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Peering into the Enigmatic "Sphere-World #223" - A Conversation with Under, Master of the Futuristic Realm

2024-04-22
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Fox Renderfarm Interview

Immerse yourself in a world where imagination knows no bounds as we delve into the extraordinary odyssey of Under, a French 3D artist whose prowess in architectural visualization has spanned over a decade. Recently, Under's exceptional talent was undeniably showcased through his fourth-place triumph in Bad Normals's World Glass challenge, which is sponsored by Fox Renderfarm, a leading cloud rendering services provider and render farm in the industry, with the captivating "Sphere-World #223". This masterpiece transcends the realms of mere digital artistry, transporting viewers into a future where the lines between reality and illusion blur. Through his meticulous craftsmanship, Under has woven a tale of intrigue and peril, inviting us to unravel the mysteries that lie within the confines of this enigmatic shield. 

Prepare to be enthralled as we explore the depths of "Sphere-World #223" and uncover the visionary mind that brought this ethereal world to life.

Fox Renderfarm: Hi Under! Thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you please introduce yourself to our reader?

Under: Hi! I’m a French 3D artist, specializing in architectural visualization on a daily basis for more than 10 years. I like to find and participate in challenges like this, learn new things, and use 3D in a more free and artistic context.

Fox Renderfarm: “Sphere-World #223” was awarded fourth place in BadNormals's World's Inside Glass competition. How does it feel to receive recognition for your work on such a platform?

Under: Great! I mean, it's always encouraging and nice to receive feedback from a community that shares the same passion. There are some really good artists and a lot of different styles and approaches, and it's rewarding to be a part of it.

Sphere-World #223 © Under

Sphere-World #223 © Under

Fox Renderfarm: The futuristic elements in the artwork, such as the advanced technology and armored vehicles, suggest a sci-fi influence. Can you tell us more about your interest in this genre and how it influenced this piece?

Under: Science fiction is so vast that it constitutes a genre with almost infinite possibilities. So many subcategories with different eras, technologies, and civilizations. It is a source of inspiration to sometimes invent incredible and distant worlds and sometimes just take a few steps toward the future.

In this specific case, the concept of this challenge is to associate two worlds, one inside (A) and one outside (B). So I chose to connect these two worlds and try to find a story where this sphere would become credible. And science fiction is super useful for mixing worlds because if you can imagine it, it becomes possible! In this case, World A invented a technology represented by this sphere to visit new worlds.

Fox Renderfarm: Could you take us through the creative journey of your work, from the initial concepts to the final product? Do you follow a typical workflow or pipeline?

© Under

Under: I have the habit, both in my professional creations and during these challenges, of taking the time to immerse myself in the theme or the request. Sometimes thinking about it and sometimes forgetting about it for days. The goal is to have lots of ideas that come to mind.

When I think of a solid concept, I spend a lot of time visualizing as much as possible before even touching my 3D software. Some aspects are still unclear and others are very detailed in my mind, but I'm trying to figure out exactly where I'm going, to validate the concept. Of course, during production, I may come up with new ideas or make minor adjustments, but I don't have many versions to arrive at the final result. So when I start my scene, I go to the essentials and concentrate on the details that 3D allows me. But the story, the general atmosphere, and sometimes even the lighting, it's already 90% decided.

Fox Renderfarm: The contrast between the chaos inside the shield and the vigilant defense outside is striking. What message or emotion were you trying to convey through this contrast?

Under: Once again it is the idea of ​​contrast that predominates. We don't know what pushes World A to enter World B. Visually, World A is saturated with details, messy, and quite difficult to read on purpose, a little chaotic in fact. The fact that they are armed and ready to fight suggests a scenario where exploration is not very friendly. Maybe it's scientific curiosity, maybe it's an invasion. But perhaps it is a crossing out of necessity and a final hope of leaving a world in agony. The story is very open.

The contrast is striking with World B, drowned in vegetation, almost a primary world. It is no less threatening but nature is still master here. The first to arrive in World B are of course on the alert and deploy in silence in this unknown world and with unknown threats. But they are also the visual transition between these two opposites. They allow us to understand the difference in technology and their rather vigilant behavior marks their vulnerability in the face of the unknown. Despite all the knowledge of World A, they may be the prey here.

Fox Renderfarm: Could you share the duration it took to bring this piece from concept to its final rendered form and highlight which aspect of the process consumed the most time? And in your opinion, what do you think has contributed to this time investment?

Under: As I said earlier, I conceptualize a lot, so that's definitely what takes me the most time. It's impossible to quantify because I don't choose a specific time of day, it's more about searching for references here and there, in all directions. So this is the part that takes the most time and again, when everything is pretty much set in my head, I start in 3D or 2D, and for this particular piece, the creation part only took a few hours. I certainly didn't use all the time offered by this challenge, due to lack of availability, but I'm quite happy because it's close to my first vision.

Fox Renderfarm: What were the biggest obstacles you had to go past to accomplish such fine detailing, and how did you resolve them when creating your piece?

Under: I like details and putting a lot of information into my creations. And this is the case here, whether it is World A, where the details represent the suffocation of this world, with its technology and its saturated spaces, or World B where abundant vegetation seems to surround the horizon and the scene.

All these details are a first link between the two worlds, although used to clearly tell two very different situations. More of a challenge than an obstacle, but for me the priority was the readability of the image.

Find processes that help differentiate the two worlds, and secondly, tips for maintaining cohesion and having a homogeneous final image.

Manage to clearly understand the depth of World A, for example by keeping the same perspective for both worlds.

© Under

© Under

Find the right balance and do not feel too much distortion from the glass material of the sphere.

To prevent one world from taking too much importance over the other, I chose two strong colors which are very different but which are also complementary.

The fact that the sphere is slightly buried in World B, indicates for my story, a sort of impact of this foreign element. Which makes it clear that it is a collision of two universes. This is highlighted by the missing vegetation around the crater to clearly define the worlds, while the pink fog, which is a bit in both worlds, has the opposite mission of bringing these universes together on the same plane. It’s this constant balance that was the challenge and the most interesting part for me in this prompt.

Fox Renderfarm: In terms of composition, the scene is tightly framed around the central shield. What led you to this compositional choice, and how does it contribute to the overall narrative or mood?

Under: The camera and the sphere are the untouchable rules of this challenge, which in my opinion, makes the sphere the obvious point of interest. Then it is true that I use my World B to frame this sphere and this choice is motivated by my story and what I described earlier. This sort of reconnaissance commando, which has already crossed and whose mission is to secure passage into World B (while other troops are still waiting in World A), is plunged into an unknown universe and is under pressure. terrible pressure. It’s about success of course but also about surviving.

The shapes of the surrounding trees, which seemed to be in darkness before the arrival of the sphere, frame the sphere, guide the viewer's gaze, and support this feeling of pressure on World A, and reinforce the fact that they are absolutely not welcome. As if at any moment this forest or its inhabitants could repel these visitors. This is only one version of the possible scenarios but these trees represent the threat, once again the doubt that weighs on these invaders.

Fox Renderfarm: Were there specific AI-powered techniques or tools that you used in the creation of your work to achieve such rendering quality? How did these tools contribute to the final visual appeal of the artwork?

Under: There is no AI in my creation. Not that I'm against it, I integrate several AI tools into my professional pipeline for Archviz, but it's true that when it's for more artistic images and even more as part of a challenge, I prefer to be 100% the creator of the story, for example, or the final touches in post-production. I make no judgment if anyone does otherwise. For example, I use assets to highlight my ideas, when others prefer to model from scratch. So no AI here but it's not a moral choice or anything like that. I just use it like any other tool, in the sense that sometimes it seems useful to me and sometimes not.

Fox Renderfarm: Could you share any behind-the-scenes insights, techniques, or experimental processes you employed in creating "Sphere-World #223"? What lessons or discoveries did you make during the creation of this work?

© Under_

© Under

© Under__

© Under

 © Under___

© Under

© Under____

© Under

Under: No real special techniques here. The originality of the template coupled with my story forced me to literally see two worlds, therefore two different scenes. A rendering for the interior sphere with its own lighting and another rendering for the scene outside the sphere which also has its own atmosphere. I added two other renders separately on this exterior to add atmospheric elements like smoke. The rest is a game of masks and layers in Photoshop. Nothing too advanced, but it was interesting to create two opposing worlds while maintaining visual cohesion.

Fox Renderfarm: Could you tell us about some of your favorite creative endeavors from previous projects, and explain what aspects made them especially rewarding or satisfying experiences?

© Under_____

© Under

Under: I participate in as many 3D challenges as I can. It's so satisfying to not be limited and to push an idea to the max just for fun. I experiment, either in a new style or with new tools. And that's really what attracts me: getting out of my comfort zone or at least my usual use of 3D in Archviz. Imagine more fantastic and vivid worlds. But also technically, it makes me do more animation, more simulation, and artwork for example.

© Under______

© Under

Of course, being one of the winners is always the extra motivation, but by participating in these challenges, I've completely unleashed a more creative and artistic side. Professionally I'd love to have opportunities in this field to express myself.

Fox Renderfarm: What are your typical sources of inspiration - do you draw from other artists, artistic movements, natural elements, or everyday surroundings? How do these influences manifest in your creations?

Under: It's exactly a mix of everything you just mentioned. Before diving into 3D, I had a few years of classical art background. I have always had a passion for images and creation. But above all, I am a geek at heart, who has watched a lot of films and TV. Video games also play an important role in my life.

So when I look for inspiration, I already have a solid base of references that I have always wanted to rework in my own way or that are engraved in my memory. To complete this, I daily visit the portfolios and other creations of artists of all kinds, whether via Artstation, Behance, YouTube, or Instagram. I also like to get lost on Reddit and Pinterest, they are effective tools for finding lesser-known creators. I am constantly monitoring many subjects, both visual and technological.

Everything related to the creation, whatever the field, is a source of new ideas, photography, architecture, painting, and design from all eras. It's rather cliché, but it's totally true, you're right. I live by the sea, sometimes it's just a walk in nature that sparks the beginning of an idea.

And how I like to think before I start drawing or modeling. Everything gets mixed up a bit and resurfaces when I least expect it. Once my story is written, I can be inspired by the contrast of a light, by a choice of color palette, sometimes it will be the composition of a work which will be my starting point.

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? 

Under: Unfortunately I didn't have the opportunity to try your renderfarm yet.

Fox Renderfarm: Finally, are there any upcoming projects or themes you're excited to explore in your future artworks, based on the reception and feedback you've received for this piece?

Under: Where to start!? I love these challenges for the multitude of possibilities generated by the different themes and prompts offered. So I'm waiting for the next one!

I invite you to visit my Instagram, you will quickly see that I don't really have a universe or a predefined style, I like to try new things, realistic or stylized, in different eras and atmospheres. Recently, I wanted to create vast worlds, larger scenes, less detail. I would like something in space! I also have in mind to make multiple creations which belong to the same universe. In short, lots of good things for my few moments of free time!

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

Under’s social media:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/under.cg/

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