CGItrainer it's an online Autodesk Traintng Center directed by Jean-Yves Arboit,
an Autodesk instructor certified Master & alpha tester for 3dsMAX & Composite
CGItrainer: When did you begin to work on this film?
Joe Gunn: I began working on the film in late November 2008.
CGItrainer: What was your reaction when Uncharted territory sought you for the film?
J.G: I was extremely excited to work with Uncharted Territory on this production. Not only because of the film content but the quality at which Uncharted Territory is known for.
CGItrainer: The visual effects of 2012 have being accomplished by Pixomodo (where was your friend AllanMckay), Digital Domain but also by Uncharted territory, In that consisted your job?
J.G: The question is not that clear but I’ll try to answer anyway. Uncharted Territory handled the most VFX shots of any vendor, about a third of the VFX for the entire film, but also acted as a “hub” for all the other vendors, sinceMarc Weigert and Volker Engel (owners of Uncharted) were also overall VFX supervisors. They were in charge of farming out the VFX to others like Pixomodo, DD and so on. I was lucky enough to be working for Uncharted because they got the coolest VFX shots for the film, the LA destruction.
CGItrainer: On which shots did you work mainly?
J.G: I worked on several shots directly like the LA neighborhood destruction & the parking garage collapse. A lot of the work I completed was used in almost every shot of the LA sequence. I worked on the plants/trees in LA amongst other things. So because there were so many of them and they would be in every shot they had to be right. There was a lot of feedback and R&D to make them behave in a realistic way.
CGItrainer: How many persons in your department there?
J.G: There were a lot of VFX artist while I was there but in terms of the 3D department we had well over 60 artists.
CGItrainer: What were limits fixed by production?
JG: Well that is a tough question to answer. The effects supervisors tried not to put limits on what we were creating. They actually gave us enough freedom to push the CG envelope. The production on 2012 hit limits with data more than anything. Just due to the amount of cache files and storage needed.
CGItrainer: With such complex scenes, what was management of render for broad plans?
J.G: We had a pretty nice pipeline and were able to manage the scene data. Everything was streamlined in terms of assets and scene assembly. Since the production was using Final Render Cebas was there to make sure we were able to render this extreme amount of content.
CGItrainer: Speak to us of your manner of working in several, what was your pipeline of production?
J.G: Tasks were assigned via a database management system for the artists. From there we did everything inside 3dsmax. We had tools created in maxscript to check files in/out and create shot content. Lots of quality controls were in place to make sure things went smoothly.
CGItrainer: On a more personal plan, what was your main difficulty on this project?
J.G: Well for me the main thing was attention to detail. I have never been pushed before to such realisms than in this production. It was challenging and amazing at the same time.
CGItrainer: What is the most complex to accomplish invisible effects or visible effects as 2012?
J.G: I think the invisible effects really were the bread and butter of 2012. When you watch a few shots every single little effect that is happening is grand by itself, a true testament to the talent of artists that were working for Uncharted Territory. So when you put it all together you really believe its happening. Example if you watch closely during the LA destruction you start to see more and more details each time.
CGItrainer: Which are the pre-requesting to accomplish this type of effects: knowledge of physical processes? or more artistic?
J.G: I think being a technical artist on this job was key. The supervisors were knowledgeable of the physical processes and would direct you were you needed to go. You really needed to know how to push the software to get the task done. Everyone worked together as a team and was a pleasure to work with such a great talent pool.
CGItrainer: What is your feeling on the film currently?
J.G: I’m very proud to see this film in the theater. Seeing everything put together on the big screen is truly amazing. The VFX on this film is by far the best done in years. The fluid work alone by Scanline on this film was incredible.
CGItrainer: The digital Artists (modelers, animators, etc) do not they become the anonymous stars of the cinema?
J.G: I think this is true with most heavy CG films today. Just watch the long list of credits and you’ll see the unsung heroes.
CGItrainer: Speak to Me a bit of you, who is Joe Gunn? For us here on CGItrainer (my Cg communauty), it is Cg Artist which makes tutorials and of very good dvd on 3dsmax but in the life of everything in daytimes? Has it other hobbies?
J.G: Well I live and breathe what I do. That’s one of the tough things about doing what you love for your job. You can never just turn it off. However, I do find time to have a few drinks & see films that are not so CG intense.
CGItrainer: Thanks to you and Uncharted Territory to have answered my questions. Do you like to say something more for students of CGITRAINER?
JG: Thanks guy... Today CG is changing at a rapid pace and you need to keep up with it. Use all the resources you can to develop your skills. Take what you have learned and apply it to other things and try to be innovative on your own. Don't give up because in time everything gets better.
Interview de Joe Gunn 's Interview (Senior TD Rigger sur 2012 and selected for Autodesk Master 2010),
make with the Uncharted Territory's authorisation. by Cyrill Calbac (translate by Ruben Mayor)
Copyright CGItrainer/SYNTHESIS Arboit Jean-Yves