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User Preferences: A Tech Q&A With Alex McLeod

Each week we chat about the tools of the trade with one outstanding creative to find out exactly how they do what they do. The questions are always the same, the answers, not so much. This week: Alex McLeod.

The Creators Project: Who are you and what do you do?
Alex McLeod:
My name is Alex McLeod and I’m a 3D artist from Toronto. I build environments that look as though they could exist in real life, but are entirely digital. They are outputted as lightjet prints, animations or interactive videos.

What hardware do you use?
Eight PCs, five of them are quad cores with 4GB of RAM, the others vary up to eight cores and 24GB of RAM. Six of them run headless and are used only for net rendering, while the other two are used in the studio but double as render nodes.

What software do you use?
I use a number of programs, including SculptMaster (iPhone), Cinema 4D, Photoshop, AfterEffects and recently UDK.

If money were no object, how would you change your current setup?
I’m not sure if I would, more render nodes would sure come in handy though. Maybe I would just hire my friends to hang out with me while I worked. :D

What fantasy piece of technology would you like to see invented?
It would be great to transfer images in your mind, whether that be during sleep or day dreaming, and reconstruct them digitally. That probably won’t be fantasy for too long.

Is there any piece of technology that inspired you to take the path you did?
Blizzard and Sierra computer games for sure: Diablo, Warcraft II and environments like Lighthouse were hugely influential to my drive for creating the work I do.

What’s your favorite relic piece of technology from your childhood?
My NES for sure. Or more specifically the controller. It was one of the first devices that allowed me to interact with characters through virtual worlds. And having been introduced to it at such an early age, it has been something I’ve accepted as normal, if not taken for granted.

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