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From Tamil Nadu to the Moon: The Artistic Journey of 3D Visionary Sanjay

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Fox Renderfarm Interview

Introducing Sanjay, a gifted and committed 3D artist from Tamil Nadu, India, whose love for VFX and animation has grown gradually since he found Blender in the tenth grade. After four years of creative experience at a prestigious art school, Sanjay has developed an amazing level of adaptability using state-of-the-art programs such as Unreal Engine 5, Houdini, and Maya. His award-winning "Lunar Landscape" piece for Kaizen's challenge, sponsored by Fox Renderfarm, a leading cloud rendering services provider and render farm in the industry, served as a recent showcase of his skill set. The way Sanjay brought his vivid imagination to life and created an amazing visual experience on the moon's surface mesmerized the judges. 

Discover the inspiration, methods, and inventive spirit behind this talented young artist's outstanding lunar depiction.

Fox Renderfarm: Hello, Sanjay! We're grateful for your willingness to participate in our interview. Would you mind giving our readers a brief introduction about yourself?

© Sanjay

© Sanjay

Sanjay: Hello everyone, I am Sanjay, a dedicated student hailing from Tamil Nadu, India, currently immersed in the dynamic realms of animation and VFX at an esteemed art school and having 4 years of experience in the creative field. My journey with Blender commenced in grade 10 as a mere hobby, evolving into a profound passion that has now become the focal point of my career aspirations.

The transformation of my imaginative concepts into tangible visual experiences brings me immense joy and satisfaction as an artist. In addition to mastering Blender, I continually refine my skills in other cutting-edge software such as Unreal Engine 5, SideFX Houdini, and Autodesk Maya, ensuring a versatile and comprehensive skill set.

I owe a debt of gratitude to my mother, whose unwavering support and encouragement have been a constant source of motivation during moments of self-doubt. Her positive influence has been instrumental in guiding me toward a path of success and achievement.

Fox Renderfarm: Achieving recognition in the 'Kaizen's Lunar Landscape Challenge' represents a notable accomplishment. What inspired your involvement, and what were your emotions upon discovering that your efforts surpassed those of others?

Sanjay: I have extensively immersed myself in the wealth of knowledge offered by Kaizen's YouTube videos, absorbing valuable insights that have significantly enriched my understanding. My journey with Kaizen extended beyond passive learning when I enthusiastically participated in the Salvaged Space Challenge, marking my inaugural entry into the competitive realm curated by Kaizen.

Despite my initial disappointment in not securing a spot among the top nine entries, I embraced the constructive feedback provided by Kaizen, recognizing it as a crucial tool for growth. This feedback not only guided me in rectifying my errors but also served as an inspiration to eagerly take on the Lunar Landscape Challenge.

The culmination of my efforts reached a pinnacle of joy when my render was announced as the third-place winner during the livestream. This recognition validated the dedication and hard work I invested in making my creation truly iconic. I am grateful for the learning experiences and the affirmations received from Kaizen's challenges, propelling me further along my artistic journey.

Fox Renderfarm: Can you give a quick rundown of the project "Lunar Treat" you entered for the 'Kaizen's Lunar Landscape Challenge'?

Sanjay: In the Lunar Landscape challenge, my objective was to craft a visually striking and unique scene. I envisioned an astronaut crew with a playful twist — a dog on the moon's surface. Initially considering a bone as an element to place aside, but I opted for a more impactful choice by placing a spaghetti, injecting humor and interest into the composition. After conceptualizing, I sourced assets from Sketchfab and meticulously constructed the scene in Blender, ensuring a captivating and distinctive entry.

Clay Render © Sanjay

Clay Render © Sanjay

Fox Renderfarm: Can you walk us through the creative process behind your work, from conceptualization to final execution? Do you have any standard working pipeline?


Conceptualization - Inspired by the desire for uniqueness, I envisioned a scenario where a dog, seamlessly integrated into the astronaut crew, traverses the moon's surface. To add a touch of humor and intrigue, I initially considered placing a bone beside the dog. However, after careful consideration, I realized that this element lacked the desired impact. This creative choice not only injected a sense of playfulness into the scene but also elevated the overall visual appeal.

Opting for a more engaging and unexpected element, I introduced a whimsical twist by placing a spaghetti instead.

Assets creation - Some of the objects needed to model and for the landscape I’ve used Geogen which is one of the most powerful software for creating landscapes with multiple variants. The planets behind the moon’s surface are also created using geogen. I used Houdini to make a fluid simulation of a soup in spaghetti and imported it into a blender in an alembic format (.abc). Also, I sourced some of the assets in the marketplace and got some of them from sketchfab as per my desire.

Staging - After getting the collection of all meshes I started to stage them in the scene so that there would be a visual balance to the scene.

Assigning materials and textures - Even though the meshes downloaded from sketchfab have textures it is necessary to tweak some adjustments so that they can nicely blend into the scene and also have a proper impact when we add lighting to the scene. It's also very important to assign appropriate materials and textures to the meshes which we modeled and they should make sense with the scene.

Lighting - For lighting the scene I used various lights such as key light, rim light, ambient light, fill light, and some point lights as well. It is completely up to our imagination how we enhance the scene with lights and also its utilization has a huge impact in enhancing the visuals.

Rendering - Before rendering the scene I made some adjustments to the camera parameters in the blender like tweaking DOP (Depth of Field) values, Focal length, and rotations. I have also added some volumetric fog to create much depth to the scene. Then I rendered the scene in a PNG format in 4k resolution at a sample rate of 4090.

Post-processing - This is where the magic takes place. I used Adobe Photoshop for color correction of the rendered output which enhances the art piece by making it look vibrant and attractive.

Fluid Simulation (Particle Fluid) © Sanjay

Fluid Simulation (Particle Fluid) © Sanjay

Fluid Simulation (Fluid Mesh)  © Sanjay

Fluid Simulation (Fluid Mesh)  © Sanjay

Viewport render (Solid Render)  © Sanjay

Viewport render (Solid Render)  © Sanjay

Render Test  © Sanjay

Render Test  © Sanjay

(without post-process and fluid simulation)

Final Output  © Sanjay

Final Output | Lunar Treat © Sanjay

Fox Renderfarm: What inspired you to incorporate a dog into your depiction of lunar exploration in "Lunar Treat"?

Sanjay: Upon learning about the "Lunar Landscape" challenge, my immediate inspiration drew from the poignant story of Laika, the Soviet space dog. Laika, a stray mongrel from Moscow, became one of the first animals in space and the first to orbit the Earth aboard Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957. Struck by the sadness of her narrative, I aimed to recreate this historical incident in a positive light. Injecting humor and joy into the scene, my goal was to transform the somber tone into an engaging and interesting visual narrative with my creativity and imagination.

Fox Renderfarm: Can you tell me how long it took to go from the initial idea to the finished product, and which part of the process took up the most time? What factors contributed to this time investment?

Sanjay: It took me around Two days to Complete the “Lunar Treat” and usually the staging and rendering part takes more time to finish the final one.

Fox Renderfarm: Were there any particular challenges you encountered while working on this piece, and if so, how did you overcome them?

Sanjay: No, I have not encountered any challenges while working on this but sometimes we have to face challenges technically or mentally that make us disappointed. In those situations, we have to think positively and try to find the right solution that helps us overcome those challenges. 

Fox Renderfarm: The presence of the dog with a bowl of noodles adds a whimsical touch to the scene. Can you elaborate on the significance or symbolism behind this unexpected element?

Sanjay: Initially considering a bone for the scene, I found the concept lacking visual impact and personal satisfaction. After contemplating for several hours, inspiration struck when I encountered a noodle advertisement on my mobile phone. This led to a creative breakthrough, prompting the substitution of the bone with a bowl of noodles. The revised concept not only addressed the visual impact issue but also infused the scene with a unique and engaging element, elevating the overall appeal of the entry

Fox Renderfarm: Did you utilize particular AI tools in crafting "Lunar Treat" to attain its acclaimed quality? How did the integration of these tools enhance the visual allure of the artwork's final rendition?

Sanjay: I did not employ any Artificial Intelligence tools in crafting "Lunar Treat." As an artist, my approach is rooted in a personal creative process, and I hold reservations about utilizing AI-generated content. The essence of art, for me, lies in individual expression and the emotional connection embedded in the artist's work. While some AI tools may offer convenience, I prioritize the authenticity and originality that stem from my own creative endeavors, steering clear of relying on pre-existing works blended by AI algorithms.

Fox Renderfarm: Can you share a specific breakthrough moment or discovery you had during the creation of "Lunar Treat" that significantly influenced the final outcome?

Sanjay: Certainly, the pivotal decision to incorporate a dog in the lunar landscape scene, accompanied by a bowl of noodles, marked a breakthrough moment in the creation process. This strategic choice not only rendered my entry unique but also elevated its engagement factor significantly. The inclusion of the dog, coupled with the whimsical addition of noodles, injected a sense of humor and joy into the scene, fostering a vibrant and captivating environment. This deliberate creative decision aimed not only to stand out but also to resonate with viewers on an emotional and lighthearted level

Fox Renderfarm: Can you share with us about your favorite projects or pieces you've worked on, and what made them particularly enjoyable or fulfilling for you?

Top 100 3D Renders from the Internet’s Largest CG Challenge  YouTube © Pwnisher

Top 100 3D Renders from the Internet’s Largest CG Challenge | YouTube © Pwnisher

Sanjay: For me, one of the favorite projects I have worked on is Pwnisher’s Alternate Reality challenge this was my first ever community challenge in which I have participated. This challenge opened up a gateway to the 3D community and I have learned so much knowledge from it and also encountered a lot of challenges during the working process.

Fox Renderfarm: Are there specific cultural or natural elements that consistently inspire your work? How do these influences manifest in your creations?

Sanjay: Indeed, my creative process is profoundly influenced by nature, with a particular focus on animals. I find inspiration in the unique properties and behaviors of various species, often gleaning fresh ideas through careful observation. Additionally, my travels serve as a wellspring of inspiration, as I keenly observe the surrounding environment. This exploration helps me grasp the diverse habitats and cultures of different species, informing my understanding of their natural worlds.

One of my creative techniques involves crafting imaginary stories from the photographs I capture during my travels. This approach not only enhances my storytelling abilities but also fuels the generation of creative ideas, allowing me to weave narratives inspired by the rich tapestry of the natural world

Fox Renderfarm: Have you ever utilized Fox Renderfarm's cloud rendering services previously? If so, what are your thoughts on the cloud rendering solutions they offer?

Sanjay: While I haven't personally utilized Fox Renderfarm's cloud rendering services yet, I've gained insights into their efficiency and benefits. Recognized as one of the most user-friendly platforms, it provides a seamless solution for rendering complex scenes that often demand extended processing time on local machines. The prospect of accelerating rendering times through this service is particularly appealing, promising a more efficient and productive workflow.

In my upcoming projects, I intend to leverage Fox Renderfarm to streamline my rendering process. The convenience it offers is invaluable, ensuring the timely completion of rendering tasks and eliminating the risk of missing deadlines. This strategic integration into my workflow aligns with my commitment to optimizing efficiency and delivering high-quality results in a time-sensitive professional environment

Fox Renderfarm: Finally, from your perspective, what emerging technologies or tools do you believe will have the most significant impact on the future of 3D art?

Sanjay: Even Though I hate using AI tools in workflows, I think it will have a great impact in the future. Some of the AI tools are really handy for artists to complete tedious works but some might replace the artist's works like rotoscoping, tracking, concept art, and many more. It would be a great tool until we use it for pre-visualization purposes only, not for the final results.

Thanks again to Sanjay for accepting our interview! Wishing new heights in your professional career! keep up with your great work.

Sanjay’s social media:

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