Meet the PANEURAMA Team: DIGIC Pictures

We asked our team from the PANEURAMA project to briefly introduce themselves, share the areas they are working on, and respond to some questions addressing current challenges and opportunities in the industry.

We hope you will enjoy reading their insights. The interviewee is Zoltan Batho from DIGIC Pictures.

Zoltan Batho G

Producer
@DIGIC Pictures

Q: Can you provide a brief overview of yourself, the industry you work in, and your professional experience?

I am an award-winning and PRINCE2 certified XR / Virtual Production / VFX Producer with over 15 years of digital experience in various industries and markets. My passion is to create immersive and engaging experiences that leverage the power of real-time technologies, such as Unreal Engine, VR, and AR.

Currently, I work with Digic, a globally recognised 3D animation studio, to produce stunning game cinematics, motion capture animation, and 3D animated shorts. I also founded Virtualproduction.services, a news aggregate website that showcases the latest trends and innovations in the Virtual Production industry.

 

Q: In recent years, what do you consider the most significant changes within your industry? How does it affect you or your company? Could you give some examples?

The CG animation industry is going through a huge change: the traditional pre-rendered workflows are getting replaced by the so-called real-time ones. This is not just an update, the new workflow and processes require a completely new way of thinking and also new skills from the creators which can be difficult to digest for many. In addition, both the animation and the movie industries are converging towards the gaming industry therefore recruitment of the right staff is actually getting more and more difficult.

Having said that, the industry convergence also helps new projects and new ideas to come to life providing more and more opportunities for artists and animation companies (immersive museums, interactive exhibitions, etc.)

 

Q:What, in your opinion, are the primary challenges currently faced by the industry?

One of the most prominent challenges is keeping pace with the rapid advancements in technology, such as real-time rendering and AI-driven animation tools, which require constant upskilling. Another challenge is meeting the increasingly high expectations for visual quality and storytelling innovation from audiences and clients.

Finding and retaining talented artists in a highly competitive market is also a crucial issue, as is balancing the demands for high-quality work with often tight budgets and schedules. Additionally, the industry must adapt to new media formats, including streaming platforms and interactive media like VR/AR, which necessitate new storytelling techniques and technical approaches.

 

Q: Could you please identify the most significant opportunities within the industry?

The advent of emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, and real-time rendering offers the potential to create more immersive and interactive experiences. The globalization of the industry allows for unprecedented levels of collaboration across borders, opening up new creative possibilities and audience reach.

Expansion into new platforms like VR/AR and tapping into diverse global audiences present new storytelling avenues and market opportunities. Additionally, the industry’s growing collaboration with educational institutions offers a fertile ground for nurturing the next generation of talent.

 

Q: What do you think are the most important hard skills in your industry?

Proficiency in industry-standard software such as Maya, ZBrush, Houdini, or Unreal Engine is essential for creating high-quality animations and visual effects. A strong foundation in traditional art skills, including drawing, sculpting, and an understanding of color theory, is crucial for developing compelling and visually appealing work. An in-depth understanding of animation principles, character rigging, and motion capture technology is also vital. Additionally, expertise in creating realistic visual effects, especially in simulating natural phenomena like water, fire, and smoke, is highly valued.

 

Q: What recommendations would you offer to educational institutions to foster closer collaboration with the industry? Could you share some examples?

Educational institutions aiming to foster closer collaboration with the CG animation industry should focus on aligning their curriculum with current industry standards and technological advancements. They should establish partnerships with industry professionals to facilitate internships, mentorships, and guest lectures, providing students with real-world insights and networking opportunities.

Emphasizing practical, project-based learning that simulates real-world scenarios is also crucial. Moreover, institutions should encourage the development of soft skills like teamwork, communication, and problem-solving through collaborative projects and interdisciplinary learning.

 

Q: As an industry representative, what do you think companies should focus more on to prepare young artists for their careers better?

Companies in the CG animation industry should focus on providing young artists with opportunities to work on real or simulated industry projects, giving them a taste of the practical challenges and workflows they will encounter. Implementing mentorship programs where seasoned professionals can guide and provide feedback to newcomers is also beneficial.

Encouraging a culture of continuous learning and adaptation to new tools and techniques is crucial in an industry that evolves rapidly. Additionally, teaching young artists to receive and learn from constructive criticism is important for their professional growth and skill development.

 

Q: What do you think are the most important soft skills in the industry, and could you give some advice on how to develop them?

Communication and collaboration are paramount soft skills in the CG animation industry, essential for the successful completion of complex projects that require teamwork. Adaptability and flexibility are also critical, as projects can often change direction, and being open to new ideas is vital.

Problem-solving skills are indispensable for overcoming the technical and creative challenges frequently arising in animation work. Time management is another key skill, especially in an industry where meeting deadlines is crucial.

Developing these skills can be achieved through active participation in team projects, seeking feedback, and engaging in continuous learning and personal development.

 

Q: Could you provide suggestions or recommendations for students and graduates aiming to succeed in the current market?

Students and graduates aiming to succeed in the current CG animation market should focus on building a strong and diverse portfolio that showcases their range of skills and styles.

Networking is crucial; they should actively engage in industry events, join online communities, and connect with professionals.

Staying informed about industry trends and being willing to continuously learn and adapt their skills is essential in a rapidly evolving field.

While specializing in a particular area can be beneficial, maintaining versatility in their skill set will make them adaptable to various roles and projects in the industry.

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