David Nak­abayashi

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Industrial Light & Magic - David joined ILM in 1989 as a sto­ry­board artist for Ghost. He’s worked on Juras­sic Park, Men In Black and much else, and is now cre­ative di­rec­tor. http://ifxm.ag/ilmd­nak

ILM’s cre­ative di­rec­tor on what he looks for in an artist

Why do you think an art depart­ment is a nec­es­sary part of the vis­ual ef­fects team?

Be­cause of the artis­tic eye and sen­si­bil­ity. You sit in dailies and hear a lot of back and forth about mak­ing a shot bet­ter. It’s good to have an aes­thetic voice within the group, peo­ple who bring strong emo­tion to the shots, who think the way a painter thinks about colour and light.

In what way do artists in ILM’s global art depart­ment sup­port the vis­ual ef­fects su­per­vi­sors in the post-pro­duc­tion of films?

They ini­tially do ref­er­ence and then as shots move through, they con­tinue to look for ref­er­ence for things that might come up. They might paint over a frame that isn’t work­ing, give ideas for light­ing, colour, how wa­ter moves. They can help make things look real. Artists can cre­ate the emo­tion and tex­ture of a painter, and bring that into shot work. You’d per­haps be sur­prised by how much con­cept art looks pho­to­real. Some­times sim­ple mod­els cre­ated in con­cept art make it into fi­nal shots.

When you are hir­ing con­cept artists and de­sign­ers, what is it you are look­ing for?

I look for their spark. Of course their skills, their crafts­man­ship, too. But, I need to know they can pro­duce an im­age out of noth­ing that has emo­tion and per­son­al­ity. They can be young, but if there is a sub­tlety in their work, per­son­al­ity in a char­ac­ter, scale and feel­ing in a land­scape, those peo­ple will in­ter­est us. And, we want artists who are fixed on what we do here: we cre­ate char­ac­ters and worlds for films.

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