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Animating in kid mode - Interview with George D. Pourikas

Working in the field of advertising and cartoons George Pourikas gives an analytical interview both about his opinions on the world of 3d art and for his design studio Art House. Enjoy it!

Vray World. 

Hello George! We  are really happy to have you here on VW and thank you for taking the time to have this interview with us.

George Pourikas.

I thank you very much for the honor of having me and given this opportunity, I would like to congratulate you on the fantastic site you have created.

Vray World. 

How did you get into 3d and in particular in the field concerning advertising? Had there been another field of 3d that you had been involved in prior?

George Pourikas.

From a young age drawing and painting were my favorite past times but I also had great interest in technology. So when I acquired my first Amiga and Delux Paint, a painting and animation program, I saw my to favorite worlds come together and my journey in the world of computer graphics began. Then all the programs were 2d, as time passed and technology evolved  3d came as a natural transition for me. Advertising is a field that excites me especially television commercials due to the immediacy with the public and the diversity and freedom it gives you to use all tools and techniques without any constraints.

Vray World.

What's your education background?

George Pourikas.

First I finished Fine Arts College getting a general education in the arts and then continued my studies in America. About 60% of my training though is self taught. Till today I still try to improve myself, in things like directing, photography, animation, painting through seminars, following tutorials from other artists and from being involved in the development of new programs and technologies as a beta tester. In our field there is a fast development and someone can not rest with just basic training.

Vray World.

Would you like to say a few more things about your involvement in the development of new programs as a beta tester ? It sounds very interesting! We have also heard that the field of advertising has very tight deadlines , is that true in reality?

George Pourikas.

Beta testing is for me a very interesting and pleasant  occupation. It helps the beta tester  to be one of the first to see and know the development of new technologies and not just that, he also helps the companies develop their products in the best possible way. Someone can beta test new rendering engines, 3d modeling apps, portals etc... Two beta tests that I did and I really liked were for the program "Voice-O-Matic" a program for the automation of voice syncing for 3d characters and POTTERMORE for the magical world of J.K Rowlings Harry Potter. In advertising you get to know why deadlines are called DEAD lines. Deadlines are really tight and do not change. There are times where you may be required to work 3 and 4 days on a 24hour basis with small breaks sleeping in your chair in front of the computer. 

Vray World.

Our job can sometimes be very hard...The concept of a commercial that is handed over has to be followed exactly or is there room for some creative initiatives?

George Pourikas.

We must really love our job to be able to cope. Our creative freedom changes from concept to concept and depends on the director , the advertising company, the marketing department, the licenser and finally the client. A big part plays if all the previous know  and trust you. Personally in the commercials I undertake I also handle the directing process so creative initiatives are a must.

Vray World.

To handle directing sounds like something very creative. How much do you believe that it's something that can be studied or is it in the talent of the artist? What are those personality traits that you think someone must have to direct a commercial.

George Pourikas.

Both studies and personal talent are needed but none have any value without the third and most important element and that is a lot of hard personal work. The most important skill for me that someone must have is quick imagination, to read a script and to be able to picture all the images, the order that they will appear, to see what lens will be used, what colors will be given, what music will play etc... Another  skill that is required is a good sense and management of time especially in commercials. Also a director that is called to work on a cg commercial must know very well what computer graphics are and what he can and cannot do with them and not just know that there are some boxes called computers that have a magic button and everything gets done on its own.

Vray World.

What actions do you believe must be followed for our promotion in both the domestic and global market?

George Pourikas.

A studio or an individual artist should aim to have the best possible portfolio. The better the portfolio the greater the chances of participating in good projects. Then he should search which studios are active in his field of expertise and choose which one of those interests him the most and try to get in contact either personally or sending in his cv. The same thing goes for a studio. just that a studio has a target group, advertising companies, producers, directors  etc.... Also a very powerful tool for promotion today is, in our line of work, is the internet. So it's good to participate in forums , contests, galleries, social network sites where we can present our work, always show great patience and persistence to achieve our goals . A trap that I have seen a lot of good artists fall in and should be avoided is the routine of the first job. When starting out they get in positions that have plenty of work but without much creativity and low quality standards and as a result their portfolio doesn't improve . To escape that, no matter how tired you feel at the end of the day you must find time to work on higher quality personal projects or avoid such job positions even if you need to take a risk.

Vray World.

Does a studio need to provide multiple services or even now in the all and increasing  crisis age is specialized services a reliable solution?

George Pourikas.

Abroad specialized services are almost one-way since it's believed that it brings better results and there not wrong about that.  Locally though a studio should be able to maneuver a little to a lot. Personally I think specializing is good but very boring. I know artists that have complete specialization in designing stones or trains, something I could never do.

Vray World.

Tell us a few things about your company Art House.

George Pourikas.

Art House began in 1989 doing 2d animation for television commercials and intros for shows. Today we continue in the field of advertising specializing in 2d and 3d animation but we have added other services that were analog  but with time have entered our digital realm like photography,  post production - montage, creative color correction, VFX, simulations. We employ 5 people in house and cooperate with external artists for larger projects. That way no project is to big or to small.

Vray World.

What equipment do you use at Art House?

George Pourikas.

Our workstations are 6 core INTEL  at 3,4MHz with  64GB ram 4 SSD and Quadro graphics cards. Our renderfarm has a total of 56 cores at 3,2 MHz with 16 GB RAM. At this point I would like to point out that most of us, that are in this line of work, love large, fast, expensive computers  but we must  be very cautious with our purchases and not be carried away with our passion because computers are just tools that lose their money value very quickly.

Vray World.

What is the general pipeline for the completion of commercial spot like the one for playmobil?

George Pourikas.

To correctly show the pipeline  we need to make a diagram, which I will refer to briefly. We always begin with pencil and paper creating a draft storyboard with which we communicate in the studio. Then we create a more detailed color storyboard to communicate with marketing, the licensor and the client. After we get the ok we proceed to the below.

1.            3D Modeling  characters, set  and props

2.            Texturing, rigging, set layout

3.            Animation, simulation, lighting

4.            Rendering

5.            Composition, montage

6.            Music, SFX, Foley

7.            Final mix

Vray World.

Looking at your portfolio and demoreel we can see a lot of projects that have to do with children's toys. I remembered my childhood years playing with playmobil and immediately thought... it would be nice if at some point  I tried to do something like that myself  to feel like a child again. Do you actually feel like a kid when working on these projects or do the deadlines and stress deprive you of that feeling?

George Pourikas.

9 years ago my son was born and from then I'm in kid mode in my free time, we watch cartoons together and play together. When working dad also does cartoons. Working fills me and gives great pleasure especially in this period of my life. Deadlines are tight but because I have a long working relationship with all my clients, we have learned each other and projects move much smoother. With playmobil that you mention earlier when we first cooperated, 7 years ago, I felt (and still do) very surreal because when I was a child my favorite toys were playmobil and now many years after I last played with them I found myself in their world again. From a different perspective of course but just as interesting and fun.

Vray World.

George thank you very much for this interview we really enjoyed it  since it was the first interview for VW in the advertising field and cartoons. We wish you all the best for the future and I don't know maybe after 9 years you may be creating 3d with junior. Be well and have a great year.

George Pourikas.

Thank you for having me on VW, the interview was also very nice and pleasant for me and I congratulate you once more on the fantastic work you are doing with your site.

 

 
 

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