How to Build a Minimalist But Pretentious Interior Design in 3ds Max
Fox Renderfarm is committed to making contributions to the CG industry by sponsoring international CG challenges. Evermotion Challenge 2021 came to an end. As one of the sponsors, we are so glad to have the honor and opportunity to have an interview with Azat Mammedov, the 2nd award in the competition. His work, The Abode of the Jeweler, is highly praised by the judges for its realistic lighting and textures. In our interview, Azat tells us how he made this fantastic piece and his CG journey.
Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Azat! Thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?
Azat: Hello. My name is Azat Mammadov. I live in Turkmenistan and currently head a design studio. Since 2017, I have been drawing concepts and, if possible, I try to participate in various competitions (interiors, characters, environments, objects) as my creativity is looking for an outlet, despite the fact that sometimes due to work there is little time. However, work does not take up all my time. My day is scheduled, but the framework is not rigid and I can adjust the tasks depending on the circumstances. This helps keep you on your toes and doing many small tasks without feeling chaotic and out of control. Thanks to this schedule, last year I read 15 books of various genres and took refresher courses.
Fox Renderfarm: How long did you finish the work, The Abode of the Jeweler?
Azat: Participation in the Evermotion Challenge 2021 started with an email notification. I became interested in the topic of the competition, but at that moment, I was busy preparing for the upcoming project. The competition started on December 7th, but I started participating in it on the 20th. All this time I thought about the concept, but I was not sure that once I started the work I would be able to complete it. This happened to me once when I competed Artstation Challenge: From the Moon to Mars: Celebrating Apollo's 50th Anniversary. However, having managed to delegate part of my work to others, I was able to take up the competition by allocating 1-2 hours a day for this. Of course, at the final stage, these limits had to be violated and I allocated up to 5 hours a day for the competitive work. However, according to the results of my measurements, I realized that I had spent 61 hours on the project. I cannot say that this approach to work is unique or ideal, but at that time, it was a decision that allowed me to realize what I mentally saw.
Fox Renderfarm: What software and plugins did you use?
Azat: At work, I used 3ds Max to build models and collect them in one scene. Corona render for visualization, assembled 3d model and adjusted light. Photoshop for material setup and post-processing. PureRef for a convenient overview of all collected images on a given topic.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s the inspiration behind your artwork?
Azat: The theme of the Work-Life Balance contest itself served as a source of inspiration. In 2020, I organized my own studio in which I worked with my wife, an architect, and I perfectly understand what a difficult task it is to maintain a balance between home and work, especially since we were both at home. Recent trends in the global labor market have shown that more and more people are choosing to work from home whenever possible, especially if a person is self-employed and the profession of a jeweler just satisfies this opportunity. I like the styles of minimalism and loft in the interior, but in my country, they are undeservedly bypassed, preferring pretentious classic interiors. In this work, I tried to present a balance in life for a jeweler, taking into account various factors, one of which is the sufficiency of the working space and the ability to isolate it from prying eyes. My approach to work was such that the project only needs to be translated into drawings and implemented.
Fox Renderfarm: What a fantastic piece that is full of detail in every corner of the room! How did you make the modeling and the composition?
Azat: When I took on the project, the first thing I did was to study the jobs of jewelers from among my acquaintances and photos from the Internet in order to understand the atmosphere of the profession, which I knew little about until that time. Almost during the day, I built the final result in my head, and the rest of the time I implemented it as if the work had already been done, and I just remember what has already been done. That is why I only changed the location of the camera in the scene once in order to adjust the 3D projection to my vision. Details were added to the project according to the principle from largest to smallest, which means that first large details, and only then medium and small ones. So that the colors do not distract me from the form, I implemented the modeling in one color. Most of the models were made by me for this project or taken from previous ones. As details were added, a complex shape emerged, which I later broke up with light and color so that the composition worked for a comfortable perception of the project. While working on the project, I thought over the full functionality of the premises, as I had a burning desire to implement something similar for my family. It is because the interior is built logically, it looks natural and harmonious. Of course, I was not able to show the entire space in one frame, but I think people can easily fill in the missing with their mind's eye.
Fox Renderfarm: The lighting is just right and the mood is very emphasized by it. How did you make it?
Azat: Having finished with modeling, I began to build lighting. By assigning a gray material to all surfaces, I built the light that I would like to see in my project. Unfortunately, at the painting stage, I ran into difficulties, because due to the nature of the materials and the location of the light sources, the previously configured parameters did not work. I knew that I would have to adjust them after applying the materials, but I did not expect that the adjustments would be significant. In some parts of the scene, I had to add fake light sources that I did not like in order to make the work bright and effective. As for planning lighting, this idea is not new. I used the evening mood and light to accentuate the jeweler's office. That is why the foreground is bright and warm, and the background is dark and cold. If you make the light uniform (like during the day, for example), then the interior will still work, but the presentation will no longer be artistic and the observer's eye will wander over bright spots. For daylight, this composition would no longer work.
Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any difficulties when creating this work? And how did you solve them?
Azat: As mentioned above, one of the difficulties was with lighting, but that was not all. In the project, I intended to use the national elements of my people so that the work would not be faceless. However, I spent quite a bit of time picking out the patterns and colors on the rugs, as some of the more traditional ones were knocked out in my project and took on too much attention. The solution was a slight rethinking of the colors on the carpets so that they look more harmonious in the work done. The next difficulty arose with the filling of a large workspace. To make it easier, I used one model several times, slightly modifying it. By the way, one of the judges drew attention to this. There were also some difficulties with the functioning of the space, but they are not significant and are more related to design tasks, but not artistic ones.
Fox Renderfarm: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?
Azat: As for the sources of inspiration, this is, first of all, nature, whose creative abilities surpass all of ours put together, then books, thanks to which one’s own vision develops, and finally dreams in which the subconscious does everything that escaped consciousness and sometimes it’s beautiful. If you choose the sources of images from outside, that is, among people, then these are the works of the following authors: photographer Yuri Arkurs, photographer Annie Leibovitz, artist Rakhman Umarov, concept artist Jama Jurabaev, artist Sid Mead, concept artist Samwise Didier, concept artist Nick Gindraux and many others.
Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly tell us your educational and work experience along your CG journey?
Azat: As a child, I was constantly drawing, but my parents could not send me to art school, so for many years it remained a hobby with poor skills. I believe that my creative path was born in 2009, when I got acquainted with the Photoshop program while in the army. I was so fascinated by the fact that you could create anything in it, that when I finished my service, I soon got a job in an advertising agency as a designer. I then worked on logos and posters. At first, this was enough, I had the opportunity to learn different skills from other designers, but soon this was not enough for me and having mastered additional skills, namely 3d, I began to make exhibition pavilions and not complex interiors. My skills grew and I changed several companies. It was a great joy for me that more and more lessons began to be released in video format, where it is not necessary to know the language to understand what the author is doing. In 2017, I tried myself as a concept artist, learning new techniques and following cutting-edge artists. In 2019, I thought about creating my own wide spectrum design group, where I was going to bring together many creative people. In 2020, I left the construction company where I held the position of chief designer and founded my own design studio, which currently consists of two people. The pandemic has adjusted my plans and now my studio has not yet reached the level that I expected, but our modest success still pleases our team. Now we are working on our own project, which we want to make our hallmark in the world of cinema and games.
Fox Renderfarm: Do you have any recommendable learning methods to improve professional skills?
Azat: What I can recommend to others is the ability to manage your time. With this most important skill, anyone can methodically master any knowledge and skill - this is already a proven fact, covered by many people.
Fox Renderfarm: Is there anything you want to share with the CG enthusiasts?
Azat: I have a couple more recommendations, which, however, have no more reliable basis than my own confused experience. First, it is important to be able to set goals and go towards them confidently. However, at a certain stage, having learned something new for yourself and expanding your worldview, you can and sometimes need to rethink your goals and you should not be afraid of this, this is normal. Life is not a straight road and the ability to move a couple of meters away to find a treasure is much more important than the ability to look only ahead. Secondly, you need to work hard on yourself, not expecting quick results and not allowing disbelief and despondency into your life. The devil has no more formidable weapon than despondency, and when his other tools do not work (the dagger of envy, the hammer of anger, the trap of greed), this small peg driven into a person’s soul opens the way for other tools. Thirdly, love criticism and look for it, but try to get it from people who know, because they will not only say that you are bad, but also show what, where and how to correct. I wish you success!
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