Anders Lejczak (known as the artist "bazze") joined Renderosity back in 2000, and in that time he's uploaded almost 100 digital art-works to his gallery. His unique images of fighter planes, sci-fi architecture, robots and everyday items like a martini glass and toys have generated almost 50,000 views with 178 members adding bazze to their favorite artists list.
I discovered Anders remarkable work "Alpha Centauri" while I was combing through the modo art gallery. I've been training in Luxology's modo for the last several months and wanted to see what someone with real chops could do with this most contemporary of 3D programs. Anders certainly didn't disappoint me as his work is a model of clean design and subdued emotion. I also really liked the fact that his work, although focused on dramatic shots of various fighter jets, showed a wide range of moods and colors.
I decided to contact Anders and talk to him about his work. He was kind enough to answer several questions over the course of several days. You might want to head over to his Renderosity gallery first, or his beautiful personal website where many of his models and renders are available for download.
Ricky Grove: Let's start off by talking about your artwork "Alpha Centauri." It's a striking sci-fi themed composition. How did the idea for the piece come to you? What tools did you use to create the image? Can you describe your work-flow in putting this image together? What were some of the challenges you faced in creating this piece?
Anders Lejczak: Alpha Centauri began with modeling the Ramjet vehicle. Here's a how it looks more close up:
It was also inspired by this drawing made by Grant Regan. I, however, wanted it to look more industrial and realistic, rather than like a cartoon sci-fi fighter ship. I modeled the Ramjet in Luxology's modo by modeling it panel by panel. Nothing fancy really, just Sub-d modeling. Here's a detailed description of the modeling process.
UV-mapping was also done in modo. Modo's UV-mapping tools are superb and it feels like you're still modeling, but more in mixed 2D/3D perspective. The texturing was done in Adobe Photoshop. Here's a detailed description of the texturing process.
When the Ramjet was finished, I then started thinking of a suitable environment. I've always been a big fan of 70's and 80's sci-fi and I've loved the illustrated books about the "Terran Trade Authority" (do an image search via Google if you don't know what I mean) and wanted to build an industrial complex looking something like it did in those books.
I started by blocking it out and then adding more and more details. More details in the foreground and less in the background. Here's a detailed description of how the industrial background was made. The planet, stars, smoke, etc., was then added in post. The ramjet model, the pilot and a psd file with the post production in it can all be downloaded from my site if anybody wishes to play around with them.
Ricky: I was wondering about your recent work, "Martini." You said it's a re-render of a C4D model. Love the lighting in the scene. How did you set up the render? And why modo instead of the C4D renderer?
Anders: I modeled and rendered the Martini glass in 2005. Back then, I used MAXON's C4D both for modeling and rendering. I revisited the model last year and made a new render in modo, which is the 3D software I use nowadays.
I switched from C4D to Modo somewhere around 2007/2008. Not because I was displeased with it, but simply because I switched jobs and modo was used in the new place. I don't have the time to master 3D packs, and from a personal perspective, it was smarter to go with the package that was used at work at that time. And I found that modo was a really fast and intuitive modeler with awesome UV-mapping tools and a great rendering engine. This model here was my 1st modo model, which proves how easy modo is to get into if you have some basic modeling skills.
(Ricky: here's a nice wip in Modo on a Messerschmitt model. Sweet!)
The lighting and environment in the Martini scene is really simple: A pink floor, a HDRI image for the reflections in the glass and one directional light for additional highlights. If anyone wishes to play around with it, then you can download the model from my site.
Ricky: Tell me a bit about your background: where are you from? How did you become interested in 3D and digital art? Do you have any training (school, etc.), or are you self taught?
Anders: I live in a city called Malmoe, in the southern end of Sweden. I was born in Poland in 1974 and my family moved to Sweden when I was a small kid. I've always been interested in aviation; don't know where this interest comes from, but perhaps from my father. When I was 15, I got a pilot license for gliders, but it's not valid anymore because I haven't flown for more than 10 years.
Ricky: You have an interest in airplanes and have several beautiful models in the Renderosity gallery: what is it about airplanes that interests you so? The F16 Viper is just one example; how did you create that image? Do you have a favorite airplane model/picture you've done?
Anders: Flight sims are a big hobby, apart from 3D modeling. Last year I discovered "Falcon BMS," which is a pretty hardcore sim (arcady games are not my cup of tea) and have been "flying" in a lot lately. I was inspired by it and made a new render of a model that I originally modeled in 2008. It's a sub-D modeled (in modo) airplane and the background clouds are procedurally generated.
My 2 favorite models are the PZL p11 and the Mig 15. The PZL was an airplane designed in the early 30's and was hopelessly outdated when Germany invaded Poland in 1939, but still had a kill/death ratio about 1 – not bad. It has beautifully seagull-shaped wings. I modeled the PZL in modo and rendered these images in Octane (a GPU-based renderer).
The Mig15 achieved its fame in the Skies over Korea in the mid 50's. Last year I did these 2 renderings which are inside and outside render combos, trying to achieve a feeling of being in the picture:
The Mig is modeled in modo and the interior part (cockpit) is rendered in modo. The exterior is rendered in Octane and the 2 renders are then merged in post.
I made my first digital art on a Vectrex system with a light pen. I think that was in 1982. It was cartridge only, so there was no way of saving one's work. I played around in various graphics programs on the Commodore 64 and on the Amiga, but my interest for 3D didn't really start until 1994 when my dad bought me a copy of Bryce1.0 during a trip into the US. I couldn't run it on my Mac (I was a Mac fan-boy during the 90's) since it was a Power PC only program, so I had to buy a Power PC extension card. I think my first published piece was published in a British magazine called "MacFormat" in 1995.
After some time, I got tired of only using Booleans and other peoples' models, so I learned how to model using Wings3D. For some time, I used Wings3D for modeling and Bryce for rendering, but soon found out how limited and slow this combination was. Somewhere around 2004 I switched to Cinema 4D, and in 2008 I switched to modo.
I'm self taught and very grateful to all the people who shared their knowledge in various tutorials. I'm trying to give back by writing and sharing things on my site nowadays. I studied economics, languages and business administration at the University and have for the majority of my professional life worked with IT and project management. However, a couple of years ago I switched careers and work for one the biggest game developers in the world. So, I don't have any formal training in art and 3D, but I gained the knowledge by studying it in my free time.
Ricky: Lastly, you've been a member of Renderosity for 10 years now. What do you think about the Renderosity community? Why did you join?
Anders: I joined Rendo for more than 12 years ago. At first, only to check out what others were doing and to have a place to display my own things. I didn't start utilizing the forums until way later when I started modeling my own models and then discovered what a wonderful source of information it is. I haven't been much active in the forums lately because the modo sub forums are so small.
Ricky: Do you have any favorite artists that inspire you? What do you look for in a really good digital artwork? And is there anything else you'd like to add about your work or your biography?
Anders: I don't have a specific artist that I'm inspired by, but I often visit these blogs:
They both contain awesome retro art. The latter, book covers. I also very much enjoy the style "http://www.psygnosis.org/games/" had on their games covers during the 80's and early 90's.
Well... sci-fi was much cooler looking in the 80's and 90's.
Ricky: Neat! Thanks for taking the time to answer so many questions. By the way, I really like your avatar image. When I looked it up it was Pirx the Pilot from the Stanislaw Lem novel. Just finished reading it a few months ago and loved it. I wish someone would do an animated version of the novel. I like Lem so much! What do you think of Tarkovsky's film treatment of Lem's Solaris? A bit too heavy, IMO, but still pretty neat.
Anders: Yes, that's Pirx from Lem's novels. I've read Solaris twice, but haven't seen Tarkovsky's interpretation. I've seen Steven Soderbergh's, though (you know, the one with George Cloony) which I liked a lot. I've seen Tarkovsky's Stalker, so I can image that his Solaris is heavy. But, I'll see it some day - I like slow and philosophical sci-fi movies. One of my favorites is Silent Running.
Ricky: Silent Running is a great sci-fi film. They've just come out with a Blu-ray version of the film and it looks great! Thanks again for your help in putting this interview together, Anders. BTW, what do you think of the new modo 601? Pretty amazing release, imo.
Anders: 601 looks great, but haven't had a chance to try it yet though.
Ricky Grove [gToon], Staff Columnist with the Renderosity Front Page News. Ricky Grove is a bookstore clerk at the best bookstore in Los Angeles, the Iliad Bookshop. He's also an actor and machinima filmmaker. He lives with author, Lisa Morton, and three very individual cats. Ricky is into Hong Kong films, FPS shooters, experimental anything and reading, reading, reading. You can catch his blog here.
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