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xTonyx Wallace

Kamp Grizzly

xTonyx Wallace

Gabriel Flores  0:00  

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the shades of entrepreneurship. This is your host, Mr. Gabriel Flores. Today I have a good friend of mine X here to talk about video game photography. This is very interesting. I'm excited about this one. First x. Let's hear about you. Tell me, give me a bio. Let the people know who you are.

xTonyx Wallace  0:19  

Yeah, my name is Tony Wallace. People call me x because I legally changed my name to x Tony X when I was 18 Drew. So I had to get a new birth certificate and the whole thing. From there. Little bit of Bible college, a little bit of art school. got hired with a ragtag group of video producers when I was in my early 20s, Camp grizzly where I still work. We're now a full fledged advertising agency. Started there doing 3d art, then became a video editor, and then a commercial video director. And now I'm a senior art director over there.

Gabriel Flores  0:55  

Nice. But that's not all you do. Correct? Yeah. All kinds of you. And you do a lot a little side gig, checking you out. So let's let's talk about what is video game photography. I think it sounds pretty straightforward. But I want to hear from your perspective. Yeah, I

xTonyx Wallace  1:07  

think it's, yeah, it is what it sounds like, right? It's taking photographs inside of video games. Something that only recently, I think is compelling in the sense that just hardware right, just future technology, video games getting more and more realistic. Definitely things are looking cooler. There's some sort of compelling photography to be had in games now are specifically making photography modes. So where it's actually like, controlling a real camera, so you can stop the game, you'd have all the same sort of settings and controls, you'd be used to taking real photographs.

Gabriel Flores  1:45  

Is that kind of how the idea originated? Huh?

xTonyx Wallace  1:49  

Yeah, totally. I think a lot of it was because COVID I've been avid photographer and just creative and visual creative for a long time and all sorts of different mediums. So yeah, when cyberpunk came out, it was just fun to sit at home and just get lost in the game and versus playing the game. Instead, just walking around the cities and taking street photography like I would, when I was really like out taking real street photography and different cities I used to travel to all the time, that would always be my extra thing on jobs any off time, I'd be out there taking street photos, and just really into photography. So when the pandemic hit, being able to get lost that same way in a video game was very compelling to me.

Gabriel Flores  2:29  

Nice now, do you have like, you know, individuals that reach out to you and say, Hey, can you take my character photo?

xTonyx Wallace  2:35  

No. So how do I do this? Or what game should I do this in? But it would have to be a certain type of game to allow that to happen. I think the technology is there just yet. I think we're really at the very beginning stages of video game photography, and really with cyberpunk, and a few other games, where they're specifically trying to make these things happen. But um, yeah, I don't know. It's quite there yet, but I can see it getting there. Right. That's pretty cool. That's a cool idea.

Gabriel Flores  3:01  

Yeah. Now, one of the things I you know, NF T's, right, becoming big, right, these these non fungible

xTonyx Wallace  3:09  

and non fungible, yes.

Gabriel Flores  3:11  

Do you do you envision, you know, video game photography kind of get into that area at some point?

xTonyx Wallace  3:16  

You know, I think it definitely could. In general, I think I see video game photography more as like, almost like an influencer play. Like, I think that's the only way it would become a thing. It could be like a you could definitely sell your video game photography as NFT. But you could also sell, you know, a picture of you during the peace sign as NFT. So yeah, totally doesn't unless you're really really super established famous artist. I don't think NF T's are, would work like that for video photography. But I could see like any art, right? Like, sure if this did become a thing. I think it's very new. It's unique. It's just starting now as more and more people take video game pictures, then yeah, you can see some like famous video game photographer being able to NF T's for sure. For sure.

Gabriel Flores  4:05  

Where do you see actually video game photography, like 510 years?

xTonyx Wallace  4:08  

I think like photography, like I really do. I think there's no reason why I wouldn't end up the same as photography as the games get better. As the developers cater around it. You know, even with my cyberpunk photos, I would have a lot of people hit me up and be like, Oh, damn, like you're traveling during the pandemic. And I was like, No, bro, this is a picture I took in a video game you know? So it's like, why wouldn't it get just like photography in the sense of you're still using all the same skills it's still your your, your unique eye, how you frame things, how you use the camera, just, I thought was really encouraging. I thought it was unique as I started taking video game pictures, all my old creative friends from video directing and just agency world and all my creative professional friends. Hit me up a lot. Yo, this is so cool to see your eye in video games. So like transfer translated the same as real photography that like, oh X is taking photos again, like they could see they were my style of photography, even in a video game. So I could absolutely see it just being like normal photography, to be honest. How

Gabriel Flores  5:18  

do you how do you envision, like in the future, monetizing it?

xTonyx Wallace  5:23  

I think now, like I kind of see like the traditional photography route where you're selling prints, or you're doing a show or whatever. But I really think it's more of an influencer model, right? So I don't monetize it. For me, it is just since I do work in the advertising world, like, all my side hustles are kind of right now just for fun. And if something comes out of it monetarily, that's cool. But I know how you would monetize it. And how what you would do is you would just play the influencer game. So hashtags, tagging all that stuff. And you would get money by companies reaching out for you to promote their games, right? So if you're one of the top video game photographers, and everyone loves your cyberpunk photos, or goes to misura, photos, company's events, you would reach out to you and be like, Hey, can you will pay us X amount of dollars to keep posting and tagging our game, we'll make articles of it, put it onto the blog, etc, etc. So, right now, just the normal influencer model is how you would monetize video game photography.

Gabriel Flores  6:23  

So let's let's take a little step back. Because I think a lot of times what we've been talking about is your creativity. Right? Very creative, doing a lot of different things. Where did that come from? Where did your creativity come from?

xTonyx Wallace  6:32  

Hmm. I don't know. Um, I think it just different cultures we're into, right. So growing up, obviously, where I grew up together similar age, like, before the internet, maybe ran across a thing, skate video, magazine, a record. And just I got caught up early into like punk scene and skater scenes and that kind of alternative lifestyle and just was always just part of that lifestyle. And creativity is a big part of that, right? Like from album covers to skate deck designs to streetwear to all that stuff. It started really young, just getting into kind of the alt culture. You know, I had a band in high school too, and no one else did. Like just, I think I just latched on a little bit. And did that not say like, I wasn't also just like a kid. I don't mean presented like that, because I also like played sports and was a dumb jock and all that shit as well. But I did just latch on to the creative lifestyle. And it was like, felt very different for where I lived and the people around me at the time.

Gabriel Flores  7:42  

Yeah, so one of the things you mentioned, too, is you work for camp Reedley. So you do videography, right? Kind of Yes. So how does how was that experience helped you kind of move forward with your video game photography?

xTonyx Wallace  7:56  

Oh, yeah, they're hand in hand. For sure. Like I think all the things have been hand in hand that I, even my career creativity, like I mentioned earlier in the little intro from, I went to school to be a 3d designer, so making 3d models and stuff. And that got me in the door at Camp grizzly, when it was just six of us. And then that skill turned into editing videos, that skill turned into directing videos turned into making TV commercials for all the biggest brands in the world and getting to do a bunch of cool stuff. So I think they definitely go hand in hand for sure.

Gabriel Flores  8:29  

Nice. What do you what do you enjoy most about either one of them.

xTonyx Wallace  8:33  

A video photography is fun, because it's not your house. So it's like playing video games. So it's easy, and you just get lost in it right? It's also nice, these games are so realistic. Now. If I'm shooting street photos in a game, it's nice not to have real people yelling at you, or, Hey, get out of the way or don't take my picture or just have an interact with real people. That's super fun. And then on the work side of things. It's super fun to get to be creative with a lot on the line. And I like that a lot. It's it's a whole different way of creativity where video game photography, or anything I do outside of work is just to be purely creative and have fun. And which is funny. I think that I'm so creative in my off time. And I'm also creative at work, but at work it's different because there's so much on the line and it's fun or it almost feels like you're like an madman or something like that.

Gabriel Flores  9:25  

Nice. Nice now you guys grown pretty large campers. Let's talk that let us talk about that a little bit. You know, how did that kind of work? How do you start with that team?

xTonyx Wallace  9:35  

Yeah, so I was working at the Apple store when I was in college. I went to art institute at the time and I don't know how this art so I definitely always was trying to be like a graphic designer or something at the time and I just really did everything I could to try to be a creative professional back then I worked full time 40 hours a week. I went to college full time. And then all my spare time I just made videos, or did design for bands or whatever. And just like that really was my early 20s was nonstop grinding trying to somehow get into the be a creative professional, I met a dude at the Apple Store, Dan portrait who owns camp grizzly, one of the people I worked with was an intern there. And then he invited me over and we'd hang out at Camp grills, he was just five people back then. So I'd go there on Saturdays and just like play Gears of War and hang out with the people then eventually got a chance to be there part time and then got it that way. So then it was just six of us, I was the second person hire that wasn't one of their friends. So it's just all just a friend group from U of O. And they did video production. And from video production, just do little stuff like little standard TV and appliance commercials, stuff like that. And then from there, we became a really big production company doing national broadcast TV spots for Adidas mostly was our hugest client. And then from there, they became a full fledged creative agency, which are now and it's so went from, like the six of us to now could be anywhere over 100 And some people with a whole bunch of different kinds of jobs. So yeah, it was a quite an evolution, for sure.

Gabriel Flores  11:16  

Nice. You know, one of the things I like to do is like, you know, educate the people that are listening. So what, you know, looking back on it, what are something like you wish you would have known kind of going into all of this?

xTonyx Wallace  11:27  

I think in general, do things quicker. It's so easy to be scared to do stuff. One of my, like, I have a neck tattoo of a grizzly bear for camp grizzly. And it says never forever. And I, I think once I learned that, which is like, obviously livestock forever, it made me quicker to take chances. And I'm still horrible at this. I don't want to like oh no, I've learned to take chances. And I'm doing everything I want. That's not true. But I wish I always think like I remember being two years in the job. And thinking I'm 26 Finally, I'm a creative professional, bla bla gratulations. But I had a chip on my shoulder still thinking like, I could have done this six years ago. Like easy. I just could have like you just think you can't and thank God I worked retail, all the way until I got that job because retail really makes you hate your situation so much that you have to do something like once I met the you know, million idiot asked me his dumb questions who had a job that I wanted. That's what I was fine. Like, I could do this. Like why now finally just do it, even though you're almost 30 Now or whatever. So yeah, I would say do it quicker, like you can always just do it. Like why not? You? You're just as good as anyone else. Anyone is? Yeah, I think that about the kids that come in, in turn for campus stuff. Now. It's just like, kind of a little belief in yourself and taking that risk is worth it. And you'll always have to take a risk as well. Like, that's the thing that's hard for a lot of people who wish or think, Oh, I love to do what you're doing love to you're doing, you still need to take a risk, right? So when I'm at school full time working full time and have a mortgage and I'm married, I still had to take that risk of quitting that awesome full time job. Make, I don't know, less than half of what I was making in this great full time job were at a great position to take that risk to be part of that industry. But you know, that it paid off. But yeah, I guess meant to say I would do it sooner

Gabriel Flores  13:29  

I would do so you know, that's that's actually a great point of risk. Because that's a big thing for entrepreneurs, right is how to manage essentially, as an entrepreneur, your your job is to mitigate your risk. Right? What what kind of things did you think about when you were deciding to move forward? And you know, how do you calculate your risk?

xTonyx Wallace  13:47  

Yeah, you know, there was a little bit of that actually, I remember thinking like, Okay, I just need to save up enough money for I don't think I actually ended up doing this. But I thought about it. I was like I should save up for three months. Like just whatever I'm making now. Save up for three months quit give yourself three months to do it and see what happens and that was kind of trying to mitigate the risk but really, again, just the retail lifestyle I I didn't think about it very business wise. I was also pretty young, you know, like mid 20s. So I just had enough I guess.

Gabriel Flores  14:26  

Yeah. So let's go to this go to kind of take a you know, circle back around because I really kind of wanted let the viewers or listeners at home know, the process of like the editing process that you go through for video game photography. Is there an editing process? What do you have to do?

xTonyx Wallace  14:40  

Yeah, so I say them. Right now. It's really just Cyberpunk is the easiest one because it has a legit photo mode. So pretty simple. You know, walk around, but only not to play the game just to look for photos. So it's so dorky kind of like even just sitting on the street at cyber punks. All Look, I'll see a frame I like maybe you could change the time a day in the game, which is nice too. So I always make sure it's like the perfect light. And I'll just imagine like, what if there was a person here, and I'll just sit and wait for that person to come? Oh, nice because it's like a city, right? So there's people walking in and tons of people crossed, they're not wearing a cool enough outfit or whatever. And then I'll take it, or I'll see someone around town with a cool outfit. And I'll follow them in wait to get them in a good spot. And then from there, so screencap well, not screencap they save it actual real file. So thorough punk will save the files that I bring into Lightroom, Adobe Lightroom. And I crop it for Instagram. And then I have like my own little color treatment that I do, too. I have a preset that I've made for that game specifically. And I'll put in the presets and then upload to Google Drive. And then from Google Drive to my phone to my phone to Instagram.

Gabriel Flores  15:51  

Yes, yeah, I'm one. You know, I wanted it to be said, because I think there's a big misconception of photography is pretty simple. You kind of take a photo, right? But it sounds like seems like most of the time is spent editing.

xTonyx Wallace  16:04  

Yeah, well, I would say half and half. And any photographer will tell you this, you went to traditional photography, I mean, half of it is the shoe. And half of it is editing. My editing process goes quick for video games, because it's, I have a preset I like I know, I want to look not like for a job right? Where you'd have to like Photoshop out certain logos or do this and the client wants a certain this that the other thing. So I do spend a lot of time waiting to get the photos in game. But then mostly the editing process is actually just choosing what photos right. So from, I'd say every session, if I have 150 photos, you know, five of them go to Instagram. So really, it's just like choosing the right five of the 100 Is it worth posting? Is it saying something is different than the last things you've done like that editing and processes takes a lot of time for sure. Not necessarily like colors and stuff.

Gabriel Flores  16:58  

So what what advice would you give an individual trying to get into video game photography,

xTonyx Wallace  17:04  

get a good computer. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as almost like an Olympic sport or something where there's such a barrier to entry, because your photos are only as good as the graphics. So if you don't have a really good computer, it's not gonna look so good. Um, so you can do something different, like more stylized, maybe black or white actually take that back, I would say, just start taking photos and games if you want to do it, like why not like, get lost in the game. The game means something to you go back, play it again, but only for the sake of taking photographs. I think in general, photography reminds us of things and brings back emotions and video games are very good at doing that, you know, a lot of these games are 30 to 40 hours experiences and they last you longer than a movie longer than a television shows. You'll never forget the first time playing Final Fantasy seven, or something like that, and just the emotions you have tied to them. So if you could play it all over again, and snapshot, those moments you remember in your head of a video game, and be able to keep it as a memory. Like that's why it's worth doing it. And that's why you

Gabriel Flores  18:11  

should do it. Nice. Well, you know, I got to ask you, what's your favorite game?

xTonyx Wallace  18:16  

actually pretty simple. For me, I generally have a rotating cast of single player games, but I have a competitive video game player like most people are these days. So I just play Apex legends, Overwatch and valorant with the homies, so all PvP shooters, type style games, and then Street Fighter. So I've been playing Street Fighter for, I don't know, almost nine years now. So that's probably my most proficient game at Street Fighter five now is the game. But yeah, all competitive games. And then I'll randomly do a one player game, which is funny about the video game photography, because the majority of the games I play, I don't take photos of because I just play them to play games and compete and have fun, my friends. So really, when I play a game like cyberpunk or games, I'm taking photos of like Titanfall I just took a few photos and there it is for the expressed interest of taking photos and kind of being lost in a world versus having to be hyper competitive. And

Gabriel Flores  19:15  

what is your favorite game to take photos in cyberpunk for sure.

xTonyx Wallace  19:18  

It's only just oh, I guess it's a lot of my aesthetic. I love it. It's like New York meets Tokyo. And it's just the quality's insane. I mean, it's the game you know, breaking everyone's computers and got pulled from the PlayStation Store because Playstations gonna handle it, etc. So it's just it's so close to real life. Like I'm not joking when I said I've had multiple people hit me up during the pandemic thinking I was traveling, taking pictures in that game. They look so realistic, it's incredible.

Gabriel Flores  19:48  

Nice. Well, let's let the listeners at home know how to get a hold of you how they can follow you on Instagram. What are your handles so they look at your video game photography.

xTonyx Wallace  19:55  

Yeah, just Instagram really. And it's x kawaii West X spelled XKAWAIW e s t x. So that's just a little play on Kanye West and like

Gabriel Flores  20:10  

anime. Now looking back on everything, would you do anything different?

xTonyx Wallace  20:16  

I guess besides doing it quicker No, I don't know if I would it's hard I yeah, I guess I would just be more instill, I think the same thing I would do different back then is the same thing I wish I would do different now. Which is always just have a little more self confidence and be willing to do things faster and not feel so like, Oh, it'll be fine. We'll be fine. It'll happen for me. I do think a lot of times I just sit and wait. And as you know, like talking all these entrepreneurs, which is crazy that I'm here I'm not one. But they are go getters, right and eventually you know, I've made those steps to do those things but not as often as I would like to so same advice I gave myself back then I would give myself today.

Gabriel Flores  20:59  

Nice. Thank you X for joining me another great entrepreneur another great battler. Thank you again so much for ladies and gentlemen at home please visit me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and have a great night.

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