Celebrating a New Spirit of Digital Creativity and 3D Design at Brazil’s UNHIDE Conference

Brazil’s first major digital art festival highlighted the growing influence of Brazilian artists on the global entertainment industry, and the increasing role that 3D plays in their work.

by Jim Thacker

posted on 12-19-2018

The UNHIDE Conference, which took place in São Paulo last month, celebrated a new spirit in art. Not only did the event – Brazil’s first major digital art festival – highlight the increasing influence that Brazilian artists wield in the global entertainment industry, but the increasing role that 3D plays in the work of young designers.

For three days, visitors to the show were treated to workshops with Brazil-born international creatives like God of War Principal Artist Rafael Grassetti and Industrial Light & Magic Creature Modeling Lead Kris Costa, along with talks from local agencies like Lightfarm Brasil and Platinum. Of course, there were a few of those after-parties for which Brazil is famous.

And Adobe was there, too: to sponsor the festival, to deliver the show’s keynote address – and to play a mean ukulele live on stage.

UNHIDE Conference creator and Lightfarm director Milton Menezes.

Kickstarting a new generation of Brazilian creatives

“UNHIDE Conference was started to gather the community together [and] be the light of an ongoing movement,” said festival creator Milton Menezes (above). “Brazil is known for its creative people, but the country is extremely unequal, with poor educational systems. The most creative Brazilians leave for better opportunities in the U.S. and Europe. Brazil has [so much] potential to grow as an international content creator.

“Take Carlos Saldanha, the Brazilian-born co-director of Ice Age and Robots, as an example,” continued Milton. “Carlos is starting to produce a new Netflix series [Invisible Cities] based on Brazilian cultural characters. Even though Blue Sky Studios [through which Saldanha directs his animated features] is based in Greenwich, Connecticut, he is interested in showing Brazilian culture to the world, as he did so poetically before with Rio.”

Rafael Grassetti, Art Director at Santa Monica Studio and lead artist on God of War, takes to the stage at UNHIDE Conference.

Although Saldanha wasn’t one of the speakers at UNHIDE, the line-up was almost equally stellar: as well as Grassetti and Costa, the show featured talks and workshops from Ubisoft Senior Art Director Raphael Lacoste, responsible for overseeing the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and Menezes himself, in his role as director of Cannes Lion-winning creative agency Lightfarm, whose clients include Audi, Heineken International, Samsung, and New Balance.

Creating accessible education opportunities by making all talks available online

For those who couldn’t attend in person, the talks are available via UNHIDE School, the online digital art school that Milton launched at the start of 2018. In less than a year, the website has built up over 75 hours of conference footage, over 60 hours of artist interviews, and more than 100 hours of specially created training content. “The school is our way to give back [to the community] through accessible education, not just for Brazil, but other countries overseas,” said Milton. “Our main goal is to create content in multiple languages covering all of the disciplines of digital art.”

For Milton, 3D plays an increasingly important role in training artists to enter those disciplines: not just animation and visual effects, but concept art, illustration, and graphic design. “3D is at the vanguard of art,” he said. “Games, movies, advertising, architecture and design all use, or will use, it as one of their main tools. The last barrier for 3D is to take an extremely complex technology, and make it simple to use.”

Adobe Group Product Manager Zorana Gee delivers her keynote at UNHIDE Conference.

Breaking the barriers between 3D and graphic design

One new application intended to break down that 3D barrier is Adobe Dimension. Adobe’s 3D compositing tool is intended to help graphic designers incorporate 3D elements in their images, using workflows familiar from applications like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

“For younger designers, 3D is a part of life. Learning 3D skills is just something they know they have to do, like learning Photoshop, so there’s an enthusiasm to embrace technologies that lower the barrier to entry,” said Adobe Group Product Manager Zorana Gee, who delivered the keynote address at UNHIDE Conference.

Zorana describes UNHIDE as “a very intimate conference” that showcased a “high calibre of creativity”, both among the speakers and the show’s largely young audience.

“Having been a Photoshop Product Manager for over a decade, I knew that the quality of work coming out of Brazil is really high,” she said. “The culture is so rich, and lends itself to the design community’s talents. Sometimes, we focus too much on the Bay Area, for example, but there are incredible communities filled with talent all around the world.”

Zorana Gee busts out her secret weapon live on stage at UNHIDE Conference.

As well as providing a chance to introduce the audience to barrier-breaking technologies like Dimension and Project Aero, Adobe’s new augmented reality authoring tool, UNHIDE Conference provided Zorana with the opportunity to achieve an artistic first of her own – although this one was musical, rather than visual.

“Brazil is a place that allows people to fulfil their creative potential,” she said. “They even let me play ukulele on stage!”

A new Latin spirit in digital art

For Milton Menezes, fulfilling creative potential – both that of the show’s attendees and that of a new generation of Brazilian artists – is exactly what UNHIDE Conference was about.

“It’s time for Brazil to rise up and explode,” he said. “As well as helping to create world-famous content, we should be creating our own brand-new content from scratch.”

“The soul of [that future content] is based in 3D engines,” he concluded. “It’s our duty to be on the cutting edge of 3D technology, so we’re lucky to be on board with the Adobe team, creating the new tools we need and reimagining the tools we already have.”

To download Dimension, head over to https://www.adobe.com/dimension. For tutorials and getting started, check out these Dimension tutorials. Read about how Adobe Dimension helps designers create on average five times faster in the Pfeiffer report, “The Productivity of Design Visualization”

Topics: Creativity, Design

Products: Photoshop, Illustrator, Creative Cloud