Berner Altstadt CGI by Jonas Ruiz

Jonaz Ruiz is a 3D Generalist Artist currently working in the film and advertisement industry. He has kindly taken the time out of his busy schedule to do a short interview on his fan art creation of Berner Altstadt CGI and has given us a look at what it takes to be a successful 3D Generalist artist in the entertainment industry.

Can you give your introduction to readers.

My name is Jonas Ruiz and I’m a 3D Generalist focused on environments.

What motivate you to become CG Artist and How you started.

As a kid, I always liked to create stuff. My favorite games were usually the ones that would revolve around world-building and the ones with the ability to create your own levels. Also was a huge fan of Legos. I guess I like to create things since I can remember. My parents were always into computer tech and, as a kid, they quickly introduced me Corel Draw and Autocad. I guess that was the very start of CG for me. Later, around 2012, I started discovering Blender, then started doing some mograph stuff inside Cinema 4D, and when I realized it became a huge hobby. I guess what motivates me is an ambition to always try to become better, and also to be able to pursue my dreams.

As we know you are Environmental artist. Can you please tell readers what all you can do as 3D generalist Artist?

Currently, my role is to take care of environmental stuff such as static assets, scenarios and landscapes. I work in both Film and Advertisement industries. As a generalist, we often have to do a bit of everything: modelling, UVs, texturing, even lighting and some matte painting. From my perspective, it’s a role where you are supposed to constantly do problem-solving in efficient and effective ways. There are new challenges every time and those can be really fun.

What is most challenging as a 3D Generalist Artist?

Acquiring enough knowledge to become a competent one. Since there are many different disciplines, a generalist needs to be able to have a very solid level of understanding of different areas, which can take time.

Do you think if one knows Houdini, as a environmental generalist.

Yes, totally. Learning Houdini will totally pay off not only from the amazing workflow full of advantages, but also on getting jobs. Recruiters are after people that are into Houdini.

I would say my best work experiences happened while working with people that were talented, organized, and also knew how to deal with stress.

Can you share your some of best work experience and why.

I would say my best work experiences happened while working with people that were talented, organized, and also knew how to deal with stress. I’ve made a lot of amazing friends while working in the field.

Can share Berner Altstadt making process, from concept to final.

I’ve created the terrain using Houdini’s Height-field tools, and modelled the buildings inside Maya. The buildings use modular parts to optimize time while being able to provide lots of variation. All the assembly was done inside of Clarisse. The houses were mostly placed by hand, to better match the real-life reference. All the trees were scattered procedurally, where a map based on the houses and road AO intersection with the terrain dynamically drives their spawn position. The texturing was mostly procedural, with a couple exemptions such as the bridges. To finalize, the comp was made in Nuke and a couple projected mattes were used to bring more details to the render.

What all tools and software you used.

Clarisse iFX, Houdini, Speedtree, Maya, Mari, Nuke

Where do you see yourself in 5 years.

Working in VFX or Adverts full-time, either freelancing or starting my own business.

Your favorite movies and how they inspire you?

I love movies about war. Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket and Schindler’s List are some of my favorites, among so many others. I love when the cinematography has strong emotion and character.