Sunny days seem to be back around cloudy Europe : time for Patecreme’s spring interview !
And this time with a reference in the world of Flash experiments : Mr Doob.
In the following words, Ricardo will tell us how his pushing-the-boundaries life started and what will make our browsers happy in the coming months.
1/Can you make a quick description of yourself ?
Sure thing. I’m 26, originally from Barcelona and for the last 6 years. I’ve been living in cloudy London. I have the luck of being able to work on the field I’m passionate about and, whether is good or bad, I’m all time behind screens. So far I’m loving every minute of it.
2/How did you come to the web and especially to Flash ?
I started with Animator Pro and 3D Studio on DOS at the age of 11-12, then moved to Photoshop and once the (dial up) web appeared I had the urge of making my designs interactive. I was a kid, I didn’t know what or why I was doing anything, but I started doing websites for myself, for made up projects, for events and ended up thinking I was learning more on my own projects at home than at school, so I left school and started working on random web companies. By that time Gabocorp and shortly after Melon’s flash interactive demo got released and it was clear that I had to learn how to do all that. It was around 1999 I think. Since then I’ve been playing around with Flash, but it wasn’t until 3 years ago when I went into freelancing under the name of Mr.doob that I got really serious with it.
3/You’re now working at world famous Hi-ReS! in UK. What is a big decision/change to move from Spain to UK ?
After working at 3 companies in Barcelona I was not seeing the web industry with good eyes and started thinking about the idea of moving to another country. It wasn’t only about work though, going to UK by myself was also an adventure; I’m sure having grown up with Disney/Pixar films has something to do with this. Once here I had to learn English and survive somehow. It took 5 months until I finally managed to get hired at some web design studio. And now, looking back, I think I did the right thing for me.
4/Do you manage to connect your experimentations and your daily work or do you keep them as separated life ?
Sometime I manage to do so, but usually it works like this; On my free time I get some experiments done and put them on my site to show everyone what’s possible with Flash. Then, a month or two later, a designer (whether it’s from Hi-ReS! or not) asks me about the possibility of applying some of them in a real project. Then I spend some months working on that project applying that experiment and once it’s done I go back on doing experiments on my free time.
Good news is that I’m starting to get commissioned for producing new experiments and this is changing the game a bit.
5/It seems you have other creative interests (motion, music…). How do you coope with all those sides ?
I create myself alter egos for each one ;D Unfortunately my musical alter ego r08028 has been quite inactive for a while. Moving to Linux has left him with no nice tools to play with.
I like to have the ability of getting a project done from start to end. Whatever it requires, as long as it behind a computer shouldn’t be a problem. This is probably the reason why I can do all three areas.
6/You’re a former - or maybe still active scener - . What did the demoscene bring to you ? Are you still following that world and did you lately check stuff like Breakpoint09 releases ?
I like to think I’m still active. Just working on my own sequencer and maybe get some demos out there in flash.
If I’m still active is because I’ve got so much stuff from it. It brought me the productivity, can’t stand without doing a thing, if there is nothing to do I would invent a new project to work on / learn from. It brought me the idea that it’s about having a good concept and put yourself on it many hours. If you get them right you win. Aside from the mindset benefits; although I’ve always been a designer, editor, graphician (and even musician) on the demoscene, I’ve indirectly learnt some graphic programming tricks here and there that I’m now applying in flash.
I did check Breakpoint09, unfortunately I wasn’t able to follow the live stream and seems like my computers aren’t fast enough to run those demos so I just watched the videos. This last Breakpoint was a bit disappointing, only RGBA & TBC 4k was remarkable and even that one had some things I think could have been easily improved moving some bytes here and there.
I don’t know any other world where the bar keeps rising without big companies pumping money in. We’ll see how long it gets going. Interestingly, many people from the Amiga days are now coming back and showing how it’s done.
7/ Demo coders are wellknown for their realtime 3D skills.. But according to online realtime 3D, it seems that Flash is still running after the speed and render quality of Shockwave 3D years ago… Don’t you think we are somewhat going round ?
Shockwave 3D was even faster than what we have in flash now. But you have to think of it as a software renderer. Flash is all about compatibility, cross-platform, … And I like it. It’s just another challenge. At the same time, imagine finding this when visiting a website: “Sorry, in order to see this website you need a fast highend ps3.0/vs3.0-enabled card - ati 2600 or geforce 8600 or better recommended. a fast card is definitely needed for the higher resolutions - don’t expect to run it at a decent speed on a 6600gt at 720p.”
However, Flash 10 has Pixel Shaders which is opening a few doors although flash developers don’t know very well what to do with them yet. There is also this Unity3D plugin which seems to be the new Shockwave 3D, Google just released O3D and also Google has been working on Native Client. So it feels like the whole web area is going to totally change in no time.
Thanks for the interview!