The Rookies @ Think Tank Training Centre // Michael Hoeft

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Michael (Mika) used YellowDog in partnership with The Rookies at Think Tank Training Centre for his 'War Croc' renders produced in Maya and V-Ray.
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In partnership with The Rookies and YellowDog’s Cloud Render Platform whilst studying at Think Tank Training Centre, Michael (Mika) rendered his ‘War Croc’. YellowDog sat down with Mika to find out more about his project. Find out about that experience by reading more below. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m 26.  I started studying art properly when I was 18. I joined the academy of fine art in Lyon. Through a series of different courses and competitions, I eventually found myself through a French/Indian partnership studying 3D in India for a year. Everything began to change at that point. It was a great way to start in 3D and I fell in love with it. It was during this time that I started seeing showreels coming out of Think Tank Training Centre. You could say that that was what inspired me to come here.

Tell us a little bit about TTTC.

As well as the incredible teachers at the school, Think Tank Online is a really good resource. There are a lot of tutorials put together by students and teachers. The best ones usually come from the talented alumni that the school boasts. Think Tank do a good job of bringing artists back to share their knowledge when they are doing well in the industry. When you’re trying to learn and jumping between so many software programmes all the time, the notes you might have are OK but sometimes, watching a video tutorial is a quicker and easier way to absorb information.

What was the creative inspiration for your project?

The brief was really set by Think Tank who encouraged us to find 2D concept art that we liked –something simple that could grow in its complexity when thrown into 3D. I can’t pinpoint what drew me to the alligator exactly; I just liked it a lot.

What were the main challenges of this project?

Concepting the character. I spent a long time just figuring out how long to make his feet or legs. Should it have a tail? No tail, a long tail, a short tail? And so on. The 2D concept art is quite cartoon like so I had to alter it in Z-Brush to give it a more realistic logical touch – iterating to make his head bigger or his feet bigger and make the anatomy more realistic.

Image from Nicola Saviori

View Reference Board Here

“At The Rookies, we are always looking for new technology that will help give students the edge. YellowDog is one of those resources that should be in every student's toolset. ”

Alwyn Hunt Rookies Co Founder

What was the best thing about YellowDog?

It was very easy and intuitive. No tutorials were needed. I think that is super cool. I know that the YellowDog platform is so complex and so deep. But for artists, it is so simple to use. That is a very powerful juxtaposition of software capability.

Software Used

I found that the best way to take advantage of YellowDog was to upload a scene that contains all the shots I wanted to render. On the platform I could then choose any camera and render the frame range I wanted in the custom parameters.

What do you think of V-Ray?

V-ray is great! I started using V-Ray when I joined Think Tank. I used to use Arnold and when I first started, I had to ask ‘hey how do you render with V-Ray?’. But now I’m comfortable with it and the renders I can get out from it.

What reaction have you had to the project?

Social media reaction has been overwhelming. I will probably never get as much attention ever again. It gave me a feeling of great achievement. The nice comments and endorsements have given me a boost to keep going. More projects are on their way!

Read the in-depth blog and project breakdown here >

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