Felipe Mirez – “As an artist, be open minded”

We spoke with Felipe Mirez, Visual Director at Falcon Northwest in Medford, Oregon about his experience of working across different industries, challenges he’s faced as a CG artist and how HDR Light Studio plays a key part in his workflow.

Congratulations to Felipe and his team for being awarded ‘Best Regional TV & Multi-Market Cable – Use of Animation’. 

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Lightmap: What sparked your interest in animation and becoming a Multimedia Animation Artist?

Felipe: Long ago as a kid, I was watching Star Wars for the first time. I was awe-stuck looking by the animation and this is where it all began. I started pursuing stop-motion and 2D animations as a hobby and I just couldn’t stop loving it. Fortunately, the new world of CGI started to flourish in the early 90’s and I was fortunate to witness and experience the trend.

Lightmap: How has your journey been as a CG artist across different industries such as Advertising, Broadcast, Medical, Aircraft?

Felipe: I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to work across all those different industries. Working in a wide variety of businesses adds a lot to the person both individually and professionally.  It teaches you flexibility, adaptability and gives you the ability to learn quickly. It’s like getting out of your comfort zone every time to learn something new.

We usually don’t apply the same methods used in an Advertising Gig to the Medical or Aircraft Industry ones. In my opinion, the Advertising industry gives us a sense of freedom in the creation process; while in the Medical or Aircraft Industry there’s a necessity of accuracy and extreme detailing due to the specifications. The world of CG is magical, somehow you end up finding relations across all techniques and industries. In the end, all of them will end up as a Single Render or Animation and that is where HDR Light Studio has proven to be a great team player.

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Lightmap: What software tools do you use for modelling, texturing and rendering, and what led you to choose those tools?

Felipe: 3DS Max and Maya for Modeling, UV mapping, Texturing and Animating; Zbrush and Mudbox for final modelling; Mari, Substance and Photoshop for Texturing; HDR Light Studio for Lighting, V-Ray for Shading and Rendering and After Effects for Compositing

These are the ones I’m most comfortable with. However, I keep exploring new software’s, plugins and scripts that can help me to improve my work.

Lightmap: What challenges were you facing that led to you starting to use HDR Light Studio?

Felipe: This market is extremely competitive so you have to be fast, accurate and creative in generating beautiful renderings. I used to spend a lot of time trying to make HDR images and lights working the way I wanted them to. I’m glad I can work smoothly with HDR Light Studio. Without this software, I would still be undergoing trial and error to get the right lighting for my renders.

Lightmap: How has HDR Light Studio enhanced your lighting workflow?

Felipe: HDR Light Studio has clearly helped me save time and to be more creative. Now, I can spend time making a scene look beautiful without any restrictions such as trying to make a certain HDR image useful for my scene.

With HDR Light Studio I can create my own HDRI map or improve one taken from Live Action footage. Now I can focus more on my Artistic side than my Technical one.

Lightmap: What projects have you used HDR Light Studio on?

Felipe: Currently, I’m creating the imagery library for Falcon NW. It is always a challenge to light flat and angular shapes. I have also used the software on print renderings for a well-known video game company and in motion graphics for a big sports channel network. As well as this, I have used the software in character animations, VFX shots, the beauty industry and medical animations.

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Lightmap: What would you say are your favourite features/capabilities in HDR Light Studio?

Felipe: First, the option to work like I’m painting the light on to a render. As I have mentioned before, HDR Light Studio helps me focus on the artistic side of my work. The user-friendly environment is amazing as well.  Another extremely important feature is the ability to bring all my 3D scenes inside HDR Light Studio. There’s so much more creative freedom now.

Lightmap: What advice would you give to someone interested in doing what you do?

Felipe: If you want to work across all those industries, my recommendation is to be open-minded. Being open-minded literally changes the way you see the world. It makes you more creative, innovative and thus brings more value to what you do.

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We would like to thank Felipe for sharing his story with us. See more of his work via http://www.fmirez.com/

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