May 10, 2018
May 10, 2018
Te Hu is an award-winning artist and Carnegie Mellon University graduate, who is currently working for Industrial Light & Magic's xLAB division. He mixes both 2D and 3D technology to create stunning and unique art.
I was born in a family of artistic tradition, both of my parents are artists, so I have a degree of artistic DNA in my blood I guess...
I came to the United States to study Computer Science because I truly believed the future was blending art and technology. Once I was proficient enough to combine those two, I became a CG artist!
I currently work at ILM, with duties in both ILMxLAB and the ILM art department. It all started 2 years ago when I was at GDC, and I saw the huge potential of VR/AR. At the same time I also saw that ILMxLAB was all about the future of story telling, so changing career paths from my job at EA was the perfect choice for me.
Almost everything I see inspires me, I love to go to art and history museums to see human achievements. I'm always amazed by different cultures and all the art masters before us. I always find it really interesting to compare the east and west to understand the differences and similarities between their aesthetics.
I've always thought art embodies the greatness of human kind and science embodies nature, thus I find all aspect of human society affecting my art, including history, religion, music, emotions, and drama.
I was trained in both Chinese and western art at young age, thus traditional media always gives me an added degree of attachment, as I enjoy its uncontrollable factor, which I'm always chasing in digital media.
I generally use 2D images as backgrounds to get a more painterly feel, and since RenderMan allows me to iterate on my designs quickly, I can look-dev and break down elements very efficiently.
I generally tend to use Pixar Disney material, and even though it has a more limited shading control when compared to Pixar Surface material, I enjoy working within its limits, which get me 90% there without having to get too technical about my artistic process.
For personal work, I am working on something inspired by my own Chinese culture, where I am always trying to find better ways to blend traditional and digital media.
Since my main job is VR/AR look-dev and VFX, I believe real-time rendering is the future of all media. It will likely evolve from a 3D (2D+time) to a 4D experience (3D+time). There's tons of interesting tech problems in the field and the VR trends are self-evident. It's also great seeing a lot of them breaking the boundaries of film, games or drama, I wish I had the chance to devote more time into that area.
I can not say what I am working due to the NDA, but most recently I was the main look-dev and technical artist on Alejandro González Iñárritu's Oscar awarded VR film: Carne y Arena (Flesh and Sand).
I mostly use RenderMan for personal use, it's got a lot of great features. One thing I like about RenderMan is that it's programmer friendly, and it has fantastic new features in every update.
I'm really excited about 22. I'm hoping it will help me explore more, especially if I can expand my procedural workflows in RenderMan. Of course XPU is a big deal for GPU rendering, so I'm hoping I can get my hands on it sooner than later!
Learn more about the future of RenderMan with the presentations at Pixar's Art & Science Fair
My advice for new artists is simple: keep doing it and always practice. As a new artist it is tempting to want big opportunities and quick fame, but no matter how far you go, don't forget why you put your life and time into your artwork, and make good use of your time. It might be painful, but eventually all efforts will pay off.
Ian MaCaig once told me there are only 2 things in life, practice and drawing, and that's become my life. I spend most of my free time doing personal work because I think it's fun and interesting to take challenges in order to find new ways to improve my art and storytelling. On the other hand, I'm having a hard time finding a work-life balance, so I need to work on that.
I've got some exciting personal projects coming up, but it's all very rough right now, I really want to explore how we can tell better stories with new media.
Technology is ever changing and while the world transfers into a virtual world, what's the future of us all? I feel like everything will be real time and we will cross the Uncanny Valley, maybe in the next decades. New industries will emerge, they will transform and change, but in the end, how we tell stories will always remain at the heart of art.
I will continue exploring the beauty that lies between both science and art, past and future, east and west.