Starostwo Tji [Hello]
My name is Alexander Richter and Welcome to TD Monday.
Every Monday we discuss topics of VFX, Animation and Games.
So today's topic is "Who and what exactly is a Technical Director?"
Since this series is called TD Monday.
I thought it's time to talk about what exactly is a Technical Director.
I'm currently in Vienna Austria
and I thought it's a great background to talk about this topic.
and if you don't know who I am
and like why would you I mean
it's not like I have like 1 million subscribers on YouTube
[Let me check]
No I don't! [he said in a windy voice]
My name is Alexander Richter
I'm a diploma Technical Director from the Filmakademie
I have like 5 years of experience of being a Technical Director
I worked at VFX companies like Framestore or Mackevision
or animation companies like Studio Soi and Animationsfabrik
I worked on 2 feature films [The 7th dwarf & Jim Button]
and dozens of other projects.
Trailer for the ITFS. [Animan, Drool Pool, Planeta De Queso, Los Mariachis]
I have an open source pipeline, which is called Plex.
So check this out [on GitHub]
and wrote like dozens of articles in the Digital Production and in forums online
On this video we will mainly focus on
What is a Technical Director in VFX, Animation and Games
since this is my area of expertise
there are like dozens of other job areas where you find Technical Director
But in this definition we'll focus on just this area
So my definition of a Technical Director is:
"A Technical Director makes things easier
and he makes things possible."
So let me explain.
With "making things easier"
I mean mainly the parts of pipelining and workflow
A lot of times people think of pipeline and workflow
if they think of a Technical Director
and in a way, it's true
It's about guiding the project in a way of technical and organization thinking
Where you suggest which software is used
which naming is used
where everything is
where are your files
how they're named and so on
how the structure of the project itself is
and the files are in a good way for teamwork
and especially it helps you to preserve time
and you can focus more on the creative part of the job
instead always like thinking about where to put the file
how to name it
how to save it and so on and so forth
Technical Director normally define this kind of stuff
They define a lot of workflows
but they also write you scripts, plugins and makros
to automate your process
like automate your saving, loading
and all the things you will encounter while you work on
modeling, lighting, rendering and so on
it's like a help
to have you for be more focused on creative work
instead of all the organization and workflow stuff
2. part of my definition is
"making things possible"
and I mean with that
Software Development and Research
so one of the things I did for example was
implementing a research paper
Which is called
[Skin Microstructure Deformation with Displacement Map Convolution]
and in this paper
it was about having in close up a more realistic skin in terms of wrinkles
so you find all the microstructure wrinkles there
and I implemented this paper to create displacement map textures for every frame
to have this fine details added to the character
and to make him more believable
and this research is a part of what you can do as a Technical Director
Even if they're things existing
like for example, you want to create a fire solver
since there is not enough creative possibilities [in the existing]
because it's grounded in reality [shame on you]
but your artist or your director wants to have a little bit more toonish way
or a more creative way of how the fire is happening
or there are this kind of tools and plugins
but they're not suitable for your project
because they take too long to compile
they take too long to render
and you want to create your own plugin
and your own fire solver which is made exactly for this project or shot.
To make it even possible to make the shot
in a way in the director thinks it should be
or in a way of the time [constriction].
The "director" part talks about the responsibilities
for a specific group of mostly artists or producer
So a lot of times there's a TD involved with a bunch of artists
a lighting TD with like 10 artists working on the project
A modeling TD with the modeling artist and so on and so forth
and he's there to maintain the technical fluency of the project
So every time a lighting artist has a problem with the lighting setup
like it takes too long to render
The scene takes too long to open
it breaks and so on.
It's not renderable in any way
he will give it to technical director
and the technical director will find solutions
for example to make this light setup smaller
but still consistent with the shot
or he finds a ways to open this file again ...
He is responsible for a specific group
and that's where the directing part comes in
The technical part is to have this technical solving mind
it's like having a mathematical thinking
where you work in this puzzle solving way
As I said: If you have problems with opening a file
if you have problems to maintain the artistic integrity of what you want to do
A Technical Director should think of a technical solution
find/create small scripts
and integrate them into this solution to make the artist work happening
in a way that they can focus on their artistic mind
and not too much on the technical challenges they encounter.
A very controverse believe is this last point.
"If you're the laziest person in the room,
you're probably a Technical Director."
Even people surrounding me or who are Technical Directors are like:
"What's up, man?
That's it's not true!"
and in a way it is
I mean every technical person, every programmer is in a way or another very lazy.
in 2018 no one applauds you for hard-working
everyone applauds you for being smart
So "Don't work hard"
"Do work smart"
If you are in a technical mind setup
if you are a little bit more into this logical thinking
you get very bored by this repetition.
So if something is repeatable
it means it has a formula
So it's automatable by a script, by plugins or by macros
On th other side
it's not very challenging for your mind
Repetition means you already figure out the Rubik's Cube
and everything after that is just practice a little bit
but it's not very puzzle solving
which for me is one of the the greatest thing of being a TD
Everything is a puzzle
from why the scene is not opening
how to make stuff render faster
how to maintain a project
and stay consistent to the artistic mind
have a consistent story.
Everything is a puzzle.
Like everyone solves puzzles in its daily life
and as a technical director it's your daily life
if you like to solve puzzles and if you don't like to have repetition
There's partially either the technical artist or technical director in you
because you want to focus on stuff
that makes makes fun for you
and you don't care about clicking around
making things again and again and again per project, per shot and
You want to focus on the stuff that makes the end result happening
and I think that's the main drive for a technical director
especially if you work on pipeline or workflows.
You really look into things which makes the life of everyone easier.
In a way it's a very personal view on what a technical director exactly does
because it just reflects my experience
as being part of the Technical Director Diploma at the Filmakademie
and my 5 years of work experience in companies.
So even there I noticed that there's like a difference between VFX and animation
but it's very important to know what the responsibilities probably will be
if you go this direction
and what to expect and to learn if you want to go to road
maybe you want to drift away from being an artist
and start to be more technical
director sense or technical artist
Let me know in the comments below of your definition of a technical director
And I'll see YOU in the next video!
[clap of death]
[finally a real TD ... wait]
[ask me more in the comments]
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