A: Hello Champu Chinito! Please tell us more about you, where do you come from and how did you fall into the vrabbit hole?
CC : I’m from Mexico City and my name is Orlando. Better known as Champu Chinito, which was the name of an art collective that my friends and I have created when we were in high school. Since everybody took different paths at the end of our studies, I decided to stick with Champu Chinito as my artist name. I got started by creating characters for illustrations and merchandising before to become art director at Ogilvy & Mather. This is last year, while I was attending a Pictoplasma masterclass, that I‘ve decided to work full time on character design. At this point, I’ve been in advertising for six years. I quit my job and I started to do illustrations. Then, I’ve discovered Goro Fujita’s workand I literally felt in love with his art. This leaded me to attend the CTN Animation Expo 2017 where I saw him painting live on stage in VR. I was like “Man this is sick!” I really was in love with how fast he was creating illustrations in Quill. Right after Goro’s demo I went to Best Buy and bought my Oculus Rift (we couldn’t buy it in Mexico at the time). Then I realized that I’d need a powerful computer to do VR! So I’ve bought a new computer and started using Quill. At first, I didn’t even realize there were many other games and apps. I only knew about Quill!
A: Seems like you’ve learnt Quill pretty fast. Are you able to dedicate a lot of time to learn and create in VR or is it mostly a night time activy?
CC: I have a day job and freelance jobs so I practice mostly at night yes. I think Quill is very easy to learn. I started in December and thanks to all the community I‘ve been able to progress pretty fast. Quill is very intuitive. I did Moony in about a week, that’s super-fast! I’m not even an animator.
A: What do you like the most in Quill?
CC: Well, I love how easy you can animate and tell your stories. I’m not an animator but I understand how to do stop motion. That’s what I apply in VR and Quill seems like a great fit! I think telling stories with Quill is very interesting because being inside the world while creating it feels amazing. It’s like being somewhere else, out of here. I was working on my scene the other day, and next to me this little rabbit was moving around. It was so funny! I’ve always wanted for people to experience the work from the artist’s point of view. Quill comes with example scenes created from Goro Fujita and other artists, and it’s really amazing to be inside. Really amazing! I only do Quill right now. I’ve watched some videos about Tilt Brush and I’m curious about Medium because I love 3D rendering, but haven’t used it yet. I don’t have so much time to spend in VR so I’m only focusing on Quill right now. I want to see how far I can push it. Then I’ll move to Medium I guess!
A: How does it feel to be part of the ‘Animation in VR’ first wave of artists?
CC: The community is growing fast and there’s a lot of talented people in the group. There’s so much good stuff there! I’m really in love with what everybody is doing. Having that group is very inspiring for us to do better. It’s like a growing family of artists. Like when Monnet and those guys were hanging out in the Parisian bars talking about new paintings, impressionism, sharing their art, ideas. I feel this is what’s happening on this group right now. That room is our way to grow together. I really love it. We don’t know where we’re all coming from and we don’t need to know. We’re in the same channel!
“I love the way we’re inspiring each other to grow and find out ways to use this technology. It’s now super easy and fast to create in VR so I’m very excited about the future and want to share my passion.”
A: What are you currently working on? You‘ve mentioned a children book. Can you tell us more about it? How do you want to use VR for this project?
CC: The reader will follow the story of a boy who’s looking for something, so I’m thinking of allowing him (the reader) to interact and help the character to find what he’s looking for. There’s so much potential and different directions, I’m still figuring things out really!
A: What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of VR as part of your workflow?
CC: I think the last barrier has fallen, the monitor/person barrier has fallen. Wacom did it at their time with their tablets, they made workflows organic. With the Cintiq it was like working on paper. Now even that is gone. We can create with our hands inside an infinite space. Change, edit, create, rescale, from any point of view at the tips of our hands. That’s game changing. Craft is a big difference that now may be a con, but it depends on everyone’s ability to polish the result, as with everything. VR is just the tool to do the magic. Someday, we will have more advanced tools that will compete with current 3D renders or even reality.
A: Do you see yourself working full time in VR in the near future?
CC: For now, I think we are all doing this just for fun, and to share and discover this new VR thing. I wish it could become my main activity. I really want to see the community creating more short films, games, movies, so that in two years we will work with these devices professionally, not just for fun anymore. I have many friends who are illustrators and I’m trying to get them involved to create something together. I want to bring more people into VR because out here in Mexico, it’s not something we are talking about yet. I mean, currently they’re showing the VR piece “Carne y Arena’ created by Alejandro G. Inarritu and it’s full all the time. It’s really hard to get in! I think that’s the first big VR thing we’re having here in Mexico City.
I want to see more short films created with this medium and to bring more people into VR because out here in Mexico, it’s not something we are talking about yet.
A: What is the infrastructure that is available for you to connect people and projects in VR in Mexico?
CC: Well, we don’t have the infrastructure! We have CinePolis, the cinema complex where they show these VR games of zombies. Aside of the Fest Mex VR, Inarritu’s piece, and CinePolis, there’s not much. But I’m working on it, I’d like to do exhibitions, bring digital and traditional artists to work together, and see what happens. This is new for everyone. It will be very interesting to bring more artists on board and see what they can do with this tech here in Mexico. I guess this is my homework and mission!
A: Are you planning in attending CTN this year again?
CC: Of course. I think from now on I will attend every year! It’s a great opportunity to meet people, connect with artists, see what’s going on with new technologies applied in the industry. Everybody should go at least once I think!
A: What do you think VR artists need the most right now?
CC: I think that we (artists) really need to show what we’re doing in VR out of Facebook. Unfortunately, not everybody has a headset yet, so people cannot see our works in VR. We need to find the right approach for the audience to experience our art.
A: Thank you Champu Chinito! Keep going!