ALTER is the premier studio repped byÂ Janice Moses Represents, that does not limit themselves to just CGI alone, but dives headfirst into everything from photography to retouching, VFX to VR. From conception to post-production, ALTER partners with creative minds to produceÂ striking imagery for print and interactive media. TheirÂ approach goes beyond the technical and into the creative. TheyÂ have spent 15 years cultivating an atmosphere that promotes a collaborative approach to providing cutting edge solutions for their clientsâ€™ visual needs. Every ALTER artist is a valued team member who is passionate about their craft, and dedicated to delivering stunning imagery that goes well beyond theirÂ clientâ€™sâ€™ expectations.
Lucky for us, we wereÂ able to catch them in between projects to chat about what got them started and to pick their brains about all things CGI and so much more.
Agency Access & JM: You say your roots are in traditional photography, so how did you get involved with CGI? What was it that interested you?
We started off in photography, offering some retouching, then retouching became more and more robust, combining it with digital illustration and compositing. So, really it was the natural progression of what we were doing that led us to CGI. Â At first, the programs were very, very expensive and they didnâ€™t do a whole lot. As they programs became more robust, we saw a ton of possibilities to have much more creative latitude to do whatever we wanted. Â It really took off the limitations that we had with existing ways of creating images.
AXS & JM: Thus far in your career, what has been your favorite project/campaign?
Samsung campaign for Leo Burnett. We did a beautiful project that was a lot of work, done in a very short amount of time. We had a lot of creative latitude to do what we wanted to do with that. We worked with a pretty intense Art Director, but we loved the outcome.
AXS & JM: How did you get involved in it?Â
I tapped into our connections at Leo Burnett. Weâ€™ve done a lot of work for them in the past on increasingly more challenging and difficult creative campaigns. They know we have the capabilities to incorporate CGI, and we have the horsepower to get it done relatively quickly, as opposed to the time it should take.
AXS & JM: When it comes to the conception of a project for a client, how much creative freedom do you have?Â
It really depends on the client. We want to be able to serve the client. We have people who come in with very, very tight layouts and creative decks where weâ€™re again more executional than collaborative. Other times we just get a concept. Then we hear, â€œthis is what weâ€™re trying to conveyâ€ and weâ€™re creating content from the ground up. So, itâ€™s a whole spectrum. Everything now is leaning more toward the latter; of us being more of a creative partner as opposed to just execute their specific idea. I think that comes from the fact that people just know whatâ€™s possible with the art and the technology thatâ€™s available to us now, and itâ€™s being integrated.
AXS & JM: Whatâ€™s the most impressive use of CGI youâ€™ve seen recently?
Oh goodness, thatâ€™s all Hollywood (Hahaha)â€¦ thatâ€™s a Juan question. Â â€œA: Â Anything Juan does!â€ (Juan Salas, our Director of CGI)â€¦â€¦anything Juan puts his hand on, anything Juan does is the most impressive use of CGI Iâ€™ve ever seenâ€¦.. (in the background, Jim says: â€œNo, Juan, thatâ€™s not a good answer.â€) Â If you canâ€™t tell, thereâ€™s a huge amount of joking that goes on among the guys at Alter.
AXS & JM: Again, What movie do you think is really impressive use of CGI?â€¦..Â
Pixar, the company that makes The Incredibles and Toy Story and everything else like that. They take the software that they use to create these animations and offer it to the general public at some point in time. They have a demo for Pixarâ€™s current render engine that has a various impressive output, and very impressive with digital effects.
AXS & JM: Can you think of examples of campaigns by Alter where audiences might not realize that itâ€™s not actually a real photo but actually CGI images?
Yes, our Bose work weâ€™ve done. Â Nobody knows itâ€™s CGI!! Â Itâ€™s so beautifully done and perfectly rendered. The detail thatâ€™s put into it, the over-the-ear pieces, the leather, and the materials weâ€™re creating on their behalf that just take it over the edge.
AXS & JM: What project are you most proud of?
Samsung. Love the Bose animation, love the Clio Awards we did for Leo Burnett, and Cyclops, we think thatâ€™s a great project that was well executed. Under Armouris great work too, the only problem is we donâ€™t shoot that; we get what they give us and we make it work. We do all the compositing and create the stadiums in the background.
AXS & JM: What would you say is the most exciting innovation currently happening in the world of CGI?
Anything VR â€œVirtual Realityâ€ related. Â Itâ€™s very. very new and fresh technology. Thereâ€™s huge possibilities with that and everyone is scrambling to figure out how to apply it and how to use it. Thatâ€™s definitely the hottest thing going right now.