In the past week I spoke with Tomas Egger by e-mail about his work at the AD Studio in Brazil.
AD Studio won several MTV Awards: One art direction MTV award in 2001 with "Getdown" and 2 MTV awards in 2002, art direction and film direction with "Rappa_hi". The most recent clip Tomas Egger made at AD Studio is the Coke Advertising. The use of new techniques pulled him through the outer space, so it was time I got him back to earth again and make my interview with a great F/X specialist.
Robert: Lets see, we start at the beginning, because many people do not know much about you, only your great work. You live in Brazil, are you born in brazil and what schools did you go? Are you married, do you have children?
Tomas: I’m Brazilian, born in São Paulo 32 years ago (28/02/71) and I live in São Paulo. That is the biggest city in Brazil and the place were the jobs are. I did Industrial Design in FAAP University.
I’m not married, but I’m searching my wife...(Tomas laughs).
Robert: When did you start your own company, it is your own, isn't it? And tell me what are your ambitions nowadays?
Tomas: No, It’s not mine, Jarbas Agnelli is the owner. He is an amazing creative guy which I have pleasure to work with. He invited me some years ago to direct the Visual F/X department. Our ambitions are to create more and more fantastique films with some amazing ideas.
Robert: What is your function: are you an art director, programmer, modeler, storyboard writer or director/ producer?
Tomas: I was a freelance art director and started doing some films. Programmer? Only when I was a kid, basic, assembler.. (Tomas laughs). I started with the computer when I was 12 years old and Visual F/X make-up & Visual F/X props (monsters, old people, scars... Foam Latex) when I was 15 years old, I love all the F/X process.
Nowadays I have an excelent space, here in AD Studio, so I can help Jarbas giving some ideas in the storyboard process and I sometimes like his assistance when he is directing the movie and I have all my stuff to do when we are filming, to make the 3D and 2D process faster and easier to compose later on.
Robert: And what size is the company you work?
Tomas: It’s not big, but we have the perfect guys which fit our projects. But when we need to do more films and need more complex work done, we hire some freelances.
Robert: I have seen some clips, the "chip mouse" , the "made in Japan" clip. I noticed these clips were really swinging. Those were made with Universe?
Tomas: Yeah, we did using only Universe, we love EIU.
Robert: Can you tell us how you proceed in managing such a clip? Especially the use of any special FX. What problems did you encounter? And how did you solve that?
Robert: We always have a little short time to do our films, and that is why we use Universe, every job has a complex f/x needed and we were always in the limits of new EIU features.
For Made in Japan music video I was using a beta Modeler; for Rappa_hi music video I was using a beta Animator with Illuminator lights and a beta pixel grain; the mouse film I was using a beta Placer Deposit from NorthernLights and so on...
Robert: The latest "Coke ad" clip was not made in Universe but in XSI, and with a motion control camera. What does it do exactly? How different is this kind of working compared with the clips you made before?
Tomas: We shoot the film using a motion control camera which is a camera entirely controled by a computer, all the pieces of this camera are controlled by servo-motors, the data was then exported to XSI.
We didn't have time to use the AD post production machines because we are really busy here. So I went to another post production house and directed a team with Infernos, Flames, Henrys and XSI there.
The film are 4 entire takes blinking linked with the sound track with almost 8 layers in each take to compose clean plates, only the foreground actor, the background actors, fingers... and the 3d coke can with reflections maps...
So, was a hard work (only a week to do everything) but a funny movie to do.
Robert: Which people or artists were an example for you? And what influence can you see nowadays in your work?
Tomas: When I started the f/x make-up I loved learning how Dick Smith, Stuart Freeborn, Rick Baker, Rob Bottin, Tom Savini, Kevin Yagher did their effects, then I started to Study everything in the F/X bussines and loved to learn tips from Jonh Dykstra, Richard Edlund, Douglas Trumbull, Phil Tippett, Ray Harryhausen (I love the way how Ray always does all the effects alone), Dennis Muren and Jonh Knoll.
An also some concept artist like Frank Frazeta, Syd Mead, Boris and Brom.
In the EIU side I love the works of Paul Sherstobitoff and Matt Drummond... (Tomas grins)
Robert: What are your plans for the near future ?
Tomas: Well, I will always study to become a better creative guy, gain better skills and create more fantastique films.
Robert: We know you work with Universe, what can you say about it related to your work? Do you work with lots of extra plugins? What other software do you use, except for AE?
Tomas: I love working with Universe, he saved my life in tight deadlines... (Tomas laughs) Matt Hoffman and Markus Houy are always hearing me to help solve a problem and adding a custom tool in a near future...
I have almost every 3rd party plug-in and shader. When I buy a new plug-in or shader I always stay in contact with the developers. So people like Blair, David and Jens are always supporting me a lot, not to mention that my work is in their hands..(Tomas smiles) But they are always glad to receive some suggestions for new tools.
About the software, I had to learn a lot of applications to finish freelances jobs. To name a few: Photoshop, Illustrator, Commotion, Reelmotion, Life Forms, Amorphium, Boujou, Match Move 3d.
And now I’m learning Mokey and later on I want test Motion Builder....
Robert: Do you have some great tips for Universe users?
Tomas: In reality, I have, but I need some time to write it... I promisse I will try to write some and send to Electro303.
Robert: Well, YES, now we speak about that, we have some unfinished tuts to write, like.......(Robert smiles)
Robert: If you like you can send me some pictures of you work and maybe of yourself.
Tomas: I’m sending 2 pictures, one before midnight and one after...(Tomas laughing loud)
Robert: What is the URL of the web page of AD Studio?
Tomas: We are building our web page, (Tomas laughs), but we haven’t time yet..(Tomas continues to laugh)
Robert: Thanks a lot, and we keep in touch.
Tomas: Thank you very much.