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Kindly provided by Toby Thain at Telegraphics

Lance Evans interview

by Robert Jan Kila, date 8 April 2005

As the Creative Director of Graphlink Studios in New York City, Lance has created 3D and animation projects for its top advertising clients including brands like Miller Beer, Trojan, Absolut Vodka, Merck Pharmaceuticals, Money.net, EDS, American Express and many others.
Lance's fine art and commercial works have received praise from press including The New York Times and Art in America among others. He has also been a featured interviewee on television, in Backstage Magazine, and most recently at Architosh.com.
In addition to his commercial and fine art projects, Lance is been an educator in the field of the graphic arts for many years, and is the founder of 3DNY. He is a contributing author to industry magazine including 3D World Magazine, and is the author of both print books and MediaBooks.

His latest Mediabook is called EI Uber Bundle. Time to ask Lance Evans for an interview.

Robert: You are the creative Director of Graphlink Studios. What prompted to start 3DNY?

Lance: 3DNY started out as an association of 3D artists and animators, and those interested in the technology. We produced educational and industry seminars for sometimes hundreds of attendees at a time, and now have about 5,000 registered members. (See 3DNY.ORG).
It was out of this organization that we began offering small hands-on classes in New York. But we were soon getting requests from around the world to somehow package what we were doing in class—into something that could be sold to those unable to get to NY. This is how 3DNY Publishing came into being. (See 3DNY.COM).

Robert: Does your commercial company, Graphlink Studio, still use EI for modeling and animation?

Lance: Yes, we still use EI all the time. Including the Modeler. And we use other tools as well.

For modeling most of our work is done in either EIM or Form-Z. We are doing more and more in Maya, but simply prefer the interface provided by a dedicated modeling program. I have always felt that the tremendous hype over an integrated modeler/animator was just that, over-hyped. There are many good things about it, but there are also some downsides. As anyone who has worked in a professional dedicated modeler will tell you.

Like always, it depends on the project at hand.

Robert: Can you tell us some more about your workflow?

Lance: "Workflow" is the right word for it. In any professional situation it is really a matter of choosing whichever tool is right for a project. There is no manual that will tell you this, it is mostly a matter of experience and personal opinion.

Equally important is being able to guess what the job ahead will require. This is not always easy—like standing in the video store trying to guess which films you will like. There are a lot of clues to help, but in the end it is a best-guess situation.

For example, it is not uncommon to hear that someone started a job in one application and after a bit realized there are elements of the project that simply can't be accomplished in program "A", so they needed to restart it in program "B". Again, experience is your best helper here, and until you get that, expect to be working a lot of late nights and weekends.

As to our workflow, it will vary depending on the job. Graphlink Studio has been doing work for most of the top advertising agencies in NY and elsewhere for over 15 years. We started out with print projects providing art—both 2D and 3D, photography, typography and other design services. Over the years we have added multi-media, motion graphics, animation and online services to the offerings.

You can see how each job walks in the door with a different set of needs. Where 3D is concerned, we choose from our favorite toolsets which include EI Animator, EI Modeler, Maya and Form-Z. We also have started to look seriously at Silo and see a lot of amazing growth there.

For post production we have used a number of things, but keep coming back to After Effects. It does what we need and does it rather quickly.

Robert: What types of projects is 3DNY working on nowadays? And Graphlink Studio?

Lance: In the last 4 years 3DNY has hosted a dozen large seminars, dozens of small hands-on classes, produced one print book and 3 multimedia MediaBooks. Plus developed other products (HeadGames, The Fact Model Disk, etc.), written articles for many magazines like 3D World and Rendernode, been an industry and education consultant to a variety of companies including Alias, The International Film Workshops and others.

Plus we have more MediaBooks in the works and...you get the idea. Graphlink, our commercial studio, has played a bit of a back seat to all of this, but that has begun to change as we strike a balance between the ying and yang sides of work. I encourage people to view our GRAPHLINK.COM site to see who we are and what type of work we have done for major international brand labels like Miller Beer, Absolut Vodka, Trojan Brand, Merck Pharmaceuticals, and many others.

Robert:So far your educational MediaBooks have covered Maya and Electricimage. Will there be more MediaBooks covering other 3D applications in the future?

Lance: Oh yes, there are more MediaBooks coming. While we are working to finish the books for Maya, we are also busy working on other 3D titles. What is also exciting for us is a number of titles we are developing for the 2D market as well.

All of this will take time to come to fruition, obviously. But we are working on it. I can promise some very unusual titles, covering many fascinating subjects. :-)

Robert: More authors are contributing to 3DNY. How did they find you??

Lance: We have had a continuing growth in author interest. We have had contributing authors from top studios (ILM, Framestore CFC, etc.), Oscar nominees, and we are developing projects now with Emmy winners and other world class artists.

Many people simply see what we are doing as different than what other publishers offer. This may be why “Electronic Publishing” magazine included us in their “Top 20 Inspired Publishers” list this year. Our motivations are not just about the bottom line and how many units are moved.

Rather, our motivations are about producing good products on interesting topics—mostly those that are not available from other sources. Doing this attracts a certain type of author.

Robert: Your latest MediaBook is the EI|Uber-Bundle. It looks like you have now covered nearly every aspect of EIAS. What is next to cover?

Lance: Haha…well, in the last 5 years or so we have been the only third-party publisher of education material for the EI community (the only other offering was for a moded down version of EI called the Toolkit). We are very happy to have done it and to have helped so many people.

Our new EI|Uber-Bundle offers every EI user a TREMENDOUS resource of educational material. The new material is going to be quite helpful to many. It talks a lot about texture mapping tricks and shortcuts—very helpful! There is a lot of information there—actually over 100 pages of new material. And the associated project files that come with this new material alone are over 300 megs. These are just project files—not animations. People will find a lot of experimental projects that push the envelope.

The Uber-Bundle also has a large 1,200 model library in Fact format, includes our “EI Modeler Master Disk” and EIU|CA MediaBooks, and a number of productivity tools. All together it is over 4 gigs of material. Quite a package for every EI user.

Robert: Thanks Lance for your time.

Lance: My pleasure Robert! Hey, can I ask you something? Where did the name Electro303 come from?

Robert: Ha ha ha, well that is the same question I asked David Della Rocca before I took his job as manager of Electro303. His answer back then was:

"Ha, the good question.
Because i love electronic music. Before coming into 3D i was playing and
recording music during some years, also on Mac but with more machines,
effects, samplers, sequencer, and sometimes people :)
So TB303 is the name of a mythic synth bass from Roland, which is alway
frequently used in actual teckno, trip hop, and other electro sounds.
Now you know the secret..."

David Della Rocca, date 7 July 2002.

Webite Lance Evans: www.3dny.com