Meet Award-winning Art Director at AWS, Amaru Zeas
FGT3D Hunter Challenge organized by the TPN-Accredited cloud rendering services provider, Fox Renderfarm, received lots of excellent entries! We are so glad to have an interview with Amaru Zeas, one of the Professional finalists, with his amazing artwork “LIFE HUNTER”.
LIFE HUNTER © Amaru Zeas
Amaru: Have you ever imagined what the Amazon Rainforest will be like in the year 2172? Global warming is real. The worst impacts of climate change could be irreversible by 2030. The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years. More than 1 million species are at risk of extinction by climate change. We use more of the earth's resources than it can renew.
- Amaru Zeas
- Art Director at Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Seattle, Washington
- Honors & Awards
- CG Render image of the week
- Top 100 of the Best 3D Artists around the World
- Best of Substance art of 2016
3D World Feature
Golden Trophy © Amaru Zeas
Rider 49 © Amaru Zeas
3D Artist Magazine Feature
Ferrari 156 © Amaru Zeas
F1 641 © Amaru Zeas
Luck © Amaru Zeas
© Amaru Zeas
Sweet Colors © Amaru Zeas
Green Library © Amaru Zeas
Disintegration © Amaru Zeas
Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Amaru! Thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?
Amaru: My name is Amaru. I am a CG-Artist based in Seattle, Washington. I'm currently employed as an Art Director at Amazon Web Services (AWS). My hometown is Cuenca, Ecuador. My friends, family and especially my wife know my biggest passion is to craft CG art.
I've always wanted to do 3D art for movies or video games since I was a little boy. I came to the United States to pursue my ambition, and it has been incredible so far. I recall going to the library while I was in 3D Art School and spending several hours reading and looking through 3D Artist Magazines. I told myself, "Someday, I’ll have my work published here." Now, after working in the industry for more than 12 years, I’m happy to say that my work has been published in 3d world magazine and many more around the world.
I spend a good amount of my free time engaged in personal projects, which I approach with a lot of dedication and passion.
UE_Reel © Amaru Zeas
Fox Renderfarm: How long did you finish your project, LIFE HUNTER?
Amaru: LIFE HUNTER was, without a doubt, my most ambitious personal project to date. In less than three months, everything was completed by a single artist. Because I work full-time as an artist, I had to come up with a plan. It was challenging at times because I worked 4-5 hours after work and at least 20 hours on weekends. I created and schedule on my whiteboard in my home office, which allowed me to be better organized and finish the project.
Fox Renderfarm: What software and plugins did you use?
Amaru: When I work on a personal project, I try to use as many 3D software as possible in order to stay current with the latest tools and technologies. For this project I used Unreal Engine 4.26 for rendering, set dressing, layout, particle effects. Mega scans to create quick and realistic rocks, grounds and some tree trunks. Speedtree to model the main tree of the film. Maya to model the futuristic hover and the drone. Substance Painter to create all the textures. World Creator to create height maps to build the mountains. Mixamo to download fast animations for the pilot. Finally, one of my all-time favorite software; DaVinci Resolve for final composition and color grade.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s the inspiration behind your artwork?
Amaru: My mother has always been a huge inspiration in my life, and she has always encouraged me to use my work to give back to the community in some way. In recent years, I've spent a lot of time researching two essential topics: education and global warming. I really wanted to create a more intricate and lengthier story this time. I wanted to produce something about global warming, more along the lines of a futuristic narrative about what will happen if we continue to abuse the Earth the way we do now. This is a call to action.
Fox Renderfarm: How did you make the modelling?
Amaru: For modelling I used Maya Autodesk for the hover and the drone. Speed tree for the hero tree of the film and some tree trunks as well. I utilized photogrammetry models from Megascans to build the landscape.
Fox Renderfarm: The environment scenes are excellent; how did you make it?
Amaru: Most of the environment assets are photogrammetry assets from Mega Scans, a great library of highly detailed assets. That allowed me to be more creative and build the environment faster without spending too much time modeling every single rock and ground.
Fox Renderfarm: The lighting and rendering catch our eyes. How did you manage to set them?
Amaru: I really enjoy doing lighting and compositing, it is one of my favorite stages while producing CG art. I tend to use very contrast lighting and intentionally use stronger lights in order to draw your eyes to the correct place of the shot. Shadows are very important as well as they can help you occlude objects that might cause distraction.
Lighting and compositing are two of my favorite steps of creating computer-generated art. I like to employ high contrast lighting and purposefully use brighter lights to bring your attention to the focal point of the photo. Shadows are also very significant because they can help you obliterate distracting elements.
Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any difficulty in the process? How did you solve it?
Amaru: It usually takes longer to produce anything when you're trying out new technologies for the first time. I had a lot of technical challenges with the Unreal Engine. To begin, I intended to use a gaming engine to create a cinematic film in 4K quality with the greatest possible geometry and texture fidelity. Many of the issues I was able to overcome by experimenting with different ways, searching the internet, and communicating with a few others via blogs.
Fox Renderfarm: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?
Amaru: Usually I do tend to visit some of the greatest CG artist’s work to get inspiration like Marek Denko, however for this project I was heavily inspired by 3 of my most favorite films, Mad Max Road Fury, Blade Runner 2049 and 1917, the last one for the amazing camera work.
Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly tell us your educational and work experience along your CG journey?
Amaru: My background in the industry has been everywhere from working on commercials and live action to video games, as well as architectural visualization and Hololens. Now for the first time I am working on animated films.
Fox Renderfarm: Do you have any recommendable learning methods to improve professional skills?
Amaru: I encourage all artists to create the things they love. When you’re paid to do what you’d be willing to do for free, you find fulfillment and purpose in your career. It might take longer than you think to catch your big break, so be willing to put yourself out there and never give up.
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