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Interview with Majid Esmaeili


By Predrag Rócneasta Šuka

Web: http://majid-smiley.cghub.com (will open in new window)
Email: moc.liamg@yelimsdijam

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Date Added: 5th March 2013

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I've noticed that you do a lot of character studies and that with each one you try to demonstrate their attitude and backstory. How long do you tend to take to create your models?

I like to study everyday to improve my skills and knowledge. I try my best on each new project and try to use all of the things that I see around me to help me develop. I believe if you want to be a good artist and draw stylized characters then you need to study realism. All great animation artists are able to draw realistic characters. Even characters drawn in a cartoon style are just simplified forms of these.

The timeframe depends on each individual project. Based on the complexity and type of work it can take from just a few days to more than a month to complete. Normally I like to ask for a schedule from the client before I start. I'll only do the project if I know I can finish it in time! I then start by finding references and researching to get everything I need to complete the project.

A good model should have a strong mesh and to achieve this you will need to achieve some technical goals. A good mesh can be created by having a good edge flow and topology to get the model ready and make it easy to animate. It should also be easily readable, with a good silhouette from all angles, and be kept to a basic forms as much as possible. However, this does depend on the client's preferences, the subject you are modeling and the number of polygons you can use. I try to get all this information before I start a job.

During a project, have you ever found yourself in the position where you've stylized your model similarly to a previous one, or that your design has led you closer and closer to your previous work?

Sometimes you do see a repetitive style in your work. I sometimes find that tackling similar projects can result in your designs becoming limited and similar. To avoid this, I always try to tackle different topics in my personal work. The easiest way to go about doing this is to go out and experience new things and gain new inspiration.

Could you describe your creative process and tell us what part of 3D you like the most and why?

I've experienced a lot of different projects, from cartoony and stylized characters, to cinematics, games, film and toy character creation, and I'd like to have a go at doing even more different types of work. I try to concentrate on the quality of my work and I keep myself up to date with CG news. I like to try new techniques and software to find the best way to create an outstanding piece of work!

Before I start I visualize the work and try to work out the best and easiest way to finish the job. I start by shaping the basic and secondary forms, and then add wrinkles and other micro details. Sometimes I use my own base meshes and develop the model by going back and forth between Maya and ZBrush via GoZ. Every so often I have to start a new base mesh in Maya and re-mesh the sculpture. I then use Maya for tweaks and to add the final details.

When I import the model into ZBrush I start with polygrouping and separate pieces. I've found the

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best way is to set up the UVs and then use Auto Group with UVs, but sometimes I separate them too.

I then add texture to my model with some basic colors and polypaint, and continue to work on the textures in Mudbox and Bodypaint, using Photoshop for the final touches. I also generate a variety of maps, which I sometimes adjust in Photoshop. Then I set up the model in Maya, connect all the generated maps and get it ready to use!

I use ZBrush for the final render, particularly since the release of ZBrush 4 R2B, which is really impressive! In fact it is so good now that you won't be able to tell if it has been rendered in ZBrush, mental ray or V-Ray! Sadly though some parts of the process are not that much fun; setting up the model in your main 3D package and connecting maps is really annoying! I hope there will one day be a solution to this sort of thing so the whole process feels more artistic and less technical. For now though there is no way to work around these technical aspects and we just have to accept them as a part of this job!

A few of your characters really stand out. For me personally it's The Orphan and Pan. I particularly like the way you blended Pan into his environment. Have you ever thought about doing something similar with your other characters; combining organic and inorganic features and elements?

The Pan statue is based on an original concept from the Pan's Labyrinth movie. I liked the originality of the character so I'm pushing myself to do something like this again or maybe even better in the future!

Are there any elements of working in 3D that you would still like to tackle and master?

Sometimes I get tired of working on models and assets. I usually put them to one side for a while so I can come back to them with fresh ideas. This way I can develop them in a much better way.

Do you have any particular career goals at the moment? What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I have multiple goals, but overall I want to, and am trying to, get a position that could lead to a production out of my own ideas. It will take time to achieve as I will need to be confident and experienced in the industry!

Thank you for taking your time to do this interview - now I will let you get back to modeling!

Thank you for the interview. All my best wishes!



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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 185043, pid: 0) Mohd. Shadab Zafar on Wed, 06 March 2013 9:41am
assalam majid your is awesome and the details and the efforts you put in your work are clearly visible this is really very encouraging especially to the the starters like me.... Best of luck for your future. thanks
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