Ben Snow :: Meet the Artist

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  05 May 2008
1. What modeling software do you use for your personal work? Or do you just leech ILM's proprietary software? lol

2. What project (professional or personal) are you most proud of?

3. Do you have a favorite CG artist besides yourself?
Female WIP
  05 May 2008
reply to david brooks

Question: Looking retrospectively now back on your career so far, what have been the highlights for you in terms of areas that interest you most?
- I used to feel that photo-realistic natural phenomena and realistic effects were the peak of visual effects achievement, but like most people I probably enjoy the fantasy stuff more. For realistic effects I loved working on Iron Man (which also had a satsifying fantasy quotient) and Pearl Harbor. For the challenges and experience and also the work King Kong and Attack of the Clones are highlights. And I love Galaxy Quest as a movie and had great fun exploding Martian Brains and sticking a chihauhau's head on Sarah Jessica Parker's body for Mars Attacks! so they're favourites as well. Looking back all of the projects had highlights so those are just a few examples. Each project has its own great memories and challenges.

Question: I am most interested in character/creature setup, where do you see this area of specialisation moving in the next decade or so, and what interests you most about this particular field?
I think we still have challenges in skin, hair and particularly secondary motions, fine wrinkling etc. I think shapes and muscles are still an area of infinite complexity that we're still exploring. Good creature work is hard to do and we're lucky to have a good team of creature TDs with some great tools which are ever-evolving. It's a great area to be interested in since while the needs for different artist groups fluctuate a lot, good creature TDs, who tend to do rigid simulations and so on as well, seem to be often in demand.
  05 May 2008
Reply to Daegu

1. What modeling software do you use for your personal work? Or do you just leech ILM's proprietary software? lol
I hardly have time for personal work - film keeps me pretty busy. But Maya is ILM's main modelling tool and that's what I use when I need to model (but yes, sometimes dive in to the proprietary tools for things that can't be done otherwise).

2. What project (professional or personal) are you most proud of?
Probably see my previous answer - but I love Iron Man because it was a fun experience with creative and technical challenges, and I really liked the movie itself. Also it was the last thing I did, so I'm kindly disposed towards it.

3. Do you have a favorite CG artist besides yourself?
I'm not sure I'd be in my favourites list! I've been lucky enough to work with some amazingly talented artists who have avrious strengths and reason's I like them that I can't really pick a favourite. I have many whom I greatly admire and love working with.

  05 May 2008
I have another question. My speciality is old school lighting. I always get a kick when I light a scene with Shadowmapped Spots only or when I fake indirect light. Maybe I'm a little bit nostalgic .

So here is my question: is there a way to get some detailed Informations or HiRes Pictures for example about the T-Rex Night scene in Jurassic Park 1 OR OTHER OLD SHOTS? All I can read in books, magazines and internet is sooooooooooo vague and sometimes obviously wrong. And the CMYK Raster in print products hinder my pedantic analyses. So why not just ask directly the Source.

If this is not possible no problem (I'm always a little bit upfront ).

And by the way you mentioned Dennis Muren in the article. All I can say about him: he is the reason why I'm began working with CGI.

So keep up the extremely cool and hard work and sorry for my funny germanized English.

Last edited by Xharthok : 05 May 2008 at 01:18 AM.
  05 May 2008
replay to falk

In terms of looking at hires images, probably blue-ray is your best bet (or HIDEF trailers). Harder with JP1 I should imagine. In terms of lighting breakdowns on those older shows cinefex and CGW are probably the best sources - and the DVD supplements often have some good info.
  05 May 2008
Hi Ben, thank you very much for your reply on previz.

Wondering if I can squeeze in another question please?!

In your reply to David Brooks below, you mention the challenges in skin, fur, wrinkles etc:
if you had some free time (!) to do anything....would you personally have a favourite area of R&D?

Thank you!

Felicity Moore

Last edited by felicitymoore : 05 May 2008 at 08:51 PM.
  05 May 2008
Hi there,

I know a lot of people have further questions, but I am here to say it is time to close.
I would like to thank Ben Snow for taking part in this (extended) 'Meet the Artist' here in CGTalk. Everyone is real happy you came along.
Fmr Editor and features writer, CGSociety; Global Artist Liaison, Ballistic Publishing. Freelance writer, media consultant & digital producer.

Last edited by PaulHellard : 05 May 2008 at 11:42 PM.
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