Terranova - Dragos Jieanu    

  Fact File  
Dragos Jieanu

Vue Infinite, 3DS Max, Photoshop

"I have to congratulate the team behind Vue for doing such an wonderful tool."

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Dragos Jieanu was born in Bucharest, Romania 26 years ago. Self-educated in the field of 3D, his first job was for Antena1, one of the biggest Romanian television. He now works for INDG Amsterdam.

Discovering 3D

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A Passion for CG

"Iíve always been attracted to graphics, ever since I was 10. Back then, when we only had some old Commodore computer, I had to write a couple of lines just to draw a circle: that was the beginning of my CG exploration. It is when I saw Jurassic Park that I was trully amazed by the CG potential."

"After visiting a friend who just learned to create a sphere in the 3DS Max DOS version, I started buying all these 3DS Max books and reading tons of tutorials. 3 years later, I got a job in Antena1. There, I met some really good Romanian CG artists like Mihai Anghelescu who is currently a senior 3D modeler at Electronic Arts. We had this competition going on between us, we were always trying to get better and better."

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Discovering the Potential of Vue

"I used to think Vue was not a high-end software application for professional CG artist. That's because, when I first tried it a long time ago, creating a logo in Vue was quite a challenge. Two years ago, a good friend of mine, Corneliu Ticu, showed me this ILM project with the Pirates of the Caribbean and I couldnít believe my eyes!"

"Vue turned out to be an amazing piece of software, a huge upgrade from what I knew about it, and I have to congratulate the team behind it for creating such a wonderful tool."

"As far as Iím concerned, thereís no other product that I prefer over Vue."

Exploring New Civilizations

Project Ambition
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"I envisioned the exploring mission of some advanced civilization having their first contact with a primitive world. The driving force behind this is the idea that we are not alone in the universe. After all, it would be a terrible waste of space right?"

"This personal project grew in my mind because I got a bit frustrated by the fact that most matte paintings are simply 2D static backgrounds and photo-based collages.

From there, my ambition was to create a full 3D matte painting with Vue."

Project Implementation

"To start this project, I tested different terrains, ecosystems and atmospheres in Vue. The easiest and funniest part was playing with Vueís amazing atmosphere editor, I spent 1 day just playing with it. But my favourite feature is the EcoSystem™, itís unbelievable how Vue can handle so many polygons (the "Terranova" scene has over 20 million polygons)."

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Early test render in Vue

"When I got satisfied with the atmosphere, I started paying more attention to the landscape shape and camera composition. I wanted to add a mothership structure between the 4 cliffs but it would have blocked the vortex view, so I dropped that idea. The mothership would have helped the story but also would have made the image way too complicated, and Iím fond of clean compositions. I also wanted to remove one of the cliffs to kill the picture symmetry, but in the end, I decided to keep it."

"While Vue was rendering the frame, I started working on the ship in 3DS Max. The render took almost 15 hours at 4000 pixels wide and ultra settings."

"I painted over the result in Photoshop, keeping the actual Vue shape for a future camera projection. The spaceship made in 3DS Max received some heavy paintovers in Photoshop too."

Projection Mapping

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"I was testing the export feature from Vue and I was surprised to see you can export terrains, lights, cameras... nearly everything that can be used again later on for a camera projection in 3DS Max! I tried to see if a mix between Vueís features and 3DS Maxís projection mapping was really working.

The idea works: you just render the first frame in Vue, paint over in Photoshop to enhance the rock textures, paint the sky and so on. Just leave the ecosystem as it is."

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"Then you just render the full animation in Vue, import the terrain, lights and camera in 3DS Max and use the camera projection technique with the first frame you already painted over.

At the end you just blend the two animations in any compositing software available. Unfortunately I didnít get the time to finish it, but I did render the animation in Vue."


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"I get my inspiration from nature, photography and movies. But going out for a walk also helps sometimes."

"I think the greatest challenge for an artist is to be a good critique of his work. Be ruthless when it comes to judge your work. If you donít, other people will. Systems and softwares evolve, but ideas are always up to date."

"I read an interview a long time ago, I donít remember the name, a maya master anyway, who said: ďdonít get caught in all the technical details, just focus on your goalsĒ. This is true. Most people tend to forget that this is digital art, not computer science."

http://www.jieanu.com - dragos@jieanu.com

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