Hi Majid, why don't you start by telling our readers about yourself, starting from the time you first heard of 3D, or when your parents first gave you a pen and paper to draw them a picture.
Actually it's very hard to say how I started. I used to watch so many movies, as well as playing games and looking at different artwork. This really inspired me! I grew up when 2D Sega games like Super Mario, Street Fighter and Mortal Combat were popular. I always thought these had great graphics and strong characters. The Mortal Kombat series was particularly influential as it was based around a bunch of exciting characters and creatures. All of this really inspired me and that was how I got into 2D and 3D computer graphics.
I was in love with art, film and animation. Unfortunately I found it really hard to learn about these in Iran. I studied as an electrician, although I found it difficult to concentrate on the course! So after I graduated I decided to focus on what really interested me and what I would love to do for the rest of my life.
During high school I had learnt how to use Photoshop and Illustrator, and so after graduating I was able to go and work as a 2D designer in advertising, which I did for a long time. I collected a lot of resources and started to learn how to use Macromedia Flash, Adobe Director and Adobe InDesign.
After this I made a few multimedia applications for some companies in my hometown. Later I started using Cinema 4D to add 3D elements to my work. From looking all over the internet I found that almost all major studios used Maya as the base 3D package in their productions. So I switched to Maya and watched different Gnomon DVDs to learn the basics of sculpting. Later I became familiar with ZBrush and it opened a new door to the world of CG art!
ZBrush is a great artistic tool that means you have less technical headaches than with most packages. I figured out that purely learning how to work with different software packages was not enough to become a professional artist, and I should focus on the arty side of the CG world. Therefore I started to study from different resources so that I could learn about and understand shapes, forms, clothes, weight, color, light, anatomy and all the other elements that make something look good.
Can you give us an idea of how you felt when you started to make your first models? How difficult was it to find the best workflow to make your ideas shine?
At the beginning I found everything confusing, like working with maps, different anatomy, different meshes and topology, different pipelines and different ways to make a model. I had a lot of questions in my mind, but fortunately through the CG websites and forums, and by experiencing different techniques, I found that the best way to achieve what I wanted was to focus on the type of artist I wanted to be. In fact, everything we learn should be used to help us achieve the best results we can.
I was always very willing to work hard and paid attention to the advice given by many of the best artists, which was, "fill your sketchbook!” I did a lot of work and shared it in forums to get constructive feedback. I showed my work to other artists, as well as people that might not have even known about CG. Sometimes I imagined my work to be somebody else's, and looked at it from a different point of view. This helped me to find my weaknesses and find a way to improve in the future!
Do you have any advice for other artists trying to get started in the CG industry?
The most important part of the job is the final result and the quality of the image. If the final result isn't any good, it doesn't matter what software you used or how you used it. Software and technology is adapting and developing quickly, but the fundamental values are always the same.
That's why the masters are still masters! Continuing to study and practice is the key to success; just keep working hard and comparing your work with your own and that of other artists, and check to see how you're progressing. By doing this you will be able to find which parts you should focus on and try to improve!
Studying and understanding anatomy is also very important. There are a lot of secrets and tricks you can use to improve your use of anatomy. You should try to learn more about the body's structure, bones, how muscles and bones interact together, flow, shapes, forms and more! You can find many resources over the internet, in books, DVDs or online classes etc. Don't just count on one or two books though. Do research to develop your ideas and find your own resources!