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Interview: Wes McDermott

Q: Typical Question, but if you meet somebody on the street or in a pub and they ask what you do… How do you answer?

I say that I could tell them, but then I’d have to kill them. Seriously though, I mention that I work as a multimedia developer for UPS creating interactive training content. I also work as a freelance 3D artist.

Q: On your site you mentioned you are not what you would consider a 9-5 type artist. Could you dive more into what you mean by this?

Well, I guess what I’m ultimately trying to say is that 3D art is not only a job but it’s my hobby as well. If I’m not working on 3D stuff at work, then I’m working on it at home. I don’t just “clock-in” so to speak during working day hours and only work on projects at work. When I go home and have some down time, I pick it back up and work on my own personal projects and try to keep increasing my skill set as much as possible.

Q: How has it been working on a flight trainer for pilots? Are they adopting Unity for these applications?

It’s been really good. It’s been interesting finding ways to make interactive content and use it as a training tool. I used to use Adobe Flash in my early days as a multimedia developer, but have since completely switched to Unity. I am also leveraging Unity’s cross-platform capabilities to create applications that run on Windows Desktop PCs as well as iPads. I use Unity to create multitouch presentations for business groups within UPS as well as interactive content that runs on iPads for pilots. For example, I created an “Aircraft Walk Around” app that allows a pilot to move around an aircraft and touch hot spots on the plane that then shows key elements they need to check.

Q: Could you tell me a bit more about CameraMan for Maya?

Sure! CameraMan for Maya is an iPhone/iPad application that allows you to control items in Maya with the gyroscope of these devices. The motion is stored in what I call the “Motion Cache” and you can export the cache right into Maya from the iDevice. You can also choose to save the motion to a file which is saved from the device and available through iTunes File Sharing. The file can be imported into Maya using the CameraMan Control Panel. This is a personal project that I created to get into creating iOS applications. I wanted to create something that was based on 3D art. It’s been extremely fun to develop and very rewarding. In 2011, the app was nominated for a 3D World Magazine’s CG Award in the Software Innovation category.

Q: How did you get involved with Substance from Allegorithmic?

Well, I first used Allegrothimic’s tools when Luxology licensed technology from them to create the Image Synth texture tiling application. From there, I started using Substance with Maya and Unity and was enamored with the power of Substance Designer. I picked up a copy of Substance Designer so that I could create my own Substances and have been using it ever since. It’s an amazing tool and an extremely powerful solution for creating textures.

Q: What do you feel Modo’s most valuable trait may be for tackling your day to day production?

That would have to be modo’s modern workflow. Modo has a very nice workflow which makes it easy to use as well as fast. Procedures that take multiple tools or several steps in Maya are often done with one step or tool in modo. So much has gone into the design and usability of modo and it shows in my day to day tasks.

Q: Any upcoming projects you are working on you may share with us?

I am currently working on a new presentation application for a business group within UPS. This project will be built using Unity and will leverage iPads as a controller to the presentation. I built a similar presentation for UPS Supply Chain Solutions division which was strictly multitouch. I learned a lot during the project and am excited to take this new project to the next level.

Q: If you could meet any person, live or dead, whom would it be and why?

That’s tough. I don’t think I’ve ever seriously thought about it. There are and have been so many influential people. I think I’ll go with Bruce Lee. I think it would be cool to talk with him and get a private Kung Fu lesson.

Q: Is there a feature in Unity 4.0 you are most excited for?

Mecanim would be number one! It’s going to be a huge time-saver when creating character controllers. I am also pretty excited about directional light maps and realtime shadows for mobile devices.

Q: First thing you think of in the morning when you wake up?

Most of the time, I wake up thinking about all of the things I need to do that day. However, that’s never a good way to start. I try to clear my head and thank God for a new day. I hope to take advantage of opportunities the new day presents make it better than the day before.

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One Response to “Interview: Wes McDermott”
  1. Posts: 1
    Olivier says:

    Nice read, would love to have his job :)
    Tho the end seems very uhm, American. ;)

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