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Luciano Neves - CLAN VFX

Posted by Rodrigo Assaf, 7 November 2013 2:50 pm

From London's Tower Bridge and Big Ben to the Basilique du Sacré Coeur and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, VFX Director Luciano Neves has recreated some of the world's most distinctive edifices in 3D.
Autodesk Master Max and Master Award winner in the digital art book ELEMENTAL 1 and ELEMENTAL 2,  Excellence Award winner in the EXPOSÉ 3 Neves is a consummate specialist in highly-detailed, CG photo realistic and architectural recreations and Environments. Also published in 3ds max 7 and 3ds max 2008 and 2012 Bible - Wiley, and Essential CG Lighting Techniques with 3ds Max - Darren Brooker.

Born in São Paulo, Brazil, currently as Co-Owner / VFX Director at Brazilian VFX company  CLAN VFX ( www.clanvfx.com.br ).

Luciano Neves Website:

1) Tell us about you and Clan VFX and how many artists are involved

I started my career 20 years ago as an inker and at that time I was using Nankin ink before knowing that these arts could be scanned and have the whole process optimized. I ended up doing data processing, to better understand how software and hardware work, then I took a course in web designer and when I finished it I’ve noticed that the web business was going down and how much studies and effort I would have to do to achieve a great level. Having this in mind I began to study intensively Art and VFX and never stopped.

I was working as a web designer but still studying and publishing my 3D works, and the consequence of these studies happened. I was hired to work in Europe, more specifically in Switzerland, in a great high-tech engineering company, specialized in Olympic venues projects. I worked there, in the CG department, for 2 years. In 2003 I returned to Brazil and still continued to publish my work, then a small company in São Paulo called Inutilia Truncat hired me. I worked there for a year.

In 2005, Pixpost, a company focused on composition, called me to develop the 3D Department. I hired some 3D professionals and led this department of the company that was later renamed to Pixpost and Animation Studio. I worked there for two years with a wonderful team. When Pixpost managers decided to change their marketing strategies I decided to leave the company and look for new challenges.

Coincidentally in the same period, a company called Tribbo Post, well known for having a very strong work in composition, called me to talk about the idea of strengthening an existing team and include a differential photo realistic work, which I had all the know-how.

When I left Pixpost I spent few weeks thinking of if I would go back to Europe or look for a nice company for my team in Brazil.

So, Tribbo Post offered me to make part of their team, but I was expecting to have the team that I led at my side and continue as VFX Director, because that was the way Pixpost gained the same importance in the market.

I researched some details about how Tribbo Post before making a decision that would involve more people, and then we talked and decided to create a new 3D department within Tribbo Post. A new team for the company with a great differential in VFX and photorealism, thereby strengthening the company reputation and also acquiring new customers.

I continued as a VFX Director and other 7 VFX artists decided to leave Pixpost and come to Tribbo Post, where we worked hard and helped to make one of the best and most famous VFX companies in South America during the period we were there.

During the period of five years many people were hired, some left and returned to the team, but the way of work and pipeline has never changed but updated: focus on the quality of work, meet the deadline and a great customer service throughout the process.

With all this differential and after many conversations and meetings, CLAN VFX idea came from the desire of 5 people to start an ideal business, not only considering the work environment but also the quality of work, the concern to offer technical solutions, structure and creative quality. For that we get involved among directors, producers and creative people, responsible for the entire process of the film production.

All five members have over 15 years of experience in several areas of VFX, from the technical sectors that involves the company's infrastructure, through attendance, artistic direction and execution of all projects.

With a robust production pipeline and experienced staff, CLAN VFX has more than 35 professionals in its team woking with the latest technology in VFX. Having two independent teams with 3D professionals and one composition team with diverse backgrounds, CLAN occupies a property of 400 m2 in the district of Vila Olimpia in São Paulo, Brazil. With the growth of the market and the urge need to include visual effects in movies, we operate since the budget stage when we help our clients to sell and support its ideas to their clients, to the delivery of the film. We believe that participation and careful monitoring of each phase of the process is vital to the success of a project. For this reason we no longer use the term post-production but VFX. It would not make sense to use the term post -production because we started working on pre-production, working from the beginning to the final stage.

Destiny Art Work - Luciano Neves

Destiny Art Work - Luciano Neves

2) Considering your experience in the Brazilian CG market what the expectations and challenges CLAN VFX is facing?

The VFX market has undergone several transformations over the years, as the world economy. The result is a general adaptation between companies and professionals.

Our biggest problems are not in the artistic or professional side but how to maintain an infrastructure of high technology. This is a disadvantage in countries like Brazil, where taxes and import fees are extremely high, and considering that we don’t have much software and hardware technologies developed here we have to import. There is no way to charge, or even share this cost to customers, so, this is the first and biggest difficulty.

The people who work for a VFX company have any training related to art, physics, mathematics, engineering, anatomy, management and many other areas that is required to compose a team as we have in CLAN. Maintain them trained and updated also requires a high cost. The tools also change continuously and update them is extremely necessary.

Another difficulty is how our customers actually know and understand the processes, steps and values in VFX that eventually influences time and total cost of the projects and of course the final quality.

We believe that everything is possible in 3D, and to include VFX in a commercial or movie need to be well planned, monitored and completed by professionals. As said the master Ridley Scott, regarding the VFX Making-of the film Gladiator, "Give us enough time and money and we can do everything in VFX.". But sometimes a perception that digital work or specifically visual effects has low or even no cost is often judged.

Often the client does not know how their work is being developed because of a lack of monitoring and knowledge of the whole process. For this reason, we are involved in all creative and technical process and also have a method that demonstrate to our customers the design steps, a way to educate the market. This method should be a standard, but unfortunately does not occur in all VFX companies in Brazil.

We know that machines alone do not solve all the workflow alone, there is no "do this or change that right now" button. Everything takes time and involves all the professionals knowledge and the whole company to work correctly. There is also the time production required for each project that certainly differs from each one to another. Regularly a large number of people or machines will not do the job faster.

Today, between 75% to 95% of world TV adds is done with digital intervention, what happened a few years ago was just a small intervention with color correction, nowadays this has changed and interventions are often even structural, a simple color correction to the replacement or addition of a 3D scenario called set extension.

As an example there have been cases that we had to replace up to 90% of a material previously filmed, a scene that unfortunately we didn’t directed from the beginning. Considering cost issues we did not get the best result, although the quality has remained high.

There is still a common mistake to think that to build or redo using digital techniques will decrease the final cost or will have absolutely no cost, and once again mistakenly believing that only machines will create the project. It is amazing that in 2013 we are still facing this challenge here in Brazil. We must think that all projects are not only technology but also hours of highly trained people. I believe these are our greatest difficulties in Brazilian market.

Destiny Teaser - Image from Luciano Neves Website: http://www.lucianonevesvfx.com/

Destiny Teaser - Image from Luciano Neves Website: http://www.lucianonevesvfx.com/

3) How do Autodesk Solutions help Clan VFX in the creation process?

Autodesk has the best tools in the market delivering solutions for the creation of concepts to finishing compositions. We use almost all software that Autodesk provides to the area of VFX.

We start with the Concepts in Autodesk Sketchbook Designer, then we make the models in Autodesk 3DS Max or Autodesk Softimage, then, we use Autodesk Mudbox for painting textures and return to the animation, and rendering in Autodesk 3DS Max. Finally, we finish the shot with color correction in Autodesk Flame, Flint and Autodesk Smoke. We have a very effective pipeline and Autodesk tools enhance our workflow allowing us to respect deadlines and keep quality really high.

Image from Luciano Neves Website: http://www.lucianonevesvfx.com/

Image from Luciano Neves Website: http://www.lucianonevesvfx.com/

4) What’s the essential characteristic Clan VFX considers when hire a CGI artist?

We have specific departments in the company and each department requires its technical skills, but a basic principle that we demand in our hiring process is able to work in a team and “wear the shirt” of the company as we do for our team. We treat our employees as part of the same family.

Be enthusiastic and collaborative is always a challenge. We believe that much of the success of a company is based on the commitment of people, so we try to provide all these tools so they can grow within the company and have the ability to take risks, and so we can filter or select people who are determined and want to achieve their professional and personal goals.

We know that in the field of VFX we must provide and create a relaxed atmosphere, but to do this, it is necessary to have people committed to deadlines and quality. That requires responsibility.

Also, for this reason, we promote a balanced life, respecting the human value.

I believe that this management technique is also linked to the new generations who we hear so much about, because we must have an open mind to not manage Generation X or Y, but manage "any generation". That is what I keep in mind to lead my team, I believe that all CLAN, in their respective departments, use this same technique, perhaps in slightly different technical aspects but with the same base or structure.

Destiny Teaser - Image from Luciano Neves Website: http://www.lucianonevesvfx.com/

Image from Luciano Neves Website: http://www.lucianonevesvfx.com/

5) Why investing in Brazil? Are you aiming at international market?

Today everyone working in CLAN was born in Brazil, our families and roots are from here, so over the years we have acquired knowledge of Brazilian business and respect from our customers. Considering that and the fact it is not easy to create a company in abroad, we have many people involved in our company with big responsibilities, and we are still creating a strong foundation in the domestic market and planning to, in the near future, to target the international market. Although we are living in an unstable situation in the world economy I believe that in the future we will be able to develop some partnerships and projects outside Brazil.

Image from Luciano Neves Website: http://www.lucianonevesvfx.com/ - CLAN VFX

Destiny Teaser - Image from Luciano Neves Website: http://www.lucianonevesvfx.com/ - CLAN VFX

Destiny Teaser - Image from Luciano Neves Website: http://www.lucianonevesvfx.com/



Posted 8 November 2013 12:01 pm

Great interview. It's always nice to read about fellow country men succeeding in the business. And to realize they have a solid foundation and a good planning for the future. All the best for Clan VFX. Great work.


Posted 28 November 2013 5:31 pm


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