Novedge: Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do
JJ Palomo: My name is Juan José Palomo, I’m the CEO of a visual effects studio in Barcelona. We mostly work for advertising producers, agencies and clients, and we also do some art supervising for the film industry. My role at the studio has to do with the look and feel of each project, and with supervising all stages of the process. Lighting, render and compo are also aspects I very often take care of.
Novedge: Collaborations are powerful, but can also be difficult. How did the BLR team come together? What makes your collaboration successful?
JJ Palomo: With the financial situation we all know, most of the studios hire people for certain projects, once the projects are confirmed. When I started BLR, I wanted to create a team made up of members that knew each other well, so that we could have close collaboration along with assigning different tasks to each of them. We try to be honest when making any final decision: criticism is good when it’s in good faith and all work must look perfect to the client. Our team also gets bigger or smaller depending on the project, but we try to hire the same people again if we’re happy with them.
Novedge: Who are some of the artists who have used such technology that have inspired you, or that inspire you at the moment)?
JJ Palomo: I love films, so whenever I need to gather info for a certain project I normally turn to movies and all of their elements. I rarely find inspiration in any other render artist or work. We also like to have a look at real photographs that help inspire us.
Novedge: How do you collaborate with clients during the design process?
JJ Palomo: Particularly in advertising, there’s a long path you must walk before getting to the client: producers, agencies, creative teams, etc. Basically, you don’t have access to the client, so you have to trust the producion company you’re working with, which at the same time must trust the agency that works with the customer that requested the whole thing. We feel that a great part of our message gets lost along the way. But it’s just the way it is, it is commonly accepted.
It is different when working for the film industry. You normally have the chance of talking to the director more than once, then you think of him or her as a client, and try to figure out what their needs are. There’s also usually more time and no crazy deadlines.
Novedge: What is a recent project that you worked on?
JJ Palomo: One of our last projects was Keloid, and it is probably the best thing we’ve ever made. Keloid started as a short visual story to illustrate a long written story we developed almost three years ago. The first version of this short trailer was released a couple of years ago. It was a one minute video and the reception was so good that we decided to expand on it and to put many of the story elements into it, like a spec trailer. We took advantage of the shortage of commercial paid jobs last year and decided to work for ourselves.
There’s a full treatment of the story, along with the intriguing aspects of a social experiment and, of course, all the visual material. It is something we had never done before.
We would love to see the feature film done and I think that things are going in the right direction.
Novedge: What software do you use?
JJ Palomo: Mostly 3ds Max, and V-Ray for the renders. Sometimes we use Maya for animation and rig, but Max is what we best like to use. Then we use Nuke for the compo, an old Nuke version in fact.
Novedge: What are some useful tips you have learned from working with agencies?
JJ Palomo: Work hard until the work is worthy. If the work isn’t good, it is just not good. Clients might not be CG experts, but they are not fools either. Whatever gets out of your kitchen, make sure everything is in place and you like it. It’s the only way you’ll be able to defend it if things don't go well.
Novedge: What is the best advice you have ever received?
JJ Palomo: Don’t ever mix work and friendship together, it won’t work out.