|Interview with Ziv Qual
Hi could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Ziv Qual.
I’m 23 years old and I live in Israel.
I work as the 3D department manager of MD Simulation, a company that makes realistic graphical simulations in the medical field for some of the best medical professionals around the world.
In terms of CG, How did it all begin for you?
I’ve been hooked on 3d since the day it was introduced to me when I was about 15 years old. I started out making fan artwork inspired mainly by games such as Starcraft which received quite a positive feedback from the gaming community and it kept me going at my “hobby”. As soon as I finished my military service, I’ve started doing it professionally.
You are 3d department manager of MDSimulations, can you tell us what the nature of your job is?
We work with some of the biggest names (professors and companies) in the medical field. We make commercials and presentations for them among other things. We also work on our own softwares that allow the doctor to communicate better with his patient by showing possible medical solutions to him in a very graphical and clear way. We constantly have many tasks to work on simultaneously (when we don’t have “outside” requests, we always have a long list of animations to add to our own softwares), my job is to make sure everything gets done in time and in the best way. When we get a new project, I often get a description of what happens in the procedure and I need to think of how to translate it visually in the best understandable way. Our team is made out of people who each specialize in a few fields more than others so I always make sure to divide the work accordingly, but on the other hand, I make sure we constantly learn from each other and each one of us can take on a complete project if we have to.
If you could invent your dream job, where would you work & what would be your job title?
I guess my dream job would be working in a high budget production that sets its’ focus on extreme details and quality. Blizzard’s cinematics department is a good example of that because they tell mind blowing stories and they always make sure that every single frame is blown with details (I often found myself looking at their stuff ten times straight just to appreciate all the fine details).As for my title, well, I like the managing role because it gives me more creative freedom and responsibility but I guess I would be happy with any title that will allow that.
What you think, for medical animations – knowledge of biology and anatomy is essential?
I didn’t need any prior medical knowledge in order to do my job. Whenever I work on something new, I always have an expert in his field to guide me as to how exactly things look and work in the real world. One of the nicest things in my job is that I actually learned A LOT of stuff in cardiology, plastic surgery and dentistry among others, I think I can actually qualify as a dentist in theory. :)
Of all of your artwork, which piece is your personal favorite and why?
That would have to be Rage over Babylon.
I worked on it for two months straight in my after-work time. I always believed that the key to a good artwork is in the details and I wanted to make this one interesting in every part you look at it, even at full res (which is over 3k pixels). Working on it was very challenging and I had to keep on quickly finding solutions to hardware limitations (the scene has a total of about 10 million polys and 140 textures, it crashed during render time at least 50 times). The effort really paid off as this piece won the grand prize on CGSociety’s challenge – spectacular and some other awards. Things are never perfect but I was happy enough with the result to make a high quality 100 X 70 cm print of it for my room. It has set the bar pretty high for me now; I guess I’ll have to top that when I join the next challenge
Which area of 3d do you really enjoy doing?
I actually like everything about my work - from the planning stages and managing the projects to the technical stuff (modeling, texturing, lighting, compositing etc’). I really believe that it’s important to master a little bit of all the aspects this field has to offer in order to advance. If I had to pick one, I’d say texturing and lighting (those are actually two but you cant really separate them :) is my favorite and my strong point I believe.
What software program(s) do you use for your CG and why?
For 3D modeling, texturing, rendering and animation, I've always preferred working with max for several reasons -
First of all, it is the first 3d program I've used and got familiar with :)
I've worked with several other programs that might have had better stability, but none of them really felt as intuitive as max.
The whole modifier based object editing approach is really powerful and allows allot of original solutions I can’t think of in other programs.
Being able to tweak things with soft selection and relax at real time for example has proven very useful to me.
Also, I really like the way the material editor and procedural maps work in max. I really feel I have control when I texture something.
I am planning on getting to know Zbrush when I get the chance.To do most of the UV Mapping, I usually go with DEEP UV; it offers some really awesome tools that allow me to map the most complex objects perfectly in a meter of minutes (as shown in the tutorial in my site). For the 2D post editing and texture painting I go with Photoshop (and after effects for video) because it has everything I need and its industry's standard...