Mahmoud Amghar caused a stir on Facebook with his Cyrax vs Sektor image when it appeared last October. He reveals how hard work and dedication can get you success, even when creating art isn't your full-time occupation
Mahmoud Amghar's Cyrax vs Sektor image went about as viral as a 3dtotal gallery image can go on Facebook last October. With around 8,000 views and 4 and a half stars, it is a firm gallery favorite. Following the making of he did for the site in February, Mahmoud reveals how he came to be a digital artist and his plans for the future...
3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Hi there! My name is Mahmoud Amghar known by the pseudonym UltraVD. I am 33 years old. I am an Algerian living in Tlemcen, one of the world famous cities of the arts. At this moment I am a freelance 3D artist and an administrative officer in a sector of activity that has nothing to do with what I share here with you.
3dt: Tell us the story behind your artwork: What brought you into the digital art world and what software do you use?
My first encounter with 3D dates back almost 10 years ago but my passion for the art existed well before that. I grew up in a family passionate about art in all its forms. I quote in particular my mother who was really gifted in painting and poetry and I think that I may have inherited her sensibilities. Thank you mom for everything and thank you also for my childhood toys; those LEGOs with which I was building robots and characters to make imaginary stories. It was my small universe.
Drawing was a way to express myself more freely; this passion occupied me even in the classroom where I was content to draw creatures and misunderstood forms on the margins of my exercise books! Unfortunately, and consequently, I always ended up having bad marks!
I continued this habit of drawing during leisure time until I fell by pure chance upon a 3D image made in ZBrush. I just stared, trying to understand what there was in front of me. This was a decisive moment that led me to replacing my pencil with a mouse...
3dt: How did you learn to paint digitally?
The beginning was very difficult for me because I had no basic knowledge of this area. I did not know how or where to get started. At that time ZBrush was not powerful with regards to 3D. We just talked about the 2.5D and of course my faraway intentions, targeting more than that.
By placing the bar high, and after some research and comparisons on the web, here I am, facing the biggest monster of 3D: 3ds Max. Very quickly I started to download some tutorials, lessons, tips and everything that interested me. I was spending many sleepless nights and days in my bedroom in front of my modest computer, trying to familiarize myself with these 2 titans. 3ds Max was too complicated and less simple than I had hoped for. Even today, my goals are far from being achieved. This will certainly require even more time and practice and of course a lot of will.
After a few years of practice, I was repeatedly contacted by local companies who specialized in the design and development of urban structures, which was the reason why I began studying V-Ray. This is very effective and much demanded by the architects. The 3D projects depended on the plans and were limited by the local resources for building, such as the choice of materials and accessories. Of course this limit did not give me much satisfaction.
Where I live, art is still very much in its traditional form, and because of the lack of training centers in this area the development of 3D skills seriously suffers. Then I registered on several forums to broaden my knowledge into digital art, which also allowed me to see many professional works from talented artists with whom I will wish to compete against. In my eyes, be content to be just a good artist, in a crowded world for talented individuals, is far from sufficient to affix his own brand.
3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
This is sometimes due to client requests or participations in challenges on the net, but most of the time, these are personal projects that take their inspiration from ideas found on the net and my own ideas. The trick is to unite all the points noted prior to realize a single perspective. Inspiration does not mean copying, but you can improve another idea through development.
3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?
For the moment I am interested in MARI because it gives more fluidity for efficient workflow, notably the treatments of textures. ZBrush already offers this projection technique, but it is limited by the number of polygons. This is not the case with MARI which is a comprehensive and handy software for textures. There's also a lot of interesting software for self-training in the future, such as MotionBuilder, RealFlow Houdini and Unity Engine in order to realize some long-term projects, which affect a few videogames and short cut-scenes.
3dt: How do you like to unwind after a hard day's (or night's) work?
For hard work, you sometimes lose the notion of time. Day or night it's almost the same thing, especially during the weekends which I use to complete a large amount of my projects. I am in court during the week and because of my administrative duties I advance with small steps, and sometimes it becomes unbearable when I manage several projects at once.
Usually after a few months of work, I take a break to take the time needed to recharge my batteries, for example to see my friends, go on outings, go to the mountain, gather around a fighting game, watch films or a TV series and so on. In other words: regain a normal life.
For more from Mahmoud Amghar, check out his site
Mahmoud also did this making of Cyrax vs Sektor
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