Geert van Hooff’s Perfect 3D Pixels
Whether it’s his unnatural fried eggs for Protein Primitives; his spooky Wizard of Oz 3D theatre visual; or his steampunk spectacles for EVGA, digital artist Geert Van Hooff’s work is very close to 3D perfection. Which is as you’d expect from a self-confessed perfectionist.
Perfection is a good word when it comes to Geert. The 35-year-old professional 3D artist from Amsterdam is borderline obsessed with squeezing as much visual fidelity and emotive expression out of his pixels as possible. And it shows in the kinds of 3D product visualisations he does for big brands and ad agencies – as well as his personal projects.
Geert grew up in the countryside, in south Netherlands. Perhaps it was his upbringing in nature that contributed to the naturalness of his 3D style, but it was his fascination of design that drew him away from it.
“I left my parents at the age of 17,” he says. “I studied graphic design and multi-media in post-secondary college and afterwards I went to the Utrecht University of Arts to do my bachelor in video design.”
After university, Geert landed a few internships, during which he was mostly involved in creating 2D motion graphics, compositing and titles for film.
Says Geert, “I really liked the idea of creating something from scratch and combining elements in a dynamic way, without depending on factors like place, time, light and camera.”
“Later I began to experiment with 3D motion graphics and I got a chance to do my first 3D job.” He says. “I did it for free, working at their office, using their computer. That first 3D animation of 1.5 min took me about 7 months! For a self-taught 3D artist, I was pretty satisfied back then! I fell in love with 3D and I’ve done it ever since.”
The freebie days are behind him and nowadays, Geert makes his own way as a professional 3D artist who produces animations and designs for product videos and images. He works in a small studio in Amsterdam with a friend - also a 3D artist.
He does a lot of 3D product visualisations and 3D content for websites and image films. Often he’s required to create each piece from start to finish – from concept and storyboard to design and rendering. Using Maxon Cinema4D and After-effects to edit and composite 3D renders.
“I try to make everything from scratch. It’s not a representation of something, but a whole new non-existent thing. I decide what should be seen, how, what it looks like and try to make that.”
For artists, 3D Animation is a medium that offers flexibility and the creative freedom to go to the limits of human imagination. Clients often appreciate this too, which is why they come to people like Geert to bring their ideas to life.
“Often a client chooses 3D animations because everything is possible,” says Geert. “You're not depending on light time, environment camera etc. It’s all adaptable and changeable. Also, for product video's you can do things like travel through parts to show how the products work. You can't do that with video very easily.”
His perfectionist nature means Geert is often up against tight deadlines, which is where he says Neat Video comes in handy.
“I tell you a bit about the rendering process.” He says. “The quality of the final image depends on a lot of parameters. It depends on the amount of samples, reflection in materials, light bounces, movement, etc. An image can be quite hard to render noise-free. Especially when there’s not enough time to render with real high settings.” Says Geert.
He goes on, “Also, in some dark areas you may see more noise than in lit areas. If the final frames are rendered in 3D, I usually do a lot of compositing in after-effects. Here’s when Neat Video comes in. It does a wonderful job in removing the noise from fast renders. Now I sometimes even count on neat video and use less samples for quicker renders, because I know it's going to be alright anyway.”
That sounds familiar! A while back we wrote about animator Joe Barber who told us a similar story. We’re very happy to play a role in helping 3D professionals to speed things up without render farms and massive processor stacks.
Sometimes you can tell in a glance that a person is born to do what they’re doing. That’s the feeling when we look at the work of Geert Van Hooff. So, what happens next in his 3D story?
“I think it's really nice when an artist is asked because of his/her work rather than because a client just needs someone. So, I also want to make more personal artworks and make a living from that eventually.” Says Geert.
“These days, I sometimes work 100 hours a week,” he laughs. “I should really do something about that.”
Thanks Geert! Keep those pixels perfect.