Peter Starostin

Please note: This interview originally aired on our old Blogger site on 07/25/2007.

I’ve known Peter Starostin for a little while, though I’ve never actually met him in the flesh. I first met Peter via the 5 Fast interviews that I conducted for a short time, here on Bleeding Pixels. The 5 Fast questions were just like these 10 Quick, only the were for aspiring animators who had a reel to pimp, unlike the 10, which are intended for industry vets.

My how times have changed.

In the time since that 5 Fast, Peter landed himself a job at none other than Blur Studio, where he now animates for money… he’s living the dream!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you break into the business and get where you are now?

Some 11 years ago, the following was overheard during a bright luncheon at Blur:

`The one with the power to ooze brilliant 3D animations approaches. Born to those who have no clue how to use a computer, born as the eleventh month dies . And the lords of CG will mark him as their equal, but he will have power the 3D lords know not . And either must find the other for both are necessary for the business to thrive . The one with the power to ooze brilliant 3D animations approaches….”

Ahem, right then! There was also some bit about his name starting with a “P” and ending in “-eter Starostin”…don’t know what that means. Anyway, I reckon it was mostly luck 🙂 I used to be on a lot and saw a post looking for animators. So I e-mailed the guy with my animations (which kind of sucked at the time) and, to my surprise, he hired me. It was and I worked remotely for them for a couple of years. I did lots of modeling, rigging and animation. Then I got a few local gigs as well. I think having a web site helped too, because once in a while people just contacted me after seeing my site. It wasn’t until after I took the first three classes at that I landed a character animator position at Blur, where I’m at right now.

2. Which of your work are you most proud of?

Well, that’s rather like asking a parent which of his children is his favorite, to which the only appropriate response would be “they’re all wonderful!”, followed by the murmured words “there’s a lot of room for improvement, actually”. I do like how some of my animationmentor pieces turned out. Stuff I’m working on right now is showing promise, I think. Hard to choose, because I see a lot of flaws in all my work.

3. What are the main tools and/or programs you use to create your work?

We use mostly XSI for animation at Blur. Of course, the package doesn’t matter to me much since I’m only doing character animation. It’s just the same transform, rotate, scale, graph editor and autokey. 🙂

4. What’s a typical day in your life like?

My wife is very sick, but slowly recovering. So that’s a big part of my day. I usually get up around 8 and after spending time with my wife and helping her, I get to work around 11am. Check e-mail and then get to work. Around 2:30 I can’t resist but to join Blur’s Quake3 CTF game (Battlefield is also an option). I usually skip lunch but much a lot on free snacks we have here. When I have something to show to my supervisor, I’ll ask when he’s available and get him to look at my shots. I head home around 8:30. 🙂

5. Who or what are some of your artistic influences?

People I work with inspire me a lot, which are in my links section. There are bunch of people there too that I admire.

6. Would you say that you’re a 3D artist who dabbles in 2D from time to time, or a 2D artist who happens to work in 3D?

I have huge admiration for those who can do 2D animation. I feel like I can do comic book type stuff but I just don’t have the skill to do good looking traditional animation. So, I guess a 3D artist who dabbles in 2D.

7. What are 3 of the best things about your job, and what are 3 of the worst?

Best things:
1) Get to work on variety of cool projects.
2) People are awesome.
3) Quake games and free snacks, candy and drinks

Worst things:
1) Free snacks, candy and drinks (contributes to my weight gain, but I can’t resist)
2) Fast computers and dual wide screen monitors spoil me.
3) Tim Miller still intimidates me a bit. 🙂

8. Since you started working for Blur, what would you say the biggest thing you have had to adapt to has been?

Probably lack of snow in California during winter. It’s so weird to see Christmas lights on palm trees and sunny, summer weather. Aside form that, I already knew 3dsmax pretty well and just had to learn XSI animation tools, but that wasn’t a problem.

9. You did a lot of work with Mike Kunkel of “Hero Bear and the Kid” fame. What ever became of that project?

I did work with Mike but not on “Hero Bear and the Kid” thing. What I did was model characters from his concept art for various other projects.

10. What does Peter Starostin do for fun when he’s not pushing pixels around?

Spend time with my wife and play video games. I’m so addicted to God of War games. Can’t wait for more to come out, I think PSP version is next. I live about 3 blocks away from the studio that made the game and every time I drive by to work I want to burst in and yell “Show me your next God of War” hopefully sounding as much like Kratos as possible. Oh and of course, plugging through Harry Potter book 7. Otherwise, delighting in tea and biscuits, discussing philosophy in dulcet British tones, shaking fists at oversized vehicles…you know, normal stuff.

Thanks for for having me on your blog. 😀

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions, Peter!

To see more of his amazing work, check out Peter’s Website

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