Petar has over 23 years experience in the field of computer graphics,starting out as a computer graphics artist in Serbia working on animated films, commercials and architectural visualization. After moving to Canada in 1998 he completed the Alias Maya educational program at the Vancouver Film School and subsequently joined Aeronett Technologies as a CG artist working on training/simulation software for Boeing airplanes. In 2000 he joined Electronic Arts Canada as 3D Animator where he found a new passion for programming. In his new role as Technical Artist he was responsible for developing tools, plugins and pipelines for 3D applications such as Maya and MotionBuilder. In addition he led global support for MotionBuilder and training for all animators and software engineers. 11 years on Petar joined Animatrik Film Design as Senior Technical Artist. responsible for research and development of new tools, plugins, pipelines. Petar’s credits include NHL, MVP Baseball, NBA Live, Fight Night, Barbie: A Perfect Christmas, Barbie in the Pink Shoes, Elysium.
Six questions with Petar
Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am originally from Serbia, and since early childhood I have had dreams of creating art and animation. I remember my first homemade cartoon was created by drawing images on cashier paper roll!
In early 80s the first personal computers become available and my best friend received a 3.5 Mhz, 16kb beast ZX Spectrum. We used to spend a lot of time tweaking the azimuth of connected cassette tape players to load our favorite games, and then later moved on to drawing simple graphics and animating using BASIC programming language.
In late 80s and early 90s I made my first steps into 3D computer graphics, which became my love and passion. I think this is mostly because I never had great drawing skills, but 3D graphics gave me a chance to express myself and fulfil my passion. Also, this was very new technology, and that has always been very exciting for me to discover.
I committed all of my time to learning 3D, and worked for five years in an animation studio and at an Autodesk training centre as an instructor, before coming to Canada to attend the Vancouver Film School. A few years later I started working as animator for EA Canada and was later transitioned to technical artist position.
After 11 years spent at EA, I moved to Animatrik in 2011, where I started this new chapter in my carrier.
What are some of the biggest projects you have worked on during your career?
During my career in EA Canada some of the games I worked on included NHL, NBA Live, March Madness, MVP Baseball and Fight Night.
At Animatrik I have worked on some huge projects, including Warcraft, American Sniper, Chappie, Elysium, Warm Bodies, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, Batman Arkham: Origins, Sleeping Dogs, Dead Rising 3, Crysis 3 and Splinter Cell: Blacklist.
What are the most exciting projects you have worked on during your time at Animatrik?
My first project at Animatrik was animated movie Barbie: A Perfect Christmas. The very first day at my role here was a shoot day, and I had chance to be – for the first time – up close and personal with performance capture technology, while getting to know all of the great Animatrik people. That was a wonderful experience.
Close second would be the Warcraft movie, just to experience production and technology on such a massive scale. That was very exciting indeed.
What specific expertise do you bring to the Animatrik team?
I see myself as the Q to Animatrik’s James Bond. I research and develop tools for other artists and performance capture pipelines in order to bring the effectiveness and quality of the work to the highest possible point. My main expertise is in programming, combined with knowledge of 3D Software, animation and performance capture.
What really excites you about performance capture today?
The ever-changing and evolving nature of the technology, and the variety of projects and challenges we work on. Every project brings something new, be it a new challenge, new research or new discovery. All of this forces you to work in new ways and find new solutions, and increases your understanding of the craft.
Seeing actors perform live and then watching that exact performance played out by a totally different character on the screen – and knowing that you and your team helped that magic to happen – is such a great feeling.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy travelling – each year I like to visit a new world destination – and I like just walking and taking in nature. I also watch motosports like F1, NASCAR, Indycar and WRC. I also play video games and flight simulators – if I had to choose a different profession I think I would be a commercial pilot!