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For Miguel, CG is his great skill, but he doesn't want to rely upon it like a crutch. It's important for him to build as much as he possibly can within the confines of his home, and then take care of the impossible with digital technology. The reason for making his home so detailed with set pieces as opposed to creating elements in post-production is "that the more detailed the sets are, the easier we can light and texture them", Ortega says. The technology is "huge for us, it was a revelation for us when we first started using it. It allowed us to stop being technicians and really focus on making pretty images. For the first time we can put a light in a scene and it just looks good.". V-Ray is an amazing innovation in computer graphics with some of the best rendering technology ever seen. Ortega took advantage of the photo-realistic images and architectural visualization capacity of this software to bridge the gap between his imagination and what he could create on screen. "Coming from a traditional photography background makes it even more of a joy to use: Physical Cameras, Kelvin Color Temperatures in lights and simple to setup rendering elements." Creating an independent film with visual effects is always a challenge, but Ortega cites V-Ray as being something that liberated his team, and allowed them to do the FX for themselves. "Ironically, what is expensive to most filmmakers is cheap for us and what's cheap for Hollywood is expensive for us." CG environments take a tremendous amount of hardware and time to light, shade and render. The environments that Ortega works with have displacements, 4K textures and "all the bells and whistles we can throw at it.". After that, V-Ray handles the rest in terms of data and rendering, which Ortega says is "quite surprisingly quick". He takes a "Disney approach" to visual storytelling, and begins with elaborate storyboards that are a combination of 2D, 3D, and photography, and from here the team begins to visualize how to shoot the sequences in respect to their limitations; taking stock of which scenes can be shot with lenses they already own. Bringing to life the topography of completely imaginary locations is no small feat, so it's done in steps. Ortega explains: "We start by collecting as much reference as possible, roughing out basic forms in Maya and then having our art team paint on top of our very rough 3D models to get an idea of the lighting, details, etc. Then we move to Maya and use a combination of all 3D backgrounds as well as matte painting projections inside Nuke."

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Profile for Chaos Group

V-RAY MAG ISSUE#1 2014  

V-RAY MAG ISSUE#1 2014  

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