June 17, 2014 • by Jordan PelovitzBlog News
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Michael was the one who modeled the 1967 Ferrari used in a lot of Lagoa promotional material.

Michael was the one who rendered the 1967 Ferrari used in a lot of Lagoa promotional material.

Lagoa Blog: Tell us a little about yourself – what’s your background? How long have you been involved with 3D?

MM: I am Brazilian, born in the south of Brazil in a town called Curitiba. My father and [grandfather] were scientists, passionate about what they did, [and they] both taught us to be self motivated and how to be self taught in areas we like; they were brilliant!

I believe I’ve been on the 3D journey for about 20 years now, since my beginning was rather hybridized , I wouldn’t consider it all 3D at that time.

I started then with 3d Studio R4 back in 94. I explored the field widely in Brazil , from a studio assistant to directing. Worked on a TV station for a while with editing , implementing the first non linear suit and training the first digital editing team at that station. ​I was fortunate to ​experiment to be in the right place at the right time with a lot of different technology, and work with some of the best tech and brightest minds in the industry.

Being a freelancer for over 10 years forced me to be wise in my technology choices to enable a new way of doing things. Faster and better. My jobs ranged from TV ads to magazine illustrations, but soon enough my true preference arose – photorealistic imagery. I started shifting my jobs to the ones that would enable me to explore this brand new world of realism in 3D.

Model from GrabCAD, rendered in Lagoa, by Michael Marcondes

Model from GrabCAD, rendered in Lagoa, by Michael Marcondes

LB: What’s the CG industry like in Brazil?

MM: The CG industry in Brazil is very competitive and fast paced, with extremely short deadlines. Budgets have changed a lot as well through the years. I remember the days when using CG in a commercial production was considered glamorous. Nowadays it’s a common thing and you have studios and freelancers on every corner producing some sort of 3D.

Most of them have no idea what to charge and end up producing content for bananas. The result is a weaker market overall, with big companies competing with people that never spent a dime on technology, knowing little about technology investment.

This is shifting the industry to a very unstable ground until equilibrium. Hopefully a new industry standard will arise with the advent of initiatives for small companies and smart partnerships between the big players.

I had the chance to meet the best heads in the industry and work with some of the top studios in the country. Brazil is filled with excellent artists and technical directors. Our people is bright and creative!

I am sure the industry will soon find its way out of chaos.

My desire is that ad agencies and production companies start seeing the CG industry as it really is, a highly intellectual area performed by smart, talented people and not as a frivolous thing, but as a complex and important field as the creative process inside ad agencies.

This will allow the great people behind Brazilian CG industry to really receive the respect they deserve.

LB: What sort of projects are you most fond of?

MM: I really enjoy pure art projects for expositions and for permanent art displays.

Through the years , pursuing the best way to produce realism in 3d , I ended up focusing on still image productions and was able to explore new techniques and frontiers in 3D. Playing with scenes with billions of real polygons with render times reaching the 1600 hours per image.

The projects I like are the ones that seems impossible to achieve!

Model from the Blender community, rendered by Michael in Lagoa

Model from the Blender community, rendered by Michael in Lagoa

LB: Do you have any particularly memorable projects or stories?

MM: I believe it was my time in a studio called Midia Effects in Florianopolis. Not only because the city is beautiful and we worked and lived at the island of Florianopolis, but because the team, from both production and leadership were inspiring people. They all became ​good ​friends above all things.

My time there was where I explored my leadership skills in both the art and management. Exercising the role of leading a team was truly a learning experience and the senior management were always kind enough to bring wisdom when needed.

I was able to put to the test all my skills specially the way to spread the knowledge across the company to enable artist under my guidance to flourish and become better at what they did. It was a silent leadership, mentoring by example, staying with them side by side in the battlefield. It truly taught me a lot.

LB: How did you find Lagoa?

MM: I explored many render farm solutions, local networks for a private farm ​ and all other indie solutions for speeding up the the final stage of 3D productions. It’s all very frustrating, since the price is prohibitive and creates a huge impact on the overall budget ​, plus the maintenance ​is time consuming.

​When I came across Lagoa early in its release, I was already exploring virtualization of​ my own workstations, but it was a bit counter productive, since pricing was still tending to go up quickly and becoming a bit unpredictable.

I found Lagoa in my searches for smart, innovative cloud solutions, basically. The simplicity of the interface design, overall workflow and mind blowing accuracy was what caught my attention.
Knowing Thiago Costa’s previous development with simulations in SoftImage , I knew for a fact that this certainly would carry a great amount of innovation in the process of doing things and I quickly realized, this is the future here in the present.​

Engine V Twin 03

LB: What’s been your experience with using the software?

MM: I must say that my experience so far in the software is nothing less then pure joy.  When I have to go back to the old way of producing shading, light and rendering I feel like I am stuck in a dream where I run, but cant move forward!

The speed and precision you can produce inside Lagoa is not something you can easily explain, it must be experienced. Not only for the speed, but most importantly, the fidelity of the imagery produced by its gorgeous camera. ​

LB: Where do you see the cloud going in the future?

MM: Lagoa is a quintessential example of what the cloud will be in the future. In my view, it wont be just a support system where people rely for small tasks, but it will be THE portal to all things you do on a device. Everything will be in the cloud, our personalized workstations will travel with us wherever we are and will grow and evolve on demand.

Basically I don’t see downloads anymore between people, just transversal sharing, granting access to something instead of downloading it. Instant access to everything, anywhere and I am not talking about storage alone, talking about software technology as well, operating systems, etc.

The moment we have everything virtualized, we are not bound to a single device and we don’t need to move around carrying something. Anywhere we are, we can search for an access terminal and have all our digital lives in our finger tips.

BGRender - Engine V Twin

LB: Do you have any career advice for would be CG/VFX/CAD artists/modelers?

MM: The best advice I could give would be a list of “don´t”:
-Don´t be quickly satisfied, be constantly in the search for improvement and excellency in what you do whatever it is.
-Don´t be afraid of challenges, because its when you are in one is when you learn the most and grow as a person.
-Don´t be puffed up with something you did but be humble and share knowledge.
-Don´t be still waiting for a solution to fall on your lap, work hard for it!

Make questions.

Contact people who know more then you, recognize your lack of knowledge and constantly seek for more.

Last but not least:
Don´t think you know it all, because when you do,you start losing yourself in your own understanding.

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