Some weeks ago I was just wondering around the internet looking at artists’ work and one image just catch my attention. It looked great as a thumbnail and it had something very familiar. When I got closer and entered the actual article in 3D total I realize how beautiful it was full size, and also I got a very nice surprise: Pio was the main character used in the image and that was why I found it so familiar. I get so happy and rewarded when I find users doing such an amazing work with these characters. The image was this:

The first thing that came to my mind was “wowzers! there’s a talented lighter here!”, so I decided to find out more about the artist behind it. I contacted Ryan in order to see if he would show me a bit more of his work, and also if he could tell me a bit about himself, and he was very kind to satisfy my curiosity. Here is what he said:

I get very inspired by paintings and movies and I always strive to make the audience that is viewing my work feel different emotions using color, light, and composition.

Sergio – B23: Hi Ryan, Can you please tell me a bit about about your self? When did you start in the CG industry?What made you start? What was your inspiration? Were you always involved in the render and Look Dev areas?
Ryan: Hello Sergio! My name is Ryan Hansford and I am a Look Development, Lighting, and Compositing Artist living in Saskatchewan, Canada. I’ve been working in this industry now for 8 years and am loving every minute of it! I took a 2 year 3D Animation course here in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and got hired soon after by my current employer DIG Animation. We mostly do stylized 3D Animated commercials and photo realistic architectural projects. When I originally got hired by my employer I started out as a environment modeller and texture artist and I was in that role for around 1 year. It was while I was working there as a very green modeller/texture artist where I started to see from the other artists working there, just how much value good shaders, lighting and compositing could add to the models I was working on. I soon came to the realization that Look Development, Lighting and Compositing is something I want to pursue, and make a career out of. I started researching, watching tutorials, and trying to eat up as much knowledge as I could about a lot of different areas…light theory, color theory, composition, different render engines, physically based rendering…the list goes on. After learning, researching and practicing non stop, I got promoted to my current Look Dev/Lighting/Compositing position and I have been doing that for 7 years now. I get very inspired by paintings and movies and I always strive to make the audience that is viewing my work feel different emotions using color, light, and composition.

…one of the many things I love about this industry is the constant learning and growing

B23: What is your main source of knowledge and training? Do you learn by yourself or you seek any kind of training with schools?
Ryan: I am always watching or reading tutorials, one of the many things I love about this industry is the constant learning and growing. I found that I grew a lot as an artist from on the job experience of having different problems that arise during production and figuring out the best and most time efficient ways to solve these problems. Lastly I learned a lot about lighting and lighting principles from the online school www.td-u.com I really cannot say enough great things about the school. I’d highly recommend to anyone curious about lighting or wanting to up their lighting and rendering quality to check the school out, the instructors are down to earth industry professionals that are passionate about what they do, and helping students up their lighting and rendering game!

B23: How important is it to you to make your own projects?
Ryan: I think it is very important for your growth as an artist to do personal work, it helps you unwind, get creative, and it is a great opportunity to try new techniques and softwares that you just don’t have time to do when you are working on projects with tight deadlines.

I am a big believer in training your eye and learning the theory behind the techniques you are using the software for.

B23: Do you have any preferred tools or software to use?
Ryan: I use Maya and have been for close to 10 years now, when I texture I use photoshop but I am looking into starting to use Mari or Substance Painter, for compositing I am using Eyeon Fusion and Adobe After Effects, I have also had the opportunity of using Nuke and loved it, I would like to learn that one a lot more.  Finally for Surfacing/Lighting/Rendering I have been going back and forth using V-Ray, Arnold, and Renderman.  I enjoy all 3 of those renderers fairly equally, and I feel each one excels at something different than the other; but at the end of the day this is all just software, it’s a tool and it is always changing.  I am a big believer in training your eye and learning the theory behind the techniques you are using the software for.

I love to collaborate with other passionate artists!

B23: Where do you see yourself in the future? What kind of dream would you like to accomplish?
Ryan: In the near future I would like to make a shift in my career from commercial work to feature film work, it’s always been a major goal of mine and it is what I have been trying to build myself towards, I feel like I would enjoy the high quality and the challenge that comes with doing feature film work. I also want to keep doing lots of personal work to continue growing and learning, and I love to collaborate with other passionate artists!

Thanks so much Ryan for his time and for sharing his work with us. I’ll love following him in the near future to see what he comes up with. In the meantime I am sharing his show reel with you guys. Hope you enjoy it!

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