3D artist, coder and entrepreneur Thorsten Hartmann has taken the time to speak to Mymentalray about his latest work with Photo Studio, germanmentalray.de and Infinity Vision!
MYMR: Thorsten first of all thanks for taking the time to talk with us, perhaps you can tell us how you got started with the 3D and photo realistic rendering?
Thorsten: I studied computer science when I got my first contact with 3D Studio 1.0. I used Povray as my first renderer and I was so fascinated that I aborted my studies and went on as a 3D Freelancer.
MYMR: Please tell us a little bit about how germanmentalray.de got started and what it has grown into.
Thorsten: Christoph Martin (Seeda), Jonathan Baecker (jb_alvarado) and I started the gmrf (German Mental Ray forum), because there was less to none information about Mental Ray in the German language. After we started the forum, there was a huge response from the German Mental Ray community, so we now have a platform where knowledge can be easily shared and is accessible for everyone.
MYMR: What are your hopes for germanmentalray.de?.
Thorsten: I think I can speak in the name of the other two founders, that we want to be a contact point for Mental Ray users. We also want to cover the new Mental Images products, like the reality server. We hope that we will also have a English layout soon to cover the international feedback.
MYMR: Please tell us about Infinity Vision and your work with Photo Studio?
Thorsten: Infinity Vision is the name of my company and the name of my homepage. Photo Studio is a script, which is grown out of my daily work in the industrial and architectural visualization field.
MYMR: How does Photo Studio work and how can it help artists?
Thorsten: Photo Studio Pro (PS Pro) is a tool for photographic exposure control of computer generated scenes. It is based on Mental Ray shaders, which are combined in a phenomenon. The name of the phenomenon is photostudio.mi und works with Maya, 3ds Max and XSI both 32-Bit and 64-Bit. Since 3ds Max 2008 a GUI in combination with a complete data management was integrated. These GUI is used to control 3ds Max and to manage different exposure settings. PS Pro is able to do exposure in real time or simulates the Av/Tv mode of a mirror reflex camera.
MYMR: How difficult is it to learn Photo Studio?
Thorsten: Photo Studio is very intuitive because it sets all physical functions in 3ds Max, even if you are not that confortable with all that physical stuff. The second thing is the GUI which provides the user with the same settings, as if you are working with a real camera.
MYMR: How long did it take to develop Photo Studio?.
Thorsten: The development of Photo Studio took about 8 months and I am constantly working on it.
MYMR: It sounds like you have quite a bit going on between germanmentalray.de and Infinity Vision, are there any other projects your working on professional or personal?
Thorsten: Together with an Autodesk reseller in Berlin, I do a Mental Ray workshop every year. For the workshop we developed over 400 pages of training material. I really looking forward to that, because I really enjoy giving my Mental Ray knowledge to other people.
MYMR: What compels you more coding or creating art?
Thorsten: The idea of a project is the first thing for me. After that I think about a way to get to a result. My goal is to create photorealistic pictures and for that I had to learn very different things, which enables me to freely play with my creativity. With my programming skills I am able to create tools, which supports my ideas and both things are a part of my work .
MYMR: When you aren't in front of your computer what are some of your favorite things to do?
Thorsten: I love to ride my BMX and mountain bikes and always try to get some spare time.
MYMR: Thorsten thank you for your time. Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
Thorsten: You can see my actual work on www.infinity-vision.de and on http://forum.german-mentalray-wiki.info. Besides of that I often visit other forums like mymentalray.com and like to be a part of the discussions.