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"If I Finish a Week Without Learning Something New, It Gets Me Down"

William Torres, head of CG at Smoke&Mirrors Amsterdam on how after 20 years in the industry, he's still learning

"If I Finish a Week Without Learning Something New, It Gets Me Down"

William Torres became hooked on computer arts back in the 90's. After 'Alias Power Animator' he knew he would never turn back. 

Today he is Head of CG at Smoke&Mirrors Amsterdam. He chats about his career below. 


Q>Growing up, did you always want to be a CG Artist? Tell us a bit about how you got into the industry?

William> It was my mom. As a teenager it was clear that I was going to go to art school. I was good at mathematics but I was more interested in the arts. I had applied for several art schools across the country. Naturally my mother wanted me to stay close by and choose one in New York City. In the early 90's, computer art was so new it was all bundled into one department, including desktop publishing, design, photo editing, video editing, and 3D. That year the School of Visual Arts was accepting only 30 students into their computer arts program. At this time the school still required first year students to attend full 8 hour studio classes in painting, drawing etc. My mother convinced me to apply to the limited class with the argument that if I didn't take to it, I could easily just leave the computer art program and continue with the fine arts. From day one I was hooked. Once I started my first project in Alias Power Animator, there was no turning back. 


Q>Who or what are your inspirations?

William> I love anything made by hand, for example stop motion and hand drawn animation. I love the attention to detail and the craftsmanship required to make these beautiful images move.  

 

Q>Which jobs have you been working on recently, and are there any that have challenged you to work in new ways?

William> There have been too many projects these past few months to pick one. Creating content for the advertising industry in itself is a challenge. There are so many levels of input that the team has to satisfy before a project is finished. Each project has its own unique challenges of finding its way through a maze of input and feedback to create the best results. The goal is to make the client happy, and it's never the same experience twice.  

 

Q>What are your favourite things to create?

William> Anything that hasn't been done before. We often get pitch decks that have really unique and crazy visual ideas. I'm attracted to these because there is no clear answer on how to solve this creative problem. My favourite projects require unique and complex solutions. It's extremely satisfying to see the results and to leave our peers wondering how we did it.  

 

Q>What advice would you offer to aspiring CG Artists trying to break through into the industry?

William> There is a lot to know. So pick a particular skill and do your best to learn it inside out. You’ll also need to know the whole post-production process from start to finish, so pay attention to the details. The learning won’t stop! After more than 20 years in the industry, I'm still learning. If I finish a week without learning something new, It gets me down! You have to keep your knives sharp and learn new tricks.  

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