Derrick Nau is TRG’s newest CGI Generalist. We wanted to know a little bit more about what makes this bearded artist tick, so I peppered him with questions about his work, life, and hobbies.
JD: How long have you been with TRG?
DN: About six months.
JD: What is a day in the life of Derrick Nau like?
DN: I provide a variety of services including compositing and color correction, modeling, render set-up, asset management, but mostly color correction and render management.
JD: What has been your most memorable project with TRG thus far?
DN: I’ve only worked on two so far, but I have really liked working on Master Brand Cabinets. It’s pretty cool because we’ve created CG cabinets, and from there we’ve created a variety of colors and finishes. The process is really cool if you’re into the technical side of things, and from the client’s point of view, there are near limitless possibilities that can be generated.
JD: Where did you go to school?
DN: The Cleveland Institute of Art.
JD: What did you study while you were there?
DN: Biomedical Art. It was the reboot of their Medical Illustration program. It’s more modern with an emphasis on traditional, digital, and CG.
JD: What exactly does a biomedical artist do?
DN: Any time there needs to be some type of image that involves science or medicine, there needs to be an emphasis on communicating that idea accurately due to it being a reference. It needs to be succinct and effective. You might create an image for textbooks or medical journals, animations for medial products or procedures, or even medically themed TV shows like House or Dr. Oz.
JD: Have you been able to use your biomedical art skills here at TRG?
DN: Not specifically, but in all of my projects I need to be able to understand what I’m trying to communicate. It’s an asset that lends itself to anything visual. Having and ingrained focus on ‘What’s the point of this image?’ is very helpful and useful. I am hoping to expand into some medical content.
JD: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
DN: I did some freelancing before I came to TRG. I did a piece for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in the Hall of Human Origins. It’s a 3D printed skull that’s a puzzle (pictured above). I’ve also done some work for my friends at Trese Brothers Games. I’ve done CG stuff at home. It’s kind of my thing; I’m a little obsessed with it. I’m on the steering committee for the 2014 SIGGRAPH Conference, which is the largest computer graphics conference in the world. I’m on the committee for the 2015 conference and my role is the Posters Chair, which is in charge of late breaking research on next-gen material that you may see in a movie 6 months to a year or so from now.
JD: That’s really cool! Anything else? Where did you grow up?
DN: I also like to garden. I actually grew up on a farm, so that may have something to do with it.
JD: What have been your first impressions of TRG?
DN: I’m really excited to be here. We do the best work, certainly in Cleveland. We are very competitive with CGI production compared to any other studio out there. It’s also really nice working in a creative environment. Actually, when I was a student, I tracked TRG down, and I applied here because I thought the work was of such a high quality.
JD: Do you have any pets?
DN: I have three cats, and they have never gotten along with each other. That’s a constant source of annoyance and amusement.
JD: What’s your favorite color?
JD: What’s your favorite breakfast food?
DN: Huevos Rancheros.
JD: What are you listening to right now?
DN: It’s kind of an out there, ambient band called Hammock. For fun listening at work, it’s kind of a weird mix.
JD: Are you ever inspired by the music you listen to?
DN: Yes, in a way. When the music has some kind of atmosphere or mood to it, I feel I can kind of see what the person writing the lyrics is trying to communicate. It’s like communicating an idea through audio, which I can appreciate when doing the same visually.