How Pedro Conti and Fernando Peque rendered a 3D short for Ron Artis II using V-Ray. Go behind the scenes and learn about their first experience with Phoenix FD.
Pedro Conti and Fernando Peque are an almighty duo that have been developing, directing and designing incredible characters and films together for five years. Both hailing from Brazil, Pedro started out in CG as a self-taught 3D artist in 2005 and Fernando began his career designing for comic books in 2003. Over 16 years, they’ve amounted an impressive client list between them, including everyone from Dreamworks, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Marvel and Guerrilla Games, to Aardman, Netflix and many, many more.
It was a short film for Trojan Horse was a Unicorn (THU) that provided their first opportunity to collaborate in 2014. The opening spot for the THU festival in Portugal was produced by Techno Image in Brazil, and Pedro and Fernando have been collaborating ever since. And some five years later, their latest film — a music video created for the incredibly talented musician, Ron Artis II — was premiered at THU in Malta.
We talk to Pedro Conti about how the opportunity to create this three-minute music video came about and how a small team of artists pulled off big-studio results in next to no time using V-Ray for 3ds Max and Phoenix FD.
Tell us how the music video for Ron Artis II arrived at your door.
PC: Life events led me to look for opportunities to contribute to projects that would be more artistic and meaningful. And I was in contact with the Brazillian musician, Emicida, whose music helped me through a very hard time after my father passed away last year.
Music has always been something I have loved and it can bring amazing experiences. This has happened to me a few times: When my mind is very focused on something, I’ll somehow attract an opportunity. In this case, I received an email from Ron Artis II; he wanted to do music video about his song “In My Heart.”
Ron already had an idea of what the film would be: A boy singing in a gray city. The boy, when playing, connects with himself and goes inside his heart and somehow transforms his reality. After the initial conversation with Ron, Fernando visited my office for lunch and I presented the project to him — he immediately felt it was a worthwhile venture.
Was it important to render with photorealistic lighting from the beginning?
PC: Sure! I love super-stylized designs with a realistic approach. I think this tactile feeling is something really important as it allows viewers to believe they can touch what they can see. Somehow, this makes the world feel more believable, in my opinion.
We tried to be smart when it came to the environments as we wanted to reuse as many materials as possible. So we created a little library with concrete, wood, metal and lots more, and we use V-Ray Triplanar Textures for all the maps — so we didn't need to worry with UVs at all. V-Ray Dirt was also very handy as we achieved some really cool aging effects on our digital set without painting any maps. It was pretty much all procedural.
We had two splashing-water shots that we didn’t know how to approach. We had no experience at all with simulation and I decided to give Phoenix a try one weekend. It felt like the most artistic tool for simulation ever created.
Pedro Conti, Director and 3D Artist
What was the audience response like when you revealed the film at THU 2019?
PC: Sponsorship was something we didn't plan. We accepted the music video before we had all the resources we needed to produce it. For some reason, we felt confident that people would like it so we started developing things as much as we could. I have a really good friend that encouraged me to reach out to companies that I would love to collaborate with. Gustavo Ribeiro and Thais Peixe really helped us out with this. And for that, I'm also really grateful.
Everyone we reached out was really open to contribute in some way and it was a really surreal feeling. Rendering licenses and render power was something I was really worried about and we managed to make it work with Chaos Group and Rebus Farm. We were already invited to talk at THU, so we decided to share the project with Andre Luis, THU Founder, to see if he liked it. He not only liked the project but really loved Ron's music, too, and he decided to fly Ron to Malta for the event as well. It was surreal!
Ron is a really blessed person with huge talent. In my opinion, he made a big difference this year at THU by bringing his own reflections with his lyrics and creating some really special moments for and with attendees. We showed the film together there and it was just crazy for me. I never thought this project could get this big and it's very touching to think how many kind people we met on this ride.
Will there be more music video projects in your future?
PC: I used to play guitar, so 3D and music bring my favorite things together. There are so many artists I would love to collaborate with, including Gary Clark Jr., John Mayer, Derek Trucks, Tom Misch, H.E.R., Emicida — working with any of these amazing artists would be so surreal. I’m just leaving these names here for the universe to see if it somehow returns!
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