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City of Industry

We chat to the hosts and tutors at Industry Workshops, London's most promising new digital arts and visual effects event...

We chat to the hosts and tutors at Industry Workshops, London's most promising new digital arts and visual effects event...

At the end of this month (29-31 August) two venues in London's trendy Hoxton Square will host Industry Workshops, a series of live tutorials on the various facets of visual effects: 2D art, matt paintings, character and creature design and environment drawing. And despite this year being the debut event, it's attracted some top names in the industry to deliver insight and tips into the way they work.

We've been lucky enough to sit down with Levi Peterffy, Daniel Matthews and Rich Burns, the event's organisers, to talk to them about the ins and outs of organising the talks, what they want to achieve and how they went about it. We've also chatted with Alex Heath, Nadia Mogilev, Titus Lunter and Al Brady, 4 of the 18 speakers at Industry Workshops, about their involvement.


3dtotal: Can you introduce yourselves with a little background information about the Industry Workshops how did it all start and what's your manifesto?

Daniel Matthews: For me I have always done events. I owned my own venue in NZ (Void 651) and it was a place for punk and hardcore music. So when we started talking about how cool it would be to do our own event I jumped on the idea. I have always been a big picture thinker so my mind ran wild with ideas. I just set things up in the event that I would find useful I'm just as excited to attend the event and learn as our most avid fans!

Rich Burns: I think first and foremost this is an awesome opportunity to get together with some extremely talented people face to face. I've known Daniel from our shared love for music, and Levi through his friendship and teaching relationship with Daniel. Our manifesto was formulated quite early on: to get together with people physically, and investigate their manifestos as artists.

Alex Heath will be showing attendees how to create amazing pieces of art like this
©Alex Heath

3dt: Can you tell us about your speaker line up how many years of experience do you all have collectively, and from what industries do the speakers hail from?

"We have 18 artists, and on average I think we are looking at 5 to 8 years so that would give us close to 150-years of experience!"

Levi Peterffy: I think we have speakers from every 2D art-related production category. Films, games, advertisements, book illustrations, comics, card game illustrations, pre-production, post-production, traditional schools. We are really happy to have accumulated such experience. We have 18 artists, and on average I think we are looking at 5 to 8 years so that would give us close to 150-years of experience!

Titus promises an 'in-depth look at concept art' for his tutorial
©Titus Lunter

3dt: How did you come up with the schedule what are the ultimate not-to-be-missed sessions?

"All of us are really hyped about the event"

Levi: The concept was pretty easy; we organized a meeting with the artists and just simply ploughed through it, day by day. Since all of us are really hyped about the event we talked about making sure we stand out among workshops as we really want to make sure the attendees walk away happy and full of shared knowledge, so all lectures are really well prepared and important. At the end of each day we will have panel Q&A; sessions with all artists to chat about anything and everything.

Daniel: We discussed what we would like to learn from each other, our strengths and weaknesses. The not-to-be-missed sessions? For me they are all just as important as each other, I would say to those attending don't miss out on socialising. You have 3 days to meet amazing people and make some great friends.

Nadia's tutorials will focus on character concept art
©Nadia Mogilev

3dt: For those who have only just heard of Industry Workshops, what would you say to them to encourage them to get involved?

"You never stop learning there will always be questions and problems to solve"

Daniel: For me I wouldn't be where I am now if I didn't attend a workshop (Behind The Iron Curtain 2) in Romania in 2012. There I learned that I sucked (haha!) and needed to practice a lot more. I met a whole bunch of people who I am still good friends with now. The most repeated piece of advice that I got from that workshop was study life, a lot, so I started going to life drawing sessions as much as I could.

"You could walk out of the workshop not only having made some great friends but also a dream job!"

Rich: You never stop learning there will always be questions and problems to solve. I'm sure all the artists involved can agree that it's the journey you're in it for ultimately and this is a space we've collectively opened for you to come and experience that in a very real and inspiring way... there's tech to play on also. We have a portfolio viewing room set up with MPC (thanks MPC!) and who's to say they won't be interested in your work? You could walk out of the workshop not only having made some great friends but also a dream job!

3dt: Will there be an Industry Workshops Version 2.0 next year? What are your hopes for the event?
Rich: Yeah, we're planning on taking over Buckingham Palace for the next instalment. It's pretty pricey but will be worth it. Early days, but the guards have agreed to perform late 80's hip-hop battles, and Queen Elizabeth II is the guest still-life model. It's a little known fact that Prince William is well into his Maya too (big ups), so will be sharing his best sub-D techniques be there or be square brothers and sisters!

As well as teaching the nitty-gritty of creating art, Industry Workshops promises to be a lot of fun
©Industry Workshops

Just some of the speakers for this year's Industry Workshops:

3dt: Tell us a bit about you and about your role in the industry?
Alex Heath: I am a freelance iIllustrator, concept artist and tutor at the London Atelier of Representational Art.

Nadia Mogilev: In 2006 I left my home town in north Russia and went to San Francisco, California, where I studied at the Academy of Art University and Safehouse Atelier. I currently work as a concept artist at MPC Film, London.

Titus Lunter: I've been in the industry since 2010 doing all sorts of stuff. I've worked in-house for videogames and freelanced for illustration companies.

Al Brady: I'm a freelance designer living in Cambridge in England.

Environment concepts will form the core of Alex's tutorial
©Alex Heath

3dt: Can you reveal some of the key projects you've worked on through your career so far?
Alex: I have been working on book covers for a number of science-fiction novels to be released later this year.

Nadia: One of the latest films that I got a chance to work on is Guardians of the Galaxy. It is a fun action-filled sci-fi movie with a great sense of humor and impressive visual effects. I am also involved in a very exciting project with Levi Peterffy and the Brothers Harrow: a dark fantasy graphic novel, Avalon The World Within. I will be talking more about it at the workshop.

Titus: Currently, I'm working on Tom Clancy's: The Division, a title by Ubisoft Massive. Super fun, although a bit daunting because it's such a big project. I've worked on Forza Horizon 2, Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons.

Al: I trained as a car designer but I decided to switch careers to being a freelance spaceship guy. As commercial ventures go it wasn't all that, so I did a lot of architectural visualization, worked on a bunch of indie game projects as a freelancer, and worked my way up to AAA games that way. It's all been a way of paying for my lifestyle as an unemployed freelance spaceship guy. I've been lucky to be involved in some fun projects recently I did a few days sketching for Guardians of the Galaxy at MPC this summer which was quite an experience.

If you want to know what the post-apocalypse will look like take a peek at Titus' art
©Titus Lunter

3dt: What was your first impression of the Industry Workshops concept and how has this evolved as you've become more involved? What are your hopes for the 3 days to come?
Nadia: London is a major hub for the industry artists and we are scattered in this wonderful city, working away in our solitude, meeting occasionally to greet each other in a pub or at a rare sketch session, so I think a lot of people were waiting for an event like this to happen in London.

Titus: It's mind blowing, you never see this stuff in Europe and thats strange, there are so many talented people here. It was just up to someone to organize it all and I was super thrilled to be asked to contribute to it.

If you always fall at the first hurdle of character design you should definitely attend Nadia's talk
©Nadia Mogilev

3dt: Do you have anything exciting planned for your presentation that you can tease us with?
Alex: I will be demoing how I go about creating environment concepts, with a focus on the fundamentals I feel I needed to learn to be able to push my understanding further so that others may do so. I will be sharing lots of techniques and having fun.

Nadia: My lecture is about ideation and design with a focus on character concept art. The process of coming up with an original idea is a crucial part of the creative process and is not as simple as it sounds.

Titus: Oh, well, important question. Yes I have exciting stuff planned! Wouldn't want to disappoint. As for a tease? I'll be giving an in-depth look into concept art not just how things are done, but how to ask the right questions when you are working.

Al: When I have to sit down and create something on the spot, my mind always goes completely blank! So I'd like to put a call out for sketches of things like spaceships. This allows me to steal those cool ideas and use them in my demo! So if anyone has a great sketch and doesn't mind me scribbling all over it in front of everyone, I'd be eternally grateful if you could come and find me.

A lot of planning and thought (and food) has gone into the creation of Industry Workshops
©Industry Workshops

3dt: Who would you recommend Industry Workshops to, and what would you say to anyone that's on the fence about buying a ticket?
Alex: I would recommend Industry Workshops to anyone looking to get into the industry. It's going to be a great place to meet people already working and to really find out what the industry is all about. In fact, even if you're in the industry you should definitely attend, the chance to meet your peers and see how they solve the same issues is worth the entry.

Nadia: I would recommend it to both industry professionals and young artists concept artists, 3D artists, animators, illustrators, matte painters there will be a lot of interesting learning material as well as an opportunity to meet new people united by the same passion. Can't wait to see you all at the workshop!

Titus: Everyone! It's a great place to get to know people, get in-depth feedback from some serious professionals. Really push that portfolio to the next level. These events are very rare in Europe and this first one will be a benchmark for events to come. The better it is the better the future will be.

Al: If I could go back in time a few years to when I was starting out as a freelancer, I'd recommend Industry Workshops to younger me. To go and work and party with a big crew of other art addicts in London that's where I'd want to be.

The speakers sample some of the cuisine which will be on offer at the event
©Industry Workshops

Networking opportunity

Tickets for Industry Workshops are currently on sale here. (They're £250 per person for the 3-day event, which includes access to all the lectures, as well as the all-important breakfast and coffee to make sure you're alert after a night of heavy, ahem, networking. As Rich said, London visual effects house MPC will be on hand totake a peek at portfolios and even potentially recruit a lucky few.

And if you can't make all the talks, some will be posted online after the event. As Rich says: I'll probably be running around during the sessions there is quite a bit to do behind the scenes! We'll be posting certain things (not everything) online after the event, so I'll probably have to sit with some popcorn and make my way through...

Industry Workshops' speakers can't wait to take the attendees through the creation of their art
© Industry Workshops

Related links

The official Industry Workshops website
Find Industry Workshops on Facebook
Like workshops? You may also be interested in our sketching workshop books and folder.

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