Interview with Isaac Taracks
Published on 06/18/2018
What led you into the CGI/3D? Tell us your story.
I’m from a small town in Lansing, Michigan called Dimondale. I was homeschooled and I credit that to a lot of my creative exploration growing up. My Mom was always adamant that we had the arts involved as a part of our learning, so I think that is in part why I decided to pursue this as a career. While most of my friends were stuck in school for a set time each day, I was able to bend my schooling hours to explore things I was interested in like graphic design, painting, drawing, and music.
What got me started on the art I make now I think was my fascination of the visual effects in movies and the process behind it. That got me searching online for tutorials on how to do VFX and I came across a site called VideoCopilet.net that had tutorials which were made in a program called After Effects. After watching every tutorial on that site I was hooked and asked my parents for the Adobe Creative Suite for my 16th birthday and it has just grown from there.
I got serious about it more in my senior year of high school and applied to go to Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) with only a few animations in my portfolio that I had made using all the tutorials I had watched. I happened to get a few scholarships and I started the Digital Media program the fall of 2013.
The summer of 2014 I really got more into a 3D program I had heard a lot of people in the motion design industry using called Cinema 4D. I got my hands on a student license and learned from tutorials on GreyscaleGorilla.com which helped me as I was starting out immensely and four years later I’m still making things in that same program.
Where do you go to get inspired? What/Who inspires you?
A lot of the time it’s something in the real world around me that sparks something in my head about how I can emulate it or add an interesting twist to in 3d. Another great resource is social media and online in general. Simply just by following people online that continue to push the creative boundaries and don’t get content with what works.
There are a lot of people who inspire me and I look up to. To name some from our industry it would be people like Ash Thorp, Cornelius Dammrich, Raphael Rau, Filip Hodas, Josef Bsharah, Paul McMahon, Simon Holmedal, and Aaron Covrett who is also my good friend.
How does a typical working day look like?
I usually get into the office and check my email, chat with my team about what we have going on that day, then write out a task sheet for that day of everything I have to get done and how long I think each thing will take. Then I see if I have any meetings or deadlines that day, then I start working away on the most important task first. This helps me feel less stressed about the work that needs to be done once I have it all written out. Then all that’s left to do it start actually working.
What does your workplace look like?
How do you stay motivated in this tough industry?
I think that the burnout is real, but I think it isn’t that the burnout comes from working too much, but more from having your skill and learning plateau. When I notice I’m starting to feel burnt out, I can usually see that I haven’t been trying to grow or learn anything new and so the process becomes monotonas. Learning new things is the best way to stay motivated to keep making new things.
What is your passion beside CGI/3D?
Gaming is a guilty pleasure that I love to do when my computer is rendering and even sometimes when its not.
How do you keep your portfolio up to date? Any tips?
I’ve struggled with this recently and have just now started on a new personal project. It’s definitely harder being out of school to focus on keeping my portfolio up to date. The thing I see is a lot if people spending hours and hours on the artwork, but then only an hour or so on putting the project together.
Really take the time to explain your process behind your work for the projects that deserve it. Don’t just throw up some images with a bio about the project and call it good. I think Instagram is the best way to show what you’re most current work and skills are without having to over think how you share it.
What Software do you use to create your artwork?
Most of it is Cinema 4D and the Adobe Creative Suite, but more and more I find my toolbox growing. The list currently is Algorithmic Suite, TurbulenceFD, XParticles, Octane, Arnold, and Houdini is the most recent add on.
What Software do you want to learn in future? And why?
I would like learn Nuke in the future. I have come to love node based software and I see it as the next step up from the workflow I have in After Effects.
Which books would you recommend to the read?
Creative Inc is a great book. I think everyone in our industry should read it.
What music do you listen to while working?
Well for the past two week I’ve listened to only Rainbow Kitten Surprise and I’m still not sick of it. But normally its Alternative, Intermental, or Rap.
Any advice for new Artists?
Cold email everyone you look up to and ask as many questions as you can. Be genuine, passionate, and humble and you’ll learn a lot and possibly make some connections.
Just don’t make a template email because you WILL accidentally send an email with the wrong name to one of them and be very very embarrassed. Speaking from experience.