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Tue, Jul 12 2011 2:21:46 UTC

Interview with Geekatplay Studio

Today we have the opportunity to hear from Vladimir and Ami Chopine, the people behind Geekatplay, a website providing an endless amount of video tutorials and training for various 3D software programs.

Could you describe yourself and Geekatplay?

We are the Geeks who enjoy what we are doing so much it is the same as playing. Fun, excitement, and always learning something new.

How did Geekatplay start, how did you get the idea?

My original idea was to create a portal where we can share some geeky projects with people of the same interest. About the same time I started working with the Vue application and found that there were almost no training materials available online.

Was it always your aim to provide tutorials for 3D graphics programs?

A handful of great tutorials was not enough for such a rapidly growing community. Geekatplay was a perfect place to start sharing our knowledge with other creators.

Knowledge should be free, in that case it benefits everyone. When we started to share our knowledge, other people stepped forward and help us with sharing their knowledge. Other tutorial developers are always welcome.

We understand that sometimes it's hard to find resources to learn something new, so we offer free tutorials. We also have a pay version of those tutorials that you can download. Most of the time they are not different from what you see online, except you get a sneak peek at the later ones in the series. By purchasing them, people are helping us to upkeep our servers and keep on creating new tutorials.

Around how many tutorials have you created so far?

I've never counted them. Most of them are on the Geekatplay site. Some were done exclusively for magazines, books, online portals, personalized studio training programs, etc... A hundred... five hundred, maybe even more.

How much time does it take to create a tutorial, and what takes the most time, coming up with the concept or making the video?

Many people send us questions. That definitely helps us to create new tutorials. Sometimes a theme may come up from observing nature. For example on my way from work I saw how the leaves change colors on trees at fall, from the top of the tree to the bottom. Later I explored how I can reproduce that in Vue, and then shared my discovery in a tutorial. As time goes, it depends on inspiration and theme. Most of the time I record one tutorial at least three or four times.

You make tutorials for many different software programs, do you have a favorite?

We do have many software and different OS platforms, my favorite: Vue, Filter Forge, Photoshop, Hexagon, now I am working a lot with City engine, Daz studio, Maya. I guess that's saying I don't really have a favorite. Whatever I'm working on at the moment.

What kind of user feedback do you get for your tutorials, and how much does that factor into your work?

Feedback is very important and we receive it in many ways. We get lots of positive feedback from viewers, and this is most important to us. Not that we are getting pats on the back, but that what we're trying to do is working for our customers. We've also gotten feedback about difficulties, and we try to fix that. We always welcome any suggestions on how we can improve our site and tutorials.

We also look at statistics at our website. It was pleasant to find out that our work is helping many studios in making their movies, games, and other kinds of art.

Are the physical media you provide such as the DVD as popular as the online videos?

We used to offer physical DVD's, and it used to be a majority of our sales. But with improving internet speed and accessibility all over the world now most users purchase the downloadable versions. It's faster than snail mail, especially when sending across the world. Last year we decided not to offer any more physical DVDs for sale. However if any user have problems downloading or prefer another other way to receive the tutorials, we will provide them on DVD, on an individual basis.

Is it a profitable business for you, or is this more of a hobby?

A primary goal is to provide very affordable (free if possible) tutorials and other support materials for creators. We have great support from all users, that helps us upkeep servers and work on more new tutorials. But I do have full time job and Ami is also working as a writer and editor. Ami just had a new book published called 3D Art Essentials. We do some consulting for studios and companies as well.

Anything new you're working on that you can talk about?

Currently I am working on finishing tutorials about City Engine and very detailed training about Daz Studio. Also we are working on a set of high detailed models. Some of them have already been used in films and games. You can find them at our web site, Daz3d, or Cornucopia. We are happy to inform you that tutorials covering the full work cycle of creating these models, from concept to fully textured and animated render should be coming out in a few months.

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