(Jan 18) CGAfrica - Femi Osewa joins GridMarkets on Jan 18 to introduce CG Africa and its mission to showcase Africa's talented 2D and 3D artists, like Sylvester Dorgu and Adewale Abdulkabir. Join us to learn about the mission and journey of this important initiative.
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Webinar Transcript . . .
Hello everyone! Welcome to the first GridMarkets webinar of 2021! I know you've all been there in 2022, that's a great start, great, stop, to the first webinar of 2022! My head screwed on and welcome back it's been a while, we've got such an exciting and important community and guests today! It's really exciting to take you through oh sorry! Yeah, this is a live webinar, there we go and the joys of doing this at work and not at home you get it both at home and at work. Sorry about that. So, today we have the wonderful people from CG Africa who were doing some incredible work but before that, we have the wonderful Mark Ross of GridMarkets, who has made this webinar possible along with Ben Hill from Oracle. We have joining us Mark, Ben and myself, we have Femi from CG Africa who will be taking us through who CG Africa are, what they're doing and most importantly, what they're doing to CG community and we're super lucky to have Sylvester and Adewale and join us as well who are just the most talented artists who are part of CG Africa and will get to see some of their work later on. But before we get down to that, let's hear from the man himself, Mr. Mark Ross. Thank you, Charlie, and welcome to 2021 I mean 22. Hi, I’m Mark Ross. Thanks for joining us today. Really excited to showcase CG Africa and the two artists who are joining us today but before that, let me just give you a quick introduction to GridMarkets. GridMarkets in a nutshell is a cloud rendering solution and we support the major 3d packages Blender Houdini Cinema 4d Maya and 3ds Max as well as the major renderers it's a very easy solution to get to set up excuse me there's a plug-in that you download from our website point number two you download a plug-in from the website load that into your 3d software and then you can submit your simulations or your render requests to us directly very easy to do in the process you specify that you want to use one too many machines and you can run many submissions in parallel so therefore you can get very fast response it's a pay-per-machine hour model and you can use budgeting controls so you can control what you spend it has been built by artists and it is supported by artists so we understand your challenges getting across those important deadlines and we're here to support you it's also secured by the Oracle cloud which you're going to hear a bit more about to get started it's very easy go to our website bottom left there you can see GridMarkets.com signup there's a create account button click on that you'll get a free account then you download the plugin that I was telling you about the plugin will include two bits one is called envoy and the other is the plugin for the 3d software that you're using I’ll show you how that works in a moment in this case the Houdini plugin has been installed and the Houdini artist would be able to then point to their project files submit those they would be uploaded to our cloud and then whatever the renderer is that you're using would get started and run your submission at scale once that has been done you get a dashboard that looks like this the dashboard shows each of your different submissions and you can track the progress of each of the submissions down to the frame so if you were to click on any one of these rows here you could identify the individual frames they're running and the status of them and interrogate the logs of those for example as your frames are completed they're downloaded so there's no waiting so as soon as a frame is done it downloads to the storage location that you designated and get started with a free trial go to GridMarkets.com sign up you'll get a 15 discount use the webinar code 2022 January 18 webinar to get a 15 discount and we'd love to see him back to you Charlie thanks Mark and for everyone who will be taking advantage of that free trial we will be showing it and we'll be reminding you later or how to get that so as Mark mentioned the wonderful Oracle cloud and how and how that supports GridMarkets and maybe not one of the sexiest parts of animation and VFX work but certainly one most important security and so we've got we're lucky enough to have ben hill with us today to take us through and what Oracle do and who they are absolutely thank you so much Charlie again my name is ben hill I am a global director for Oracle cloud infrastructure so when Oracle went about launching our gen2 cloud offering our approach to security was deliberate and direct we wanted to ensure that it was always on automated architected in and best of all we wanted to make it free so let's go through some of the high points of how we went about doing this first more security by default now what does that mean well we designed for isolation we've taken the hypervisor and put it on the network layer this approach separates customer traffic which provides better security and performance and as an added bonus it reduces the risk of hypervisor-based attacks also OCI Oracle cloud infrastructure has what's called separation of duties which means Oracle admins have no access to a customer's memory space and as it relates to your data and associated storage services we have full encryption at rest and in motion as well as integrity in integrated backups for business continuity and disaster recovery best practices now let's chat about some of the actual features so we have what's called Oracle Cloud Guard which provides a comprehensive end-to-end monitoring for your cloud environments by continuously collecting and analyzing service configurations audit logs and other information and reporting its findings as problems based on out-of-the-box security recipes or custom security recipes created by the admin and to complement Oracle cloud or OCQ is what we call it Oracle has OCI security zones which provides a secure enclave within customer tendencies for the most sensitive workloads where security is mandatory and always on and as I mentioned before best of all most security services are free like multi-factor authentication for user access OCI vault which can be used to store passwords SSH keys and certifications and unlike our competitors OCI welcomes third-party tools so you can federate your identity and access management policies with your organization's centralized identity provider as well as sim systems like Splunk logarithm and others via APIs and SDKs so that is all I had Charlie I’ll pass it over to you to get into the sexy stuff it's tough to be sexy when you're competing with this imagery but hopefully you found that information useful thanks ben always sexy so now we're moving on to the juicy bit and CG Africa and we have some great people to introduce you today along with some beautiful imagery which I’m really excited to share with you so if we welcome Femi Femi has well over 10 years of experience working 3d visualization and since 2020 has been working with CG Africa so hi Femi thank you for coming and joining us thank you I’m really grateful to be here I appreciate it I mean CG Africa doing some really great things could you share with us the background and journey to for you to be working with them and then maybe share with us some of them some of the visuals that your guys have worked on yeah thanks Charlie the first thing I would like to do is to give credit to all the artists on the platform and to do that what I have done is put together a real just under a minute of some of the works that I would like to showcase so if you don't mind I’ll just play that video and I’ll come back then I would explain how the journey started and in fact I’ve got two of the artists with us today I’ve got Sylvester and Adewale and I’m sure they would like to be excited to talk about some of the things they are working on so I’ll go ahead and play the video then I will come back so i hope you saw that all right and credits to all the artists on the platform that's just a collection of some of their artworks but like I said I’ve got Sylvester and Adewale with me and at some point I’ll be inviting them to talk about what they are doing but I’m quite happy to explain how we came about the platform CG Africa I would spend the next one or two minutes to explain how the whole thing started personally I’ll tell my story I I’ve always wanted to be an animator because I’m fascinated by colors and things that move but then while growing up there were no animation school around me so the closest thing to animation or to drawing I could figure out was architecture so I went into an architectural script but while I was in school I was fascinated by the visualization part of architecture how they put this imagery together so much so that while that was going on I teamed up with a couple of my friends and my brothers we thought okay it would be good for us to make a story one of the original stories so one of the folktales that is quite popular while we were growing up we thought all right let's just make that into an animation video so we went ahead to learn some tricks and we you know foolishly we wanted to make an entire movie by ourselves and we got in the game in fact one of the images that that you showed the slide let me let me share it with you team so this came from the this came from the slide that you shared at the beginning which is that and this is a collection of some of the characters that we were able to put together in trying to make this movie that we wanted to make but of course along the line we realized that it takes a very big budget to make a movie so we did learn a lot while we did that and in the process I realized there was no organization no no structure for cg around us so much so that in Africa there was nothing no team of friends and then so alongside with a couple of my friends my brothers and some co-founders we thought it would be good for us to have a playground so to see where we can share ideas where we can share tutorials where we can so much so support to encourage one another so we started CG Africa back then in 2013 and I’m happy that we've got thousands of parties subscribed to the platform and the number is still growing and day in day out we're putting awareness out there just to explain what cg is about and to get people who are interested to come and join the board so specifically I started CG Africa to encourage animators and also to build a platform where people in Africa computer and graphic enthusiasts in Africa can play a playground for computer graphics in Africa thank you for sharing that I mean you so you mentioned in 2013 that's when you started it okay and there'll be a few people watching this webinar that maybe that they don't understand what the landscape is like in Africa I mean I know there's a few there's a few studios down in south Africa that are well known but what would you say the animation industry and cgn VFX for cg is like in Africa and has that progressed since 2013 when you started CG Africa oh right yeah thanks for that that that's a good one because when back in 2013 when we started it was it was it was worse than this but I’m happy to say that but in those number of years there's now more awareness and so much so now that the industry is witnessing some kind of a movement that you know is tethering at the moment and it's about to grow into well I’m being careful here but into a billion dollar industry if I could use that word because there's a sort of background to this I’m not sure if you are familiar with the afrobeats the music industry in Africa music industry in Africa back in 2010 2008 2004 if we go back 20 years it was it was struggling it was struggling we have talented artists that make their music but then they struggled to just to sell but then fast forward to 2020 the music industry right now is one of the biggest exports from Africa you know the so much so that people on the streets now everybody wants to sing but then here is the catch the movie industry is following closely the music industry because now everybody is thinking about entertainment like there's a lot of money to be made here so the artists now they are they are starting to focus on the music the movie and of course if the movie industry grows it drags the cg with it so we are at the threshold now where we see that there's going to be an explosion of cg in in Africa so yeah it is it is getting exciting right at the moment I mean that's great to hear the positive increase and how and how the industry's growing and with that I suppose it's a question of how CG Africa is complementing that and assisting new talent if the industry's growing how we met you mentioned earlier accessibility to to becoming an animator, I mean how what do you see are there schools now starting to adopt animation as a course because of this oh that's a good one so I mean let's not get ahead of ourselves the industry is about to explode I haven't said it itself it's about to you see so that's correct that that's correct because what happen what is happening right now is that a lot of independent artists thanks to social media are now able to put out their works out there more but when it comes to structure and organization pretty much you see what you have is a lot of independent artists still supporting themselves so for example the project I showcased briefly that we embarked on we spent a lot of money on it with no structure of how we even if we were able to bring the movie to refrigeration there was no structure of how we're going to market it so what you'll find right now is that the studios that are existing they are struggling to get a constant stream of projects so they might have a project for six months or even three months they gather teams together but then after that it becomes all the teams they can't just keep them so the teams go back to whatever it is they are doing that to their day job so you hardly find people who are into full-time cg in Africa because as good as they are they are not just getting paid enough for what they are doing in fact the jobs are not quite there because like I said established studios outside Africa they are not aware of how good or talented these artists are specifically you did mention about animation school as far as I’m aware there is no animation school in in Nigeria which Nigeria is a big player in the city a couple of schools in south Africa but they expensive and people are not it's just not developed yeah so it's about to start to blow up reinforcing the bounty I should I’ll keep hold of that so then you mentioned that the European rest of the world studios they're just not aware yet of the talents that Africa has and is that I suppose aligned with CG Africa and what you're doing and your goals to spread the word and showcase that talent that's correct that's correct well what because for the past couple of months we've been talking to some studios both in Europe and in America and the all of them are being surprised as to the immense talent that we are showcasing to them and they are opening up their arms they are willing to walk with this talents so one of the things we found that one of the major things is that the studios are not just aware they have no idea how to access this talent and that's one of the goals of CG Africa to open up this talents so the idea is that artists come on CG Africa to showcase their work and then we as a platform showcase this work to a global audience not well we will showcase that showcase that works within ourselves for a number of years but now we want to showcase our works taken from within ourselves as a community up to to this studio so now they are warming up to us and this has to be the fact to the fact that now we are getting confident as artists so say all right we've encouraged one ourselves and now we are now ready to take on more from the professionals and I suppose I know I’ve seen it in studios certainly in London I can speak to it you know when these big projects land and there's a lot of work out there and not a lot of talent to cover it in in local areas anyway we're looking to hire so thanks to virtual technologies and companies like Teradici and being able to reach talent where maybe you couldn't before that's also going to be an opportunity for people in Africa who have this immense talent and haven't always been able they haven't necessarily had schools or a studio to attach themselves to they've now got that chance to work with studios further afield that's correct that that's correct I’m glad you brought that up and I’m glad that's your experience Charlie you know because it's a testimony because we that's what I have found out within the past few months from talking to the introduced and one of the advantages that because I’ve been talking to some of the artists in Africa as well the advantage that these artists have is that because they haven't went through a formal education you could say they've when we've gone through the education of what's the world shall I say this is full of hard knocks so these guys they're talented they know their job but then they know they have a lot of tricks that they've picked up lot along the way so what you will find is like Sylvester and they wallet by the time they come on board by the time we showcase their work they I wouldn't want to say they're wearing a different heart but they are so creative they have an idea an overview of the entire process not just a fix fixated like oh I’m a modeler or an animator every artist in Africa before they get to choose what the department of cg they are working on they must have been through the truly all so that that's an advantage that I find that working with these artists and the studios are loving it yeah I mean it's I know certainly on you know on any animation project you can have up to 300 artists needed and they come quickly you need to hire them and they're just in that volume at your fingers so at your fingertips I mean have you are you seeing that upstairs are you experiencing that yet or do you think there's more to be done still in promoting your guys I mean everything that you're doing is amazing ready yeah there's still a lot to be done there's still a lot to be done even from our side when I say from our side as a platform and from the artist's side what you find because the artist some of these talents or some of these skills they've picked up they tend to undersell themselves so you find an artist who said I’m good with this and that then if you prove him probing further him or her you find out that actually you haven't told me you can also do this you can also do that and what they will find they know what they will say is a world I thought everyone knew that because I learned that so early during in in my in my career so that's what we're trying to incorporate a questionnaire sort of on our platform that it almost let's let the artists as they are joining the platform onboarding on the platform to enumerate exactly what they can do because trust me these artists they do on themselves one would say I’m a modeler or I use Maya or wouldn't it but then if you prove them further these guys are so good that they can leverage on their other skills to boost their CV so that's one of the goals to expand to expand how we sort out the talents on the platform itself and then get across to the artists and let them know that look whatever skill you've got don't put it on that don't hide it under the basket so to say you know be proud enough and then be confident and then showcase it that's one of one of the goals the things we were aiming for that's great and I think before we start chatting with Sylvester and Adewale are there any initiatives that CG Africa is running and that you'll be launching soon that you want to talk about that's correct we'll get a bit of a loaded question yes the one the one I would like to talk about is the CG Africa challenge or competition that we've just established it's an initiative that we just come up CG Africa competition and awards and we're having the meeting edition in a couple of months by February we would make an official announcement for the maiden edition we've chosen a theme legend of Shangri the third emperor I think I’ve explained this to you before the third emperor shango was an historical figure and he was a powerful emperor that ruled one of the empires in western Africa so the idea is we are inviting artists to imagine what he looked like as an emperor and with that we're asking artists to draw to the drawing as a concept art we're not asking for much we're not asking for a 3d art just to the digital arts of what the character might look like and reason why we decided to do that we thought that would cut our crush because end of the day not a lot of people have the technical expertise to make 3d not a lot of people can afford the hardware but this is like the basic that we can go for just grow and to achieve that also we are hoping to have some price money some sizable price money so we've been talking to studios here and reputable studios if they are willing to be part of the competition to team up with us and then we share this money among the first second and the third winners so we are looking forward to that and the idea if I could say is the product of that competition will be used so for example someone draws the winner of that competition as a 2d art we will open another competition and it will invite artists to become a model based on the 2d art that was produced open another competition based on the winner of the model for textures for lighting and eventually we developed this character from inception from concept up until animation through competition that way we get the best of artists in nature category I think that's why it's important that we have a good size money for associated with it that's amazing I think I really hope that all the studios that you approach get on board today I think it's super important and just to give people that hope and passed or being you know being part of something it's amazing and to get that feedback first hand let's welcome Sylvester and Adewale hi let's start way back when I was like ten five something like that and my first set of Legos was an airplane and I enjoyed like building the pieces and everything and I was like okay I want to be a pilot and I went with that for a few years and eventually offered like many other Legos many other sets and things like that I changed and I said I want to be an aeronautic engineer because I like creating things and then in secondary school I got an assignment it was researching 3d and animation and I saw all the contents that was being made and I was very curious and then my friend hooked me up with a version of SketchUp which is an architectural program and yeah I used that for a while it was like my bread and butter I learnt everything with it and then I eventually learned about Blender so Blender was my first 3d modeling app 3d sculpting and to learn with Blender I used a lot of YouTube tutorials if I wanted to learn something I would set myself like a project like say build a tank or build a tiger or something like that and then to build it I would look at a YouTube image or a YouTube video of everything that will be used in building that that's how to model time lapses of how to make a rig of a tank time lapses of how to make the wheels or in the case of the tires in the case of the tiger how to make fur how to texture how to make eyes everything and that's basically doing that over and over again would I would say improved my skills and that's how it was I mean that's incredible and shows a real I guess passion and love for what you're for the craft to have that dedication and we'll talk a little bit about the access to software and what you've and what you've worked on and a little bit but Adewale could you and take us through your journey as well okay hello so okay I think it's pretty much similar to stars just a little bit so of course back then I I’ve always been fascinated you know watching on the mutual animation movies but I wasn't really sure if you know I was going to do it but then I think back then I wanted to be an engineer but yeah I mean I wasn't you know specific about the kind of engine I was going to be and then I think after ham high school I got to you know I’m learning how to design graphics so I did that for like you know two three years before I got admission into the university so I studied computer engineering and you know and after a while I think in my third year and fourth year I was able to you know I went for my you know I t nine months in total so I did my i.t in a stem company in Lagos so there I was actually introduced to game development you know building 2d games training console 2. so from there I you know I met a couple of guys you know one guy in particular actually he was using Blender you know the guy created a car and I was like oh is this real because I believe you actually you know that it doesn't mean you know you know look through it I was like is this real I was like no you know you have to create a integrity software then you know I i was like oh wow I mean can you teach me how to do it I was like okay let me just you know just going down and Blender you know what just watch you know future guys on YouTube and you know I started using Blender for a while then eventually I stumbled upon you know Maya which I got to know it was like the industry standard so you know I downloaded Maya and then you know certainly using it since then so yeah and of course you know ever since then you know obviously you know this moment there has been a lot of challenges here and there which is one Sylvester actually you know I mentioned you know we have to you know go to YouTube you know watch different you know tutorials here and there and sometimes you don't even find the right tutorial I mean you just have to you know keep searching and keep searching me you want to see that one so yeah I think that's pretty you eat thank you how important to you was the way I guess Blender was a major part of that opening up that opportunity for you to be able to work and learn more about 3d and cg the thing about Blender is it's like a mixture of several 3d packages in one there's modeling there's sculpting there's texturing there's animation there's video editing there's compositing and in my opinion those are like the seven I don't know there's more there's definitely more but mostly those are what you use and Blender is free and it has all of that so it's perfect for getting up and then eventually after say you learn sculpting in Blender you can go into brush and starts like rudimentary like figuring out the UI but you already know all this from coming from Blender so when you go into more powerful tools that are made specifically for say sculpting or simulations you have like a premiere preliminary understanding of it so from the texturing aspect of Blender you can go into substance painter from the simulation of aspect of Blender you can go into say marvelous designer or you say Houdini is a bit different but something like that from the node setup of materials in Blender you can go into like the node setup of substance designer and different things like that we've spoken about it before but what did CJ how did you one first learn about CG Africa and who they were and what does it bring to you what does it mean to you and that's both to both of you I found CG Africa because I was looking for a platform that's I’m basically looking for different platforms to promote my art and I found this particular one that was like oh this is targeted that's like Africa ns for Africa ns and yeah this is like perfect because the first piece I did dami she was Africa n and whatnot and I wanted okay this is perfect what for what I wanted that was perfect and also I was able to like find different artists like I didn't know that amount of art artists in Africa or Nigeria existed until I saw like the works from different artists on CG Africa so I feel like it's really focused and like Femi said it's sharing in-house and it's in the stages before it starts globalizing I mean I guess it's also offering that community and being able to talk about and share your share your artwork and share different techniques bringing that together I don't know if you've got a view on that and a violin okay I think in the earlier years of my you know 3d you know career I of course I was you know looking for something as well you know to actually you know put today but so I think I found them on Instagram but of course when I when I went there I actually saw a lot of arts and I was like is this really you know made by Africa n artists because of course when I actually see any arts online I’d be like oh this is actually you know so complicated I mean how do they make this stuff like that so now when I notice some of these things are actually made by Africa actually reached out to one of them here it was the timing I think 2018 the posted one guy's work I was like okay I reached out to the girls like oh it's like it's Africa and I was like oh so this actually from Africa ns so I mean that kind of gave me like a little bit of you know confidence that okay I think you can do this so yeah and you know ever then ever and since then you know I’ve been in city Africa as well so yeah thank you very much Adewale that was and it's great it's great to hear from people who are actually making use of the platform and what it means to them we now are 15 minutes out to the end of the session so we are going to ask a few questions so the first one as we've just left you Sylvester and Adewale if anyone wants to connect with you or have a look at your Instagram are you how can how can they reach you so I’ll put my art station and Instagram links in the chat can everyone see that and Adewale do you have anywhere where people can contact you, so I’ll put that in the what's it called in the chat session thank you thank you very much so this one may be to Mark and to Femi because it is related to both GridMarkets, and cd Africa are CG Africa and GridMarkets collaborating in any way any ways other than beyond this webinar uh I think I can answer that yeah and that's a good question the I think already this webinar itself lent itself as a testimony to the collaboration that we are doing with the GridMarkets and I you know I’m grateful for Mark from for organizing this it's we are still at the inception of talking to all of these studios so if you are asking for specifics from what to expect from CG Africa and GridMarkets in the future there's nothing I can give you now but definitely I’m sure we can work together so please follow the platform CG Africa .com and register is free I like that and there's one more question does CG Africa help to find work for Africa n artists now I know we spoke a little bit about we spoke about the artists sorry studios now hiring globally I mean I suppose we didn't kind of we didn't speak directly about how CG Africa do you have like a job board is there part do you share those kind of opportunities directly with how does that work so the job board we're working on a job board at the moment so that is more transparent and then artists can who are interested can actually indicate their availability we are working on that at the moment we've had a number of instances very few where studios have asked that all right give us your best artists and then let us see what they can do and because what we find out is that because studios establish studios they are not comfortable yet because there has not been so much of a track record of them working with artists from Africa so a little bit reticent so the number of recruiters that we have spoken to they are happy to interview our the our the artists on the platform and we are yeah within the next few weeks or few months I’m sure we will have a positive responses from them wait thanks Femi and thank you Sylvester and Adewale for being absolutely amazing guests and sharing with us your artwork your journeys and just general brilliance it's really been a pleasure talking to you and just learning and about each of you it's really great thank you too Charlie it's been nice perfect so now we're going to go on to ah there it is back again the promo code for GridMarkets and so go on GridMarkets.com forward slash sign up it's a good memory from the beginning of this webinar and put in the promo code 2022 Jan 18 webinar and you will get 15 now next week not next week for the next webinar which is taking place in the second of march we have berlin-based library studios who are a fascinating collaboration among innovative filmmakers and musicians their comfort zone includes film streaming animation sound and music productions so we are really looking forward to having them and it's just another example of why community and why people working together in collaborations are so strong and they offer opportunities so can't wait to see then thank you again Femi Sylvester Ben you were brilliant at Mark thank you for making this happen and bring it all together we'll see you on the 2nd of march thank you Bye thanks Charlie thank you everyone thank you bye-bye thank you.