Chaos Group recently had the opportunity to catch up with Andronikos Bisogiannis at IXOR to discuss a few of the studio’s most recent projects and talk about what’s in store for 2012.
Established in 2005, IXOR is a CG production studio based in Athens, Greece with offices in London, New York, and Los Angeles. Andronikos recalls, “In the early days of IXOR one thing was clear – everyone at the studio shared a passion for computer graphics. We started off creating architectural images and TV commercials, and over the last few years, IXOR has evolved into a full CGI production company offering high quality visual effects, CG creatures, and CG animals.”
INSPIRATION AND TEAM WORK
IXOR’s full-time staff consists of twelve artists with a variety of expertise, including concept and storyboard artists, modelers, character animators, fluids experts, compositors, and software developers. The entire creative team is passionate about their work and consistently strives to outdo themselves with each new project.
The team is currently working on a new project for a major brand of scotch whiskey, involving extensive liquid effects work. ”We have also spearheaded the in-house production of a full CG animated short. This production is going to be a sci-fi drama with a few unexpected twists in the end. It is estimated to be complete by late May or early June 2012, and will showcase our growing skills in storytelling and visual art.”
THE BACKSTAGE EXPERIENCE
Curious to get a backstage look at IXOR’s projects, we asked about the challenges they encountered in production and which parts of the V-Ray toolkit were essential in solving them.
For the Scrooge animation, the VRayFastSSS2 shader was instrumental in making the skin-tone appear realistic. The hair was created with Hair Farm™ and rendered in V-Ray® using multiple Render Elements for final compositing.
Avra River Commercial
In the Avra River animation IXOR used the VRay2SidedMtl for leaves in the distance and SSS translucency for the ones close to the camera. “This gave us the diffused natural light on the surface and organic look we were aiming for,” says Andronikos. “VRayProxy and Render Elements allowed us to manage render times and create a visually stunning piece in a short amount of time.”
The Gazprom commercial was a challenging project due to the amount of white in each scene. “It was a bit tricky at first,” admits Andronikos, “but we solved it by using sub-surface scattering materials for the ice and snow, blending them as needed to reveal the volume inside the models”. To generate realistic lighting and reflections, the team used an HDR in the environment and inside the Dome light and added a direct light to create more contrast without hard shadows.
Andronikos would like to thank the entire team at IXOR for their hard work and especially Antonis Fylladitis who was the lead CG artist in the above projects.
Wrapping up our conversation with Andronikos Bisogiannis, he shared his thoughts on the benefits of using V-Ray in IXOR’s workflow, “Features like VRayProxy, extensive Render Elements, and fast GI have made V-Ray® an indispensable tool for our creative team. V-Ray RT GPU rendering allows us to save valuable time as we develop and adjust lighting setups, giving us a clear indication of what the final image will look like almost immediately.”
In addition, V-Ray® is also compatible with ReFaMo, IXOR’s proprietary network management and monitoring software with render farm and cluster capabilities. “By using ReFaMo and V-Ray® in tandem, we can easily adjust V-Ray® settings, regulate render distribution, and remotely manage DLLs and proxy files throughout our entire network,” he says. “This combination minimizes our production time and maximizes our efficiency and creativity.”
Special thanks to Andronikos and the IXOR team, looking forward to more outstanding work!
Visit IXOR VFX at www.ixorvfx.com
Cross posted from Chaos Group Newsletter