Interview with Robert Vari
I have been working as a 3D artist for ten years now. I’m living in Budapest with my wife and working for Digic Pictures as a Character setup artist
Hi, Robert! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! Let’s start out with a bit of general background:tell us a few words about yourself.
I have been working as a 3D artist for ten years now. I’m living in Budapest with my wife and
working for Digic Pictures as a Character setup artist. Besides have been teaching in a private
media school as an Autodesk Maya instructor for six years. I consider myself as a Maya
generalist but I focused my attention on character modeling and rigging.
You have a seriously impressive resume . I think it will be interesting to our readers to know how it all began. How did you take your first artistic steps to reach where you are today? What was the reason of choosing this occupation?
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My story begins quite interesting. Those times when I was a child (it was in the 80’s) we didn’t have a computer. I have to find something else to play with and music looked a good way to express my creativity. It started early. I remember I was about six when I first sat behind a piano and started to play on it. My parents realized that I had good ear to play music so they bought me a piano for my 8th birthday. I spent my childhood in the world of music. Then it was enough for me to keep me occupied and it helped my to get over difficult times as well.
Then the whole thing turned to a different direction. I have always been interested in computers but then (around 1994) a computer was a really expensive toy and I had to wait till I finally bought my first one when I was studying in high school. I remember that the first software which I was playing with was the Paint :) I spent days pushing pixels and drawing with such a software that wasn’t even suitable for drawing :) I was amazed. I had my computer and an opportunity to expand my creativity in a new and exciting level. I didn’t have much knowledge about graphic softwares then, so I had no idea where would I start to learn. One of my classmates saw that I was struggling with computer graphics instead of playing with them games, so told me that he
heard about a software which I would be able to create things in 3D and animate them. Needles
to say that it was nought to get me excited. As it turned out later, it was the early version of 3D
Since then I got stuck in this virtual world playing with it, working and studying it constantly.
The evidence of your talent is clear from looking at your portfolio. Where do you get the ideas for such amazing works?
Today we are living in a time when it is easy to find something which inspires you. You don’t
even have to leave your room to find it. Just go and look around on those websites where
talented artists share their works with us. If you have sharp eyes and ability to learn from details
you will realise that you can learn from those artists a lot.
I think it will be interesting to our readers to learn about your Character Works. Tel us a few words about them. Where did you get inspiration to create these artworks?
Most of those characters which I published on my portfolio was made for companies. I got a
detailed concepts for each character and all I had to do just follow those instructions.
Of course you can find few freetime works as well which was inspired by my wife. For example
she loves to read romantic love stories with knights hugging beauty princesses. So the picture
of a woman with a white umbrella was born inspired by her passion.
An other picture The prices was inspired by a little frog which was sitting on a leaf in our garden
and I happened to be there with my camera. I took few photos of the frog and decided that it
would be a good practice to recreate it in 3D. It was started as a practice and I didn’t expect that
it would become such a nice work.
What do you think is the best work you’ve ever produced? Are you a perfectionist? Does it take you long to achieve that final perfect image you are happy with?
One of my favorites is the picture called The hun. Three years ago I was working for a small
animation company and we were busy in making a short animation film about a well known
historical battle. Unfortunately this film was never finished but thanks for that production this
picture was finally published. I’m really proud of that work.
It took about six days to finish it. I was working hard because of the firm deadlines and I didn’t
get any concepts for the character. Fortunately I found enough inspiration in historic books and
articles on the Internet.
In response to your question regarding to perfectionism I was a perfectionist. Then I spent eight
years in the industry and I learned that there is no way to create the perfect art. Perfection is
relative and depends on your point of view. I want to create as perfect art as perfect I can be as
a human being.
What work do you enjoy more: personal or commercial projects?
Unfortunately my current job doesn’t require much creativity because as a setup artist I deal
with character rigs and such technical things during the day. Of course sometimes I can find
problems which requires a kind of creativity but those problems quite rare in a thoroughly
established workflow. That’s why I’m working on a new character in my freetime.
What kind of work are you doing now? What are plans for future?
As I mentioned before I’m working as a character rig artist for a well known company called
Digic Pictures. We making intros and trailers mostly for the game industry. I like to be and work
there together with those experienced professionals and I’m trying to learn from them as much
In my freetime I’m working on my favorite character from the Mortal Kombat series. I’m planing
to finis it in the next two months.
In the future I want to work for animation companies such as Pixar or Dreamworks because
those guys out there are doing amazing things and I really like watching animated films and
would be great to feel that I was working on it.
Have you any tricks and your own “know-hows” which you gained with experience
during your work? Are there any skills and techniques you’d like to acquire?
Certainly I know lots of tricks which I have learned during my work and I could continue writing
useful tips endlessly :) As a modeller artist I learned that it is always a good idea to make a
quick 3D sketch before I start to model my character. Use simple primitives to get an idea of
the character that you are working on. It is worth to do it and doesn’t take much time. Try to find
similar arts on the Internet because it is a wast library of references. If you have your simplified
model, you can make changes easily and if you are satisfied with the result, then you can start
to work on the details.
Nowadays I’m studying Houdini because I found it really interesting in terms of dynamic and
particle simulation. I thing this software will keep me occupied in the next few years :)
How do you manage to combine your personal life and work? Do you have any hobbies? Is it easy for you to find the time for your family, friends?
Really good questions especially the first one :) There is a well known phrase which goes like
this „Behind every great man there is a strong woman”. I don’t consider myself as a great man
but the second part of the phrase is certainly true for me. I have a beauty and understanding
wife who was with me in difficult times and has helped me a lot and still encourage me to
continue. Besides I try to find opportunities to spend more time with her and with my biggest
hobby, taking photos.
You are a mature, experienced artist. What can you say to inspire those newbies who are just starting to work in CG?
All I can say that be as objective as you can. Don’t be stuck with only one solution for a
problem. Try to be creative in many ways and learn a lot because these days it is really easy
compared to the early 90’s :) If you learn more you will be more yourself. In my opinion big
companies like those artists who always open for learning something new. You don’t need to be
a professional just keep your eyes open!