Neel Kar, VFX artist and Dad, discusses his work, ideation and octane render with us.Hi, my name is Neel Kar, I’m an artist in the gaming industry and have been for the last 8 years. I have worked on the Call of Duty series since the first Modern Warfare, and co-directed the cinematics for the most recent iteration, Call Of Duty: Ghosts. When Christopher asked me to do a guest blog I immediately said “Sure!”
He asked me to write about what’s on my mind right now, and what came to me thinking it over is to start where I came from, and what inspired me to do what I do.
Growing up in media stunted India back in the 90s I was always a few years behind everything happening in Hollywood. In 4th grade some of the school kids had cable TV, VHS players and all that goodness while I was desperately trying to bend the rabbit ears toward Bangladesh so I could leech some MacGyver off of their airwaves.
One auspicious day my friend just wouldn’t shut up about this movie where robots were melting, transforming, congealing etc etc. To put things in context – I hadn’t seen many Hollywood movies yet and the description of this left a giant crater in my imagination.
Even my wildest dreams couldn’t have prepared me for Terminator 2.
The visuals in Terminator 2 left an indelible impression – I had never felt so paralyzed absorbing the insane ballet of sci-fi and adrenaline unfolding on screen. James Cameron’s mastery made me realize at an early age that wildly impossible ideas can be manifested into mass consumable entertainment.
The visuals we make today have a palpable effect on the formative minds of the upcoming generation. The hardware and processes have improved exponentially since Terminator 2 but the goal of inspiring young minds remains the same. The rendering process is on the precipice of a quantum shift where production quality work can be produced at blazing speeds out of a bedroom – a single person can be a production army.
Home-brew Kinect based 3D scan setups, GPU based renderers like Octane Render, a plethora of third party 3D apps (my other mainstays are Maya, Zbrush, Modo and Marvelous Designer) and maybe some duct tape – these are the tools for the current day CG warrior. The conceptualization of an idea is changing. Images that were primarily the domain of painterly concept artists can now be expedited with some data capture and ingenuous rendering. Photoshop has been building up its 3D capabilities while renderers are upping their post processing chops. There is a convergence at hand.
On the tools end – I ordered a 20-core i-X2 with dual GTX Titan Black GPUs optimized for Octane Render from mediaworkstations.net this spring and the experience has given me a 200% performance increase over my previous workstation. Christopher and his team were and are great to work with. My experience rendering now is – well, no wait, really. If I have an idea I dive straight into it. It flows very synchronously. I think this is what every VFX artist wants.
While working on the cinematics on Call of Duty: Ghosts I uncovered the artful nature of CG being produced by individuals on Vimeo, Behance etc. The expression of pixels challenging and enhancing the idea of “fine art” is very compelling to me. Like any art movement of any age I think this one has the potential of unifying us with the dream states in our mind.
I dreamed these things as a kid. Now I’m creating them.