Interview with Philip Harris Genois

Philip Harris-Genois is a Modeler at Rodeo FX from Montreal, Canada with 5 years of industry experience.
He likes to work with Zbrush, Maya, Arnold, Keyshot and Houdini.

What led you into the CGI/3D? Tell us your story.

I always loved movies, video games and art in general, but never really associated them with work. When I saw Avatar in theatres back in 2009, I realised that this is what I wanted to do for a living; I did not know it was possible to get paid for doing something you enjoy. So in 2011, I joined a 3D school in montreal, NAD, and things went on from there. I had an internship at Framestore during school and got my first job at ObliqueFX after I graduated. I went back to Framestore for a while and I am now at Rodeo FX since early 2017. I also recently started to lecture modeling classes on the side.

I owe a lot to Gabriel Beauvais and Samuel Poirier who pushed me hard at the start of my career and showed me new ways of seeing things, new ways of using CG as a form of expression.

Where do you go to get inspired? What/Who inspires you?

Everywhere, anything. I think the human mind is very powerful; it keeps and stores a lot of data from our everyday lives. We may not be aware of it, but our subconscious is constantly building a library of things we experience, see and feel. Emotions, reactions, everything. In the end this is what Art is made of, at least for me. Inspiration is everywhere, we just need to open our eyes and look around.

That being said, what inspires me the most is probably music, nature, architecture, photos, sculptures, paintings, typography, movies and other cg work such as graphic design, motion graphics and illustration.

How does a typical working day look like?

At work, as a modeler for the film industry, the tasks vary. We usually have to either recreate something that already exists or create something totally new, ranging from mechanical to organic forms. We constantly interact with other departments, we are given feedback regularly and we get a lot of client reviews. The goal is to create something believable, something that fits and complements the story of the movie nicely.

At home, I just want to create. When I start working, I have a vague idea of what I want, but I try to just let the artwork come out by itself. I listen to music and guide myself by whatever happens on screen. I like organic forms and shapes, but I also like to destroy them, mix them with more abstract elements such as minerals structures, fractals and twisted shapes. I think the mix is very pleasing to the eye and it relates to me a lot.

What does your workplace look like?

At work my desk is filled with all sorts of things like figurines, plants, branches, stones, bone references, toys and minerals. At home it’s quite the opposite: I keep things clean and my desk is usually empty.

How do you stay motivated in this tough industry?

At work, when the job gets monotone, or is not as creative as I want, it helps me to do personal stuff at home. A good balance between professional and personal work is what keeps me motivated everyday. I also try to be better than the day before. I challenge myself with every new model or piece, and try to push it further. I feel like it helps me a lot to improve as a modeler and to grow as an artist.

What is your passion beside CGI/3D?

I like looking at art and everything that is related to the expression of mind. I am a big fan of hiking and camping. I used to do a lot of editing. I love watching series, movies, playing games and I have my daily dose of sudokus and crosswords.

How do you keep your portfolio up to date? Any tips?

I keep in touch with the industry using social networks, forums and cg websites such as Arstation and Artofvfx. I love watching breakdowns, podcasts, conferences. I think it helps a lot to keep me up to date and see where the industry is going. When it comes to sharing, I usually post new stuff on my Artstation and Facebook.

What Software do you use to create your artwork?

I mainly use Zbrush and Maya for modeling, Keyshot or Arnold for rendering and Photoshop for final touches.

What Software do you want to learn in future? And why?

Houdini. I have always been attracted to fractals and generated art and I feel like Houdini is the perfect software for that. It’s a very powerful tool and I have much to learn about it.

Which books would you recommend to the read?

Anything that makes your mind work; from novels to anatomy books to biographies. Everything can be a good source of inspiration.

What music do you listen to while working?

I mainly listen to soundtracks, scores and instrumental music. It’s what keeps me going and it’s what inspires me the most when i’m working. Hans Zimmer, Zack Hemsey, Ludovico Einaudi, Philip Glass, David T. Edward, Jo Blankenburg, Max Cameron are all amongst my favorite composers. The Interstellar score is probably the music that has the most impact on me.

Any advice for new Artists?

Look around, be curious. We are all influenced by one another, we are all there because we aspire to something or someone. I think the best advice I could give is just to expand your horizons, have goals that will force you to push yourself and open your eyes.