Join Rob Garrott for an in-depth discussion in this video Full movie, part of Artists and Their Work: Conversations about Mograph VFX and Digital Art.
[Tomasz Opasinski]: The most important is the idea. Somehow I see images in my head. So when I'm thinking about stuff like this I see this image in the back of my head. I do have a certain knowledge and experience right now after 13 years, so I know pretty much what to do or not to do. But I'm still learning as well. Every year we have the new movies and new challenges. Everything is changing, the approach is changing and how and when campaigns are taking off before the movie is premiered. So we have to think about it then we adjust so it's not just the graphics but it's strategy behind it. [Rob Garrott]: So Tomasz, tell me, show me what you got in this awesome Batman poster. [Tomasz]: This is just a beta version of the poster that I was working on using Maxon. I can show you the compositing in Photoshop that was done for it. [Rob]: So this is walking through all the layers. [Tomasz] Yes precisely, it just literally goes through layers nothing, no 3D whatsoever. I'm showing literally compositing from Photoshop standpoint, not focusing much on the 3D in it. I'm just doing this to show how much work goes into it literally. - Sure. - So it's not like I've been given one image and then just shifted a color or contrast and stuff like that. [Rob]: With a little more work than that. [Tomasz]: Yeah, precisely. It's a little bit more than that. It's an idea first and then execution second, and details third maybe. You can see I'm using stock images and this image as well as 3D models. They were made and rendered by me. [Rob]: So the buildings that were seen right here these are 3D? [Tomasz]: Yes, these are made just for that. [Rob]: Nice, and did those come from the Greyscalegorilla? [Tomasz]: No, this were from TurboSquid I think. [Rob]: Excellent, excellent. [Tomasz]: These are from TurboSquid but there were lead and texture just for that to make them more shiny. What you're seeing here I'm just compositing the-- [Rob]: Adding a texture. - Batman's head. [Rob]: Wow. [Tomasz]: Adding a texture. Literally what I did was render the same head with a few different lighting settings. And the reason why I did it in Photoshop it's way easier for me to revise it later on. Instead of going and rerender it in 3D I can just literally mask and unmask stuff in Photoshop. It's just foreseeing the the revisions coming, literally so that's the strategy there. [Rob]: Beautiful, the foreground elements are really adding a lot of depth. -[Tomasz]: Thank you. [Tomasz]: The point was just to create massive object that says Batman, nothing else. You won't be able to mistake this with anything else. This is wide version and of course later on from this it was cropped to the regular poster size. It just ended up being just a concept and then go anywhere. [Rob]: Do you find that, well how often does that happen where you make this amazing piece of art that doesn't make the cut? [Tomasz]: Very often, this is part of my job literally it's just coming up the most detailed ideas I can and presented to a client and then it's in their hands if their marketing department feels like this is it or this is not it. So I'm not maybe shooting, I'm first listening what they want say through this image and interpreting this with the image. If the image hits the spot yes this is it, if it doesn't we have to explore again and again and again and again. [Rob]: At what point in the process, like how far do you take it in terms of production before you actually show it to them? [Tomasz]: I like to take it to the final, final stage. [Rob]: Wow. Tomasz]: It's not the final size of the poster because we're building it in a slightly smaller scale. It's let's say 50% of the original final scale but it's really highly detailed. I love details and people see details. [Rob]: They really do. [Tomasz]: I love to take it to the final, final stage. [Rob]: You don't have any kind of, a copying phase that you go through where you've just mocking things up? [Tomasz]: I'm trying to not to do this, I've been asked to do, to send working progress but what I'm seeing in my head and what I'm delivering as a working progress is not exactly the same. So I'd rather spend two more hours and finish it or be close to finish, instead of just sending just a head. For example with this one, I can show you that if I send just something like this I don't think it will go anywhere. This is a 3D model for it and it will be hard to see what I'm thinking about, right? [Rob]: Yeah. [Tomasz]: I will have to really be precise, describing what I'm planning to put behind him, what's in the front, or the light will work? So this is the reason why I'm not, I'm trying not to send working progress, so this is ... [Rob]: You don't want them to have to work to hard to envision it. [Tomasz]: Precisely, because then it may be a good idea but it may lose on this level. [Rob]: In the translation. - So this is the final poster for this and you see I would rather do this than just send something like this or even if it's one pass render. It's safer for me and we may avoid later on confusion and additional questions for this stuff. [Rob]: Yeah, you're right. Now how was this piece of geometry being generated? It looks like it's a texture on top of another model. Tomasz]: Yeah, it's actually pretty simple. I can delete this. I'm using my trickery here. [Rob]: Trickery is awesome by the way. Tomasz]: Yeah, I have to use shortcuts it's all about time. What I did, I had a default Batman head and what happened is I decided to delete few vertices. [Rob]: Wow, yeah. [Tomasz]: To create those holes, right? It's just something really simple, basic stuff from Maxon, okay. Then we have just few holes here and there. I'm not used to using mouse. Then I have a really simple texture that is with alpha channel, I can show you this texture I think. Bedded image. This is the texture, literally just like the basket kind of thing. [Rob]: Wow. [Tomasz]: With alpha channel. [Rob]: And from a distance it looks like girders, wow. [Tomasz]: Then this texture is applied to the head. At certain scale, I don't remember right now the scale but it was, let's say, I don't know. [Rob]: Yeah, there we go. [Tomasz]: Let's say something like this so they know what I did just to create the illusion of this basket kind of thing. I just literally copy and paste the same object made it slightly smaller in size. [Rob]: Look at that, wow. - With a slightly different … [Rob]: That's great. [Tomasz]: With a slightly different scale of it so if you have a three or four, let's call it baskets in there then it creates kind of in decent, decent sense of depth and stuff like that. Then just literally it's nothing crazy here, I was, where is this stuff? Then it was just landscape part. We did different texture of course on the top of that. [Rob]: Right. [Tomasz]: That's there. Let's say something like this then the camera angle of course and the different lighting and here we are. The most important is the idea then execution, somehow I see images in my head. So when I'm thinking about stuff like this I see this image in the back of my head. It may be hard for some people to see it and this is how it happens. It happens like this with the posters, with anything that it's visual. So I'm seeing it in my head like let's say 95% of this is what I wanted and then literally I'm just executing this. It's almost like executing the image that sits here. It's like literally going and thinking about this so this is how it happens. [Rob]: Where does it start then? Does the client come to you and saying, "Tomasz we see a giant sculpture of Batman "in front of a city." Are they getting that detail with you or they're just saying-- [Tomasz]: No. -[Rob]: Make something that-- [Tomasz]: Sometimes. It really depends, under like in the movie posters it's I'm reading a script or synopsis and I'm seeing, I don't know main twist in a movie. So I'm trying to create something around that. Sometimes it's a metaphor that I'm looking for. Sometime the only support is from stock images because there is nothing yet and we have to start promoting already. [Rob]: Right, right. [Tomasz]: Sometimes I just have images from a movie, shot on a, stages and on location. So it really depends. So I have to modify my ideas and use what I can, what I have. I may have the best idea but I may not have anything to support it, so I may drop the idea and do something else that supports the other idea that I can use the images for or mask it or compete or do all sorts of things. It really depends. Each movie is different, I hate to say it but really it depends. For now, at the moment, I've been working in a movie poster industry for 13 years. [Rob]: Wow. [Tomasz]: So far, I've been working on 450 different campaigns. [Rob]: Wow, that is a lot. [Tomasz]: It's a lot. That is a lot, so it's a really quick turnaround. There is the theatrical, movie posters, television, and stuff for video games as well. So it is a lot, you have to be quick, you have to visualize pretty quickly and you have to have this sort of marketing thing because beyond anything these posters are selling tools. So each studio, each producer wants to sell his product, is it a movie, is a video game, is it something else. So they come to us and to look maybe not for answers but they look for partial answers, what it may be. Most of the time it's an early stage, it's a movie being in production, in pre-production, or just maybe even a script. There was so many times that we started working on a possible solution for movie that was in a script phase. There was nothing yet. There was no cast, no director chosen, there was just a script. At this stage we're just thinking because if you think about it, every year in the States there is like I think seven or 800 movies being produced. Each had to, in an ideal world that will be that each will have a separate campaign and then you can recognize it and each will have a distinct campaign along with the movie. In order to do this, you have to really sit and focus and where and how you would like this movie to be promoted. Is it a Christmas movie, is it the summer blockbuster, is it a Valentines day movie? You have to think about this all ahead because you have a competition of the same time slot and you have to be really careful what you do. And you can't do obvious things because other people may do obvious thing and then you have two movies and different genre probably being marketed with the same tool. [Rob]: Yeah, like Antz and Bugs Life. [Tomasz]: Precisely something like that and it's so easy to make it the same way, you have to make it different and there is a lot of thinking trust me, there was a lot of thinking in that. What I do, I'm trying to visualize and put those images literally like crystallize, visualize whatever needs to be done, whatever it was said or written I'm trying to visualize that. Whatever direction I was given from a studio or a different agency or I don't know, marketing department, I have to visualize that to show it to those people and discuss it later on, and evolve and then revise and go back and forth in order to solve this problem because it is a problem, from their perspective it is a problem. I'm there to help them literally. I do have certain knowledge and experience right now after 13 years. So I know, I think pretty much what to do or not to do but I'm still learning as well. Every year we have new movies and new challenges. Everything is changing. I don't know, we have a Twitter right now, we have Facebook, all the social media. So stuff is changing, the approach is changing and how and when campaigns are taking off before the movie is premiered. We have to think about it then we adjust so it's not just the graphics but it's strategy behind it. [Rob]: Now in terms of the campaign overall, are you getting involved in, so you're making the key art, right? But then are you doing other aspects of the campaign as well? [Tomasz]: Sometimes yes. Yes, like the websites we're thinking about graphics for website, for mobile and stuff like that, and that's another, I don't want to call it problem but it's another thing to think about. When you're designing it you have to think about, okay it will be-- [Rob]: It's going to show up in banners. [Tomasz]: Precisely, it has to look nice in a banner, it has to look nice in your iPhone or whatever and that makes your life a little bit more miserable because title has to be readable if it's small. Literally, I hate small posters, this is my thing but when it's small it have to be readale so you have to think about this. You can do your happy graphics as long as you want but there's a point where you have to readjust everything and make it readable. [Rob]: Make it readable, yeah. [Tomasz]: Because you want people to read this stuff. [Rob]: How did you get started? [Tomasz]: That was, maybe not an accident but I was in Poland 13 years ago where I grew up and I'm originally from Poland. One day we decided with a friend of mine to leave the country and do something else. So we decided to send resumes all around. Yeah my first choice was Australia but it was super hard to get the visa to Australia. I never wanted to do anything illegal and go work in a bartending and then do my moon shining somewhere with the graphics. So I wanted to go legally with no problems whatsoever. I found a company in the States and we did the visa thing and I end up being in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. [Rob]: Wow. [Tomasz]: From there, there was an old agency it doesn't exist anymore, they're called Seiniger Advertising. [Rob]: Yeah I remember that place. [Tomasz]: Oh yeah. [Rob]: Yes. [Tomasz]: So that's the Seiniger school so they found my website and they literally ask me, "Hey so you want to do "posters maybe?" [Rob]: Wow. [Tomasz]: I was like yeah, sure, why not, I never done any. [Rob]: In Poland were you already doing posters and creating illustration there? [Tomasz]: No, I was actually working on flyers for supermarkets and stuff like that but on the side it's also my passion that's why I feel so good with because my passion was graphics, I was always doing something and tutorials as well and Photoshop. Before I came here I was in Poland, I became Adobe certified expert as well. I was really deeply into this but not strictly posters. Then when I had this opportunity of doing posters I'm like, "Okay cool, doesn't sound bad, "we'll see what it is about." They flew me to Beverly Hills and they tested me for a week and after a week they were like "Yeah, "let's do it, let's do the visa thing and let's start." Then over the years the one company collapsed, the other you go form one place to another, and after 13 years I'm still here happy and it's pretty cool, I love what I do. [Rob]: It's interesting thing, the companies do tend to come and go but the artist are always floating around the industry and they show up in different places. [Tomasz]: Yeah, it's one big family actually, literally. It's a few maybe, I don't know, 10, 15 agencies and you know literally everybody because you used to work with this person here or met him here and we know each other but by knowing it means closed community. It's really open community, they welcome almost everybody who likes posters, who likes to do this because it takes a certain talent to do the poster. You have to find this metaphor, you have to think about it. You can't just be good with Photoshop. [Rob]: Right. [Tomasz]: Because then you're not creating posters, you're just retouching stuff. [Rob]: Is there anything that the poster is becoming your, I mean is really your medium. I mean when you look at your website and the kind of stuff, maybe we should switch over and take a look at some of that stuff. The work that you're doing on your website, I mean you are fully devoted, you're to the idea of the poster. [Tomasz]: I have some of the posters here. [Rob]: Yeah that's beautiful. [Tomasz]: Oblivion as well. [Rob]: That's a wonderful framing, so let's talk about this for a second. For the concept for this, obviously it's a movie about a guy on a planet, desolation of the future and you're ... I would imagine at this point when you made the poster like the movie's not done yet and you don't have this shot to pull from so where do you start? [Tomasz]: Exactly, here is the full story about this poster. I'm not sure if you saw the movie but the-- [Rob]: Yes. [Tomasz]: In the movie the bridge stands still, straight like this and so the idea was then of course we didn't have much to work with because it was not yet rendered, and yet done in CG. That's the challenge we are facing in a poster industry that by the time we have to advertise the movie, special effects are not yet done so that's why I'm using 3D to create this on a spot and start promoting from, I don't know, a year before the premiere. This is the perfect example for that. The reason why the bridge on the poster is slightly tilted is just to suggest that something is off with this world. We're trying to avoid the I Am Legend kind of problem that everything is destroyed and ruined and stuff like that. This world is pretty calm and you have nice weather there sort of, in a way but something is off. You see Tom Cruise walking straight so you're, subliminally you think that he's okay, he's okay, he's not sick. He can kick some butts right now but what you see behind him subliminally you know that something is off and this is the idea. That without thinking, I mean without thinking too much, without talking about it, you know, okay something is off about this world. You don't know what exactly happened but something is off and that triggers your thinking about the movie and this is what I want. [Rob]: At what point in the process like did they walk to you with the script or did they have just sort of a an elevator pitch for the movie itself? [Tomasz]:That was pitched, that was combination of everything. I think we had the synopsis for this. We knew a little bit about the movie, we had some photos, so we were already exploring stuff, we were in the progress of exploring different posters, different approaches with Tom Cruise closer, further, and then with the different elements and of course there were different posters for this movie being created but few other agencies as well. This for us was a challenge because we had a challenge and actually something really cool that we could actually use the 3D, use it there, not just as a tiny little thing somewhere there but it was the main, main, main piece and we could actually make it big and it was actually printed later on a billboard, and stuff like that so that looked okay. The challenge with this was just how to convey the idea so the idea was the main thing and then execution was the second thing. We had a few rounds with the studio, with the background because it adds a mood of course. Clouds are adding the mood into it so you don't want a certain cloud and a certain sky and stuff like that. I can show you the 3D model. This is the 3D model we're starting with. [Rob]: Excellent, now where did that model come from? [Tomasz]: This is partially from TurboSquid, later on and the finishing stage for the poster it was slightly rebuilt. [Rob]: Wow, okay. - Because I'm not sure if we can show this here but this is kind of low poly and these lines are not perfectly-- [Tomasz]: Yeah, you can see the vertex (mumbling). [Rob]: Precisely, so for a camping that was perfect. Here is the idea, Tom is walking this way. Let's do it or not. Yes it was selected so then came finishing stage for it where you literally take whatever we had and reillustrate this. [Rob]: Right. [Tomasz]: And then add details so it looks somewhat natural, not CG, not fake. [Rob]: Now are you going back in and using a similar technique what you showed us in the Batman. Where your rendering this out flat and then coming back and painting in the details and the texture on the corrosion and stuff. -[Tomasz]: Yeah that too, that was covered with the default texture of rusty sort of thing, nothing crazy but then details were created in a post production later on in Photoshop. It was easier for us because just in case of the revisions for example, okay there was too much rust or there was not enough rust, it will be easier for us to change it, turn on and off layers, the opacity or something or masking, unmasking and that will be two minute job instead of re-rendering it. To some point I have to render files in the default lighting, nothing aggressive. Not too much lighting here, no harsh lights, no harsh shadows. [Rob]: Then paint all that in later. [Tomasz]: Precisely. [Tomasz]: Yeah. [Rob]: So that's the Oblivion with house, I have so many files here with you. I also do my custom posters, my noncommercial posters. These are posters that I'm creating maybe not for myself but these are the posters that are in my head and as an artist I want to just make them, make them real. I want to see them, want to touch them. I print them on canvas. [Rob]: Fantastic. [Tomasz]: And they have a second life literally on that. Because what we see, we got used to digital stuff that we can't touch. Actually we can maybe swipe your fingers. [Rob]: Yeah, make course on the monitor. [Tomasz]: Yeah, precisely but then when you get this digital artwork but it's printed on canvas with our [caival] inks it's something totally different. [Rob]: Are you selling those? [Tomasz]: Yeah, I'm selling those too as well. [Rob]: What's the medium you selling through, selling through Etsy? [Tomasz]: Yes, I'm selling through Etsy and through my website. It makes me happy and it makes people that like my artwork happy as well. It also help paying for my car. (laughing) This is my hobby, so whatever I make it goes into carp payments, it's like "Okay cool, "awesome, thank you. This is awesome." Every few weeks I have this idea that I can't get rid off and I have to visualize that. I have quite few unfinished posters of mine but slowly whenever I'll have time maybe I'll finish some of them and they'll pop on my website or on Etsy or something. [Rob]: Do you find that, do you ever get to the point like with your, the commercial work that you do where you experience any kind of burnout with the personal work or is it do the two keep themselves in balance? [Tomasz]: The reason why I'm doing this as well is to keep this balance, to keep myself sane. I never actually luckily for me knocking on a wood, I never had a moment where I was burned out. I never had this moment happen in my life. It's a curse, in a way it's a curse because you keep thinking about it. You can't think about something else. [Rob]: Never switch off. [Tomasz]: Precisely and it is a problem, I acknowledge that. It is a problem because we keep thinking like "Oh maybe this will work? Or maybe this will work?" And there are other things in your life that you have to do but you keep thinking about [trons], like "Hmm what should I do? "Maybe there is a huge face made of something," and it never leaves you. So in a way I'm blessed with this and a way I'm cursed. Some time ago I decided to divide my artistic life into two or three ways. One will be artistic life commercial. [Rob]: Okay. [Tomasz]: Where I do purely for commercial purposes. Marketing, for theatrical, video games and stuff like that. This is commercial work that keeps me alive. Then the other part is that keeps me sane is my personal work like this or my digital graffiti where I can do whatever I want. It's whatever I feel like it should be, I can do it. I'm self challenging this way. [Rob]: You own it. [Tomasz]: Yes precisely, I'm self challenging myself like "Can I do it in this 3D program?" Or maybe I can illustrate or maybe I can paint, maybe I can mix media. So for me it's a way to experiment and I'm not saying that in a commercial world I can't experiment. I can but the exploration there and experimentation is limited because there is only so much you can show on the street. You can't over complicate commercial posters because no one will ever recognize-- [Rob]: It has to be accessible still. -[Tomasz]: Precisely, people will have to rely. People will have, you have to catch eyes and people have to figure this out in a split second from poster like this-- [Rob]: You can't be subtle. [Tomasz]: Precisely, for a poster like this you can spend two hours in the gallery and gaze at it, it's like okay-- [Rob]: And study it. [Tomasz]: well what is it, what is it? But when it comes to commercial stuff, you can't. People drive by, walk by and it has to hit them in the eyes right there. These are my two lives, they're separate but somehow together. They're connected in a way but it keeps me sane I think. I come home from work and I keep doing this, my wife is always, I'm amazed, like "What are you doing?" I just had this idea, I have to do it. Just a second, two hours, three hours and I end up sitting with the computer at four in the morning. She's like "Okay are you coming?" I say, "Yeah, yeah just a second "I have to finish this stuff." [Rob]: laughing) Now do you, it's awesome. Let's just click through a few of these-- [Tomasz]: Okay cool. [Rob]: And talk about it, maybe you-- [Tomasz]: These posters are from some time ago but they were chosen for the Siggraph for the Maxon presentation. [Rob]: Yes. [Tomasz]: Because what it does, it illustrates the idea in the poster that they really like the metaphor and illustrates the use of this new technology, 3D. Without this 3D I'm not sure if I will be able to execute this as well. I can draw, I can paint, I think pretty well but this is something different. I wouldn't be able to do this. [Rob]: The level of detail… [Tomasz]: Yeah geometry and stuff like that, I don't think I will be able to achieve that and in this time that was allowed to do this. I have few posters that they won a few awards here and there and that actually serves me as a proof that okay, this is the way. [Rob]: You're heading the right direction. [Tomasz]: Yes or it's not missed shot. It's like okay, someone actually likes it, it's a proof. Okay Opasinski we sort of like how you think. I have a few posters here, they were made for a few companies I used to work at Trailer Park or The End Farm or Seiniger so there are all the posters. For this poster we had to create all this in the CG because it's Vegas covered in sand. [Rob]: In sand, yeah. [Tomasz]: Of course there was no stock images so we had to fake some stuff literally in that 3D. What I did I went to Google Maps and we mapped few buildings and then added sand then that sort of the sword on there Vegas. Of course we had to create this in the sand as well. These are my noncommercial posters that I'm literally, I'm trying to convey the idea without using any photography or anything like that, so this is Grand Piano. They're sort of mix and match. This is my version of Frankenstein. [Rob]:Yeah, wow. [Tomasz]: I'm happy when I'm doing this. [Rob]: Yeah and do you usually use movies as the basis for the posters that you do? I see quite a few titles, you've got the Star Wars series and the Alien and that sort of thing. [Tomasz]: This is what I love, this is where my heart lays. It's like I love aliens so I will keep doing making aliens forever I think. There's one I also do posters for film festivals. It's a commercial work but you can do way more than-- [Rob]: Making a lot more freedom with it. [Tomasz]: Precisely and this is perfect example of total freedom. The director of this festival told me literally, like listen, I don't like when people, because he's a Oscar winning composer. He literally said like, "Listen I don't like when people "mess with my notes here. "I will mess with your pixels here." [Rob]: Wow, that's a luxury to actually-- [Tomasz]: Yeah, precisely, it was super and it worked out pretty well. This poster won I think two awards. [Rob]: This one. [Tomasz]: And next year I think won three awards even. I think, do I have it here? This one I think won three awards for that. [Rob]: Wow, yeah. I remember that one actually, yes. [Tomasz]: It's perfect relationship between me and him and then of course we were talking about different ideas and different solutions. So for example, the main problem was at the beginning the name of the festival is Transatlantyk and in peoples minds that Transatlantyk comes ship, they see a ship, right away they see a ship. This is the first edition of this Transatlantyk festival so since the beginning we had to detach from the ship because if we will start with a ship, we're gone. For the rest of our lives everybody will think of the ship so since the first edition of this festival we decided not to go with the ship. For a second one, I decided to do vehicle but not a ship so it's locomotive. [Rob]: It's almost a jet engine. [Tomasz]: This is jet engine. These are from Queen Mary/Titanic and this is a film, roles of film inside with the logo you'll see here. This is how I play with peoples mind and eye, this is exact copy of this here in the center and people don't see it. [Rob]: Yeah. (laughing) [Tomasz]: It's right in the center and actually if you will unfold this, top of this is based on an orchestra director's suit. [Rob]: Yes, the tails - Whatever they're wearing. [Tomasz]: So this is my tribute to the ... [Rob]: Yeah, I totally see that now. [Tomasz]: I think have it somewhere, maybe later on I can show you that. I had to create this vehicle for that and of course it's an idea to as a Transatlantyk. I've tried few different objects for different film festivals as well. This is film festival for cinematographers in Poland. This here is edition. [Rob]: That's fantastic. [Tomasz]: It's of course, it uses 3D as well so it's easier for me and I have also a series of my personal posters with moneys. [Rob]: Do you find, do you pick movies that you really like or is it, do you pick movies randomly? [Tomasz]: Somewhat randomly, for example Rain Man was picked randomly but I had this idea of money with a bunch of brains on his head. I'm like, okay which movie that may relate to so I came with the Rain Man. I like sort of sci-fi-ish movies and then you can do something more creative. It will be hard to do something with a comedy or (laughing) or romance, or something like that. Although I may try, this is exception. [Rob]: Yeah maybe that will be a good challenge, yeah. [Tomasz]: These are my posters I'm printing them on canvas. [Rob]: That's wonderful, yeah. [Tomasz]: This is where I spend my free time with. [Rob]: Now do you walk in to one of these ideas, like how, you mentioned earlier that you get this visions in your head that you can't get out and like do you see it? When you visualize it do you see it, I guess what I'm trying to ask is how far from the original thing that you had in the head does the end product end up? Like how many iterations does it go through? [Tomasz]: In my head or? [Rob]: Before it gets to the final product from the time you have the vision. [Tomasz]: It's really close, this is how my mind works, I don't know. With the studios, with the clients we go through rounds of revisions of course but whenever the idea pops in my head it's there. [Rob]: Wow. [Tomasz]: It's this. I've been training my brain as well to do this because my job requires this image based thinking every second of a day. - Quickly, yeah exactly. [Rob]: Every minute. - Speed based. [Tomasz]: You have to think of images, precisely. Everyday I go through tons of images, these are clouds, trees or images from movies and I have to sort of memorize them. This is one of the toughest part of my job and when you get two terabytes of images from a movie, you have to sort of memorize everything in a way. I don't want to scare people away but you have to go through it and memorize it, and then think of-- [Rob]: To know what's available. [Tomasz]: What can you make off of it and this is where the really word of process starts. You have let's say 1,500 images or 2,000 images and you're thinking okay, here is an actor standing and here is an actor driving and here is the actor walking a dog, what can I do? Or maybe he can walk the dog towards him but he can hold the leash around him or something like that. You have to go into abstract thinking. You have those 2,000 images and unlimited possibilities of interacting between them. You have to find the idea that works, that we can use this. It's really crazy work, sometimes by the end of the day you're really tired, exhausted. I would literally work physically sometimes rather than sit and think of ideas. [Rob]: Now they're sending you all these images and that's one of the interesting things about the Photoshop world, is that you can also take all those 2,000 images and you could combine them together as well. How often do you find yourself making these Frankenstein like contraptions out of all these images? [Tomasz]: Everyday. - Yeah. [Rob]: A typical layer for somewhat complicated poster is about 200 layers. [Rob]: Yeah, wow. [Tomasz]: If not, more. There is few reasons why is in the big agency you have to relearn Photoshop, how to use it because you're using it in a group. At any given moment anybody else may have to work on your file to tweak the title treatment or the color of the eyes or rebuild the background. You have to build it in a certain way so people understand. It's like a new language in a way so we reteach students how to do Photoshop work. They think they know Photoshop but it's rarely the case. We have to reteach them so they can talk with all their designers. When you have this, you have really large composites, hundreds of layers and the reason why there are hundreds of layers is we're working in non-distractive system that you can tweak and reverse and remake, review. [Rob]: Get back to any point. [Tomasz]: Precisely because the request are coming not only from a client point but after every brainstorm, we are readjusting stuff around. This tree may have to move there because it creates the weird tension in the corner or something like that or it's too dark, too bright, so you have to be able to move all this around. And that, it takes few months for new people to learn how to composite this way. It's really fun but once we get it it's awesome. Sometimes we had a competitions how to build a file in the most complicated way for example. (laughing) It's just sometimes when we are bored it's like-- [Rob]: How to do it wrong. [Tomasz]: How can you over complicate the simplest stuff and you'll be amazed what people can come up with. Because I keep those files maybe one day I'll publish some of these but I keep some of those files. [Rob]: That would be a lot of fun actually. And actually-- [Tomasz]: Yeah, it's amazing. [Rob]: There's so much of the digital art world is being invented as we go and there's things that change along the way and so far Photoshop has been, I think the one constant throughout all of that stuff. Did you, like 13 years ago, you were already doing stuff with Photoshop right but you were, had you envisioned it becoming the main stay of your life that it is now? [Tomasz]: No, and actually I should be thankful to Adobe that I can use their tool continuously. I'm not learning Photoshop anymore because it's in my fingers. [Rob]: Yes. [Tomasz]: It's there, I don't have to think-- [Rob]: It's in your blood really. [Tomasz]: I don't have to think about it but I think they they've made a pretty cool product. It's really versatile. You can do any task in a few different ways, few different approaches to the same problem that's actually awesome. I never thought that I'll be doing at age of 40 I'll do Photoshop stuff. I thought that would be long gone but what happens is right now, I use at least, I use more and more 3D for it because luckily I've been involved with the bigger posters, bigger campaigns where you have to use CG, you have to post the characters. For video games, you have to post the characters. They come with the T-pose and there's not much we can do unless they're like, I don't know, Jesus Christ maybe or something. But you have to pose, you have to create the environment, you have to create the tension or body language for those characters. So that's really, really handy, the 3D comes really handy so then you render it and then you composite in Photoshop, and then maybe someone will like it. (laughing) So all these and over the years, you can create the sort of shortcut, you can foresee a little bit in the future. Where when I was starting it was hard to foresee what people will like or not if it is going to work or not. So there was a lot of wasted time in a way because of-- [Rob]: So, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt but where do you see yourself going? I mean like, so you've been doing this for a long time now, you're not getting burned out, you still love it. [Tomasz]: No, it's awesome. [Rob]: But where does it go from here? [Tomasz]: From here, here's what I'm seeing this year I started my own company. [Rob]: Excellent. [Tomasz]: Yeah, it's called Image Massive and this is what we do posters and then video games. So I'm seeing myself slowly going towards the creative direction because I do have experience and I would like to share it with someone. It's here, it's just waiting to be given to someone. I know that there are people that would like to work with me or work on this, so I'm seeing myself going more towards the managerial area and more creative direction than right now. I think I'll keep doing it physically forever. [Rob]: You won't ever stop. [Tomasz]: I will never stop. If I will have to switch to Excel right now or I don't know, no, I'll never ever, ever, ever.
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