It takes a certain type of person to understand the needs of both our 3D artists and our customers who work in the arts industry. Support Agent, Logan Dixon, fits that bill with a trained artist’s eye and a naturally helpful disposition. This week, we’re delighted to present our interview with Logan, who tells us about his strangest support moment, as well as his encounter with a stranger from the spirit world.
Ok, Logan, spill it! What’s the strangest support call you’ve ever received?
I once got a call from a guy who purchased a model of a big Viagra bottle, who was asking me about where to put his shipping information and if it was really discreet shipping. I ended up having to tell him we don’t sell real physical Viagra that he can use, and I refunded him.
What do you like most about working at TS?
My favorite thing about working at TurboSquid would have to be the excitement of being a part of something profound… and I mean that in more ways than one.
For instance, I get to communicate with and help art departments from major companies and organizations, assisting them with their orders for upcoming projects. That’s a very rewarding experience, even if I play a small part.
To be honest, I think I just really enjoy helping people. I suppose that’s why I am a Support Agent.
Our Support Agents are known to be quite busy. What do you do when you’re not at Squid HQ?
I am a traditional 2D artist, and you can often find me in my studio working away at my latest painting or drawing. Perhaps some day I will step into the realm of 3D but for now I will stick to my brushes.
Feel free to check out my website (that is in need of an update): logandixon.com
I think one of my more rewarding pieces was “Becoming of Medusa” which features my sister as the model for Medusa. It’s a fairly large drawing that took me at least a month to complete. I find re-visiting classic stories and changing them to fit the message you would like to convey
Word around the cereal bar is that you have quite a fascination with the supernatural. Any close encounters with the paranormal?
Yes, in fact, during my summer abroad in Sorrento, Italy, I had a ghostly visitation nearly every other night. I am completely serious when I tell you that a ghost crawled into bed with me and would stroke my arm and speak into my ear. Then, some mornings, others on the trip experienced cold hands grabbing their feet. My last day there, I woke up one night and saw the spirit move to my roommate’s bed. After a couple of minutes he jumped out of his sound sleep, swinging, saying, “Get off of me!” and he stormed out the hotel and spent the rest of the night out on the terrace.
Do you have a favorite 3D work from the TurboSquid catalog?
I originally saw this statue in Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli in Naples, Italy, during a summer abroad, studying painting. This model by Clay Master brought back that memory I had of realizing the whimsical nature of this statue.
This week, we’re taking a few minutes to talk to Dade Orgeron, TurboSquid’s Creative Director. A Southern man at heart, Dade has traveled much of the US, landing in New York City, and then back again to Louisiana. On his triumphant return, Dade comes to our New Orleans headquarters bearing much knowledge, and a recipe for genuine down-home Louisiana white beans.
You’re originally from Louisiana, right? How did you end up working in New York City?
I was born in Baton Rouge, grew up in Galliano, Louisiana, on Bayou Lafourche, and moved here to NOLA in 10th grade. It was the perfect balance of life in Cajun country as a child and the awesomeness of New Orleans during the 80′s as a teenager.
Because of my career path, I realized that I would inevitably need to end up in either LA (Los Angeles) or NYC. Having done quite a bit of work in LA, I knew that NYC would probably be a better fit for me. I wasn’t looking for a new job (I was quite happy in Seattle) but when a New York agency contacted me to be their new Creative Director, I decided to take the offer and made the move across the country to try things on the East Coast.
What’s been the most striking difference between life in New York and life in New Orleans?
Everything. Every place I’ve lived has been so different from the rest. People’s attitudes, geography, food, music, weather, lifestyles… It’s all unique in some way.
Rumor has it that you used to make your own Cajun and Creole food, out of special Louisiana ingredients, while you were living out of state. How did you pull that off, and what did you cook?
It’s funny, you can find some things all over the country like Andouille Sausage and Tasso… but it’s never quite right. Then, when you start talking about Boudin, Cracklins, Rillettes, and Hog’s Head Cheese, forget about it. Even the shrimp is usually different, not-so-tasty freshwater varieties. After years of struggling to recreate my grandmother’s recipes, I decided to start creating my own ingredients from what I could find locally. So, curing and smoking became a huge hobby for me. And if there was something I couldn’t replicate (such as shrimp, crabs, and crawfish), I would order them from a grocer in Lafayette.
Do you have a favorite recipe to share with us?
One of my all time favorites is also one of the easiest (as long as you don’t have to pickle your own pork), white beans and rice:
White Beans and Rice
1 pound Navy beans (I like Camellia brand)
1 pound pickled pork (I like Richards brand) chopped into small cubes
1 medium onion chopped
2 bunches green onions chopped (white parts separated from green tops)
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 bay leaf
salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
6 – 8 quarts water
6 cups of cooked long grain rice
Pepper vinegar on the table (I like Trappey’s brand)
Rinse the beans, discarding any brown ones. Place the beans in a pot and cover them with an index finger’s length of water. Bring to a low boil and continue boiling for 1 hour.After the beans have been going for 45 mins… place the pickled pork in a large dutch oven with a little bit of cooking oil (I love enameled cast iron for this), and bring up to a medium high heat. The goal here isn’t to brown the pork… you just want it to release its water and have it evaporate.
Once the liquid has evaporated, stir in the onions, green onions (white parts only), garlic, and bay leaf, and cook on medium heat until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Now add the salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (be careful… you can always add more later) and continue cooking for 1 minute to let the flavors absorb.
Now rinse the beans that were boiling in the other pot under hot water, drain, and add to the pot of pork and onions. Stir to combine and cover with an index finger’s length of water. Bring to a low boil and continue cooking, slightly uncovered, for 2 – 3 hours (depending on how creamy you like your beans). Be sure to stir from time to time.
Once done… grab a deep bowl, drop in a pile of cooked rice, cover the rice with a few heaping ladles of beans, squirt a few dashes of pepper vinegar on top, along with a few green onion tops, to your liking.
As the Creative Director at TurboSquid, what does an average day at work look like?
Lots of creative reviews, so, tons of Skype conversations and email chains. Along with that, there’s recruiting new talent, training and mentoring internal and external artists to expand their capabilities, and strategizing new processes and procedures to maintain the highest quality content. And did I mention meetings?
What’s your favorite thing about working at TS?
The people, without a doubt.
We hear you’re hiring! What are you looking for, and what does it take to work with the Content Group at TS?
Yes, we are. The content group is growing rapidly and we are constantly looking for artists to join the team. Because our focus is mostly on photo-real content, we are looking for exceptionally talented 3D artists that have strong skills in modeling, texturing, lighting, and rendering, with an exceptional eye for detail.
In case you haven’t already heard, today, the 26th of June, is System Administrator Appreciation Day! To celebrate in style, we sat down and had a chat with our very own Junior Systems Administrator, Michael “Radar” Raeder! Read on to find out just what a day at Turbosquid is like for someone in his position and a bit about his exciting, globetrotting, experiences as a life-long musician!
First of all, is there a story behind your nickname “Radar”or did you just adopt it because it sounds so similar to your last name?
Well, yeah, a little bit of both. It started out based on my last name, and then I took it as a handle in high school when I ran a pirate radio station out of my Pinto station wagon. We would set up and broadcast a couple hours a day out of a park in LA. People would leave song requests for us in a locker.
Do you have a favorite memory from your DJ days?
Yeah, someone kept requesting to hear speed metal, so we would just play Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” on 45 or 78 rpm every time.
As our Junior System Administrator, what do you do on an average day?
I set up servers, add users, and secure everything to keep the bad guys out. I write programs to automate things, write programs to amuse myself, and if something is not working, I make it work. There’s really no typical day.
In addition to working as a Sys Admin, we hear that you’ve had quite the career as a musician. Care to tell us a bit?
I have a lot of great memories. I’ve played literally thousands of shows since I was 9 years old. I’ve mostly played guitar in rock bands, but I also occasionally play accordion, slide guitar and have even played percussion for zydeco groups.
What’s your fondest memory from performing or touring?
Probably the most memorable one was when I was playing with a Cajun band in Quebec City, at an outdoor music festival. This was during the time when Quebec wanted to separate from Canada. We had one song on our set list called “Reveille,” which means “Awaken”. The translation to the beginning of the lyrics is something like “arise, arise, men of Acadiana, raise your guns against the English”.
The singer really wanted to do this, and I told him it was a bad idea. Sure enough, we do the song, and a riot breaks out. There are literally between five and seven thousand people going nuts, tearing things up. The police came on stage, told us to grab whatever we could, and forced us onto a bus . So, I carried two guitars, a couple of pedals, and got in. As we were exiting the fairground, the fence over on this one side fell over, and all these rioters came directly for our bus and proceeded to rock the vehicle back and forth. Then, from the other side, riot police started shooting tear gas and dispersing the mob. We were able to eventually get back to our hotel and berated the singer the whole ride over.
Word around the water-cooler is that you are a bit of a Russophile. What sparked this interest?
I got to visit East Germany when I was really young. Just seeing the artwork, propaganda, and uniforms– they had a certain aesthetic that really caught my eye. If I see anything reasonably priced, I tend to buy it. I have a belt with the East German logo, for example. I also love the absurdities of the Soviet Union, how they tell a factory, “You have to produce 16,000 pairs of shoes,” and they would follow it to the letter… they would make 32,000 left foot shoes, all of which would be the same size.
Titanic Sushi Boat by artist markflorquin
Do you have a favorite model on TS?
I do. I’d have to say artist markflorquin’s Titanic Sushi Boat 3D model. I was just really hungry and craving some sushi. Unfortunately, I didn’t get sushi.
I really like that I get to play around with all these different technologies. Some days, I’m really into coding, other days, I love just taking something apart and trying to fix it; at other times I want to just try something I’ve never worked with before. I would really like to try Autodesk 3ds Max. It just looks fun to play with.
Whether making our daily lives easier or on stage, this Junior System Administrator really does ROCK! Be sure to hug your Sys Admin today or simply say “thanks” for keeping your business up and running everyday. Let us know in the comments if you did anything special for SysAdmin Day this year.
On Friday, June 19th, our TurboSquid HQ was transformed from an everyday office space into a 9-hole mini golf course for the exalted TAO (that’s TurboSquid Accounting Office Invitational). Each department was asked to build their own mini golf holes, which sprawled across the entire open layout of the Squid Tank. There were trophies and awards to go around for the best players and best hole constructors. And in typical New Orleans fashion, the event was catered with snacks, wine, and beer for all of the (of age!) Squids to enjoy.
Here’s a tour of the course in action:
For this year’s competition, our Development Team went all out in providing up-to-the-minute stats with score cards and an electronic score board, which helped determine the winners, and set the tone for the professionalism of TAO 2013:
Dev Team’s amazing live scoreboard, complete with requisite Caddyshack video
Dale Clemens, of TurboSquid QA, won one of the prized Hole-In-One awards on Dev Team’s wicked complicated beanbag trap. As a seasoned mini golfer from TAO 2012, he said, “This year’s competition was a lot more fun. Many of the holes were not as elaborate or decorated, but they were better suited for putt-putt and making sure everyone went through them in a timely manner. All in all, the whole event appeared more thought out.”
QA’s Cthulu shrine was voted as “Best Hole” by TAO participants. Below, TurboSquid CEO, Matt Wisdom, takes aim at Cthulu himself.
Eric Arvidson, CFO of TurboSquid, who was one of the many people credited with making the event run smoothly, said, ”The holes [this year] were more complex and artistic, and I think they were more fun to play. I actually wanted to review the numbers, but I would say that we had at least 20 more [participants] this year than last.”
And there was certainly a high level of artistry this year, especially in the Support Agents’ hole, a recreation of the Rainbow Road in the Mario Kart games.
When asked how much love went into the hand-painted, sprawling hole, Support Head Christell Gause admits, “It took about a week, in between support requests. One of the agents did illustrations at home.” She added, “There’s little time between support requests, but some stayed late to get them done.”
As with all the departments, the hard work really paid off. Says Christell, “It helps build teamwork on two levels. When you’re building your hole, you get to collaborate with co-workers in your department to create something that will be challenging yet fun in the end. When you’re actually golfing, you get to interact and strategize with people you don’t necessarily see every day.”
TAO 2013 Winners:
Best Hole: QA Department, hole #2, Cthulu
Most Challenging Hole: Development, hole #3, The A-Hole
What will this year’s winner’s do with their awards?
Dale Clemens, a winner of a Hole In One title: It’s currently making my desk seem infinitely more classy.
Sam Stites, member of Shanks-a-lot, 2nd place team: I keep the award under my computer so that I feel close to it.
Eric Arvidson, 1st place individual, 3rd place team, and Hole In One: Currently, they are in my office and I will probably leave them there so that I can be more popular at work. …Or, I am not sure where I would put them at home.
Wear ‘em proud, guys. Congratulations to all of our winners, a huge thank-you to everyone who made this event possible, and squid hugs all around for everyone who participated.
For this week’s edition of our “Meet the Squid” series, I chose to introduce you to this year’s class of Summer interns. Turbosquid interns are given the opportunity to gain some real on-the-job experience, unlike some internships that result in training legions of glorified coffee couriers. The TurboSquid Intern League sat down to answer a few questions about the projects they are working on, their school plans and goals for the future.
Which school did you attend, or which do you currently attend? Do you have a major?
Alan Newman (Development): Stanford – I’m working on a Master’s degree in Computer Science
Andrew Freeman (Product Group): I was at College of Charleston in South Carolina, but now that I am back in New Orleans I will be attending UNO next semester. I am working towards a business degree.
Liam Craver (Content Group): I am a senior attending Benjamin Franklin High School for half the day, then New Orleans Center for Creative Arts for the other half. At NOCCA, I will be going into level 3 of Media Arts.
Oliver Hill (Product Group): I currently attend a boarding school called Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. My planned major is Computer Science
Silas Owings (Marketing): I graduated from Millsaps College in May, with a BA in Anthropology.
Taijon Robinson(Sys Admin.): I will be attending Louisiana State University this fall. My planned major is Computer Science, and I wish to one day work in game development.
What are you working on this summer at Turbosquid?
Alan (Development): I’m currently developing an automated framework to classify and score models, which will be used to enhance the search engine and handle new submissions.
Andrew (Product Group): Currently I am working on Feature Graph, organizing assets so that they are easily searchable.
Liam (Content Group): So far I have been mainly working on things related to the CheckMate inspection process. I’ve also done some stuff like learning Maxscript to try and tackle the pole detection problem… Yeah, way too detailed I know.
Oliver (Product Group): This summer I’m working with the Feature Graph team, working on the deep categorization of Turboquid’s products
Silas (Marketing): I’m currently doing a full-time internship in Turbosquid’s Marketing Department. My daily tasks at the moment are checking the site for crawler errors, keeping an eye on our social mentions (which shows what people are saying about Turbosquid on the web) and updating our Pinterest account. I also blog for the company and do a variety of tasks involving our site’s rankings on Google (Search Engine Optimization).
Taijon (Sys Admin.): This summer at Turbosquid I am working on small projects to get me familiar and comfortable with programming, as well as assisting with anything I can in the IT department under Radar and Foster.
What do you like about interning here?
Alan (Development): Good people, good work, good tea.
Andrew (Product Group): I really enjoy the people that I work with here at Turbosquid, but I come in every morning for the free cereal.
Liam (Content Group): Everything! No seriously, the atmosphere in the office is cool and relaxed but still has an air of business. The people working here are all masters of their individual crafts and quite happy to share their knowledge with others. Interning here also allows me to do what I already enjoy doing, but with more resources. Plus, it’s been a slight dream of mine to work here ever since Turbosquid started popping up in the local newspapers and on the web!
Oliver (Product Group): What I like most about working at Turbosquid is the atmosphere in the office. It feels like there’s a “work hard, play hard” attitude that’s shared among employees. People are productive but happy! Also, the 3D printer is really cool!
Silas (Marketing): I’m honestly not sure where to even start with this question, there’s a reason Turbosquid keeps getting ranked as one of the best places to work by City Business. The office is a very laid back environment with a whole lot of perks, but honestly, as a young man right out of college, the company parties are possibly my favorite part!
Taijon (Sys Admin.): First of all, I love interning here and am glad to even have the privilege, but I simply love having an opportunity to be in an environment with people who have similar interests to me. I also love being able to learn from all the friendly people at Turbosquid, who have already been through what I hope to do one day!
Andrew (Product Group): Anything that is 3D printable. So cool!
Liam (Content): Not actually a model, but rather a picture: qafish. By far my favorite thing I’ve found on the site!
Oliver (Product Group): I can’t decide on a favorite.
Silas (Marketing): By far, my favorite 3D model is Omama. Pump up the music!
Taijon (Sys Admin.): My favorite model is the Suzuki GSX-R 600 2011 because of the general beauty of the model and the detail on the bike. This impressive model would fit in beautifully with one of my fiction game ideas.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about? Hobbies, volunteer work, other jobs?
Liam (Product Group): I am currently volunteering at Children’s Hospital during the weekdays when I’m not at Turbosquid. I also am occasionally hired to do freelance work under my company/brand Lime Studios, which usually deals with coding or art. Ever since I was little, I’ve been fascinated with computers. I actually learned the coding language, Python, at a very young age. Currently, I’m working on the second edition of my gaming engine, LimeWorks. I also have had a lifelong interest in graphic design and animation, which I owe in part to Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, though French animation is actually my favorite style.
Silas (Marketing): I’m actually currently doing my second internship with Turbosquid! When I was in high school I used to come into the office with my dad (who works in development) once a week to do work in QA. I’m an avid Star Wars nerd, burgeoning beer snob, hopeful home brewer, and European history enthusiast. I also have a growing interest in tattoos, and got my first one in June.
Taijon (Development): My hobbies are playing video games and writing small pieces of fiction. I also enjoy constructing fictional worlds which I hope to bring to life, by either writing a series of books, or developing video games. Through working at Turbosquid, I’ve made a new hobby of learning code and making small projects that involve programming.
Senior Technical Artist, Calvin Bryson, moved from Austin, Texas to come and work at the TurboSquid office in New Orleans. With him, Calvin brought years of experience in developing pipelines for modeling, lighting, and rendering of 3D scenes, establishing guidelines on everything from edge loop placement to layer organization.
What does your day typically consist of?
I usually come into work before 9:00 A.M. to grab a bowl of cereal from our cereal bar and sort through all the emails waiting for me. That’s about where my typical day stops. The rest of the day varies pretty widely. Some days I’m helping artists through technical issues they’ve encountered while trying to reach a specific result. Other days I create training materials such as tutorial videos and documentation. I also do research and development on modeling techniques, shader creation, and rendering efficiency. It is more fun than it sounds. (more…)