Meet the Artist: Christopher Nichols

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  01 January 2006
Originally Posted by 1.8XL: Hi Chris,

I am an active member of cgarchitect as well as here in cgtalk. i have only one question, how would you relate working in architectural works into character modelling works and VFX effects? do you prefer one of the field as your best? how about the workload? Tnx

Mr. Sherwin B.
ipdesigner
1.8xl


Actually I did hard surface modeling (which is different from character modeling) but now foucs on lighting and compositing. To be honest, there is less and less difference between the archviz and VFX these days, which is something I had to convince people when getting hired. Generally a talented archviz artists would be a very good modeling and a good lighter in VFX.

I think I am happier with VFX mainly because I got disapointed with design after architecture school. It finally looks like design is making a comeback but generally speaking good taste in architecture is something that is lacking in the US. Plus I really didn't care about fire ratings on doors.

Workload is about the same as archviz... sometimes it is bad, sometimes it is normal. But the pay is a little better. However, from what I have seen, archivz pay is getting pretty good these days.
 
  01 January 2006
Originally Posted by mukks: hai ,
1. did u used v-ray for any of ur VFX projetcs? for any single shots or ,,,,,,,,,,

2. as a lighting artist , which modern renderengine u like to use for production, ? y ?

thanks.
mukks


Actually no... The VFX world is a hard nut to crack in terms of changing pipelines. Most of what is used is Renderman, as it has been for a long long time. I like renderman for many reasons, but it is a completely different animal... and I am not sure it is what I would call modern. Then again, in many ways it can be a lot more powerful then others.

I used Vray when it first came out around 2001, and have continued to use it in some form ever since. I had a passion for GI since even before then. After being with it for so long, it became second nature to me.
 
  01 January 2006
Hello Chris, and thanks for your time.


As you mention you use a lot of Gi for the project, is it the case now for most of the movie you work on?Or is GI still too heavy for those kind of job?.

Finally Do you still use what we cal the good old trick in lighting? (3 point lighting, gobo light, ect..)

thanks
 
  01 January 2006
gnomon dvd

do you plan on a new dvd, and if so, what topic will you cover
 
  01 January 2006
Hi,
Besides your demoreel, is there any other place where we can see more of your work?, and last question. On the technical side of things, did you attend any formal training (when learning how to use programs etc....), or are you self taught?
Thank you.
 
  01 January 2006
Lightbulb hi

Hi Chris,
this is very convinient because I rescently watched your DVD about global illumination; exteriors. I noticed you only use Vray to get the realistic light solutions. So here's a couple of questions;
__
What is your opinion about the new rendering technology (
Full Spectral Rendering ) seen in Maxwell renderer, where the program simulates electromagnetic waves ?
__
Do you think that this new technology will soon be aquired by large studios such as ILM, seeing as how computer strenght grows everyday and Maxwell, although slow, giving very realistic results and almost no limits to lightning artist souch as yourself ?
__
There is no doubt that computer strenght will be powerfull enough one day to harness an even more powerfull solution than simulating electromagnetic waves, seeing as how these things progress very fast, this could happen soon, so in your opinion what should happen next ?
__
I noticed you know alot of things about light in the real world, rendering softwares only provide a limited number of functions/features compared to the real world, so, if you could add 1 extra feature to your rendering software, what would it be ?
__
I started building a scene and your DVD helped me alot, I switched from Brazil to Vray. If you can post a critique about the lightning in the scene I'd be honored
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthr...35&page=1&pp=15
__

This is it for now, it would be nice if you answer all of my questions, and sory about my bad English, I hope I wrote all these questions correctly, cheers.
__________________

 
  01 January 2006
Hie Chistopher....Its an honor to be able to post directly to you and congrats for being featured here.

criticalmechanism has already come up with most of the question. But my only question would be a bit about the film industry.

What do you think is THE next thing in film? We are talking about revolution of what Lucas has brought into the film industry.

Thanks in advance Christopher.
__________________
Wacom practice


 
  01 January 2006
*Thanks for the info Chris and more power!

Last edited by ipdesigner : 01 January 2006 at 01:30 PM.
 
  01 January 2006
Hi Christopher,

what do you think are the most common mistakes beginners make in lighting?
And what are the most important things in lighting/ compositing that makes a piece stand out from the crowd?

thanks! Good luck in the future
__________________
My website
 
  01 January 2006
Question lights setup

Hi Chris!
I think that all this work is fantastic... Vfx today is the new Michelangelo's work....
I have ever had problems with lighting, and when I'd finish a scene(when u think that you have made the big of the work)you discover that a bad lighting Can destroy weeks of work.
So...My question is... What are the general rules that you apply to start the lighting of a scene?
An exterior scene, for example... How u setup lights, and how many lights u use in a cg scene for a film in average? Yes, it's a generic question...
Another little question... How in films are managed a big scene(like NY in The Day after tomorrow...)? Do your computer work slow? He He...
Go on so...Good art!
__________________

| my demoreel on cgtalk | www.oldfuture.it |

...... O L D F U T U R E d i g i t a l ......
 
  01 January 2006

Sorry my English!
Hi Christopher,

what are your future goals in the industry? or you just achieved all your goals in the industry.
 
  01 January 2006
Originally Posted by 3devil: Hi Chris ,

I'm new to V-Ray, but love it for it's ease of use n gr8 results one can achive with in a few simple steps in the setup.

I've bought both the GI DVDs n as mukks said they r great n usefull.

1. i need to know if u r planning to make any dvd for V-ray newbies with all the details about each n every pice of V-Ray ?

2. which r upcommin titles ?

thankz
prathiush


I am glad you enjoyed my DVDs.

hmmm... upcoming titles. People have asked about this. There are a few things that are holding me back from doing another title right away. Lots of things going on in my personal and professional life make it hard, being at the think of it on my current project, my wife and I having a baby, trying to buy a house...

Also, there are a lot of "things" going on with Vray that will be very interesting. New versions, new features, new platforms. All of this is up in the air but it looks like the dust is settling and I want to make sure that my next title takes advantage of it.
 
  01 January 2006
Originally Posted by thematt: Hello Chris, and thanks for your time.


As you mention you use a lot of Gi for the project, is it the case now for most of the movie you work on?Or is GI still too heavy for those kind of job?.

Finally Do you still use what we cal the good old trick in lighting? (3 point lighting, gobo light, ect..)

thanks


Since every movie I have worked on has been a renderman show, GI was not really an option.

I really don't think GI is to heavy for features if used in the right way for the right sort of project. It is something that will creep into it from the ground up. You will start to see it on things like digital sets. Rendering engines such as Vray first started to dominate the archviz world (which BTW may be the largest community in the CG world) and now you can really start to see it more and more in broadcasts such as commercials.

Renderman has the ability to be completely customized and be built for a massive complex pipeline. That is what makes it so powerful for films. It is not just a renderman rendering engine, it becomes a “Stealth” rendering engine, an “I, Robot” rendering engine. Once rendering engines like Vray have that ability (and they will), it will be a lot more common on features in big studios. It is either that tools such as Vray have to become more like renderman, or renderman has to start "modernizing".

Either way, I don't think anyone can deny that GI WILL be in the near future of all feature film VFX.

Oh and one last things. Three point light and gobos are used in real world lighting so there is no reason why you can't use that in a GI world as well.
 
  01 January 2006
Originally Posted by idhahbi: Hi,
Besides your demoreel, is there any other place where we can see more of your work?, and last question. On the technical side of things, did you attend any formal training (when learning how to use programs etc....), or are you self taught?
Thank you.


I don't have much personal work out there. I think it is because I do it at work, and I can't really show my work until the movie comes out.

I had a few "formal" 3d classes in architecture school, but to be honest most of what I have learned has been on my own.

On the other hand I have experience teaching, as I was an assitant professor at Rice University School or Architecture for 3 years. I sorta miss it. Maybe that is why I enjoyed making the DVDs
 
  01 January 2006
Originally Posted by criticalmechanism: Hi Chris,
this is very convinient because I rescently watched your DVD about global illumination; exteriors. I noticed you only use Vray to get the realistic light solutions. So here's a couple of questions;
__
What is your opinion about the new rendering technology (Full Spectral Rendering ) seen in Maxwell renderer, where the program simulates electromagnetic waves ?
__
Do you think that this new technology will soon be aquired by large studios such as ILM, seeing as how computer strenght grows everyday and Maxwell, although slow, giving very realistic results and almost no limits to lightning artist souch as yourself ?
__
There is no doubt that computer strenght will be powerfull enough one day to harness an even more powerfull solution than simulating electromagnetic waves, seeing as how these things progress very fast, this could happen soon, so in your opinion what should happen next ?
__
I noticed you know alot of things about light in the real world, rendering softwares only provide a limited number of functions/features compared to the real world, so, if you could add 1 extra feature to your rendering software, what would it be ?
__
I started building a scene and your DVD helped me alot, I switched from Brazil to Vray. If you can post a critique about the lightning in the scene I'd be honored
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthr...35&page=1&pp=15
__

This is it for now, it would be nice if you answer all of my questions, and sory about my bad English, I hope I wrote all these questions correctly, cheers.


These are all very good questions. Doing a "full spectral rendering" is not as much a challenge in terms of creating the rendering engine, as it is a challenge to get it to work efficiently. Maxwell opened everyone’s eyes into seeing a workflow that was based on setting up lighting and cameras in the real world. THAT is the next step. I also think it opened up everyone’s eyes as to the perils of an "unbiased" world. There is a fine line between "reality" and "speed."

I think in terms of GI, conceptually, the maxwell solution is very elegant. But I also think that the speed and optimization of rendering engines like Vray are also elegant.... there is something pretty about getting 99% there in 1/10 of the time.
 
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