Meet the Visual Effects Artist: Josh Triplett
Josh Triplett creates aircraft from thin air. As a 3-D visual effects artist, Triplett uses his talents as an illustrator and skills with advanced software to produce photorealistic renderings for use in Gulfstream’s marketing materials. His recent work includes images of the all-new Gulfstream G500 and G600.
What sparked your interest in visual effects?
I grew up watching Disney’s animated movies, films like Robin Hood and Sword in the Stone, which made me want to pursue art in general. Then Pixar came along and revolutionized the industry with 3-D computer animation. Combine that with my love for video games and interest in computers, and I decided to see what would happen if I went the 3-D route.
How did you develop your artistic side?
My brother is 15 years older and went to school for art. I was always drawing him pictures, trying to impress him. I thought of art more as a hobby until I realized people could make a living doing it.
Visual effects are as much science as art. How do you use the left side of your brain in your job?
I’m definitely more on the visual side of things. The computers and the software are doing all the math behind the scenes and making the artistic image you have in your head or on paper look more realistic. The better your artistic eye becomes at recognizing what the real world looks like, the more accurate your renderings.
What are the basics of rendering an image of an aircraft?
You do a good amount of prep work in creating the object. We start with CAD, or computer-aided design, data that we get from the engineers who designed the aircraft, which is great because that means what we render is technically as accurate as a finished model. I then figure out the textures, how reflections are going to look, the lighting and the shadows. The object I am rendering starts as a simple box or a cylinder. The program does the math and renders the image. Then it’s up to me to correct the things that don’t match what the human eye expects to see.
Technology is evolving rapidly. What is the future of the visual effects field?
There are things we have been dreaming of happening for the past 25 years that are just now becoming possible, like virtual reality and augmented reality. The software is getting easier to use and less expensive to obtain. Just like YouTube turned everybody into a filmmaker, better access to visual effects software and hardware is opening doors to the masses. It won’t be long and we will have holograms and other innovations that give us the ability to interact with others half a world away.
Is it safe to say there is virtually nothing you can’t do?
You have rendered me speechless.
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