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    Unveiling Winter's Wonderland: A Journey Through Kv3D's Winning Masterpiece

    Unveiling Winter's Wonderland: A Journey Through Kv3D's Winning Masterpiece

    Kv3D is a remarkable 20-year-old individual who secured 1st place in Kaizen's Winter Wonderland competition with his work "forgotten wonders in Winterland". Kv3D's outstanding entry captivated our attention with his splendid render, showcasing an enchanting ice castle amidst a snow-covered landscape. Fox Renderfarm as the industry's top cloud rendering service provider and leading render farm, sponsored this challenge and had the pleasure to interview Kv3D. As we delve into the intricacies of his journey, Kv3D reveals the initial idea behind his project, his resourceful approach to finding the perfect asset, and the inspiring process behind his creation process. 

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Kv3D! Thank you so much for accepting our interview! Please introduce yourself to our readers.

    Kv3D: Hi I am Kv3D and I'm a Dutch 3D artist. I'm 20 years old and studying to become a preschool teacher. I would like to make CG art into my job someday but for now it's just a hobby for me.

    Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations on winning 1st place in the Winter Wonderland competition! How do you feel about it?

    Kv3D: I found out about the challenge a little bit late and I noticed that there were a couple of prizes that you could win. I was one of the first ones to submit since I made it in one day and I found it really cool that everyone is so enthusiastic about it. Then other people started submitting and their submissions were really good as well, so I honestly thought that I wouldn't be able to win. Normally, I don't like my own renders that much so it's hard to judge them together with the other renders. I have participated in many other challenges as well but most times I don't win even though I think it looks good. However, this time it came out as the winning render and it was really surprising to me, it felt good to win.

    Kv3D

    forgotten wonders in Winterland © Kv3D

    Fox Renderfarm: What inspired the design of this castle, and how did you incorporate that inspiration into your work?

    Kv3D: When I participate in a challenge, I first think of a rough idea in my head. This time, I wanted to make an ice castle. Then I just started looking for an asset that I could incorporate into my render, in this case, I was looking for a castle. If I can’t find a nice asset then I will go with a different idea. So I went through Sketchfab and came across this awesome castle model by matousekfoto, he made a 3D scan of this massive castle on the hill. This not only gave me the right model to work with but also inspired me because I used the shape of a real mountain to shape my own creation. 

    In this case, I tried to make the castle from ice but it didn't work, so I went with a different idea with just a castle in the snow and that's basically how I got my inspiration.

    Castle of Loarre © matousekfoto

    Castle of Loarre © matousekfoto

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you please tell us about your pipeline for this work? And how long did it take you?

    Kv3D: For environmental pieces, I like to use just scans of natural assets. I used mega scans and they have some really nice rocks. To keep my project running smoothly and not too heavy I like to use four of them, duplicate and scatter them around the same piece so that the file size is not too big. In this case, I had to make snow on top of the environmental pieces because they didn't have snow straight out of the box. I always look for a main asset and work around that, and you have to change all the assets so that it looks cohesive instead of having multiple pieces: One from Megascans, one from Sketchfab, and one from Blender Market. To make them all work together, you must change the textures and materials a little so they can all work into one piece. Once I get all my pieces, I start laying them out and ensure that I have a rough idea of how the final image will look. I like to place my camera in a spot that I know would work and then work from the camera view. Once I have the final layout, I'll start adding some little details like snow and clouds. My workflow is pretty simple honestly, most people use a whole reference port but I don't like to do this because I like to work around a model that I find. Timewise it took one day, I would say about about six hours.

    Process using Snowify © Kv3D

    Process using Snowify © Kv3D

    Manual Placement of Objects © Kv3D

    Manual Placement of Objects © Kv3D

    Fox Renderfarm: How did you achieve the realistic snow effect on the castle and the surrounding landscape? Can you explain the techniques you used?

    Kv3D: I tried to make my own shader and I also shared it with others in the challenge. Because it was about winter wonderland and snow is a big thing in the winter, so I made a node group where it looks at the model from the top since snow falls from the top. I would like all the snow to be top of something so I just applied that to everything and that's basically how I got the snow to look like it's falling from above. I used a snow material from Poly Haven, this is a website where you can get CC0 assets and sell them. I used it as the material for this node so that the snow looks realistic.

    Node Setup to Add Snow to Objects © Kv3D

    Node Setup to Add Snow to Objects © Kv3D_

    Node Setup to Add Snow to Objects © Kv3D

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you approach lighting in a scene like this to enhance the mood and depth of the environment?

    Kv3D: I like to start working with an HDRI. I always work with the same HDRI and it has lighting that's pretty even on all sides so you get a nice preview of how everything looks without sharp shadows. Once I am done with placing everything and I want to look at how to light it, I bring in a sky texture that I recently bought from a physical atmosphere add-on. I once got a tip from an architectural visualization artist, you want half of the building lid very well and the other half with a bit of shadow so that it feels more like a 3D object. So I tried to achieve that but I didn't want too harsh of a shadow because I want everything to be pretty detailed. I just tried to do that with the sky texture I have, so if you look at my piece you can see that the sun is coming from the right side and that's pretty nicely lit, and the left side has a little bit of shadow. It's not too dark but just dark enough that you can see the 3D shape of the building a little more and it provides a bit more color variation. That's usually what I like to do with every render in terms of lighting. 

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you balance artistic creativity with technical constraints when working on a detailed scene like this one?

    Kv3D: I know a lot about the program, the assets, and how to change them to my liking. Before I start on a project, I know what my possibilities are, how much Blender I can handle, and what kind of assets I have at my disposal. I don't have unrealistic expectations of the program or anything so I don't run into technical limitations because I keep them in mind when working on a project.

    Fox Renderfarm: Are there any challenges that you encountered during the process of creation? If so, how did you overcome them?

    Kv3D: I used four environmental assets from Megascans, like the rocks and the ground, and I pieced them all together. When it came straight out of Blender, you could see that separate objects were overlapping. I could either go in and add many more assets or change them but I think that they were already laid down pretty well. What I do when I have my final image is to use Panes Software, in this case, Krita, which is also free, and you can just put in the render and start painting over it. I used the clone brush to clone parts that are overlapping and make it look like one object. In the end, I didn't hear any critiques about the overlap from Kaizen so I guess I did a good job. So whenever I encounter some difficulties I could either spend a lot of time and effort into changing or trying to fix it in a software. I would likely choose the painting software because it's faster and you don't have to rerun everything.

    Rendering of a Single Frame © Kv3D

    Rendering of a Single Frame © Kv3D

    Raw Render © Kv3D

    Raw Render © Kv3D

    Raw Render © Kv3D_

    Raw Render © Kv3D

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

    Kv3D: I really like to make the snow shader and I also worked a bit more later on it to improve, which is a shame because I would have liked to use that in this piece as well but that was too late. I like it because that was something new I had to figure out to create this render. There is also the castle scan where I needed some way to cut out the mountains but I still wanted to be able to use it as the shape of the final render so that it looked natural. So I found a way to cut that out nicely, basically just select the castle and use edit mode to give it a separate material. That way I could lower the alpha of the environment, basically make it disappear or be very slightly visible. Then, I could still use it as the layout for my scene and place my assets around the castle. Those were the two parts I had to problem-solve and I enjoyed this process.

    Fox Renderfarm: How did you become interested in 3D art and what has been your journey in developing your skills?

    Kv3D: I first started with game development because it seemed like you could easily make ideas come to life with it. However, I quickly found out that it wasn't as visual as I hoped. When I was working on a 3D game and I had to make some assets, everyone suggested Blender. So when I started using Blender, I never returned to game development. I just got more addicted each day. I normally use Blender to challenge myself, such as picking an object out of my room and giving myself one hour to try and re-create that object as quickly and nicely as possible. That's how I learned to work fast. I have participated about 50 times in 3D weekly challenges, and I have been doing 3D for about one and a half to two years, basically, my whole 3D career I've been participating in weekly challenges which made me improve. I've met a lot of like-minded people who can work together and help each other, which allowed me to improve to where I am now.

    Fox Renderfarm: Have you tried or heard about Fox Renderfarm’s services before? If so, how do you feel about Fox Renderfarm’s cloud rendering services? 

    Kv3D: I have heard from a friend who got 3rd place in another challenge and he was interviewed by Fox Renderfarm as well. I think that's the first time I’ve heard about it. I would like to use a render farm but I don't render animations that often. But when I'm going to work on a short film that takes a lot of time I would definitely use something like Fox Renderfarm.

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

    Kv3D: I want to win more weekly challenges, it sounds kind of stupid but that's kind of the the place where my fire for 3D started. So I really want to get more into it and start winning those. Once I get the hang of it and win a bit more I think I can leave that behind me and go on with some other stuff. I am also still studying to become a preschool teacher, and after I finish studying, I want to pursue this 3D dream of mine. So I'll give myself a half year to see where I can go with 3D to make something more out of it than a hobby hopefully. But for now, this whole year that I still have to study, I want to do just challenges and maybe make something like a little short film.

    Thanks again to Kv3D for accepting our interview! Wishing new heights in your professional career!

    Kv3D’s social media:

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