This week the render guy meets Paris based artist Philippe Froesch.
The Render guy: Dear Philippe, Thank you so much for finding the time to answer my questions, let us get straight into it. Please tell us a bit more about yourself.
Philippe Froesch: Hi I am Philippe, I am 50 years old, French, digital sculptor specialized in facial reconstructions, director of Visualforensic which is a company I created 7 years ago when I was living in Barcelona. I am working in Paris now, collaborating with a forensic research team from the University Versailles UFR.
TRG: I have come across your work and it is fantastic, absolutely stunning! Still I struggle understanding what you do precisely, can you tell us a bit more about your job, what do you do in the specific?
PF: My job consist in giving back faces to skulls, something formally known as Forensic Facial Approximation/Reconstruction. Scientist teams give me skulls data and I use forensic techniques combined with art techniques to recreate the most probable face of dead people. I work almost only for museums or tv producers.
TRG: What is it that pushed you to take your current path? What was your formal training?
PF: Life pushed me, I have a bachelor degrees in Art and I’m in the 3D world since the end of the 80’s, and after a tremendous burn out where I decided “never again to do 3D” ( xD) I met with a friend that i didn’t see since years and she told me “why don’t we try something with a skull I have?” . She was and still is an anthropologist from Barcelona’s Autonomous University. That’s how it all begun over 10 years ago. Between those two moments I was teaching character design in a school from the suburbs of Barcelona.
TRG: What is the most interesting part of your job?
PF: The scientific part is like an investigation, you need to calculate the nose shape with equations and look for details on the skull to understand the muscles location, or look at the bite/teeth to understand how the lips would have looked, etc. This part requires one to be meticulous. The artistic part has to do with the non-objective elements like the expression, hair shape, lightning, focus etc. I find this combination of art and science really cool.
TRG: Obviously you are a VRAYforC4D user, why did you make that choice?
PF: years ago I was looking for a render that could produce realistic SSS/skin and that could fit in C4D. VrayforC4D choice was logical. I love the quality of the skin rendering, and it is for me quite instinctive now. in the beginning I had good headaches to understand how I could simulate what I was looking for. Now years later all seems so easy with VRAYforC4D. It’s my best decision to date. Another important element is that it can render the hairs from Cinema4D, and when you begin to understand the Hair module you can do very interesting things.
TRG: Which other tools do you use in your daily pipeline and how?
PF: Osirix, which is a Dicom viewer, for importing the tomography/scanners data bases, and Zbrush for sculpting/texturing.
TRG: I am sure many will find this article very inspiring, any suggestions you can give to those who are thinking to take the same road as you?
PF: Simple things: study art, anatomy, photography,anthropology, forensic techniques, meet scientists, work (even for free) on simple cases to have the opportunity to create a book of your 3D works, and look at faces, every day (don’t be creepy about it though), try to understand how to draw them, sculpt them. Faces must become almost an obsession, and after that, you will realize that faces are very complicated things to simulate in 3D. Complicated in stills. And if you talk about animated faces the difficulty grows exponentially, because very small details will make your creation look natural or totally weird.
TRG: Looking at yourself as an artist, if you could go back in time, is there something that you would change or do better to improve yourself?
PF: Do more anatomy studies…. I hated that in school, I didn’t want to draw heads or faces. Then what do you know…life has a weird sense of humor.
TRG: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, Where can people find you to see more of your work?
PF: Thank you for giving me this chance render guy You can find me on the web at www.visualforensic.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/VISUALFORENSIC