How to Make Lighting a Booster to the Whole Picture?
Fox Renderfarm, the best render farm, is deeply committed to supporting education and wishes to contribute to the development of the CG industry. We are so proud to form cooperation with PIXL VISN Media Arts Academy and offer students an affordable pricing scheme to support educational purposes.
After we’ve discussed the factors to make a character design and rigging with excellent graduates from PIXL VISN, we continue our discovery about how to make lighting a booster to the whole picture with another brilliant graduate, David Pferrer, from PIXL VISN Media Arts Academy. After graduation, he had the chance to work in Moving Picture Company, and he continues his career exploration in ArchViz now.
- David Pferrer
- General Lookdev / Lighting Artist
- Artstation: https://www.artstation.com/david_pferrer
In the exclusive interview with Fox Renderfarm, David shared his encounter with CG, how he stepped into the CG industry and how he found his passion in lighting design. Moreover, he elaborated his idea about the factors that will improve the lighting design.
Student Demo Reel 2019 © David Pferrer
Fox Renderfarm: Hi David, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you briefly introduce yourself?
David: Hi Fox Renderfarm, I am David Pferrer, a 22-year-old CG artist from Cologne Germany.
Fox Renderfarm: How did you encounter CG and get started in the CG industry? And how did you enrol in PIXL VISN media arts academy? Could you share with us your education and working experience in the CG industry?
David: My first encounter with CG at all was actually long before I really started to pursue it in a serious manner. Like many others in the industry, I was amazed by the effects of movies like Star Wars, Transformers, Lord of the Rings, and so on. It’s sort of a cliché but I guess that this is really what makes most of us want to work in this industry – the incredible art and creativity in movies. When I finished school a few years later the CG industry was still somewhat of a mysterious and impossible-to-get-in place for me. At an orientational fair for graduates, I encountered Pixl Visn for the first time. It looked and sounded like my opportunity to learn all the things any CG artist needs to know. Pixl Visn was a great experience overall. It was not all fun and games. You have to put in the hours. You have to be willing to learn and work hard. That’s what the CG industry is all about anyways so Pixl Visn prepares you for it in that way. It is very rewarding though to learn so much and become a better artist in such a short time. One month you might have no idea about what a node even is and a few weeks later you are cruising through Nuke.
Fox Renderfarm: What are the most important things you’ve learned at PIXL VISN, technically and career-vice? And what’s your most unforgettable experience in PIXL VISN?
David: The most important things I learned at Pixl Visn. I feel like that would have to be the basics. The learning really starts from zero knowledge, and that’s how it should be really. So the foundation is being built strong. And a lasting foundation is the most important part of any skill I feel like. As for my most memorable experience – clearly, the time that our animation teacher came to visit. He was accompanied by two former Pixl Visn students that worked with him at Pixomondo. Afterwards, we went out for drinks and to show them the city.
Fox Renderfarm: Congrats on getting the A-level certificate and getting selected in the Draft Selection on The Rookies Awards 2019, could you share more details about how you got these honors?
David: Thanks. It’s really an honor to be one of the selected few. Especially if you look at all the stunning works that are put up at The Rookies. Getting selected is really about two things: Firstly, you have got to create a quality piece of art. The judges are no dummies, they recognize good works and know how much work went into it. Secondly, I would say, it can really help to have an artwork that stands out in some way. Meaning it should have something that will make it recognizable. It could be a unique color palette, a really interesting or unusual subject or topic, or even just a really good-looking cover frame to make it recognizable. Making a technically great render is one thing, elevate it with something special and it will stand out amongst the other contestant´s works. Go that extra step.
Fox Renderfarm: Could you share with us your usual creative process, from forming the concept to the final rendering (it would be perfect if you can raise an example)?
David: The creative process behind every project can be very different. In the artistic and the technical sense. So there is not really a standard here. Also, I don’t think you can make formulas for a creative process. For the technical aspects that are a little different. Technical aspects of any CG-related field are well documented by many others that are more knowledgeable than me though. So I am not gonna go into that.
Generally speaking, I would say: Write down every idea that comes into your mind. Always have something to write with you. Ideas will come at random times. Next prepare your project. Go online and just throw your subject into Google and see what comes up, you might get even more ideas. Don’t be put off if someone else has done a similar project already, it’s a big community and everybody is creating stuff all the time. You can not reinvent the wheel. Just make art that speaks to you and that you want to create. Make something you like.
Fox Renderfarm: According to your online portfolio and info, we know that you are interested in and good at lighting. Do you have any unforgettable creations? And did you meet any difficulties in your creative process?
David: Yes, I find myself most at home in the lighting area of the 3D spectrum. My most unforgettable creation is the lady from my demo reel. Every time I think about that project I am a little disappointed in myself. The project stretched over months and It went through tons of changes. I could have spent a quarter of the time on it, with all the things that I did and then discarded later. Also, I am really unhappy about the presentation in my reel. The lighting is just not very good. I somehow ignored the fact that she is completely symmetrical, I showed her closeup from the very front, And I covered most of my texturing work in glitter. There are so many things I would change about that project, but you are always smarter afterwards I guess.
© David Pferrer
Fox Renderfarm: What are the key factors in lighting that will make 3D artworks natural and vivid?
David: Ironically the thing that makes a render perfect is the very thing that makes it look like CG. You don’t want something perfect if you are striving for realism. In reality, everything is imperfect, from the surfaces to the camera lenses and even the movement of the camera. Achieving realism takes every aspect in the pipeline of a project. For lighting I would advise: Always use real lighting. Meaning essentially, avoid having a light in your scene without a texture in it. Try not to place your lights where they could not be in real life. It can help to look at photography sets and movie sets and analyze the lighting setups and techniques that they use. There is a lot to learn from that.
Train Station © David Pferrer
Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about working at Moving Picture Company? Have you been involved in any projects that you would like to share with us?
David: Working at MPC was a lot of fun. I was very fortunate to get a position at their Montreal Studio as my first job in the industry. The only project that I worked on there was Cats. There is not a lot to say about Cats. Unfortunately, 2020 was not really the best year for the 3D industry. Due to the pandemic, many studios had to lay off employees and I was one of those.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s your next step? And what’s your vision for your career path?
David: Currently, I am working at an ArchViz oriented company where we scan people and create 3D models of them. It’s a lot of fun and I don’t intend to quit anytime soon. Also, I am not really one to plan my career like that. Especially in the current situation, I think that’s even more difficult. There are so many factors that can determine where your path leads you. But I am definitely gonna go back to Montreal at some point, it was a really great time, even though I was only there during the winter.
Froggy © David Pferrer
Fox Renderfarm: How do you constantly improve yourself on 3D techniques and artistic sense?
David: Improving is all about practice. I like to create some nice 3D stuff from time to time. Working in 3D all day though, I don’t spend that much of my free time on 3D anymore. Instead, I try to find other creative outlets. Recently, I have been doing photography and cooking for myself. Staying creatively active is very important to improve on artistic skills I think. Don’t limit yourself to just 3D. A lot can be learned from other art forms and it will improve your 3D game a lot.
Woman Portrait Experiment © David Pferrer
Fox Renderfarm: What do you think are the most important qualities that a 3D artist should have in his/her career?
David: The best thing any 3D artist should have – and especially a lighting artist – is probably a really good understanding of photography and also an artistic eye. There will always be new programs to learn and new pipelines to understand. Learning about composition, color, mood, all that knowledge will never really change. Photography can really help with that because it uses all the same rules as any other visual art form. Apart from that, being a good team player is very, very important. In production, you never work alone on anything. It's always a team effort.
© David Pferrer
Fox Renderfarm: Any artworks and artists that inspire you the most?
David: I find it hard to pin down an artist that inspires me. I would say that inspiration can come from anywhere. You can’t really force it. What I would advise though, is to get out of the comfort zone. Try to watch a movie that you might not usually consider, listen to music that you don’t know yet, maybe go on a walk somewhere you would not usually go. If you never experience new things it will be hard to have new ideas, at least that’s how it is for me.
Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you wanna share with CG enthusiasts?
David: Please keep creating. Other than that – it has been a pleasure and I hope I had some stuff to say that you found interesting or even helpful.
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