Meet The Artist :: Justin Holt

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Old 02 February 2014   #1
Meet The Artist :: Justin Holt

Hi! Welcome to our third featured artist for 2014 - Image Engine Lead Texture Painter Justin Holt .

Justin began his career as a lighting technical director working at Rhythm & Hues Studios on the Academy Award Winning Animated Feature Happy Feet. However, his passion for textures landed him a gig as a texture painter on his second feature film, The Kingdom. From there Justin's career quickly took off while accepting a lead texture role at The Moving Picture Company on Zack Snyder's Watchmen. From there, Justin landed his dream job at Industrial Light & Magic to lead texture work on Gore Verbinski's feature animation Rango. Justin then moved up to Vancouver to build a new texture pipeline and oversee the texture work coming out of Image Engine.

The pieces he's given us to show you here are from his work on Elysium:

Justin studied Visual Effects with a concentration in texture painting and lighting at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He lived in six different countries including Italy, Singapore, England, Norway, America and Canada before starting his career in Los Angeles CA.

Justin is currently leading texture work on Neill Blomkamp's Chappie as well as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

We decided to kick off the questions by asking some ourselves:

1. What made you decide to become a Texture Painter? Why did you choose this particular area of expertise?

To be plainly honest, I originally got into texture painting thanks to Craig Newman, a professor of mine while i was in school. He watched 10 seconds on my very amateur work and without hesitation recommended I go into texture painting not only because he felt I had an aptitude for it but also because he felt I would get the most enjoyment out of it. I had the good fortune of running into him at one of my Mari demos I did at Siggraph a couple years ago which was the first time I'd seen him since college. It was a really great conversation and I finally was able to thank him personally for his insight and guidance.

2. You've given us a number of images from Elysium. Can you quickly talk us through your role in painting the textures in some of the images? *You did the security droids - did you work on the environments as well as the characters?

I was the lead texture painter on the film. Typically a lead role requires you to paint some of the more important assets and also make sure everyone else on your team is producing work on time and up to standards for the given show. However on Elysium I was also highly involved in the construction of a new texture pipeline to facilitate the show as well as interviewing and hiring my hand selected team and was a part of the scheduling of all the assets appropriately to each of my team members. Aside from painting all of the droids (minus the waiter droid) I supervised all the texture work for the Elysium Torus and all of the shuttles and ships in the film. I also was responsible for painting the first set of maps for the Raven while I had another artist take it over and take the work to final approval.

3. Most artists say that they improve by constant practice. What did you learn working on Elysium that you're now applying to what you're doing on Chappie?

Well without going into too much detail I have been able to streamline the original process and methodologies I created for the droids on Elysium and evolve it to a much more efficient and flexible one for the work in Chappie. On Elysium it was a bit of a trial and error approach so this time around many of the kinks have been ironed out.

4. Tell us about the industry in Vancouver at the moment. It seems like it's the place to be if you're in film post-production. Is there a good vibe?

I think its been a strange industry for the past year or so for various reasons but I am very optimistic about the trend of work and activity here in Vancouver as of late. The vibe here is generally good but with studios closing doors and opening doors seemingly on a monthly basis, its a very cautious optimism.

If you want the chance to talk to Justin and ask him questions live, well, you can do that too! Log in to our free, live Meet-The-Artist webinar on Wednesday 12th Feb at 7pm PST. You'll need to register by clicking the link here . (Please only register if you're really planning to show up! We only have limited places, and we want to make sure everyone who wants to attend can. The session will be recorded and a recording placed in this thread, in case you can't make the live session.)

If you want to learn how Justin creates his textures, Justin is running an 8 week, online CGWorkshop for us in March - Realistic Character Texture Painting in Mari 2.0
Old 02 February 2014   #2
Hi Justin!!

Any plans for a hard surface texturing course?

Your workflow for texturing in elysium was 100% Mari?
Old 02 February 2014   #3
i hope for a hard surface texturing from Holt. there are a lot of tricks to learn from him.

2 skin workshops is enough haha
Old 02 February 2014   #4
hey guys!

yes i am in the works on a new hard surface texture painting title.

and yes all the work on elysium was 100% Mari minus photo grading and tileable texture generation in PS.
Justin Holt
lead texture painter
Image Engine Design Inc.
Vancouver, BC

Old 02 February 2014   #5
Hello Justin!

I must say, I was very impressed by the droids in Elysium. My question is how long did it typically take to paint the textures of each droid?

Old 02 February 2014   #6
Originally Posted by Jassar: Hello Justin!

I must say, I was very impressed by the droids in Elysium. My question is how long did it typically take to paint the textures of each droid?


hey jassar!

thanks for the support. the first droid i painted was the red security droid and the paint for that took about 8 weeks. all the other droids were completed significantly faster because i had created a fairly modular approach to the paint which allowed me to create those variations quite quickly.
Justin Holt
lead texture painter
Image Engine Design Inc.
Vancouver, BC

Old 02 February 2014   #7
Hey Justin, awesome work! Do you have any workflow tips for getting large volumes of work done quickly?

Old 02 February 2014   #8
Hey Justin!

First off your work is sick!

I guess my question is: Have you ever had to make stylised textures for anything before? And is their anything important that you feel people should know or a tip or trick you've picked up doing that kind of texturing?

Old 02 February 2014   #9
Hey Justin.
It's great to hear that you're preparing another hardsurface texture painting title - i'm looking forward to that and i'm hoping for some sci-fi stuff

I've read that you've split each droid in three independent MARI scenes - one scene for each limb set!?
Would you mind explaining why that was necessary?

Old 02 February 2014   #10
Cool Justin.


Last edited by gustavoigr : 02 February 2014 at 11:47 AM.
Old 02 February 2014   #11
mightcouldb1 - it really depends on the type of large volume work youre trying to complete... are we talking crowd digi double variations? or a massive hero asset? the best place to start is the UVs especially if its hardsurface work. organizing the UVs based on materials is going to save you countless hours in mari.

Gibeon - i have done stylized texture work. with stylized work it becomes more of a gestural process rather than microfine attention to detail. for me the key to stylized work is understanding where stylized meets realism and staying within those boundaries.

SebastianLauer - that is correct. i had to break him up into three separate scenes simply bc there were too many tiles and channels to because to work reasonably all in one scene. a single droid had about 285 tiles of UVs (if my memory serves me correct) with over 20 unique sets of maps. and with the hardware i have to use at work, trying to work on a full droid in a single scene just wasnt possible. i tend to create a LOT of channels to maintain a completely non-destructive workflow in mari 1.5 and 1.6 so i found breaking a droid up in 3 scenes allowed me to complete the work in the 8 week timeline i was given.
Justin Holt
lead texture painter
Image Engine Design Inc.
Vancouver, BC

Old 02 February 2014   #12
Dont' forget you can ask Justin questions live

Don't forget you can log into our web room and ask Justin questions live this Wednesday February 12th at 7pm PST. Click the link here to register.
Old 02 February 2014   #13
Audio recording of Justin's Meet The Artist webinar

If you missed the live session, you can listen in to the recording here.

The focus is audio, so put your earphones in and listen while you work

Old 05 May 2014   #14
any news on the hard surface texturing workshop ?
Old 07 July 2014   #15
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