Episode 73 – Pixologic on Z-Brush Live

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Episode 73 – Pixologic on Z-Brush Live


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Pixologic are the developers of Emmy award winning Z-Brush, the industry standard for sculpting and surfacing in 3D.

Throughout this episode Allan talks with Paul Gaboury and Sol Blair about some recent announcements from Pixologic, as well as much of the in-depth history of Z-Brush and the CG industry.

Loads of great insights and core knowledge shared, as well as lots of great laughs!


Episode 73 – Pixologic



Hey, everyone!


This is Allan McKay. This is Episode 73. I’m talking to Solomon Blair and Paul Gaboury from Pixologic. Let’s dive in!


[-1:45:00] So just a quick thing to check out: www.vfxrates.com. This is website that I’ve created to solve a massive problem that we all have: What should we be charging? This is one of the giant mysteries that we all have and most people feel very uncomfortable talking about: What should we charge for a freelance rate? And the worst part is when we go apply for a job, if we ask too much. We risk alienating the employer and never getting that call back. Whereas if we play it safe and ask to little, we not only get taken advantage of, but on top of that we leave a lot of money on the table which over the span of few years can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.


This is a chance for you to quick go to the website www.vfxrates.com, put in a few bits of basic information based on your city, your experience, your discipline, software, little factors that are very important to figure out what you should be charging as your base rate when you’re going to an employer. Now, this is based on a lot of research. But most importantly, it’s based on the braintrust of the industry experts from different fields that we’ve pulled together..


The best part is not just what you should be charging — but what you could be charging by tweaking a few things: how you present yourself, building a brand, learning to negotiate better. Also, other factors like building an irresistible reel, learning to approach employers the correct way, learning to network. I want to share all of this information for free. Go to www.vfxrates.com — and find out what you should be charging for your hourly VFX rate.



[-1:43:00] Alright, welcome to the Podcast. I’m really excited to introduce the guys at Pixologic on this Episode. They approached me a few weeks ago about some announcements and wanted to come on the Podcast and talk about this stuff: Mainly, ZBrush Live which is going to be a really amazing platform to get access to. So many of ZBrush’s amazing resources and features! So, this Episode is going to be really cool. Just having a good group of people with lots of experience to share — it’s definitely going to be a lot to catch up on.


So, just a heads-up: It’s just a few weeks away, our Masterclass in Paris. Which will be from March 16th to March 18th, I believe. This is a chance to hang out with many amazing speakers: Ash Thorp, Dan Roarty, Neil Blevins, Ryan Church, Andrew Schmidt. There are so many really cool, really talented speakers who are attending. I’m helping host this event. And what I love about this event is that it’s really social. Everyone gets to hang out, get drunk, get full on great food and just have a great time. I always hold a little mixer from my students from the Mentorship and Live Action Courses.


[-1:42:00] If you’re in Europe and want to attend, please check out www.IAMAG.co. I’m excited about it. It’s going to be really cool! I’m also going to be answering inquiring about the FXTD Mentorship, when that’s going to be opening doors again. Come April, we’ll be opening up registration which I’m really excited about that.


I want to get into this Episode with Pixologic: Sol Blair and Paul Gaboury.



[-1:41:00] Paul: Thanks again for having us, Allan. I’ve been with Pixologic for 8 years now. I’ve been using ZBrush though for 12-13 years. I’m a child of the 80s and 90s. Jurassic Park changed my life. It made me go from drawing every day to “What is this CG thing?” That led me to this path and eventually stumbling upon ZBrush and learning it. I’m the head of 3D Production here. I’m a member of the Development Team. I go in and out of companies and help them with their pipelines. I am an artist, so I use the application myself when building. I’m obsessed [our] 3D printer.


[-1:39:00] I love going back to the techtile part when we were just building models. Now, I want to physically print them out. One of major projects here was the decimation master in the 3D print exporter, and that was over 8 years ago. So we’ve been doing this for a while. In fact, I helped Legacy Effects purchase their first 3D printer. We helped Jason Lopes. But Sol is with us. Sol, introduce yourself.


[-1:37:00] Sol: I’m Solomon, but I go by Sol. Better Call Sol. I’ve been with Pixologic for 6-7 years now. I’d transitioned a lot throughout company. I spent the first year after school freelancing a lot. I had a general understanding of compositing, but ZBrush was always my area of focus. While I was building my ZBrush reel, Paul offered me a job here at Pixologic. I’ve been here ever since. I was helping them with marketing, shooting a lot of videos. We still had ZClassroom. Paul had been going out to a lot places in LA and he was a pioneer in ZBrush. When I first came on, I was  helping with the educational content.


[-1:35:00] Since then, I’ve [started doing] what I’ve always wanted to do which is working as an artist and helping Paul shape the features [of ZBrush], and all the things that go into development. We’re basically full-time artists. Recently, we just launched ZBrush Live. It’s a streaming portal: www.zbrushlive.com We also have our own Podcast on which I sit in as a host. We interview different artists on their paths and how got to where they are. [We do it] in hope to inspire those young artists out there who are seeking a career and how to do it properly. We’re very fortunate to at ZBrush to know all those artists who are working in the game industry and to get to know them on a personal level. It’s a casual, fun experience while talking about art.


[-1:32] Allan: Whom do you have on the Fallout Episode?


Paul: Lucas Hardi and Dennis Mejillones.


Allan: I was talking to Dennis last week. I asked him, “Do you have any questions to ask the ZBrush guys?” He had a few. I’ve known him for a thousand years. He’s a cool dude.


Paul: I didn’t know that you, guys, were friends. I didn’t know him until we did that Podcast. They are extremely cool. Those guys are responsible for so much. Their game is so successful! All of this stuff is at www.zbrushlive.com. We are also going t be streaming regular content on Twitch. It’s a platform for some people to play, other people to watch. They have this whole new creative channel that got started the last year. Pixologic will be scheduled 2-3 times every week and we’ll be featuring ZBrush and you can interact and chat with us live. It’s like sculpt sessions with friends, but for a larger community around the world. We’re trying to broaden that platform. We’ve got a ton of viewership. If you go on www.zbrushlive.com, you can see the schedule.


[-1:30] Allan: That’s insane! I love how you, guys, are centralizing because you have so many resources for artists. I love it. It’s cool! In terms of platforms, Twitch sounds like an audio platform for you. Did you explore any other live platforms as well and which ones?


Sol: Well, the reason why we started with Twitch is basically because we’re trying to reach a wider audience, a newer audience. Because the thing is, ZBrush is kind of using everything. There is a whole other younger crowd that’s interested in video games. That culture is so unique and special. Our hope was to reach a broader audience. Every year, we do a ZBrush Summit.


Paul: That’s where it all started. It’s live streams. It’s been very successful. We’ve also done stuff on Google Hangouts. We have our YouTube channel.


Sol: Twitch has the community. It’s insane how many people are on there. It’s a new thing. We spend so much time in development. We also try to be artists. I spend less and less time on video games.


[-1:28] Allan: You’re watching them at double speed so you can get back to work.


Sol: I watch them in real speed in the background. It’s inspiring.


Paul: Video games now have a story. It’s a film. You’re playing in the film. I think that’s why games have blown up more than ever. You can change [the story]. That’s why they turn them into films. Not very successfully.


Allan: I can name some successful ones. I think it’s the whole comic book adaptions. For me, the X-Men one was okay. For me, I’ve never played the game Silent Hill, but I’ve watched the movie. I loved the feel of it. I can picture it being a game.


Sol: I agree. It definitely kept me in it. Did you, guys, play the Hideo Kojima’s Silent Hill? It was just a teaser. You’ve got to watch it. It’s online. It was terrifying and hyper realistic.


Paul: I played that in college. You usually just have a flashlight so you don’t see what’s coming at you. I’d say the best horrors are the one you don’t try and scare the person. Let the viewer scare themselves.


Allan: Yeah!


Paul: I think that’s why Jaws was so powerful. Because you didn’t see the shark until 45 minutes into the film. (Mostly, because it was broken half the time.) Or, the Alien.


Allan: I loved the making of [Alien]. Ridley Scott left the script very vague for the actors, so that way their performances were authentic.


[-1:22] You’re right, go back to letting your imagination do the work. I met M. Night Shyamalan. He’s obviously made some not-so-great films, but he’s also made some amazing films. (I worked on one of his not-so-great films.) It’s interesting to hear him saying that for Sixth Sense, he was not giving the audience anything. Letting their imagination scare them. Because he’ll never be able to create anything as scary as the audience will create for itself.


Sol: That was a masterpiece!


Paul: They are great horror films. That’s what they are.


Allan: It’s minimalism. The less you show, the more you can fill in the gaps yourself. I think that can apply to anything. Segueing here: When you talk about the shift of power, the person who speaks less [in a conversation] typically has more power. You’re filling in the gaps. The same with horror films.


Sol: There is all kinds of content. I want to see The Witch.


[-1:20] Allan: It’s good, I liked it. It’s definitely a slower film. It also leaves a lot to the imagination, even the ending.


Paul: Getting back to video games, part of what I love. What you can achieve with ZBrush, the resolution is at high levels but the technology hasn’t gotten to where you can maintain or transfer that to full length, especially for games. Until recently. It’s really starting to come into a place. And I don’t think it’s even close to the cap yet. But we’re getting better and better at figuring out tricks. Doing higher geometry at higher levels is part of it because processors are getting faster. Games like Uncharted, I think I’ve played The Last of Us two or three times. It’s one of those games I don’t know if I want it to go to the big screen and get ruined. I understand how the Resident Evil fans feel. It’s my one thing, and I don’t want to tarnish that memory.


[-1:18] Allan: Going back to Doom, I think for a lot of us is one of those games [where I love] everything about it. I learned how to do a lot of 2D back then, I was obsessed with Doom. Then Doom the film came out. I was like, “Ugh, I can’t watch this.” Framestore did that whole sequent. Hardcore Henry came out recently. The studio was Zero Effects.


Paul: They might be doing a Podcast with them.


Allan: Yeah, I did The Equalizer with them. I got to enjoy the good ole Boston Christmas weather when we were filming. Here, in Portland, it’s 50 degrees.


Paul: Did you, guys, see Assassins Creed yet?


Sol: I haven’t seen it yet. I don’t think it’s garbage. I really want to!


[-1:15] Paul: Right now, I’m reading Ed Catmul’s Creativity, Inc.


Allan: How far are you into the book?


Paul: I’m on chapter 5.


Allan: I was talking to the Pixar guys. I think we were in Paris last year. Some of the ways he’s looked at — within a company — what’s working, what’s not working; and not be afraid to challenge and step out of the hierarchy of the company and let artists be artist. Even the directors, be able to challenge them. Without hurting anyone’s ego, giving everyone room to grow. It’s pretty amazing!


Paul: I’m actually reading it to my daughter. I get home, she’s awake. My wife has been amazing, she reads to her so much. I just read the book to my daughter. It helps them immensely. Ironically, for me, reading out loud helped me immensely. I have a goal of some books I have to read this year.


Sol: That’s why I listen to Podcasts. I’ve just started reading The War of Art.


Paul: There is another great book by Nolan Bushnell Finding the Next Steve Jobs.


[-1:10] Allan: There is a book called Masters of Doom. It talks about John Romero and John D. Carmack; how Doom split off. I read the book a while ago. My last day in LA, this younger kid was reading it. I had to restrain myself to not come up to him. I never pictured anyone read that book.


Paul: Speaking of YouTube, I’m sure there are lot of documentaries on software in Doom. I watched one on YouTube. The history of that company is so crazy. And now, for them to transition to Bethesda. It seems like it’s a good place. But the impact that Doom had on video games is amazing. Censorship was different back in the day. You couldn’t play it when you were 12 years old.


[-1:06] Sol: I listened to this Podcast Hardcore History. Do you listen to it?


Allan: Yeah, it’s awesome!


Sol: Did you listen to Wrath of the Khans? It’s so great! Genghis Khan had a vision and he was assertive. His lifetime pursuit was conquering of Asia. But his sons and grandsons ended up squandering the wealth. And that’s what often happens to companies. It changes when the people change. It’s hard to keep that original vision alive. Thirty years later, it changes.


Allan: If you want a good book and a lot of people name it as their top book, it’s The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. You can get the audio book. Basically what he does is research the key subject matter on how to succeed in different areas. He uses case studies from history: Napoleon, Edison.


Paul: I love that idea. Especially, in today’s world, there is a great divide. It’s about acquiring all the information, from both sides.


Sol: The 4-Hour Work Week [is another one]!


[-1:03] Allan: That’s a great book! I have this buddy of mine, so I’m now one degree of separation from Tim Ferriss.


Paul: The toughest part is being the artist still.


Allan: I want to segue a bit, as far as ZBrush. For you, guys, what are some of the industry in which ZBrush is the most popular. Obviously, the game industry and the film industry.


Sol: Basically, anything with environments, like games and film. Our founder Ofer Alon won a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy, 4 years ago. And that’s the first generation of ZBrush. It got really popular on Return of the King (Lord of the Rings).


Paul: Return of the King and Pirates of the Caribbean 2. That’s when people asked, “How did you do that?” and discovered it was ZBrush. It also changed the way people concept now.


Sol: There has been a transition from a 2D to 3D paint over. The speed [has improved] and people are finding out they can pump out up to 10 times faster.


Paul: ZBrush is becoming popular in toys, collectibles and jewelry businesses. I think the jewelry world might be at a point where there are masters of wax and sculpting on the smallest scale. Now, there are these people who are primarily digital, the new generation. And I think they’re at a point now where the old masters are retiring, the next wave is more digital. I’ve been to a lot of jewelry companies by now in which no one has even worked with wax sculpting. So much more of it is digital now, and ZBrush is the main tool.


Sol: As far as prototyping, in the film business, there are people who are using ZBrush to build props, set pieces. We’ve been talking to artists who are transitioning from old school models to using ZBrush to design all of it, then blowing it up and carving it out and painting it in styrofoam. They keep the roots in mind. It’s a mixture of the old and new. It is faster that way.


[-58:16] Allan: When you talk about innovation, I know we were talking earlier. Your daughter is using a computer. I’ve got friends whose kids are using iPhone and iPads and they know what they’re doing. At Thanksgiving, one of my friend’s daughter, was trying to swipe the screen of my laptop. Back to the jewelry business. Suddenly, there is a generation that can work from anywhere in the world that can work remotely. You don’t need this huge equipment. You can work from your computer and do your art.


Sol: Yeah, it’s an amazing time. I get excited. It makes me hopeful.


Paul: Under two grand, you can start using great technology to do you art. If you want it, you can get it now.


Sol: For anyone who’s listening and doesn’t use ZBrush, we’ve just released ZBrush Core. It’s just the basics. Like Paul said, you can get a package for $200. I think it’s becoming a necessity for some people. There is still an old school of doing things. There is Derek Pendelton, a set designer, who got hurt on the job and couldn’t work for a while. He just started using ZBrush and now he’s able to do what he was always doing. ZBrush kind of saved him so he can keep doing it.


Paul: I think it’s an art journey. The computers are just another medium. Having that occupation, in which you can learn new things. There are things like at LA Braille Institute. Those students can now sculpt [where they weren’t able to before]. Talking to those students, it’s been life changing for them.


Allan: How does that work?


Paul: They are not 100% blind. If you have tunnel vision, they consider that blind. You just can’t operate a vehicle. I’ve met people there who are 100% blind and deaf and they’re sitting there sculpting with their hands. They are using feel. There are people who do face replacements. The application is build that way: You can do on a computer what you weren’t able to do before. And it continues to push the envelope. It continues to innovate, and give something to the artist to do on a computer.


[-52:27] Allan: What do you think are some of the most far out uses for ZBrush that you’ve never been able to picture before?


Paul: Oh, man! There are a lot of those. There are people who use ZBrush in medical illustrations. There are tons of sculptures. Airbus [uses it to build] in aviation. There is always someone using it in a way I never thought it would be used. Louis Vuitton, for example. They use it to build hardware and other details.


Sol: I’m still trying to get Nike to see some of the designs I’ve made for their shoes. I’ve definitely seen shoes designed with ZBrush. It’s crazy how much ZBrush has changed. We always use a full digit release number [for the next generation].


Paul: We put so much [into every generation], I always get somebody saying, “Hey, I’m still learning the previous one.”


Allan: “Slow down!”


Paul: Yeah. I remember we had one year, we released 4-5 versions in a span of 18 months. We were just go, go, go.


Sol: I got to see part of that and it was nuts. Very, very late nights.


[-46:43] Allan: I’m just remembering this now. There was a reality tv series that got released which I was going to be doing. It’s a ZBrush tv show. It got green lit then it got put on hold because the studio that was producing it was going through changes. In typical fashion, it had nothing to do with the content but the egos of no one wanting to produce the show on the guys whom someone else discovered. Basically, it was a competition based on creature design, paring teams together, working on teams. ZBrush was one of those things I could confidently do. Going this route would have been interesting.


Paul: In line with that, on season 3-4 of Face Off, we recruited a few artists. ZBrush sat with the contestant and helped them design their concepts using ZBrush.


Sol: It was a good, big world to see us on that. In line with the ZBrush show, that’s a great idea and is something we’ve been working on. Have you heard of the ZBrush Summit?


Allan: No. I’ve got it up on my screen right now.


Sol: We used to do Siggraph. Every year, we would go to this big booth and show off the new features. Paul have been pushing the idea of having of our event, where we bring whom we want. We’re reaching out to our entire user base rather than a convention center in LA. It’s a 3-day event which we live stream. For each day, it is filled with professional artists, the best of the best! It’s non-stop. We also have a sculpt off competition, which led me to this rabbit hole. It’s a totally new thing. We’re hitting artists head to head. We were doing that back at the 3D printer summit.


Paul: We put it on a different stage buyer booth and we would be surrounded.


Sol: We destroy! We’d have 40-50 people in the seats.


Paul: In the last three years, the winner [of the sculpt off competition] took home a 3D printer. We do the same for the Summit. Toys, collectibles, printers. We give it away.


Sol: We do this every year. It’s really in the vain of broadening how we do this. In the 3D world, there are tutorial droning on and on and on. Sometimes, it’s little jarring. We’ve been trying to make our stuff exciting. We have commentators. They just sit there and comment on what each artist is doing.


Paul: It’s like watching a sporting event. It’s become very competitive. There already repeat champions. Furio Tedeschi hasn’t been beaten two years in a row. It’s fun! It’s about fun and learning this stuff.


[-36:46] Allan: My buddy Dan Roarty is doing a Facebook live modeling / sculpting. I’m not sure if you, guys, know him. He is a Microsoft artist. He uses ZBrush. I’ve been wanting to do same live classes. Just watching someone else, even if it’s a simple thing, you go, “Holy shit!” There are people who are new to the industry do something that gives me an idea.


Sol: All my learning comes from other people. There is nothing wrong with that. You are not stealing. You’re watching from a bird’s-eye view.


It’s really about your going on the journey and figuring it out for yourself. Our YouTube channel has every single Summit presentation, and there a lot of them. They’re about an hour and a half.


[-34:26] Allan: What are some of the big names who are attending the Summit?


Paul: Rick Baker, Nevil Page. We had Disney. Dominic Qwek.


Sol: There are just so many people using ZBrush in so many ways.


[-33:35] Allan: It’s funny. Ralph, I knew him for 10 years. This is the first time he came to the States. He is just this giant. What are some of the rockstar names at ZBrush?


Sol: We have so many friends and artists. I almost don’t want to name anyone. There are so many top talents in the sculpt off, not to mention the presenters. We always have people who we are great: Zack Petroc at Disney…


Paul: Maarten Verhoeven. They’re also popular people not just because they are good but they share, and they reach out, and they communicate with the community. And those are the people who rise to the top really quick, not just because they’re work is amazing but they’re willing to share. At ZBrush, we have the most popular thread of all time. You have to reach a certain number of viewers. There is only a handful of those artists. Maarten Verhoeven is one of them. But: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met artists and I don’t know them, but they show me their work, and I’m like: “What are you doing?!” There is some amazing work.


Sol: I think it comes from their not wanting to share it.


Paul: I can’t tell you how many times I want to hit artists over their head. So, who knows about this? Your work is amazing. Put it up! That’s one thing about artists: You have to know how to market yourself!


Sol: We did a Podcast with ILM. They did a presentation on Warcraft. I thought it was a good looking movie.


Allan: Do you know how many logos I’ve done for them?


Sol: They do have some cool looking text. It’s all beat-up, scratched. I gravitate toward stylized stuff. Anyway, Steve James is a big ZBrush artist and has been there from the beginning. He’s so friendly with us. He’s a businessman. He was talking about the idea of telling stories and having confidence in yourself as an artist, and how important it is to have. It took a lot of confidence to start posting his stuff. He got a lot shit from people, and his work was good. He was talking about this idea of: So what if someone is talking bad about your idea? Take it for what it is. If it’s unfounded, you’ll know it. But to let it control you emotionally where you don’t share your work, it’s ultimately about sharing.


[-27:45] Allan: It’s totally true! I had lunch with a buddy of mine who has a VR company. He wanted to go on Twitch and post some stuff. He decided to do it anonymously [because] he didn’t want it to reflect on his business. One person would always chime in accusing him of fraud because they haven’t heard of his name. Essentially, those are the people who aren’t doing anything. It’s a lot easier to ridicule people than to get off you butt and do it yourself.


Paul: I think that happened to Rick Baker and someone started to pick his work apart. Until someone found out it was Rick Baker.


Allan: There was this famous musician. I think he was a violinist. He would be booked for months ahead. He decided to go perform in Grand Central. He made $12 those weeks. No one knew who he was, so the credibility goes out the door. People usually get caught up on how hyped up a person is. And they’re hyped up because they’re amazing.


Sol: Granted, competition does a lot for innovation. It’s always going to be part of it. But the negativity, I think we’ll figure it out. We’re still figuring out the internet. The stuff we say online, we’d never say in person. It’s crazy!


[-23:40] Allan: I haven’t spent a lot of time on Reddit. But it’s the one thing I associate with it: People get torn down. People love to do that and get a satisfaction. Some people do Facebook streaming because people know who you are. Going back to Dennis at Bethesda, he was asking what the studio culture is at your company. What’s the vibe like?


Sol: We are all very passionate people and we’re all dedicated to the brand, to the company. It’s very much driven on it’s become our lives. We work well together.


Paul: We do. And we’re all artists. We all try to do something that allows us to create artistically. It has its roots in where we want to go in the future and what we want to do. Everyone has certain aspects.


Sol: Our headquarters are in LA. But some of the development happens elsewhere. We have a part of our team in France. It’s interesting. It’s unique. When we have the ZBrush Summit, everyone flies in. ZBrush Live is a brainchild of what we wanted to do a long time ago. Over the years, we’ve found the right team members.


[-20:17] Allan: When did you, guys, initially decide to go build this portal, or platform for people to have all of this information?


Sol: It’s started with a conversation to get away from tutorials. We wanted to bring the entertainment and the more casual approach. So the ZBrush Podcast was really the first thing we were working on. Along the way, we started targeting specific groups. From the Podcast, we introduced the Portal, realizing that we needed a more centralize place.


Paul: The Summit was the catapult. Seeing how much people enjoyed it, even though they couldn’t be there but felt connected. The three pillars for the ZBrush Summit was: Inspire, Discover and Connect. If you notice on Twitch, you can have your webcam on so that people connect the face to the name. We want to keep pushing the element that we can branch out and reach out people.


[-17:26] Allan: On YouTube, you have 8 seconds to capture someone’s attention. Actually, I think it’s lower now. That was [a statistic] from a year ago.


Paul: Yeah, you can scrub through a video. But if it’s live, there is no scrubbing. You look down, it’s been 45 minutes. Some of our streamers go for 4 hours a day.


Sol: We couldn’t have anticipated the viewership. Streaming live is a really awesome way. I gravitate toward casual conversations as opposed to structured ones. ZBrush Live is more a build-up to the Summit.


Paul: Actually, the Summit is going to be on ZBrush Live.


[-15:33] Allan: I love it! As soon as you, guys, mentioned it, I thought it was such a cool concept. With something like ZBrush, it’s easy to get paralysis from analysis. You go on YouTube and you look for a tutorial. And you’re going to freak out. It’s going to be hard to filter out which one you should watch. If you’re going to be a platform, people can trust that they’re putting their time into something valuable. I’d be bummed if I spent two hours on something and people are going to mock me [because it’s wrong].


Sol: A lot of ZBrush representative are the best. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve directed people to YouTube.


Allan: I know it’s more of a question for the founders, but did you, guys, know how big ZBrush was going to be?


Paul: It’s about 16 years old. The first version was out in ’99, but Siggraph 2000 is when it first made a splash. I don’t know if Ofer knew how big it was going to become. When I joined the company, we were a lot smaller. But his thing was, “Look! There is this thing called a computer, and people want to create art. And I know there is a way people can do it. And I have an idea — and here we go.” And he went off and did something that changed a lot of people’s lives. I wouldn’t be sitting here if it weren’t for the founders. What Zbrush did — is they got that technical part.


[-09:56] Allan: Actually, I was hanging out with Scanline guys the day before I left. I asked them how they do those ultra real buildings and destroying them. They just use UV. They do it so much simple even on a larger scale.


Sol: I have so many students who attach themselves to the one way of doing it. Just verbatim. Use your brain, don’t feel like you’re restrained in this field. There is more than one way to skin a cat.


[-07:27] Allan: We’re kind of touched on this earlier. I do feel that when I’m teaching, people get used to asking for a solution. These days, in my Courses, I try to imitate a real production. There is a lot of problem solving involved.


Sol: You need to understand the core. Take your time. Hopefully, this new format on www.Zbrushlive.com will help a lot of people who are lost in the weeds. We’d love to have you on our Podcast and you’re friends with all these people. We’re just really excited!


[-04:49] Allan: Thanks again, guys, for coming on. It’s been awesome to shoot the shit.


Sol: It’s nice to be the guests. I like this.


Paul: Cheers! Thanks again.



Now, if you want to check out some of the links mentioned in the Episode, you can check out the show notes at www.allanmckay.com/73, as well as the information on the Masterclass and www.vfxrates.com.


There is a documentary called Hollywood’s Greatest Trick. It has to do with the inequality of VFX vs. the other fields in the film industry. It’s pretty spot on. I try to avoid it a bit because it puts a negative spin on the industry. I’ve talked a lot about it recently. I do believe you can make a killing in this field, as long as you’re willing to treat it as a business. The more you treat yourself as a business, the less likely you’ll be taken advantage of. Everything is a stepping stone. Knowing what you’re worth and how to do it strategically, you will be successful.


This is something I want to flush out over time. For me, the main goal is how to go the extra step; how can you earn more. You need to learn to bid yourself out. Wherever you are in your career, I want to help you figure out what you’re worth. So check out www.vfxrates.com.


I’ll be back the next Episode with Joaquin Baldwin, a VFX Supervisor at Disney who has had multiple successes with his short films and went straight from animation school to Disney. Check it out soon!


Rock on!





A piece of wisdom on publishing your work from the guys at Pixologic’s ZBrush: “So what if someone is talking bad about your idea? Take it for what it is. If it’s unfounded, you’ll know it. But to let it control you emotionally where you don’t share your work, it’s ultimately about sharing.” Allan McKay talks with Sol Blair and Paul Gaboury in Episode 73. For more, tune in to www.allancmkay.com/73.


“That’s one thing about artists: You have to know how to market yourself!” Pixologic’s Sol Blair and Paul Gaboury share their wisdom on Allan McKay’s Podcast: www.allancmkay.com/73.





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