Balmy Portugal peninsular ideal setting for a spectacular art event opening
A passion to change the CG industry is at the heart of the new art event Trojan Horse was a Unicorn, as it overcomes minor set backs and opens its doors for the first time in the luxurious Troia Peninsular, Portugal.
The event was put together in a mere eight months, thanks to the dedication of organisers Andre Luis, Nuno Rivotti, and their friend and early champion Serge Birault. Their aim was to give a platform for the untapped talent in Portugal, offering opportunities to new artists in an increasingly closed off industry.
In that time sponsors have come and, within weeks of the event, gone, yet the schedule still boasts a stellar line up of artists, directors and industry insiders, all framed in an extravagant, fittingly optimistic setting - Ubisoft's Raphael Lacoste being the latest to arrive this morning straight from Montreal.
Whilst outside hit a steady 25 degrees Celsius, inside the event's main Unicorn Room industry veteran Scott Ross kicked things off with his talk The State of the Industry – an ambitious subject, but one Scott took in his stride.
From jazz musician to Industrial Light and Magic head, then founder of Digital Domain, Scott had plenty of anecdotes to share with the crowd, including his business separation from George Lucas on religious grounds: 'He thought he was god. I disagreed.'
Scott left Digital Domain in 2006, selling it to Michael Bay, but came back into the industry limelight with a single Tweet that inspired 500 or so people to protest outside the Oscars against the bankruptcy of Life of Pi effects studio Rhythm & Hues.
In 1992 he foresaw the integration of cinematics in video games, but is a little more cautious with predicting the future of the industry now: 'the manufacturing side of things will be led by China and India, whilst the creative side will continue to be wherever there's talent.'
Scott also claims - and regrets - coining the phrase 'digital artist' in his Digital Domain days to simplify overly intricate job titles. 'Now people can get confused whether they're digital artists or digital manufacturers,' he told a crowd full of the former.
Showing none of the jetlag he admitted feeling earlier on, Ubisoft’s concept maestro Raphael Lacoste followed up with a look at games art, and specifically his work on the Assassins Creed franchise.
What was most fascinating was listening to him descibe how the environments - coast lines, cities, ports - can be instrumental in guiding players around the game world.
Equally impressive, he took us through a typical mood board for a single section of game coastline - a mass of reference and research hinting at the amount of work that's behind the AAA games that he's worked on.
The other main part of the event is artist workshops, and with the creature design of Justin Goby Field and the Pixar insight of Holly Lloyd starting things off, the THU has been conscious to make them cover the full range of the industry.
The day continues with Game of Thrones and Discworld artist Marc Simmoneti taking artists through his body of work, before workshops and talks on everything from a digital start from clay sculpting (Alex Oliver) to the day to day of an art director (Aaron McBride).
Stay posted for more from THU in the next few days, and see how the event develops over on their regularly updated Facebook page.