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Interview With Szymon Magiera: Creating a Realistic Snowman With Blender

2022-02-17
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FGT3D Snowman Challenge organized by the TPN-Accredited cloud rendering services provider, Fox Renderfarm, was started in September, 2021 and sponsored by our amazing sponsors, including Maxon, Chaos, Poliigon, HDR Light Studio, Pilgway, TopoGun, Graswald, Raysync, Textures.com, Texturebox and iCube R&D Group. After the selection by our jury, 3 Professional artworks and 3 Student artworks were picked and would be awarded the prizes provided by our amazing sponsors. Congratulations to all the winners! And thanks to everyone for participating!

The first place winner in the Professional category of the FGT3D Snowman Challenge goes to Szymon Magiera with his work, SNOWMAN.

“Szymon's snowman puts a smile on your face. Its innocent facial expression, the warm sunlight, and the sprouting grass suggest a wonderful aura of positivity. The author's brilliant craft is clearly reflected in the image's texture, material, and depth of field. The snowman's friendly gesture and the soft doll-like materiality bring a very inviting atmosphere to the viewers in the composition.” One of our judges, Frank WANG Yefeng said, who is the Assistant Professor in the Art Department from Rhode Island College.

Let's find out how Szymon made the amazing artwork through the exclusive interview with Fox Renderfarm.

Snowman © Szymon Magiera

Snowman © Szymon Magiera

Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Szymon! Thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

Szymon: Hi,Thank You for the opportunity to say something about myself :). Parents named me Szymon. I'm 28 yo, I'm living a peaceful life in a small village in the outskirts of Poland. I have been trying to improve my skills for around 7 years now.

Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations on winning 1st place in the Professional Category of the FGT3D Snowman Challenge, how do you feel about that?

Szymon: I feel really great about it, I could not be more proud! But I'm surprised and a bit guilty, there were so many amazing entries by other artists!

Fox Renderfarm: How long did you finish the work, SNOWMAN?

Szymon: Scene in itself wasn’t too complicated. I just had a lot of time on my side. It took me around 2 days of trial and error.

Some trial renders.

Snowman © Szymon Magiera Snowman © Szymon Magiera Snowman © Szymon Magiera

Fox Renderfarm: What software and plugins did you use?

Szymon: For rendering and modeling I used Blender, It's amazing and versatile software, and it's free! For texturing I used Substance Painter, but only because I don't have any experience in this Software and I needed practice. You can do all of it in Blender thru texture paint the result will be the same. For trees, I used a Sapling tree generator, it comes with a blender by default. It's a great addon for generating simple trees. Huge time saver.

Fox Renderfarm: What’s the inspiration behind your artwork?

Szymon: By searching the internet I found an image of a knitted snowman, and I decided I want one! I'm not good at knitting but I know how to model so I decided to make one!

knitted snowman

Fox Renderfarm: What a photographic render! How did you make the modeling, texture and material of the snowman?

Interview With Szymon Magiera Creating a Realistic Snowman With Blender

Interview With Szymon Magiera Creating a Realistic Snowman With Blender

Szymon: Snowman as a mesh isn’t that complicated as shown. Some Box modeling and a bit of cloth simulation for the scarf, nothing extravagant.Keep it simple.


To make realistic fabrics on a snowman and on the scarf I added small hairs, it is a small thing but it has a big payoff in realism.

For the texturing part, still nothing that complicated, most of the textures I took from Ambientcg, Great site!

For the snow, I played with the specular map and added subsurface scattering then used a displacement map to add the details and make it more realistic, you can see the node tree below.

Interview With Szymon Magiera Creating a Realistic Snowman With Blender Interview With Szymon Magiera Creating a Realistic Snowman With Blender

Fox Renderfarm: The lighting and snow really capture the feel of a cold winter's day, but our knitted snowman is still rosy-cheeked and smiling. How did you make the lighting?

Szymon: Single sun and a sky texture, nothing more :) Then I just played with the position and color of the sun, until I ended up with the lighting that I liked.

Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any difficulties when creating this work? And how did you solve them?

Szymon: When I find a difficult situation, I try to keep things simple. The biggest challenge was the lighting, but by keeping it as simple as I can ,and only adding complexity if it's necessary, I managed to find the perfect light setup for this scene without a headache.

Fox Renderfarm: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?

Szymon: I don’t have any particular artist or art, instead I truly get inspired by the CG community, I often find myself browsing through the newest uploads and see that there are other artists that are working really hard to improve their skill, that is what inspires me the most. They all are doing their best to improve so I should too!

Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly tell us your educational and work experience along your CG journey?

Szymon: Briefly I started my journey with a copy of 3ds Max 2014 and a book 3ds Max Bible 2014, it had like 1200 pages. I never did read it, but it cost me a lot, so it was a proof of dedication, I still have it to this day. Since then I've been changing directions many times,but there was always a copy of the 3D program on my drive.

I took CG seriously in 2019 and now I'm happy to say it was worth it,there are so many opportunities for CG artists these days!

Fox Renderfarm: Do you have any recommendable learning methods to improve professional skills?

Szymon: I don't have any special learning methods, I believe in practice, the more you practice the better you will get. For me it is that simple, and always use references!

Fox Renderfarm: What do you think of the FGT3D Challenge, any suggestions for us?

Szymon: I love it! Those challenges are giving the opportunity for other artists to showcase their skills and the incentive to improve even more! I don’t have any suggestions. You guys are doing a great job!

Fox Renderfarm: Do you have any advice for future participants in the competition?

Szymon: Don't be afraid to show your work, always do your best and never stop learning!

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