New Featured Artist Interview: Stas Poritskiy


 All it took for Stas Poritskiy to get the CG bug was watching his uncle use 3ds Max when he was 12-years-old. Since then, this Russian-born digital artist has never looked back.


Digital-Tutors: Thanks for sitting down with us! Could you start off by telling us how you got started? Stas Poritskiy: I dedicated a major part of my life to learning the art of 3D. It took a while, because I first needed to learn English, so I could read the manuals and tutorials as well as understand the software's interface. As I was progressing in my development, I started learning 3D Studio Max, I believe it was version 2 or 3, and later switched to Maya 3.0. I personally liked Maya a lot, and decided to use it in the future. Several years later, I attended certified Autodesk classes, where I dove into the CG world for about 20 hours a day for several months. After that I resumed going to college and got a BFA in Game Design. During the certification and college years, I had several freelance projects, where I established good relationships as my skills were moving ahead. Offers were getting better and requiring more skills. At that time, I had an opportunity to participate in a game project as an asset developer, which was my first professional experience. Slowly climbing the ladder, I consulted on projects, developed IT solutions for CG productions, worked as technical director on a few pilot episodes for feature films, and am currently working as TD in a company that focuses on industrial product visualization and design. Digital-Tutors: What project have you worked on that sticks out most in your mind? Stas Poritskiy: I completed some pretty interesting projects in the past few years. One was a pilot episode of L5, a sci-fi drama. I came in very late in the production, where as always, things got really ugly and deadlines very tight. We were using Maya as our main package, but since that was a pretty large scale project lots of artists were using tools that they were most comfortable with. I however, was the one converting and integrating everything into a single package and working closely with director Stanley VonMedvey to put things in the right perspective. Digital-Tutors: Sounds like things can get pretty stressful! What is the hardest part of what you do? Stas Poritskiy: Everything I do is pretty hard. I am constantly thinking of a faster way to get from A to B. Since the production environment is constantly evolving, I have to adapt and research new technology. It is difficult sometimes to switch from something you have been using for years to something new.


Digital-Tutors:  What’s the best part of what you do? Stas Poritskiy: The best part is the end result. There is nothing better than seeing an artist using your tool, or talking over something I have been developing during lunch. I like spending time in an empty office, and trying new things out before their official integration. Being able to see how it all functions together makes me foresee the joy of the next production day. Digital-Tutors:  I see that you do a lot of 3D modeling and texturing. Why does this part of the pipeline appeal to you? Stas Poritskiy: Modeling was something that I always wanted to learn how to do. At first, it seemed that characters would be my goal; however, discovering more and more about the art of 3D, I’ve started to move towards hard surface. Texturing became a necessary skill when I started working on video games. Digital-Tutors: What inspires your art? Stas Poritskiy: The world around me helps a lot. Seeing life in almost anything makes me want to add a little part of that to production. I also like seeing my work take off or helping someone bring it to life---that generates an inspiration for me to create more. I am a technical artist and most of the time my work lays in a foundation of the visuals.


Digital-Tutors: How do you continue to grow as an artist? Stas Poritskiy: I look into the industry and shift my goals based on the things that make me say WOW.  My main focus at the moment is FX, so I am researching projects that focus on explosions, simulation FX, destructions, particles and many more of the similar fashion. I look at requirements of positions that I would one day like to have and go towards that. Digital-Tutors: What effect has Digital-Tutors had on you? Stas Poritskiy: When I first started with CG, it was very difficult to come around a good training website. Lots of written material was available, but often times you find yourself in a bottle neck of not being able to figure out a step or two, and having almost no one to ask. I came across the Digital-Tutors site many years ago, back when no streaming was used, and CDs were shipped. Digital-Tutors helped me a lot with getting the answers to my questions and being able to excel in CG. Many years later, I was offered to create training kits for people just like myself back in the day, and this is a very unique feeling. It feels great when an artist sends me a thank you or a question about the lesson. I like that.


Digital-Tutors: What advice do you have for the people who watch your tutorials? Stas Poritskiy: The industry is changing day in and day out, whatever it is that you would like to do, always research if your desire is in demand. The CG market is changing; software development and quality bar are always moving forward. Do not get stuck focusing on one thing, there is a chance, that once you master it, this will not be needed as much. Look ahead and stay in touch with industry professionals to stay on top of this always changing game. Digital-Tutors: If you weren’t an artist what would you being doing? A racecar driver, like rally sports. I take driving as a hobby and if time allows, I go out on a track and have fun. My alternative: maybe a taxi driver, but not with an ordinary car. Digital-Tutors: Where do you see yourself and your art going next? Stas Poritskiy: I am shifting to FX field of CG, doing a lot more programming, and learning Houdini for professional use. I know that this will be a long way up, but that’s exactly why I have chosen this field---there is always room for improvements!


If you would like to know more about Stas check out his personal website and resume as well as his five courses: Automotive Texturing and Rendering in Maya and Maxwell Render, Rendering Interiors in 3ds Max and Maxwell Render, Texturing Techniques in UVLayout and Maxwell Render, Hard Surface Modeling Workflows in 3ds Max, and Modeling a Detailed Ship in Maya

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