Computer Graphics World

November / December 2015

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6 cgw n o v e m b e r . d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 5 V I E W P O I N T o matter how engaging the characters or how intriguing the story, for a project to be suc- cessful, it must have an equally dynamic setting. This is true for films, games, name it. Set design encompasses the worlds of art and architecture, and the results are oen a hybrid between the two disciplines. Here, Tino Schaedler shares his personal journey that has led to some amazing work. An architect, his career took a turn and led him to film design, where he has worked as art director for digital sets on numerous productions (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Catwoman, V for Vendetta, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Golden Compass, and more). Rooted in architecture, my design career has charted all avenues of the entertainment and advertising industries. I have designed digital and physical sets (and sometimes a combination of both) for feature films, commercials, and print campaigns, as well as live events and interactive consum- er experiences for brands. I got into digital set design in the late 1990s while working at well-known architect Daniel Libeskind's firm. I was already embracing 3D as a design tool back then, but I knew very little about set design and had no clue that it would be a career path for me. Aer working for Libeskind, I wanted to focus more on 3D soware because it was such a powerful tool and a way to do design differently. During those days, avant-gar- de architects, such as Hani Rashid and Greg Lynn at Columbia University, who were pioneering the use of 3D tools such as Alias PowerAnimator and Maya. I wanted to master this soware, so I applied for a government grant from my native country, Germany. But instead of attending Columbia, I decided to attend film school, in Vancouver, British Columbia, to learn visual effects from its original heritage. I then stepped back into architecture, to extend my own education of 3D soware in this realm. B R I D G I N G T H E G A P B E T W E E N V F X & A R T D E P A R T M E N T S In Vancouver, I became ac- quainted with an architect who was using Maya. He recom- mended me to an art director friend, who soon aer offered me a job on the film Catwoman. At that time, no one in the art department used soware. They were all working by hand – which is crazy. Soware was mostly being used for backgrounds and characters, yet no one was bridging the gap between the art and VFX departments. Meanwhile, visualizing back- grounds, like cityscapes, was new territory, but art departments in those days didn't know the CG side of design, so the artists weren't building with 3D tools. I saw a niche. I went back to Europe and eventually got hired for Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, working closely with Production Designer Alex McDowell. He was pushing new tools in the art department, such as designing 3D environ- ments that could work on a stage or as a digital extension. This also helped when it came time to hand off deliverables to VFX companies working on the film. I went on to work on the Harry Potter films, where I began trying to streamline the transition be- tween the art and VFX depart- ments. Today, it's more common for art directors to work in tan- dem with VFX supervisors, but back then, they didn't want to interfere with art departments, as it could impact profits. While films like Gladiator and The Lord of the Rings were making the transition between these two worlds, most were still being made the traditional way: The art department would draw plans by hand, then send them off to post houses to build in 3D. The disconnect here was that production supervisors were usually already off the job by then. The other problem was the disconnect between com- munication and language. On Harry Potter, we started to establish methods of com- munication between the art THE ART OF DESIGNING DIGITAL SETS BY TINO SCHAEDLER N TINO SCHAEDLER HAS BEEN DESIGNING A RANGE OF SETS, INCLUDING THIS ONE FOR A NIKE EVENT.

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