Interview Djordje Jovanovic
Tell us a bit about you...When did you start? What programs/plugins do you use?
I first started playing with CG back in high school. I was at the graphic design department in School for Design and we just started to play with computers. Beside the standard 2D apps I somehow stumbled upon Maya and 3ds max. My fascination with 3D space and virtual worlds started instantly. I played with Maya and Max for some time but later on, while studying (Computer Art and Design) I started to work as a photojournalist. That work became quite serious and time consuming so I didn’t manage to continue my investigation into 3D world. After 5 years in photography I decided to get back to 3D.
I use 3DS Max and Maya mainly but I’m neglecting Max more and more in favor of Maya. I also played with Sofuimage and I’m amazed by the performance of this package. Headus UVlayout is my only app for UVs. I also use Maxon Bodypaint 3D and Photoshop for texture painting. When it comes to plugins Vray for Max is the most important. I use a bunch of other plugins and scripts like Rayfire, Multiscatter and Soulburn scripts just to name a few.
With the market becoming more and more competitive, what do you believe is a must that a 3D Designer has in his portfolio or skills?
High baseline quality that demonstrates his/her focus and perseverance on a particular project, as well as high aesthetic sensibility.
The Mercedes w154 received a lot of attention. Can you give us an insight on the process, the goals of the project and the difficult parts?
I didn’t plan anything when it comes to that project. I was just attracted to the design of that old race car so I decide to model it. So I did, I played with it for few days and then forgot about it. Few months later I took the model and decided to render it. I again played with some light setups and camera angles and that was it. It was made in 3DS Max and rendered with Vray. I can’t recall any difficulties on this one.
Did you use the same techniques from one project to another? What changes?
Well standard modeling techniques and UVs as well as some texturing workflows are almost always the same. But I tend to learn something new and to present myself with new challenge with each new project. Otherwise it can become a bit boring.
What was the biggest challenge in the Kamaz project?
Finding the right mood for the renderings. That includes the lighting and texturing. The challenge wasn’t technical at all but purely creative. I wasn’t quite sure on what I wanted. I had a feeling but I could quite define it. So it took some effort to manifest that feeling into reality.
Out of all the projects you have done, which one is your favorite and why?
Hudson Locomotive. Well I’m really satisfied on how the texturing and especially shading turned out in the end. Level of detail and believability of materials also.
I used Max for modeling and played a bit with Vray but wasn’t quite satisfied with how it looked. So I exported geometry to Maya and started to play with Mental Ray and hypershade. When coming from Max, Maya can be quite frustrating but I think that the reward at the end was worth it. I also learned a lot about Maya in the process.
You’re also a Photographer. Do you use real life references in your art?
Photography is a hobby for me now, although I still have it deeply engrained into my being. Real life references are a must for me!
What was the most difficult part in Humvee?
At the time it was UVs management and texturing. I didn’t quite know how to approach texturing with all the layers of rust, dirt and grime across a multiple, detailed, objects. So that was a challenge at the time. I had an idea, did some research and with some experimentation managed to create a workflow that I latter developed more on a Hudson project.
How do you start working on a project? Do you use references or just imagination?
Photograph is always a starting point. I always find inspiration in photos and then build out on that.
Which model do you believe was the most difficult to achieve? (How did you do it?)
Hudson locomotive. I wouldn’t say difficult… it was a bit tedious. It had a lot of details and it required a lot of figuring out… where the parts are going and how they are interrelated. I must say that the process of figuring out of how the form works, with limited reference, is the most frustrating part of the process for me.
What’s the one project that you received the most praise for?
Custom Humvee I think.
What is the typical starting point in a 3D project? How long does it usually take?
It depends on a type of a project. If it’s commercial project than the client usually knows exactly what he/she wants. It starts from the reference, CAD data or the concept art that the client provides.
Personal projects are totally random. Sometimes I start with clear idea of what I want, preplan everything. Sometimes is just a sudden flash of inspiration that turns out into a quick project. Sometimes just random doodling turns into project….As for the completion time it also depends on a deadline. If there’s no deadline however, I like to take as much time as I need until I’m almost completely satisfied with every detail.
How important is it to have a proper education in this field?
Proper education is crucial for every field, although proper education today may not come through the established institutions. There are a lot of independent training options that can give you far better education than any University can, in CG field at least.
How would you describe the 3D industry in Russia?
I’ve only spent 2 years in Russia and while there I worked for international clients, not Russian. So I’m not so competent on the subject.
If you had the opportunity to spend a day with anyone from this industry, who would it be?
A bunch of people ; I couldn’t pick a one guy… certainly some guys from ILM, Digital Domain, Dneg, Weta…..
What do you have up your sleeve for future projects?
I’m currently working on an interesting personal project based on a concept art of Greg Broadmore and District 9.