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    From Student to Viz Pro: Bao Duy’s 10-Year Journey in the CGI Industry

    From Student to Viz Pro: Bao Duy’s 10-Year Journey in the CGI Industry

    Having worked in the CGI business for ten years, Bao Duy is an architect and 3D artist at Refl Studio Vietnam. He recently received a nomination for the ‘Viz Pro of the Year’ category in the CGArchitect 3D Awards 2023, which is sponsored by Fox Renderfarm, a leading cloud rendering services provider and render farm in the industry. His interest in this subject was sparked by a project he worked on in his fourth year at the University of Architecture in Da Nang, where he used 3ds Max to produce breathtaking and realistic photographs. He has since taken part in a number of projects that test his abilities and imagination.

    Let’s discover more about Bao Duy's background, sources of inspiration, and outlook on the development of 3D art and architecture.

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Bao Duy! Thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

    Bao Duy: My name is Bao, and I proudly serve as an architect and 3D artist at Refl Studio Vietnam. With a decade of experience in the CGI industry, every project has been a journey of growth and discovery.

    My initial exposure to this captivating field occurred during my fourth-year project at the University of Architecture in Da Nang. Back then, I utilized 3ds Max to breathe life into my ideas. Surprisingly, at that time, I never envisioned becoming a 3D artist; my aspirations leaned toward working as an engineer in urban planning after graduation. However, destiny had other plans for me. The pivotal moment came in 2014 while working at my first company. It was there that I realized my true passion for the art of crafting immersive experiences through 3D software. Since then, I've been enchanted by the enchanting process of transforming creative visions into tangible masterpieces.

    Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations on being nominated in the CGArchitect 3D Awards 2023 ‘Viz Pro of the Year’ category! How do you feel about it?

    Bao Duy: First time, thank you very much for that. This achievement represents a significant milestone in my years of dedication to the field of visualization, marking a pivotal stage in the development of my skills and personal insights into this craft.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you give us a brief overview of the project that you brought to the Viz Pro of the Year award?

    Cabin in the Sea © Bao Duy

    Cabin in the Sea © Bao Duy

    Bao Duy: This project is in Norway. The images showcase a basic cabin perched on rocks with a view of the ocean in mild weather and dreamy lighting We focus on capturing peaceful moments throughout the day with warm, gentle lighting.

    Fox Renderfarm: Can you share what inspires your visualizations? Any favorite artists or references?

    Bao Duy: I always look up to artists like Bertrand Benoit, Zuliban, and Adán Martín as their works are a constant source of inspiration to me. Moreover, while working on a project, I make sure to use stock image websites like Shutterstock, Unsplash, etc. to find images that best align with the environment, lighting, and vegetation suitable for my project. It helps me ensure that my work is always top-notch and meets my high standards.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you walk us through your creative process for this piece? How did you start, and how did it evolve?

    Bao Duy:

    © Bao Duy

    © Bao Duy

    First, I will finalize the design process and finalize the model by modeling elements such as cladding, roofing, and terrace flooring, and etc.

    © Bao Duy_

    © Bao Duy

    © Bao Duy___

    © Bao Duy

    Next, I will select the camera and plan the overall layout of the project. As you can see, I have utilized a few basic human models to ensure that the scale and height of the terrain are appropriate, preventing the landscape from being too high or too low.

    © Bao Duy____

    © Bao Duy

    After selecting the appropriate camera, I will begin to make details for the landscape background. To create ground details, I use ZBrush along with various brushes. However, you may use any other sculpting software that works well for you.

    © Bao Duy_____

    © Bao Duy

    When using huge Quixel libraries to enhance your environment, it's important to keep in mind that you can add, remove, edit or diversify them. However, it's crucial to choose or edit them based on reference images. This is to avoid any deviations in color or style from the intended project location.

    © Bao Duy______

    © Bao Duy

    After finishing the rock model, I proceeded to add vegetation to the landscape. Initially, I used Corona Scan to create moss patches on the foreground rocks, but upon rendering, I noticed that the detail was not satisfactory. Therefore, I utilized Speedtree to remodel the moss model Then, I used Itoo Forest to distribute the vegetation on the surface of the rocks, as well as in the crevices where weeds typically grow.

    © Bao Duy________

    © Bao Duy

    Then I continued to complete the trees, bushes, and grass around the house. You can use Itoo Forest to spread a forest background and add some key trees you like.

    © Bao Duy_________

    © Bao Duy

    To avoid processing large amounts of data by the CPU, you can separate the parts relevant to the simulation and vary the number of tests to achieve your desired image. This job takes a lot of my time.

    Finally, I will test lighting and mood again. You can change many types of light with HDRI or simply just Corona sun and Corona sky but make sure the brightness still follows the color tone you are focused on. 

    Along with that, you check the materials and colors of everything because when changing the brightness, the color of the object will be changed but you only need to edit the objects that are important or too special in color. The rest you can edit with Photoshop if the image does not affect the overall image too much

    Fox Renderfarm: What innovative techniques or technologies did you employ in this project that set it apart from others?

    Bao Duy: There's nothing particularly unique about my project process - I tend to follow a standard approach. However, in this particular project, I utilized Chaos's Phoenix FD software to create the effect of ocean waves crashing against the cliffs. Perhaps the shape of the waves, combined with my efforts to accurately depict Norway's vegetation, helped to evoke a stronger emotional response from the viewer.

    Fox Renderfarm: Your textures for the leaves, rocks, water, and foliage are impressively lifelike. Could you walk us through your approach to crafting such detailed textures?

    Bao Duy:

    © Bao Duy__________

    © Bao Duy

    I try to analyze their outstanding features such as stone veins, colors, forms, etc. The color of the water is quite difficult to achieve just by rendering so I created many color calibration layers in Photoshop.

    You can see I downloaded quite a few images of Norway's vegetation. I will then try to do simulations and material testing of them based on those images. Just like creating a first image and putting it in the inspiration section, we can easily compare the colors and differences between our photo and the actual image to easily edit it.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long did it take you to complete this piece from concept to final render, and which part was the most time-consuming? Why?

    Bao Duy: It took me approximately one week to come up with an idea and complete the product. The most time-consuming aspect was finding images from various sources and linking them together. After that, I had to experiment several times with different quantities to create the most effective wave applications that matched my desired outcome. Although it may not be perfect, I did the best I could.

    Fox Renderfarm: What were the most significant creative challenges you faced in this project, and how did you overcome them?

    Bao Duy: The most realistic way to create ocean waves using Phoenix requires multiple tests with various parameters, which can be quite time-consuming during simulation.

    Fox Renderfarm: Are there any moments you enjoyed during the creation process? And what was the most memorable?

    Bao Duy: The most exciting moment may be the final test when the seawater simulation is finished. then I'm still not satisfied with the foams and sponges made by Phoenix FD and they are quite heavy. So I continued to look for some tutorials online when using Tyflow to simulate them to suit my liking.

    © Bao Duy_______________

    © Bao Duy

    The shape is good but you can see that the foam part is not beautiful and the moss part on the stone when using Corona scan will be flat. That's why I used tyflow to simulate sponges and used the model to spread on rocks.

    © Bao Duy___________

    © Bao Duy

    It is better for the next test.

    Fox Renderfarm: Are there any hidden details or Easter eggs in 'Cabin in the Sea' that viewers might not notice at first glance?

    Bao Duy: I tried to make more details with the materials for the house, but it's difficult to see the details in the overall image. 

    Fox Renderfarm: How did you use visual storytelling to convey the architectural narrative of the project?

    Bao Duy: I will try to simulate the environment and foliage around the project so that when we look at it we can feel it close. Additionally, you can use lighting to make the picture look more vivid. The picture will be sad if all objects are frozen or do not have a specific state. Therefore, you can add elements such as the movement of trees, flags, water, or some motion effects and bokeh to create a more lively feeling in the photo.

    Fox Renderfarm: Have you had any experience with Fox Renderfarm's cloud rendering services in the past? If you have, what is your opinion of our cloud rendering offerings? 

    Bao Duy: I have not had the opportunity to experience Fox Renderfarm services. Maybe I will use the rewards I receive from you to continue personal projects in the future.

    Fox Renderfarm: Do you have any ongoing projects or future plans at the moment?

    Bao Duy: I have a personal project in the pipeline that will focus on visual effects and have a more cinematic feel. I hope everyone will enjoy it when it's released.

    Fox Renderfarm: Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring 3D artists? Are there any key lessons or insights that you have learned along your journey?

    Bao Duy: I hope that everyone strives to do their best and achieve their goals. When I was working on this project, I faced some difficulties, but it turned out to be a learning opportunity. I got to experience software that I had not used before.

    Thanks again to Bao Duy for accepting our interview! Wishing new heights in your professional career!

    Bao Duy’s social media:

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