New Featured Artist Interview: Pankaj Malik
For the past seven years artist, Pankaj Malik has been navigating his way through the CG industry with a strong sense of self-awareness. Pankaj knows it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make it big in this industry, so we were flattered when this artist---who works ten-hour days and then comes home only to get started on his tutorials---was available to sit down with us.
Digital-Tutors: Tell us a little about yourself and what you’re currently working on.Pankaj Malik: As an Autodesk-certified Maya professional, I am working as a senior instructor with MAAC (Maya Academy for Advanced Cinematics) in Preet Vihar, New Delhi for the past six years. Currently, I am working on my next tutorial for Digital-Tutors. Apart from my regular job, I study tutorials and read articles related to CG-industry developments to stay updated. Digital-Tutors: How did you get started in the industry? Pankaj Malik: Honestly speaking I had not intended to join the creative field. I never got a formal training in art. I was just searching for the best career options after graduating from higher secondary school, when I casually visited an animation institute. The moment I entered, I stood awestruck in this fascinating world of art and creativity. I saw students applying innovative ideas and creating awesome stuff using CG software. I realized that I had landed in an arena of infinite possibilities---a virtual space where nothing was impossible. It was love at first sight. That’s when I realized the power, the freedom, the seamless possibilities and career paths that the CG industry had to offer. I instinctively knew that my search had ended.
Digital-Tutors: Why do you love what you do? Pankaj Malik: The best part is the research process that enables me to discover new techniques, meet new people and share my knowledge. In this state of growth and development, I find inner peace, satisfaction and the power to go on and succeed. In CG, it’s always a new day. One day you are creating a stunning digital sculpt and bringing it to life with colors, textures and lighting; the next day you are creating real-world physical phenomena like fire and explosions. That’s the reason I love my profession and have deep respect for the CG industry and its makers. Digital-Tutors: Who do you look up to and admire? Pankaj Malik: Straight from the heart, my all time favorite is Duncan Brinsmead, the principal scientist at Autodesk and the father of Maya dynamics and N-dynamics. I have deep respect for him and I wish to meet him and learn from him. He is a great scientist and a great artist---a very rare combination. His blogs and technical write-ups on Maya are invaluable knowledge resources. I eagerly wait for the SIGGRAPH, to learn about new research and revelations from this great visionary.
Digital-Tutors: What’s the hardest part? Pankaj Malik: I struggle with anything totally new, but the hunger to achieve a superior quality and setup gives me all the energy I need. I always insist on the basic fundamentals to advance in any subject be it understanding human anatomy, doing photorealistic shading or a FX job like creating fire. Often, working on complex scenes requires a lot of computational steps, time and research to hit the bull's eye and get desired results. Of all that I do, I found dynamics to be the most difficult but most interesting as well. It’s my latest and deepest passion. I must admit that apart from having a good knowledge of the software---dynamics requires a good understanding of the physics behind the phenomena, the effect to be created and a lot of patience.
Digital-Tutors: If you weren’t a CG artist, what would you be doing? Pankaj Malik: This is perhaps the most difficult one to answer. It is just like asking a blind man to explain the beauty of a rainbow. I don’t have vision to look upon the world without the vision of art and animation. Digital-Tutors: What advice do you have for young artists trying to get into the industry? Pankaj Malik: A big hello to all my young friends. I believe that you guys reading this page are here for serious play. You have a dream to make it big in this awesome CG world. So first of all, believe in yourself and your dream. That’s where you’ll get all the energy from. Focus on understanding both aspects of CG – artistic, as well as technical. Many deterrents will come your way like frustrations, delayed results, shortfalls, failures etc. that’s the way the learning curve is. Hard fact: it’s toughest in the beginning. But the good news is that this can be accelerated. The best way for a wiser rise is to look for things that are tried and tested. Read articles and tutorials designed by industry professionals. Online training websites like Digital-Tutors is a good approach that can be a great help. Do thorough research about your subject. There are no shortcuts to success, so work hard. Have patience, an unshakable faith in yourself and never give-up easily. That will make you a hardcore professional. If you have to fly high, you need that force and thrust beneath your feet.
Digital-Tutors: What’s next? Pankaj Malik: I see myself and my art evolving with every new project. There is always something new to learn. Though I feel like a dwarf aiming at the stars---Hollywood is my ultimate destination. I always work to go beyond myself to bring more realism and perfection in my artworks. I also regard the Next Gen gaming world and want to have more works and examples from this industry as well.
We want to thank Pankaj for sharing time with us and make sure to check out his full resume and YouTube channel, and then watch his two tutorials, Creating Fire and Smoke using Maya Fluid Effects and Creating Realistic Fire and Sparks in Maya until his newest tutorial is available on Digital-Tutors.
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