The third interview taken at the AcademyDay#8 was with David Wortley, (ex) technical director at Taylor James.
David, who did an animation degree at University of Portsmouth in the UK, started working at Taylor James as a junior artist where he learnt as much as possible and understood what to do and what not to do. He explains that one of his goals is to find optimal solutions to problems.
Taylor James is a company that mainly creates product visualizations (of automotive in particular). Sometimes they have to deal with up to 6000 render elements/passes at a time, which can be difficult. So they developed a tool called Hydrogen, which can manage all the manual and repetitive work leaving more time to the artist to be creative. As David highlights, AI isn’t much used in the industry yet but there’s still space for improvements which can be done thanks to the neural networks.
An interesting use of AI at Taylor James has been made in relation to the search for references: the company has a stock library with 5 million photos so they had to use a neural system to categorize them.
David finishes his interview by telling us that Taylor James was born as a small team of people who made photoretouching. Then, with the advent of CG, they built a new department and made a big change from still images to CG and animation. Over the years the company opened some other offices in the world and now they can count on offices in New York, Berlin and LA in addition to the original office in London.
The interview was registered in October 2017. Currently David Wortley is senior technical director at Industrial Light & Magic.