ISD Rubika 2020
ISD Rubika 2020

ISD Rubika 2020 Degree Show – The Visualization Masters

Google, Toyota, Louis Vuitton and Tata Motors walk into a digital room.  Welcome to the ISD degree juries.  Every year the Institut Supérieur de Design in Valenciennes, France, holds its year-end degree show.  It is arguably the best place for OEMs to recruit digital artists and 3D modelers.  The main school is in the north of France with a sister school in India.  Each student must present their work to industry professionals and in English.  This presentation counts for 30% of their final grade.  The added difficulty this year is a completely remote jury.  The real world awaits.  Well, students?  It has been five years and it all comes down to this.  Did you earn your digital design manager degree or not?  It was time to find out.

The Standard 

The majority of graduating students can, at a minimum, model in Alias and present in VRED.  Those are the bread and butter tools of the automotive design industry.  It was a very nice surprise to see the work of Vishal Kurdia, showcasing his internship work at Tata Motors in Pune.  Many students live and breathe cars so for them, the dream job is with an OEM.  Vishal has shown no less than seven cars in his presentation, all very well executed.  To the shock of our jury, he only showed the McLaren, modeled in Alias and animated in Unreal, at the very last minute!  Here is a free tip.  If there is a new skill you have mastered, a skill that will be in demand, and something that can set you apart from the competition, you might want to mention that… 

Vishal Kurdia Portfolio

The All Rounder 

The amazing thing about ISD students is the range of software they use.  Some students are polyglots in multiple techniques and multiple software.  It is not just Alias and VRED for cars and motorcycles.  It is the use of Hollywood grade software to get short movies done (Maya, Blender).  It is the fine work of texturing and lighting.  It is the use of different rendering engines such as Cycles, VRAY or Arnold.  Students touch just about every program and use them rather well, such as Jean Alexandre Cassoret

Jean Alexandre Cassoret Portfolio

The Future 

One of the most unique profiles was Régis Barros.  He used a software called Marvelous to design clothing.  He taught himself sewing and, with the help of a seamstress, he made one of his prototypes in real life.  He is really good with coding and he has incorporated that knowledge in his work.  During his internship at Kiska, he wrote a piece of code that automatically creates welds on surfaces for added photo-realism.  He’s not bad at rendering in Blender either…  Substance, VRED, Blender, Unreal, they all use scripting allowing the user to make customized tools, using Python or C++.  Régis has used that knowledge to his advantage.  He is a freelancer for texture creation and is a pioneer in what’s called MDL shaders.  Created by NVIDIA, it is a purely mathematical way of creating materials.  And because it’s pure math, the shader behaves exactly the same from program to program. 

Régis Barros Portfolio 

The Game Changers 

In 2018, I met Valentin Bécart in Valenciennes right after the juries.  He was already a very enthusiastic student of Unreal Engine.  We had a very nice and pretty intense conversation about CG in general.  In June 2019, I gave a talk at the Blender London Conference.  I invited him and Odilon Loiez to come and see it.  Odilon is a Blender master.  Both of them spoke to me about what they were trying to achieve, an entire workflow integrating Alias, Unreal and Blender.  They were both fans of the Genesis Essentia concept so they used it as a case study.  They wrote scripts themselves (unwrapping, importing, converting etc…)  to automate as many tasks as possible.  At my encouragement, they presented their work in Amsterdam at the annual Blender Conference in October 2019.  Odilon’s talk is on YouTube right here.  Both of them were California bound for a final internship.  With COVID canceling their plans, they ended up doing the Geneva launch movie for the Koenigsegg Gemera as freelancers.  They used all of their workflows and learnings on the Essentia to do the movie.  Both were hired as interns by Koenigsegg.   

Valentin Bécart Portfolio
Odilon Loiez Portfolio

Year after year, the work produced by students at ISD is excellent.  A lot of Indian students are now coming over to finish their studies in France and their level is as good if not better than their French counterparts.  Odilon was hired at Koenigsegg and Valentin has multiple clients who want to capitalize on his Unreal (and unreal) skills.  We’ll have a longer chat with both of them in the future.  

The ISD is a nice incubator for new ideas.  It was Blender a few years ago.  Valentin has shown that Unreal is happening now.  Who knows what will happen next?  Future graduates will have different skills than even five years ago.  

Régis and Odilon are among the first in a new wave of digital designers.  They not only have artistic sensitivity and deep knowledge of the software: they are also coders.  This might become a serious differentiator in years to come.  Once A.I. makes its way into the student population, it will be a very interesting show.


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