Featured Artist | Michał Pancerz

Michał Pancerz

Personal Website

Meet our new featured artist! Michal Pancerz is a Polish look-dev artist currently working at Platige Image in Poland. Besides an accomplished artist, he's also RenderMan's "Woodville" Art Challenge winner!

Michał 's winning Art Challenge entry "When the Hunter Becomes the Hunted"

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I come from a family with artistic roots who are professionally connected with art. In my childhood I always enjoyed spending time creating sculptures and drawings, so later in life when I heard about 3D graphics, I thought it was a field with tremendous creative possibilities.

Currently, I work at the Polish company Platige Image. I got there because I wanted to work on interesting projects among the best specialists in this field in Poland. An interesting portfolio helped me get the job, and through several completed projects I think I’ve been able to live up to the potential they saw in me.

Michał has worked on many creative projects at Platige Image

“In general, everything can be an inspiration... nature, architecture, interesting people...“

Did you have formal art training?

There aren’t many schools in Poland preparing artists to work in computer graphics, but I was lucky because right after high school I got to the newly created Drimagine school run by Mariusz Korczak. It was a year of solid education among enthusiasts and under the guidance of great teachers. I learned a lot starting with traditional techniques such as sculpture and drawing, then moved to 3D modeling, animation, and compositing. I also did a lot of learning on my own, including watching the Efficient Cinematic Lighting course with Jeremy Vickery, where I discovered a passion for this particular field.

Lighting for "When the Hunter Becomes the Hunted"

What inspires you?

In general, everything can be an inspiration...nature, architecture, interesting people, etc. When it comes to movies, I am particularly inspired by those with beautiful cinematography, such as the amazing work from Emmanuel Lubezki, Roger Deakins, Dariusz Wolski, and Pixar's Danielle Feinberg.

“Despite the differences in technique, aesthetic appreciation is universal“

I also really like to study the work of other 2D/3D artists. For example, my main inspiration for creating my “Woodville” Art Challenge entry, were concepts of Gediminas Pranckevičius under the name “Secret place.” I love the light and atmosphere of these works. In music, I'm often inspired by soundtracks from movies and games such as Assassin's Creed 2, The Witcher 3, and more.

Roger Deakins' Academy Award Winning work for Blade Runner 2049

Does traditional media influence your work?

Despite the differences in technique, aesthetic appreciation is universal. Proper framing, lighting, color, contrast, are all important for making a beautiful image. I also find that painting is a great form of training because it disconnects us from the technicalities and automation of computer graphics, which allows for deeper analysis and concentration over the work being created. Sometimes looking for an interesting lighting idea, I create quick sketches (very quick, nothing to brag about) and I’ve found that one can quickly determine if an idea has potential or not simply by iterating through them in a simple way.

What are you working on?

I can't talk about my current projects unfortunately, but from a personal standpoint, I always try to work on self-development. I'm currently directing my efforts towards improving my skills as a Look-Dev artist. I would also like to take a closer look at the possibility of creating trees in SpeedTree using 3D scans.

What do you think of RenderMan as an artist tool?

I think that it’s a great tool for an artist, it is best demonstrated by a whole lot of beautiful films and artworks that have been created with it. Before I used it for the first time, I was afraid that it was a complicated tool for people with programming experience, but I was wrong. RenderMan is very intuitive and anyone can use it. What's very important for me, it allows you to focus more on what you want to create than on how. RenderMan’s interactive rendering worked great and made a huge impression on me, thanks to which I saved a lot of time during design and look development. I especially like that now it can handle even more changes like editing AOVs, resolution changes, and sampling without the need to restart the render. 

Of course, it undoubtedly has great potential to adapt it to your needs, which makes it a great tool for a creative and efficient TD artist or pipeline department. I also really appreciate the fact that you can easily and quickly get help on the RenderMan Answers platform.

Are you excited about RenderMan XPU?

It’s amazing to me that it’s becoming possible to render concurrently on both the processor and the graphics card. I'm also excited that thanks to this technology I will be able to take full advantage of the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 card I won in the "Woodville" Art Challenge!

RenderMan Art & Science Fair

Learn more about RenderMan with the presentations at the Art & Science Fair

"Underwater Submarine" - Michał's personal work

Do you have any tips for aspiring artists?

First of all, I think that one of the best tips for any artist is to find and devote himself to the field that gives him the most fun. If you do what you like, it's much easier to be really good at it. Of course, if someone is completely at the beginning of their path as an artist, it is worth experimenting first, try different types of art such as drawing, modeling, rigging, animation, and only later choose the one closest to your heart. It is also important not to worry about the fact that not everything will go immediately as we want it to. It is important however, that we systematically expand our knowledge, practice, and never give up, and success will finally come.

How do you balance your professional life?

As the work of 3D graphic artist's involves spending at least a few hours a day in front of a computer, to balance this I try to go to the gym and the pool regularly, as physical health is very important. In addition, I often spend weekends in my family home near the Polish mountains, surrounded by beautiful nature. Walks in the woods and swimming in the lake is a really great way to charge your batteries and a desire to continue working.

How does your culture inspire and motivate you?

Poland is a country with over 1000 years of turbulent history. Between 1795 and 1918 Poland disappeared from the world map, however, the spirit of the nation remained, among other things, thanks to art.

Jan Matejko (1892) - Self Portrait

The works of artists such as Fryderyk Chopin, Jan Matejko, and Wojciech Kossak gave the nation some of the strength to regain its lost freedom. The way art has shaped culture is very inspiring to me and proof that it can play an important role in one’s country and even help us find personal achievement.

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