with the tutorials and a video walk through of "Monolith City" so check that out when it's out soon!!
__________________
David Luong

www.davidluong.net
facebook.com/ackdoh

I teach a DMP Workshop

http://photonicplayground.com art gallery!
 
Old 09 September 2013   #50
Originally Posted by skcac: what would you recommend like me who are all self taught artist..how to approach further...and also how you approached yours and overcome all..?and also everyone asked almost every question which I had in mind.


Heyo there!

Thanks for reading up and dropping by. I have a lot of my CGWorkshop students ask me this question. Some are self taught and taking my course, while others have an education and wanting to expand upon it. There is lots of knowledge out there that you can learn for free from. CGtalk.com is a great example. With it's many featured articles of professional work and how it's done, it's great to learn just by seeing the breakdowns and explanations. Also, the forums here are a great deal of excellent source of knowledge to learn more on your own, and lots of professionals view the posts as well as reply for some nice feedback from time to time.

You can learn from books at your local library, lots of art books out there, not necessarily about the up to date software in the industry, but the foundations needed to become a great artist such as books on color theory, perspective, anatomy, composition, and drawing.

Sites that are also great are some of these that I have selected myself and linked at the CGtalk.com Digital Matte Painting Forum's Tome of Knowledge thread here: http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthr...f=196&t=1117892 TONS of information there to get you started and then some for amazing inspirations.

Also, I would network, and talk to other artists in the professional field. Sometimes you can ask them questions about your work and get critiques. They may be busy at times, so don't expect something right away, but it's always worth a try. Network on Twitter, Facebook, and sites like CGtalk.com, and be sure to post your work as often as you can, even though you think it's not ready to show. You may get some feedback that will help correct your work before it's too late, such as some glaring compositional issues or focal subject issues which you want to nail down as early as possible.

Even self learning is sometimes daunting, so if possible, try to get a solid education at a local university in art if you can, and the most affordable as you can. There is also a forum here on CGtalk.com that discusses other online courses and schools which you can think about that will help with your artistic education here: http://forums.cgsociety.org/forumdisplay.php?f=283

You're on to a great start asking in this forum already, keep going with the path I talked about earlier in this post, and good luck to your future!
__________________
David Luong

www.davidluong.net
facebook.com/ackdoh

I teach a DMP Workshop

http://photonicplayground.com art gallery!
 
Old 09 September 2013   #51
From VFX to Game!

Hi David, how did you switch from Visual Effect to Game?
My friend is a really good artist modeler, he started in Game but now working in VFX as character modeler. He's always love to get back to game but he's looking for staff position.
 
Old 09 September 2013   #52
VFX to Game!

Hi David, how did you switch from Visual Effect to Game?
my friend is a really good artist modeler, he started in Game but now working in VFX as character modeler. He's always love to get back to game but still looking for staff position!
 
Old 09 September 2013   #53
Originally Posted by RumteaVN: Hi David, how did you switch from Visual Effect to Game?
my friend is a really good artist modeler, he started in Game but now working in VFX as character modeler. He's always love to get back to game but still looking for staff position!


Hio Nha,

That's a great question! For me, I'm happy to be a geek in both the movie world, and the video game world. I grew up loving the escape that cinema delivered while sitting there with friends, and being able to be transported to another alternate reality in under a couple of hours. I love the illusion that are made up of visuals and sound that come along the movie.

I also love the longer form of escape that is video games. It not only lets you play through a whole new alternate world, but also develop hand-eye coordination as well as building up your imagination through the role playing of video games. It could be any genre; sports, fantasy, action adventure, first person shooters, sci fi exploration games, even horror games. These are all supported by a story, that is supported by gameplay that matches it.

Because of these two great loves, I wanted to work in both film and games. I first started out in film, at Luma Pictures and Disney Toon Studios. There, I went on to Rhythm & Hues, and then applied to Blizzard Entertainment after as my top choice since I played through Blizzard games religiously. I was lucky that my skills as an artist first shined through and now I've been there ever since helping create new worlds for the cinematics team. To me, Blizzard Cinematics is the best of both worlds in that it makes high quality movie shorts that support the story of the the games, which I would later go on and enjoy myself as a fan.

Now your friend being a modeler is a great skill to be used in both games (cinematics or in game) as well as in film. It just has to be a little more high poly, and created for certain game play aesthetics. But nowadays, games can be pretty high res in next gen games and the gap between "high res film models" vs "in game models" is closing quickly. Other skills that translate well from film to video games or vice versa are: Texture artists, concept artists, environment modelers, character modelers, animators, FX artists, programmers, and simulations TD.

My advice would to tell your friend what kind of modeler he wants to be in video games...characters or environments? Usually it's better to be stronger in one or another as they hire specifically for those. Good luck to him!!
__________________
David Luong

www.davidluong.net
facebook.com/ackdoh

I teach a DMP Workshop

http://photonicplayground.com art gallery!
 
Old 09 September 2013   #54
Hi David, if you would be asked to name or mention ONE person who was determinant in your career, a model, a spiritual angel, an inspirational artist, a teacher, or just somebody you met on your professional progression, who would he be or what would he represent to you??
 
Old 09 September 2013   #55
Originally Posted by Shue13: Hi David, if you would be asked to name or mention ONE person who was determinant in your career, a model, a spiritual angel, an inspirational artist, a teacher, or just somebody you met on your professional progression, who would he be or what would he represent to you??


Allo Sebastien,

This must be one of the hardest questions I've yet to answer in this thread. The abstract nature of it and the option to choose just ONE...makes it truly challenging

Thinking far back in my life, until now...if I had to choose my top inspirational person...(and I don't want anyone offended while reading this, there are so many contributors to where I am today and thankful for everyone!!)...

...It would have to be my older sister, Kelly. She has gone through so much in life, and she has paved the road to make it easier on me and have supported me through my artistic career. She has taught me lots of perseverance and embracing who I am, while still being very sensical and logical about life's outcomes. Most of the time while attending Academy of Art, I was living at her house and I probably wouldn't have afforded to live anywhere else without her family's support. Thanks to her, for where I am today, and everyone else who has come along.

I could name a few other big artists or professionals that have helped me too, but my sister was a huge contributor. I am lucky to have a family member to have inspired me such as her.
__________________
David Luong

www.davidluong.net
facebook.com/ackdoh

I teach a DMP Workshop

http://photonicplayground.com art gallery!
 
Old 11 November 2013   #56
Hey David, how are you doing? I've posted my questions over here like you asked


I have a couple of questions regarding Matte Painting as a profession, I hope you can guide me with some answers


I am currently planning to be a full on concept artist focusing on live action film (with the chance of 99% of not happening) and games. I use a lot of photography for my concept/illustration work so I thought hey, why not try out some matte painting?

So recently I am trying out some basic matte painting just in photoshop and currently learning after effects to do some cool camera projections.
So my questions are:

1. Do you think it is worth investing time and effort into matte painting as well as a concept guy? I would think so because that would broaden my skill set as a concept artist with knowledge (future knowledge) of 3D and after effects and more chances of me being hired haha.

2. I think there are matte painters that are also proficient in concept art and they seem to be doing well. Are concept artists these days expected to do more of whatís outside ďconcept artĒ like matte painting and modeling? I am learning ZBrush as well at the moment.

3. To be a matte painter, do you need to understand all the different 3D packages as well as modeling, compositing etc?

4. Would you say that Photoshop, Zbrush and After Effects are the most basic software that a concept artist with basic matte painting skills need in their toolkit?


Sorry for asking so many questions, but Iím close to graduation and just a little on the fence. My ideal goal is to be a full on concept artist that can do matte painting work when the preproduction phase is over, therefore I can still be a useful employee throughout the production pipeline.

Donít worry about answering me if you are not free, you must be really busy at work these days!


Best,
Ian Chiew
__________________
Portfolio
http://www.ianchiew.com
 
Old 11 November 2013   #57
Hi David! Let me ask you something and I hope you don't mind in answer, take the time you want to it, I'm sure you're a really busy man. I want to be an environment artist but I have two concerns, one is my degree because in my city just don't exist one that is worth taking 5 years into it and the other is how Blizzard deal with employing foreigns, because I'm Brazilian with Portugal ancestry and I heard that taking a visa to go as worker it's really hard without a degree. I'm sorry to bother you with it but I can't think in a better person to ask than the one which is working for the company I'm aiming for. Thanks a lot in advance David. Best regards
 
Old 11 November 2013   #58
Originally Posted by Iancjw: Hey David, how are you doing? I've posted my questions over here like you asked


I have a couple of questions regarding Matte Painting as a profession, I hope you can guide me with some answers


I am currently planning to be a full on concept artist focusing on live action film (with the chance of 99% of not happening) and games. I use a lot of photography for my concept/illustration work so I thought hey, why not try out some matte painting?

So recently I am trying out some basic matte painting just in photoshop and currently learning after effects to do some cool camera projections.
So my questions are:

1. Do you think it is worth investing time and effort into matte painting as well as a concept guy? I would think so because that would broaden my skill set as a concept artist with knowledge (future knowledge) of 3D and after effects and more chances of me being hired haha.


Allo Ian,

Thanks so much for posting here! These are great questions. I think concept art and matte painting are very closely related. Especially when you are using the same ideas to get something across, it's just more photo real and refined in detail for matte painting. As a "still" matte painting concept, it definitely would meld well, which would translate into working on animated shots with animated matte paintings. Knowing what looks right in concept art is an already great foundation. Taking it further with matte painting using some 3D and using compositing for animated work will definitely increase your chances of getting a job. Most places employ their matte painters as concept artists too, and vice versa.

Originally Posted by Iancjw: 2. I think there are matte painters that are also proficient in concept art and they seem to be doing well. Are concept artists these days expected to do more of whatís outside ďconcept artĒ like matte painting and modeling? I am learning ZBrush as well at the moment.


I'm seeing more concept artists use 3D in their work, especially for character concept design. using Zbrush, Modo, or other popular 3D packages as a good base, and then painting further on top of it is a great way if you're going for a character artist position, and would even work well in an environment artist position. Matte painting would help you the same way here, adding in the extra photo real details a director might want to see as a "concept" but fully fleshed out to be executed in 3D or moving.

Originally Posted by Iancjw: 3. To be a matte painter, do you need to understand all the different 3D packages as well as modeling, compositing etc?


You don't have to understand all 3D packages, but understand 3D in general as well, and know one pretty well at least so you can apply that understanding to your own projects. When you get hired at a studio, usually they train you to work on their software. Ideally, you would already know their software, but that's not a requirement, just a bonus. Knowing other parts of the CG pipeline such as modeling, and compositing will help, especially for smaller boutique shops or places where you don't need to specialize as much. Bigger places such as ILM, Weta, Sony etc will want you to specialize. Or they would hand you assets from their 3D team to give to you to paint on top of.

Originally Posted by Iancjw: 4. Would you say that Photoshop, Zbrush and After Effects are the most basic software that a concept artist with basic matte painting skills need in their toolkit?


Photoshop, Zbrush, After effects are pretty great for a concept artist and matte painting. Breaking it down, Photoshop is a necessity, Zbrush isn't so much as that's geared more towards high poly dispalced modeling and character art. After Effects is great but I would recommend being able to use Nuke more for matte painting work, as the 3D tools and compositing tools in that outshine After Effects in every way. After Effects is affordable, and more time line based compositing, with some 2D multiplaning tricks (no true 3D, unless you're using Element 3D or Cineware from Cinema4D, which looks great). I haven't used Cineware too much yet, but that could be the bridging gap for better 3D in After Effects. So if you're going the AE route, I'd throw in Cinema4D as well.

Originally Posted by Iancjw: Sorry for asking so many questions, but Iím close to graduation and just a little on the fence. My ideal goal is to be a full on concept artist that can do matte painting work when the preproduction phase is over, therefore I can still be a useful employee throughout the production pipeline.

Donít worry about answering me if you are not free, you must be really busy at work these days!


Best,
Ian Chiew


No problem and I really hope you get that gig! Graduation looming always gets the mind going as well But I think you can really implement matte painting int your workflow as a concept artist, which would give you an extra edge in the industry today. Thanks for asking!
__________________
David Luong

www.davidluong.net
facebook.com/ackdoh

I teach a DMP Workshop

http://photonicplayground.com art gallery!
 
Old 11 November 2013   #59
Thank you so much David for the detailed response! I totally understand now, time to experiment with some Nuke and Cinema4D!
__________________
Portfolio
http://www.ianchiew.com
 
Old 11 November 2013   #60
Originally Posted by ViniciusInacio: Hi David! Let me ask you something and I hope you don't mind in answer, take the time you want to it, I'm sure you're a really busy man. I want to be an environment artist but I have two concerns, one is my degree because in my city just don't exist one that is worth taking 5 years into it and the other is how Blizzard deal with employing foreigns, because I'm Brazilian with Portugal ancestry and I heard that taking a visa to go as worker it's really hard without a degree. I'm sorry to bother you with it but I can't think in a better person to ask than the one which is working for the company I'm aiming for. Thanks a lot in advance David. Best regards


It's true, that if you have a degree, it's easier to get a working VISA for US companies, and for Blizzard, it's also true. Blizzard also has many applicants from around the world, so the better you are, the better the chances of coming in as VISA's given out are also pretty limited. So usually people who don't need VISA's will get priority. If you're really really good though, you'll get to work anywhere you want, even if it's Blizzard, so trust in yourself to one day become that person and you'll do it! Hope that helps!
__________________
David Luong

www.davidluong.net
facebook.com/ackdoh

I teach a DMP Workshop

http://photonicplayground.com art gallery!
 
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