3D generalist based in Los Angeles, DJ Kim, works freelance on a variety of projects for VFX, cinematics, and movies. Find out more…
3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Dong Joun Kim:
I am currently working as a freelance 3D generalist in Los Angeles, CA, USA. I have been working in various fields, such as commercial, VFX, game cinematic, and films. As a 3D generalist, I do modeling, texturing, animating, lighting, and compositing for all the post production needs. I am passionate about all the entertainment subjects such as game, movie, animation, and visual effects.
I was inspired by Norman Rockwell's "No swimming” art piece. I started referencing his work, but
in the middle of this personal work, I modified a little bit to my own taste
3dt: Tell us about your art: Your style, themes, genre, and some of the favorite projects you have worked on.
I get a lot of influence from the 80s and 90s American illustrators' works like JC Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell, and I try to achieve and study from their styles to create my own definitions. However, on the other side, I really don't have specific themes and genre. I am still looking for my style, but anything that's memorable and inspired will work, be it for animations or games, and I like to create characters from my own ideas using 3D software.
My favorite work is the "Red Bonnet.” It is a personal project inspired by one of Norman Rockwell's illustrations. During this work, there were many trials and failures to finish this work, and I could learn a lot of things from those processes.
This is a character inspired by one of my favorite Japanese comics called "Berserk.” His name is Guts and the main character of the comic
3dt: Can you describe your typical workflow, and the software/hardware you normally use when creating your artwork?
Before jumping into a project, I am always looking for and collecting a lot of references to give me enough information to know the project or the character better. And then I start with a rough polygon defining the silhouette and shape of the character.
I spend most of my time getting the right proportion for this process, and I toggle between low poly and high poly many times to develop the detail of a character using ZBrush
. And then I transfer all the 3D information data from ZBrush to Maya
to develop the details and start lighting the character.
I use Photoshop, Photoshop
, and Substance Designer
to create textures, and I render with V-Ray
. In the end, I finish and develop with a rendering image to compose using Nuke, After Effects
The most important process of my work is that I show it to my fellow artists. I might get stuck on a narrow vision when creating my work, so I might not see any critical mistakes, so I share my work to fellow artists to get a critique and comments on it.
I am a huge fan of Myazki Hayao animations and I get inspiration from his work. This character's name is Marco, and this character came from one of Mayazki Hayao animations called "Porco Rosso" or "Flying Red Pig"
3dt: What inspires you?
There are various media that inspire me. First of all, I am interested and inspired by various illustrations. I am mainly interested in 80s and 90s American illustrators' works like JC Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell. They are works so unique, humorous, and defined that everyone can easily fall in love with their works at first sight. And as I am a typical fanboy who loves all kinds of game cinematics, 2D or 3D animations, movies and comics, they give me ideas and inspiration to develop myself as well.
This is one of Philippe Fararut's sculptures called "The Fisherman's Daughter”
3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
I try to update as much as possible, with either personal work or industry work in which I participate, but most 3D projects need long periods of time spent on it for the final quality. It could be tedious work that I don't want to finish and put it away, but I am consistently making a schedule to finish my work. I believe the most important thing to keep a portfolio to up to date is persistence and exertion. There are a lot of things blurring your vision to keep moving forward, but if you know your goal, you will get motivated to finish a project.
3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
Miyazaki Hayao is one of my favorite artists. I have been grown up with his animations since childhood and he gives me a lot of motivation to be creative. After I watched his animations, the images lingered in my mind for a long time, and I became more enthusiastic about my work.
How he puts his own ideas into his animation and how he explains his thoughts to audiences always blows me away, inspiring me to make an animation like Miyazaki Hayao. I believe that he is one of the biggest reasons I entered this industry, and he is one of my mentors and inspirations to trigger moving forward.
This creature is based on Paul Boner's Minotaur Illustration. His illustration is one of my favorite fantasy illustrations
3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
I will keep doing what I am doing right now as a 3D generalist and I will try to create more personal work sharing my thoughts and ideas with passionate artists more and more. And also I would like to do more trials and errors, so I can see myself breaking limits at every moment until I become an established professional 3D artist.
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