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Customer Success Story :: Locus Creative Studios, Korea
25 June 2012
Interview with Jae-sung Lee & Don-hyeon Choi
"Stable technology and boosted productivity are the main reasons why we chose V-Ray."
Locus Showreel 2012
About Locus Creative Studios
Locus Corporation was founded in 2009 and has become a world-class Creative CGI Studio bringing together professional managers and artists from Korea and abroad.
Our business is organized in three main areas:
• Production of TV commercials, VFX for live action films, and CGI animation along with planning and production of special visual effects for game cinematics, exhibitions, PR and architecture.
• CGI animated feature films targeting cinema audiences all around the world leveraging Locus’ reliable technology and unlimited creativity.
• Merchandising and toy business. Merchandising of in-house characters is being developed through planning commercialization of market-proven animation characters.
We believe that even the best film cannot be successful without fun and emotionally moving ideas or stories. Even the most entertaining and touching story for Koreans that does not resonate overseas has innate limitations. A story that appeals to everyone cannot be successful if not backed by marketable design and concept. Even for that, global/Hollywood network and sales/distribution network is required for higher chance of success. With such understanding, Locus is taking a strategic approach to planning, production, investment, marketing and distribution to ensure that the different elements mutually support each other and generate synergy.
TEAM WORK AND INSPIRATION
Locus has five divisions: Animation Development Division, CGI Production Division, Animation & Character Division, Business Development Division and Management Supporting Division. Artists, designers, engineers and sales/marketing experts make up for a great team which combines unique expertise and creative approach with advanced technology.
At Locus, ‘Creative’ is not only about creating sophisticated films combining exciting stories with art and technology. ‘Creative’ is also our bold move in business management and business strategy, where planning and execution is done in an organic way. This is why we call ourselves ‘Creative Studios’.
…and days go by…
We start our day by having a daily meeting. We discuss directions for our projects and problems that need to be solved. We then get our daily dose of exercise at a fitness club sponsored by our company. After that we set our priority list for the day and get our scene files. When rendering and compositing is finished, we share some issues that are difficult to resolve. Finally when result looks are OK, we hand them over to our Flame (Final composite) team. Then we call it a day.
Demands of the VFX industry change constantly. We need to analyze and understand our clients first to be able to express their vision in our imagery. But deadlines are always very tight and put our skills and creativity against the test of time.
THE BACKSTAGE EXPERIENCE
Achieving photorealistic quality
Jae-sung Lee: In my opinion, the main issues with achieving realism are texture, lighting, and shadow. It seems pretty obvious, but if any of these are lacking, the audience will notice it right away. So the 3d artist must sense this rather intuitively and express it on the screen in a creative way. V-Ray is a tool that supports artists and offers best quality on displacement which is essential for achieving realism.
Don-hyeon Choi: I would say “sense of scale” is the most important thing when seeking photorealistic results. Texture is the first main element that expresses this scale and makes the image believable. Light that reveals the overall shape is also essential. V-Ray has Dome light, which is absolutely marvelous for supporting GI limits, and helps making results more expressive and realistic.
Giving life to CG creatures
Don-hyeon Choi: When making CG creatures we first do a research on textures. In most cases it is not enough to use a single shader to achieve certain looks. Complex blending works are required most of the time. Creatures are usually the main characters so they are shown very close, which makes textures very important. V-Ray is capable of making special shaders without any additional code and it has a very useful scale managing system which makes GI size, and shader produce correct scale results.
The importance of Global Illumination
Jae-sung Lee: We are currently using the GI solution on almost every project. One of our recent projects was for an exhibition film, and if it weren’t for the “irradiance map bake” in V-Ray’s GI function, we wouldn’t have finished it on time. But V-Ray had already provided us with an advanced GI solution, and we were able to use Irradiance map in numerous ways.
Artists, clients, and images interacting in “real-time”
Jae-sung Lee: One of V-Ray’s most useful options is V-Ray RT. It has brought us a step closer to our clients. Our top priority is reducing conversation time between clients and artists and making communication as smooth and efficient as possible. V-Ray RT allows us to integrate feedback quickly and intuitively and to serve our clients better.
Don-hyeon Choi: Recently we were involved in a project called “Samsung Design Park”. This was one of the most intensive projects we’ve worked on. Without V-Ray RT, it would have been hard to work efficiently. The scenes that we worked on had thousands of objects, billions of glossy reflections flashing through, and hundreds of 4k texture images. If there wasn’t RT for us, we would have spent a lot of time rendering. The bucket method was requiring too much time, while RT’s “unbiased” method never kept us waiting. RT gives us easy and quick control on texture, lighting, and environment settings and it shows render images right away. It was a revolutionary moment for me when I realized that unlike other render engines, V-Ray doesn’t need to recreate environment settings that have been set in other shots already, and that they could be reused with Fur and displacement in real time as well.
V-Ray at Locus
Jae-sung Lee: We need to realize that nowadays clients demand higher quality more than ever before. In the past, high quality visual effects could not be achieved in small-scale companies but we believe that V-Ray provides the technology needed in a VFX renderer. The results it offers are marvelous. Over the past 3 years the films we made with V-Ray were shown to large audiences and used in various fields. Stable technology and explosive productivity are the main reasons why we chose V-Ray.
Working in the lighting field for over 10 years, I never felt limited when working with V-Ray, and it has always provided what I seek. I feel thankful to those developers, fulfilling clients’ wishes every time.