With another inspirational look at artist achievements, I present you with December's edition of the Renderosity Artist Accolades.
Meet Anders Lejczak, better known on Renderosity as the artist bazze. Read on as Anders shares his story, and offers advice to others looking to improve and move forward with their work.
Would you please introduce yourself?
Hi and thanks for giving me the opportunity to be interviewed!
Iâ€™m 32 and live in the centre of MalmÃ¶ (located in southern Sweden) with my girlfriend Linda. I was born in Poland, as you maybe can tell from my name, but have only lived there for the first 3 to 4 years of my life. I work as project manager/consultant, mainly with clients in the automotive industry. Both my parents are musicians, so I canâ€™t really say that I have followed in their footsteps (neither has my younger brother who is studying medicine).
I actually wanted to become an architect, but it didnâ€™t turn out that way. Instead, I studied business administration, marketing, and languages at the University, but I have always kept drawing and building stuff on the side and admire people who do it for a living.
(published in Ballistic Publishing's ExposÃ©4)
You have been featured in a variety of publications. Can you tell us a little bit about that? How has this experience affected you?
Yes that is right, I got an image published in ExposÃ©4 and one in 3D World Magazine earlier this year. Iâ€™ve licensed a couple of images [for example, image 3] for Maxon to be used in promo materials. Iâ€™ve seen one of them in their official gallery, but I donâ€™t know if any of the others are being used. For a self learned hobbyist like me, this is something to be very proud of and has motivated me to submit pieces to other publications.
A Phantom and a Bogey (v2)
(published in 3D World Magazine)
What achievement are you most proud of?
Being published is of course very satisfactory but seeing others use my models in their work is even more satisfactory. I mean, seeing that people think that my models are worth spending money on, and then tell others about it tops being published.
When did you first start creating digital art, and what programs do you use?
My first digital â€œartâ€ was created in 1982 using a VectrexÂ and a light pen. It was a vector based system, and it had the capability of animating your drawing, but there was no way of saving them. From there I went a similar path as I suspect many others did, and played around with programs like DeLuxe Paint on the Commodore Amiga and Dimensions on the Mac. I was first introduced to Bryce 1.0 in 1995 when my dad bought a copy in the US (I had to upgrade my poor Mac with a PPC card to use it). In 1996, I attended an evening course in CAD & Visualization at the University (just for fun) - the next year I worked extra as a teacher on the same course.
I didnâ€™t pick up modelling myself until years later when I started creating my own models using Wings3D, and only used Bryce as a render. My renders, however, always looked plastic and cheap so I started investigating how light and shaders work, using techniques for simulating global illumination and faking HDRI. This resulted in unacceptable render times and I had to decide to ditch Wings3D and Bryce, and start using a different package or combination of software.
I was introduced to Cinema4D via Renderosity, and liked the style of pieces you see in the C4D gallery. It is reasonably priced and the fact that Maxon offers a free version (fully functional 6CE version) makes it easy to try out. I also considered Lightwave, but there was no way of trying it out at that time.
Who or what inspires you when you create?
Science Fiction is a great personal source of inspiration, especially Science Fiction from the 70's and 80's (Magazines like â€œHeavy Metal,â€ movies like â€œSilent Runnig,â€ and novels like â€œSolarisâ€). One shouldnâ€™t forget humor. Humor is an incredible source of inspiration. Iâ€™m particularly fond of British Humor a lÃ¡ â€œMonty Pytonâ€ and â€œThe Office,â€ but also the type of day to day humor used in â€œSeinfeldâ€.
Iâ€™m of course inspired by all the 2D and 3D work I see daily. I usually find myself admiring pieces by French, Eastern European, and Russian artists the most. I donâ€™t know why, but I guess I like the gloomy and melancholical style that some of these artists have.
Do you have any current projects you are working on?
I just finished modeling and texturing the Fiat 125, and Iâ€™m now working on the rest of the image assets for a Flash application where you will be able to spin the Fiat around and change its colors and swap between different accessories. This is, however, just a small hobby project. Iâ€™m also re-working existing models/renders for publications with a deadline around New Year.
It's always great to see someone making a living doing something they love to do. You had mentioned to me that your hobby is turning more and more into a business. How is this coming about?
Well thatâ€™s not entirely true. I make my living from my day job. I work as a project manager at Europeâ€™s largest digital agency, and Iâ€™m currently involved in a major visualization project for Volvo Cars Corp. Iâ€™m sorry, but I cannot reveal any details about this until it is launched.
My 3D hobby business is very small in scale, and the income it generates just about covers my personal extra expenses I have related to this hobby: software licenses, additional hardware, hosting, broadband, literature, memberships, etc. etc. But, I guess that a hobby that pays itself can be considered as very lucky. I simply donâ€™t have the time to run this at a larger scale, and I often have to turn down requests I receive.
I, however, see big benefits between my day job and my hobby. The project methodology and processes used at work can be applied to my hobby projects, and the things I learn via my hobby I have great use for in my day job.
I hope that the opportunity will arise permitting me to either work more hands on with 3D (and less with project management) at work, or expand the hobby into a business.
Has the Renderosity community been a big help for you, by networking or otherwise?
Definitely yes. For a self learned hobbyist there is no better source of help and information. Besides Rendo, Iâ€™m a regular visitor to CGTalk and a Swedish Cinema4D community. Different communities have different target groups, and asking the same question in different forums will give you a lot of possible solutions for the same specific problem. Iâ€™m also a regular visitor to German and Polish Cinema4D communities: itâ€™s a great way to keep my knowledge in these languages alive since I otherwise donâ€™t use them daily.
Is there any advice or tips you can offer to fellow artists? Is there anything in your experience that you would warn others of? Any hard lessons learned?
I would encourage people to do two things; the first thing is to try to model your own stuff. I know not everybody is interested in this, but give it a try and after some initial frustration a whole new world will open. Go through every tutorial you can find, even if it covers a subject you think you already think you know. Different authors can solve the same problem in different ways, and knowing the alternatives will come really handy in the long run.
Begin with subjects that are meaningful: modelling with a character or car model is maybe not the best subject to begin with and you will probably only get frustrated without having learned anything. Personally, I would also suggest that you try to learn how light and the shaders work before attempting a complex model. A scene with a simple object can be beautiful if lit in a proper (or interesting) way.
Post work-in-progress images and be active in different user forums. Donâ€™t just hang around in a familiar forum where everybody knows you and where you are used to get nice and friendly comments. When ready, post your images at other forums and ask for constructive criticism. The comments can sometimes be harsh but as long as it is fair it will make you grow. If you have any special interest, like for example architectural visualizations, then join a community that specializes in this subject. Comments will be even more nit picky in such a forum but you will learn a lot.
The second thing I would encourage is sharing. Share as much as possible of your own material. First of all, I think it is great fun to share, but I have also noticed that making tutorials and publishing small how-toâ€™s attracts a lot of visitors to my site - more visitors than the free models actually. Especially my airplane modelling tutorial still attracts a lot of visitors. I wouldnâ€™t be able to do the things I do today if others didnâ€™t share their knowledge in the first place.
Make sure that you have clear and proper license texts to you work. Some of my work is being spread as flight simulator content which Iâ€™m not too happy about.We invite you to visit the following links:
Be sure to visit Rendrosity's Cinema 4D Forum!
copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the artist.
Artist Accolades is now a regular monthly feature on the Front Page News, where Renderosity artists can share their accomplishments in the field. Have something to share? Contact Nick C. Sorbin with details.
December 25, 2006