Interview - Carioca

Carioca CGI

 Bucharest, Romania


Tell us a bit about your company...When did you start? 
Carioca started in 2005 as a production house offering integrated services: production (casting, locations, make-up, hair styling, props, set construction, mock-ups), photography, post production, illustration, CGI - basically everything for visual creation. The partners have a background in art school and later in advertising, working extensively as art directors. In the beginning the CG part was outsourced, working with freelancers under our supervision. But since, we have developed our own CG department with full time employees and tools (a lot of them :)
With the market becoming more and more competitive, what do you believe is a must that a 3D Illustrator in advertising has in his portfolio or skills?
A 3D artist must have a vision in his portfolio. Something different, something personal, something to catch the attention, to stand out from the crowd. This is the most important thing. Skills can be developed, is a learning process. But a personal vision is a must have.

Can you give us an insight on the process, the goals of the project and the difficult parts in the “Matches” and “Ants” projects?
The goal was to emphasize the sensations of itching, scratching, burning one gets on the skin - the product being Fenistil, a cream for those problems. So it had to be very realistic - this was the main point, otherwise the idea would have been lost. We decided to shoot real people and then make the CG on them. So, after we shot and choose the characters we had to construct the character in the same anatomy and position as the shot. Then we arrange the ants and matches on that CG model. After it was ok, we rendered without the CG character and put the real one instead, keeping the shadows the objects made on the CG character. So it was kind of complex, but I think it was the right way of doing it.

Did you use the same techniques from one project to another? What changes?
We usually use the well known tools of the industry. But this is just in general. In particular, each project requires specific solutions. Our CG visuals are mostly a combination of CG and photo, no visual is just made in 3D. So, we have to decide which part is shot and which is CG first. And then to think about ways to make the two techniques match perfectly. And here comes specific solutions, like we did for Ants visual.
What was the biggest challenge in the Harbour and City illustrations?

Frankly, back then, for this project, one of the main challenges was the hardware :) - you can imagine how many polygons are in a city made of little foam pyramids. Of course, we spent a lot of time sketching, drawing the environments, composing, changing the composition, adding small details like the angry seagull - but all that are very much common to a project this complex. But the rendering really challenged us. It was the most complex project to date. Since then our hardware was serious upgraded.

Out of all the projects you have done, which one is your favorite and why?
We do not have a favorite one - each has it's own challenges.
What was the most difficult part in Colosseum and Pyramids illustrations?

Apart from the need to look very realistic (which is a task for most of our projects), the most difficult part was to make two well known buildings credible as being as they were when they were brand new. Because there are only speculations about how they looked back then.
How do you start working on an ad? Do you use references, a description from and advertising agency or just imagination?

Usually, agency comes with a sketch. Then we talk to them, hear what they want. And every time we do a visual treatment with sketches, references - in this treatment we put our vision upon the visual. We always do this, makes the process clearer, the client knows what will get.
If you work for an advertising agency, do you find it difficult to work on “somebody else’s vision”?
I think that you get jobs especially for your vision. The market is demanding, there are very high standards. What makes the difference is the vision, the treatment you gave to a project. Yes, is the agency's idea, but is our vision. Advertising is a field where you have to work in teams, with an agency, a client, suppliers. We worked a lot in the industry and we are used with the way things works.
Which effect do you believe was the most difficult to achieve? (How did you do it?)

Usually, in our projects the CG has to look realistic - I mean very realistic. And this is the effect most difficult to achieve. CG not to look like CG.
What programs/plugins do you use? Do you also create the storyboards?
We use the programs well known in industry, nothing special.
We do static visuals (till now, in the future, who knows...), so we don't do storyboards.
Do you think computer graphics changed visual advertisement and consumer behavior?
Visual advertisement for sure, consumer behavior maybe, I don't know. Computer graphics made the visuals much more complex. Together with digital photography and postproduction. Also, art director's ideas are more and more complex. The digital imaging somehow liberated the imagination.

What are your company goals?
Right now we are focused on working more and more in other markets, to present ourselves. Of course, developing and refining our techniques is always in our minds.
What’s the one project that you received the most praise for? What is your favorite movie/ commercial? 
There is not a single one that stands out, we received awards and praises for several ones. About the movie, we are a many here, so a favorite one for all is hard to pin out. :)
How important is it to have a proper education in this field?

Very important. All the people here in CG, but also in post production have artistic education (graphics, design, architecture). Most of our work is doing things that have to look 100% real (whether buildings, animals, objects) and you have to see the things in your mind, to look at the reality and reproduce it, to see in space. And of course to have a sense of composition. I'm not saying that people without artistic background cannot achieve good results, but I think (if they indeed have the talent) they need more time to get used to composing, seeing in space, drawing the shapes etc. And we're in a industry where you don't have that much time...
If you had the opportunity to spend a day with anyone from this industry, who would it be? 
We spend a lot of time together here at Carioca, so... :)
What do you have up your sleeve for future projects?

Check periodically :)