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3D Artist Showcase 

Name: Zoltan Erdokovy 
Location: Budapest
Category: Technical Artist 

What is a ‘technical artist’?

The actual job description varies wildly but it’s usually a position where programming, art and design overlaps. Some TAs specialize in animation (rigs, anim-graphs, animation cleanup) while others work on asset pipelines or procedural modeling tools or photogrammetry or VR interaction design… and the list goes on. Technical artists also tend to act as translators and diplomats between programmers, artists and management because the different departments often don’t fully understand each other.

What kind of a technical artist are you?

I’m specializing in the enterprise uses of the Unreal engine (simulations, visualizations) with the odd game project every now and then. I usually cover materials, 3D asset creation, VFX, Blueprints programming but if I have to do/learn new things for a project, all the better. In fact that’s what drives me, to explore what game engines can be used for outside the gaming industry.

What is your workflow for creating art assets?

I model the high-poly in Modo and process it in Houdini so the simplification and UV layout is procedural. There I also bake the necessary maps for Substance Painter. When I need textures I use FilterForge, Substance Designer, photogrammetry, draw them in Affinity Designer or mix photos in Photoline, whichever method gets me the desired result. However what is constant is that now I have ArtEngine to help me out with a lot of tedious tasks.

It is a brilliant new toolset for digital artists: the machine does the boring, tedious stuff, faster. The shortened iteration time encourages experimentation, the exploration of ideas which would have been too “far-out” otherwise.

 

How does ArtEngine help you exactly?

I use it to match colors, generate texture variations and change the scope of textures. Having the machine do this sort of donkey work frees me up to focus on the creative tasks.

With the new delighting tech it also gives me the flexibility to take pictures for photogrammetry almost anytime, I don’t have to wait for cloudy lighting conditions or carry a diffuser tent with me on site.

What do you think of machine learning?

It is a brilliant new toolset for digital artists: the machine does the boring, tedious stuff, faster. The shortened iteration time encourages experimentation, the exploration of ideas which would have been too “far-out” otherwise.

And we only just got started. ArtEngine is one of the first commercial products using ML which I can install and use right away to solve my real world problems. But processing textures is only one field which will see a revolution. There is also animation (like motion capture from a single video), mesh generation (producing variations after a single template). And when these techniques get integrated we will probably get stuff which sound sci-fi today: “Computer, create a Victorian era interior, medium size, high income, cup of Earl Grey tea on the table.”

Will these tools replace artists? 

I can’t be sure but I doubt that the creativity of the human mind can be automated anytime soon. Generating another dumpster, office chair or cereal box, setting up the shelves of a convenience store are fitting tasks for ML. Tweaking the synthesized results and creating the hero objects (animations, levels…) with love and care, that remains a job for a human, I think.

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Artomatix has built the world’s first 3D art engine. Our set of products and services help people to express their creativity. We believe this technology has the potential to significantly change every industry exposed to 3D content: video games, movies, special effects, industrial design, and beyond. Our team works where art and technology collide.

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