Friday, July 10, 2015

Sony Imageworks

I've moved to Vancouver, Canada to work at Sony Image-works. I've been here for 5 months. Looking back on what I've written and compared to how I feel now, I seemed overly optimistic. Its been an adventure and not quite what I thought it would be when I set forth upon this journey.

Working Sony has been the most relaxed out of any company I've worked for. I think I am really appreciating the free time after work (outside of crunch-time.) I've started to think about owning a business one day and I'm working towards figuring that out. Working in a big corporate setup like this has allowed me to focus on only lighting and compositing with minimal technical issues related to pipeline. Its great in which I don't have to think about work after work. I'm learning more and more that I need to keep doing stuff that isn't related to 3d in order to live a more balanced life. The first few years I put a lot of pressure on myself to ensure that I could have a career in what I set forth to do. Now I know I must restrain myself from falling into an obsession about work.

Through pursuing film, I have had the chance to visit places I could never imagine to see. I found some inner strength in myself that I could never think of. Each time I moved, I feel myself mentally changing. My attitude about it has changed to where I cant say its all butterflies and rainbows anymore. From observation, it seems like the film industry, unlike the commercials or game industry, is becoming a rare unicorn. Almost impossible to catch, and even harder to hold on.

If aspiring students do read my thoughts, I would suggest finding a mentor. Someone who is currently working in your dream job and see if that reality is right for you. Like love, if we are truly artists, we are blinded by the love of our craft. My words of wisdom would be to step back, and ask for advice from people along the way. We wont be able to truly digest their advice, but any wisdom is better than going into it blind.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Reel FX! I've moved to Dallas!

I recently just got hired at Reel FX in Dallas, TX working on their feature film, "Book of Life." So far working here has been a dream come true. The people are incredible and I'm happy what I'm making will be part of history and will affect generations to come. Its true, everything is big in texas! Highways, land, trucks, people...all big! ;D




Saturday, September 21, 2013

Current Life Update



I became staff at MPC a few weeks ago! I'm very lucky to have had the opportunity to work on a full CG christmas advertisement, lighting stuff explode, and a live action/ CG game cinematic trailer so far. Working in VFX makes me realize how much I don't know about lighting! (and CG in general!) I've gotten the chance to hang out with people who went to SVA and SCAD and have helped me gain a different perspective about being a CG artist.

 Being a lighter/generalist at MPC NYC is a very interesting and fun job! I get to be part painter, compositor, and technical problem solver. In my early days trying to do lighting in college, I thought that lighting to make a pretty picture would begin at Lighting and end at Rendering. Now,my process to making a render is to make materials in CG react to light in a convincing manner, light it, render out passes, and push it further in compositing. Then it is a back and forth trying to balance out each phase to achieve the final polished result. Many times there are headaches trying figure out issues in rendering, especially since we are using Mental Ray ( At school we used Renderman for Maya).

Working in commercials is very high stress and lots of overtime. Luckily its paid and time flies by very quickly! The deadlines are very fast and you could be working on multiple projects at the same time. You really have to pick and chose what parts to make really nice and what parts to spend less time on. The cool part is that its like a new learning experience every other day for me. Coming from doing just full CG work, I now have the opportunity to learn VFX skills as well. Freelancers are always coming and going and you have the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting and unique artists. Getting a chance to go out to lunch and hear their stories is such an interesting experience. The opportunity to work on many different types of projects is very rewarding.

Also recently, our film got accepted into Siggraph Asia! Also we were also finalists in the Adobe Achievement Awards!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Post College Graduation!


Its been a month since I've graduated! I'm currently interning as a lighting/generalist at the Moving Picture Company in NYC! The studio is great and the city is amazing! So many things to do and see! Its been a long journey! Being able to come to work and create art is a very fulfilling experience.



I reflect back on my early days in art. I've always wanted a career in art ever since I was in kindergarten. Its funny how your influences from your child hood ripples inspiration to your current work. I enjoyed the beauty in cartoons, anime, and film. Now I get to be a part in making pretty pictures. My focus in CG lighting came about by pure luck back in my sophomore days. I remember being awed by the Ringling short film, Monk and the Monkey! Then when Francesco the lighting director from the film visited campus, he stopped by and showed me what I could do with lights in a CG ball bounce scene. After that day, I was hooked on learning everything about lighting!

From doing so, I've learned that story, painting, the reaction of light to camera, design, and cinematography all plays in creating visually compelling works. In my career, I hope to bring those elements to my art and be able to  move the emotions of my audience!

If I could leave a few words of advice...

1. Do your best and have no regrets!
2. Learn from failures
3. If you truly want something, fight for it with your heart and soul!
4.Emotional impact creates a greater response than logic in art. I find myself over thinking about the technicalities of a project only to find the answer from asking myself how can this create an emotional reaction from the audience.
5. Its a great idea to be a something generalist. Find your passion as well as be a renaissance man! The journey of an artist is about learning and enjoying the process. The more you know, the more knowledge you can draw upon. This will make your art unique and stand out. Something I've learned from focusing so intensely on lighting is that, I have so much more to learn about it.

This is one of my earliest works from the 8th grade that started me off in my career. Its been a long journey!
http://www.nonamecallingweek.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/news/record/11.html


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Done!

Wow, it's been a long journey! So close to graduation! Thesis was handed in a couple of weeks ago. Wow, now its time to graduate. I'd like to share my new lighting reel and website!
webspace.ringling.edu/~klu1

KevinLu_April2013_LightingDemoReel from Kevin Lu on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ringling Final Semester Begins!

I can't believe its my last semester at Ringling. So close to graduation!  Also, its lighting/texturing/rendering semester!

I'm slightly worried though, its 2 weeks in and we're just finishing up setdressing and shading our props for Linear workflow. First pass lighting is due in 2 weeks. We have 52 shots.

I feel a bit uncertain if we'll be able to finish our film to the best of our ability. I really hope we can. I've recently discovered, that Renderman for maya doesnt have the ability to contain multiple AOV in Exr Renders.  This makes compositng more stressful, because now a nuke tree might be unneccarily uncomplicated with extra read nodes that could have been contained in an EXR


Ringling is mandating Linear workflow.
Lots of animation to be worked on/revised
Brain explodes.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Senior Year's first semester is over!


The Semester is over! But I’ll be on campus for the duration of the entire break working on my thesis film along side of some fellow roommates of mine.  We had our winter critique with positive feedback! It was amazing to see my fellow classmate’s films. Now on to bringing our animation to polish as well as finishing up models, texturing, experimenting with fur grass, polishing rigging, set dressing, contacting with our composer, lighting, rendering, composite. Ahh…. Yeah there’s a lot to do.

I just spent a weekend hanging out with friends. Some lovely underclassmen friends of mine threw the team and I a congratulations party for surviving this semester. It felt so special after being bashed and abused by the faculty to have people who reacted and enjoyed your work. I also realized we all have some sort of post traumatic stress. When my friends and I were hanging out,  many of our conversations reverted back to school, thesis, and work. I was talking to some friends back home in Louisiana telling them I couldn’t come home for Christmas because of work. I explained to them that even while we were working 10-15 hours a day for 7 days a week almost every day during the entire semester, we still have a shit ton of work to do.

Its been a great learning experience and I hope to continue growing in it.