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Featured Artist: Fabian Nowak - Tours, France

“The Transform Node of Houdini”

Fabian Nowak 2021


The transcript of our virtual coffee with Fabian follows . . .

Fabian Nowak is an internationally recognized award-winning visual effects artist. If you're a fan of action-packed movies, chances are that you have watched his creations in absolute awe a few times before. Fabian’s story on how he pursued his dream job is
just as awesome as his big budget works.

‘’I did some studies before. I was in architecture. I was going for more like a classic path, and eventually I dropped school and I went to work you know as a worker doing roads breaking concrete every morning in -5 degrees during the winter, you know, like I did that for a year just so I could save some money so I could pay the first year of school and when I came out of school, I wanted to be a flame artist, you know, to work with flame. Back in the day there was barely just the beginning of YouTube So no tutorial anywhere or nothing, you know, if you wanted to learn flame you had to know someone who was already doing flame and who was keen to teach you. I got this Jedi Master and I was his Padawan for a few months and that was cool as long as I was his assistant,
but the day I wanted to become, you know, an actual artist then suddenly all the door started to shut down.

We went to see, I think it was Prometheus when I saw the dust storm coming on the spaceship I was like what the… I want to do that. And I was like well, Okay, where did they do that? Okay, MPC London, yeah I decided to move to London and eventually I got an interview at MPC so they gave me my chance. So that's how it all started.’’

‘’We had to pull off something that has never been done before. Nobody did swimming pool or something of that scale of, you know, massive bodies of water and also not just in Zero G, going from normal gravity to Zero G and back to gravity. Today with the tools that exist, that would be probably about a hundred times simpler to do it. And that would probably look a thousand times better. Before Passengers, I was working with Autodesk Maya and for Passengers we had to switch to Houdini. So we were learning a new software and at the same time we had to deliver some impossible requests within a very short time and under crazy circumstances. So that was triple challenge, you know, like challenge at every level, like everywhere.’’

‘’So I always worked in giant studios like MPC or ILM that have dozens of thousands of machines, the best machines in the world in their farm and I started myself looking for cloud solutions and I knew the name GridMarkets popped already a bunch of times on
the Houdini Group that I'm administrating. So I just heard about it a lot because it seems to have quite a good solid reputation and eventually I made my choice quite quickly.

I think in a couple of days I was feeling like at home with GridMarkets. For the user you know, it's super user-friendly. It's super reliable. It's… I don't know, I really felt like I had something quite similar to the farm at ILM.’’

‘’I used to put as a status, you know on my profile on the internal chat that we had at MPC and ILM and I always put in capital ‘GO HARDCORE OR GO HOME!’

If you are not there to go hardcore, and to do the maximum, to be your best self to not disappoint all the people that trust into you then just go home and take a day off you’ll come back in better shape. It’s going to be much better It's going to be much more productive. It’s going to be better also for the people around you.’’ 

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