Join Rob Garrott for an in-depth discussion in this video Part 3: Tomasz's work, part of Artists and Their Work: Conversations about Mograph, VFX, and Digital Art.
- It's awesome, let's just click through a few of these and talk about them. - OK, cool, cool. These posters are from some time ago, but they were chosen for the Siggraph for the Maxon presentation. Because what it does, it illustrates the idea in a poster that I really like, the metaphor, and it illustrates the use of this new technology, 3D. Without this 3D I'm not sure if I would 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. - The level of detail. - Yeah, geometry and stuff like that. I don't think I would be able to achieve that in this time that I was allowed to do this. I have a few posters that won a few awards here and there, and that actually serves me as a proof that, OK, this is the way-- - You're heading in the right direction. - Yes, or it's not mis-shot. It's like, OK, someone actually likes it, it's approved. "OK, Opasinski, we sort of like how you think." So I have a few posters here that were made for a few companies I used to work at, Trailer Park or The Ant Farm or Seiniger, so there are all the posters.
For this poster we had to create all this in CG, because it's Vegas covered in sand. And of course there were no stock images, so we had to fake some stuff, literally, in 3D. So what I did, I went to Google Maps and we mapped a few buildings, then added the sand. It's sort of Vegas. And of course we had to create this in the sand as well. These are my non-commercial posters that I'm literally trying to convey the idea without using any photography or anything like that.
So this is Grand Piano. They're a sort of mix and match. This is my version of Frankenstein. - Oh, wow! - You know, I'm happy when I'm doing this. - Do you usually use movies as the basis for the posters that you do? - Sometimes. - I see quite a few tiles that you've got of the Star Wars series and the Alien, and that sort of thing. - This is what I love. This is where my heart lies. I love Aliens, so I will keep making Aliens forever, I think. (Rob laughs) But I also do posters for film festivals.
It's commercial work, but you can do way more than-- - They give you a lot more freedom with it. - Precisely, and this is a perfect example of total freedom. The director of this festival told me literally, "Listen, I don't like when people...." Because he's an Oscar-winning composer, he literally said, like, "Listen, I don't like "when people mess with my notes here. "I won't mess with your pixels here." - Wow. That's luxury, actually! - Yeah, precisely, it was super, and it worked out pretty well.
This poster won I think two awards, 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. - I remember that one, actually. - So it's a perfect, you know, relationship between me and him. And 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 was Transatlantyk, and in people's minds, "transatlantic" comes as a ship.
They see a ship, (snaps fingers) right away they see a ship. And 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. (laughter) 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. So for a second one I decided to do a vehicle, but not a ship. So it's a locomotive, it's a....
- It's almost a jet engine, too. - Yes, it's a jet engine. These are from Queen Mary/Titanic, and this is a film, rolls of film, inside with the logo, you will see here. This is how I play with people's mind and eye. This is an exact copy of this here in the center, and people don't see it. (laughter) It's right in the center. And actually, if you unfold this top of this, it's based on an orchestra director's suit.
- Oh, yes, the tails! - Whatever they're wearing. And so this is my tribute to the.... - (laughs) I totally see that now. - I think I have it somewhere. Maybe later on I can show you that. So I had to create this vehicle for that, and of course it's an idea, too, as a Transatlantyk. I've tried a few different objects for different film festivals as well. This is a film festival for cinematographers in Poland.
This is this year's edition. - That's fantastic. (laughs) - And of course, it uses 3D as well, so it's easier for me. And I also have a series of my personal posters with Munnys. - Yes. Now do you find, do you pick movies that you really like, or do you pick the movies randomly? - Somewhat randomly. For example, Rain Man was picked randomly, but I had this idea of Munny with a bunch of brains on his head, and I'm like, "OK, which movie might that relate to?" So I came up with Rain Man.
I like sort of sci-fi-ish movies, and then you can do something more creative. It would be hard to do something with a comedy, (laughter) or you know, a romance or something like that. Although I might try! This is Inception. - Maybe that would be a good challenge, yeah. - So these are my posters. I'm printing them on canvas. - This is wonderful, yeah. - So this is what I spend my free time with. - Now do you walk into one of these ideas? Like you mentioned earlier that you get these visions in your head that you can't get out, and 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 your head does the end product end up? Like how many iterations does it go through? - In my head, or...? - Before it gets to the final product. - It's really close. - Is it, wow! - 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 into my head, it's there, it's this. And you know, I've been training my brain, as well, to do this.
Because my job requires this image-based thinking every second of the day. Every minute you have to think of images. - Speed-based images. - Precisely. And every day I go through tons of images. These are clouds, trees, or images from the movies, and I sort of have to memorize them. This is one of the toughest parts of my job, that 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, what can you make off of it? And this is really where the process starts.
You have, let's say, 1,500 images, or 2,000 images, and you're thinking, "OK, here is an actor standing, "and here is an actor driving, "and here is an actor walking a dog. "What can I do? "Oh, maybe he can walk the dog towards him, but he can hold "the leash around him, or something like that." So you have to go into abstract thinking. You have those 2,000 images, and unlimited possibilities of, you know, interacting between them, and you have to find an idea that works, that you can use this. It's really crazy work.
Sometimes by the end of the day you're really tired. Exhausted. (Rob laughs) I would literally rather work physically, sometimes, rather than sit and think of ideas. - 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 those 2,000 images and you can combine them together as well, so how often do you find yourself making these Frankenstein-like contraptions out of all those images? - Every day, every day. You know, a typical layer for a somewhat complicated poster is about 200 layers, if not more.
- Wow, mm-hmm. - There are a few reasons why. In a big agency, you have to re-learn Photoshop, how to use it, because you're using it in a group. And 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. So you have to build it in a certain way so people will understand it. It's like a new language, in a way. So we re-teach students how to do Photoshop work.
- Yeah. - They think they know Photoshop, (Rob laughs) ah, but it's rarely the case. We have to reteach them so they can talk with other designers. - Right, right. - So 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 a non-destructive system that you can tweak and reverse and, you know, remake, redo. - Get back to any point. - Precisely, because the requests are coming not only from a client point, but after every brainstorm we are readjusting stuff around.
So 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 of this around. And that, it takes a few months for new people to learn how to composite this way. It's really fun. But once you get it, (snaps fingers) it's awesome. Sometimes we had competitions, how to build a file in the most complicated way, for example. (laughter) Just sometimes, when we were bored, it's like how can you over-complicate the simplest stuff? And you will be amazed what people can come up with.
I keep those files, maybe one day I will publish some of this, but I keep some of those files. - (laughs) That would be a lot of fun, actually. - Yeah, it's amazing. - There's so much of the digital art world that's being invented as we go, and you know, there's things that change along the way. So far Photoshop has been, I think, the one constant throughout all of that stuff. - Oh yeah. - 13 years ago you were already doing stuff in Photoshop, right? - Mm-hmm. - Had you envisioned it becoming the mainstay of your life that it is now? - No, and actually I should be thankful (laughter) to Adobe that I can use their tool continuously.
And I'm not learning Photoshop anymore, because it's in my fingers. It's there, I don't have to think about it. But I think they've made a pretty cool product. It's really versatile. You can do any task in a few different ways, a few different approaches to the same problem. That's actually awesome. I never thought that at the age of 40 I would be doing Photoshop stuff, you know? I thought that it would be long gone.
But what happens is right now I use, at least, 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 pose the characters. For video games, you have to pose the characters. They come with the Teepos, and there's not much you can do with it, unless they're, I don't know, Jesus Christ maybe, or something. (Rob laughs) But you have to pose, you have to create the environment. You have to create the tension, or you know, body language for those characters.
So that's really, really handy. The 3D comes really in handy. So then you render it, and then you composite in Photoshop, and then maybe someone will like it. (laughter) So, you know, all this. And over the years you can create this sort of short cut. You can foresee a little bit in the future. Whereas when I was starting, it was hard to foresee what people will like or not, if it's going to work or not, so that was a lot of wasted time, in a way, because-- - So, oh I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt, but where do you see yourself going? I mean, you've been doing this for a long time now.
You're not getting burned out, you still love it. - (laughing) No, it's awesome. - But where does it go from here? - Here's what I'm seeing. This year I started my own company. - Excellent. - Yeah, it's called ImageMassive, and this is what we do, posters and 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, but it's just waiting to be given to someone. - (laughing) Yes. - And I know that there are people that would like to work with me, or you know, work on this.
So I'm seeing myself going more towards the managerial area, and a more creative direction than right now. But I think I will keep doing it physically forever. - You won't ever stop. - (laughs) I will never stop. I will suffer. If I would have to switch to Excel right now, or I don't know, no, never ever ever ever.
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