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Interview with Meny Hilsenrad

Interview with Meny Hilsenrad: “I started working professionally right after I finished my army duty. For 3 years I worked in a company called 3D Garage, a post production house. During my time there I did TV titles, Promos, Commercials. I did lots of Modeling/Animation/Textures work and also participate in a flight simulator game project…”

Interview with Meny Hilsenrad
15 November 2002 | Stryker

Tell us about yourself Meny, when and how did you get started in the
3D industry?

Meny:
I’m 25 years old, Born in Israel. I started doing Graphics since I can
remember myself… Actually, it was at age 6 i think when I got my first
computer. For some reason I found myself immediately attracted to that
primitive two colors drawing program :) Then, at age 12 more or less,
I received AutoDesk Animator, and later on it was Animator Pro, which
really got me to understand I love this field of animation and graphics.
Then, at age 16 i discovered 3DStudio for Dos. i played with it for 2
years and I just fell in love with 3D and its abilities. After a pause
of 3 years because of the army duty, I got back to CG at age 21 and since
then I work and trying to evolve as much as I can in this field.

What is your background in the industry and what are you presently
doing now?

Meny: I started working professionally
right after I finished my army duty. For 3 years I worked in a company
called 3D Garage, a post production house. During my time there I did
TV titles, Promos, Commercials. I did lots of Modeling/Animation/Textures
work and also participate in a flight simulator game project, which gave
me great knowledge in textures creation. As for now, I started studying
in the university in the History of Art faculty and I’m enjoying every
moment of it :) I’m also working as a freelance in the time that left.

What kind of computer do you use for your 3D work?

Meny: P-III, 933 MHz, 512 ram Can be
better, I know, but it satisfies me for now…

What software program(s) do you use for your CG and why?

Meny: Here are the main software’s I
use: My 3D package is 3D Max 4.2. I’m enjoying working with it a lot and
even tough you hear lots of criticism and comparison with other 3D packages,
I find it very powerful tool and suites definitely suits my needs. I’m
planning in the future to check some other options. Maybe Maya or XSI
and see how much they have to offer comparing to Max. I’m using Photoshop
for textures, designs and sometimes post work for my renders. For 2D composting
and editing I’m using Aftereffects.

Can you also recommend some good plugins that you used?

Meny: Brazil by Spluterfish which everyone
knows, is a great GI render. You get great results and it’s not too complicated
plugin.Shag: hair by Digimation is another great plug-in I’m often use.
It gives great results and you can get realistic hair, fur and grass.

Ok Lets start with this image:
Where did you get the idea to create this scene?

Meny: Hmmm… I hope I won’t do damage
with the explanation and ruin the picture :) One of many movies that mostly
influenced me is ‘Requiem For A Dream’ by Darren Aronofsky. I love the
character that Ellen Burstyn plays in this movie. During the movie you
can see the changes she’s going through until the tragic ending. Her facial
expression during the movie are so powerful and she delivers to the viewer,
lots of stress by it. It caught my attention. I particularly love the
scene when she’s going to seek that TV station and find herself in the
subway, with people staring at her. So actually, the idea of this picture
I got from that scene and tough I wanted to make a similar scene with
attention to her face expression as much has I can, it developed to a
different place. So now, it’s hard to see resembles between these two
scenes.

Where did you get the textures?

Meny: I created the textures with Photoshop.
When I’m doing my own private projects, I’m using only original stuff.
All the textures in my scene, as well as the models and everything else,
are original work.

How did you create the maps or you use all ready maps?

Meny: As I mentioned, all the textures
in this scene are my work. I had a good training with creating textures,
when I worked on flight simulator game. In this project I learned how
to use Photoshop to create realistic textures. You can check some of these
texture in my site in the 2D gallery. The textures, in most cases, are
composed of a base layer like metal or wood for example. then I add layers
of dirt scratches or whatever needed. In the Gazing scene, for the face
texture, I first created the basic look of the skin by mixing all sorts
of maps, then I added the wrinkles and some dirt. You can see example
of this procedure in the making of the Truck scene and the Cactus scene
in my site.

How did you get the realistic look?

Meny: For a realistic look there are
3 important components (IMHO). First, the lights. It’s very important
how you work with lights. The quantity of lights you’re using in the scene,
their location, the amount of light they spread, the amount of shadow
they cast. It’s important to learn and understand it how light works.

Seconed, is the render engine. GI renderer will give a realistic look
to the scene. by calculating the objects in the scene and the bouncing
ray of light, it will spreads more naturally and will also give more realistic
shadows but you have to know how to use it and not just enable GI and
render.
If the renderer doesn’t support GI, it’s not a must to create realistic
renders. Many lighting artists manage to fake it with conventional lighting
techniques so it is possible.

Third, the textures and materials. It’s important to create or use realistic
textures. It’s also important to analyze the material you’re trying to
imitate, to learn it’s quality and then implement it to your own material
creation.

Special render? =)

Meny: Well of course. I used Brazil.
it wasn’t too long render. It Took aprox. 2 hours, tough I had problem
with rendering the hair with Brazil Depth-Of-Field so I had to make a
double render, one with Depth-Of-Field but without the hair, and the second,
without Depth-Of-Field but with the hair and then compose them together.

What was your inspiration?

Meny: As I mentioned, the inspiration
was from the movie ‘Requiem For A Dream’ by Darren Aronofsky.

What are your plans for the future?

Meny: CG is my main interest. I always
search a challenge for my creation abilities. This is how I try to improve
my skill. I want to keep on doing my own private works until it satisfy
me. In the professional field, I believe I’ll keep working in CG for many
more years. My goal is to keep working in the TV industry but to continue
to Films production and to the Games industry.

May be new projects or pictures?

Meny: Sure! My head full of ideas which
i can’t wait to bring to life! The sketches are ready and the desire is
there! I’m just looking for the right moment, when I’ll have enough time
to start my next project.

Thanks for the interview and your time Meny!
Stryker

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