Kimmo Kaunela's Gravity-inspired image, Zero Gravity, sits proudly at 5 stars in our gallery. Here, Kimmo talks about his drive to become a better 3D artist.
Kimmo Kaunela's Zero Gravity image is a great homage to the 70s and 80s sci-fi stylings of space stations. Inspired by Gravity, this series of artworks has so far racked up 179 votes and stands at 5 stars. Kimmo gives us an insight into his pathway so far...
3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
: Hi all! My name is Kimmo Kaunela and I'm a 3D artist from Finland. My passion is to create awesome-looking environments for real-time and offline use. I started this hobby about 6 years ago and I still love it! Learning new stuff and training techniques that I already know is something that I really like to do.
When I was a kid I built a lot of things with Lego, so I think it was a natural choice for me to start learning 3D modeling at an older age. It was hard for a 15-year-old kid to start learning this whole new way of creating things. A couple of years later, I finally started to understand it.
I always liked mechanical things like cars, so at the age of 17 I started to study car mechanics, and a couple of years after that I graduated. My passion was still in 3D graphics so I made a hard decision to start learning that. It was a very reckless thing to do but life is all about making hard choices. That decision turned out to be the right one.
3dt: Tell us about your image Zero Gravity. Was it a challenge to create? What inspired it?
Space is something that I find very interesting and I wanted to do a scene from there. I got the idea for this project when I saw Gravity
. The visuals in that movie were so real and at times I really felt like I was there. I wanted to create that same feeling but in real time.
It was hard to build a space station from scratch. Using a lot of references helped, and pretty soon I had some modular models to play with. Like Lego, I built a small section that looked and felt like the real thing.
Zero gravity was the main theme, so I added some small props there to float. Using 80s materials and objects really helped to sell that old feeling. Finally, I wanted to place some clues to say that someone lived there, such as photos on the wall, a calendar with important dates marked and so on.
Using the Physically-Based Rendering (PBR) workflow really helped to achieve realistic results. It's always nice to learn new things that really push your work quality a step further.
The project took 2 months from start to finish. It really opened my eyes that real-time graphics can look almost real when taking the time to observe things and converting those into the engine.
3dtotal: How did you learn to paint digitally?
I'm a 100% self-taught artist. I just wanted to learn creating 3D graphics no matter what. I can't say that it is the easiest way but if you concentrate hard enough you can do whatever you want. There were times when I just smacked my head against my keyboard and I still do that from time to time, but all that will make the taste of succeeding even better.
3dtotal: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
I try to do a lot of different kinds of projects where I learn new things. Variation in your projects can be a very useful thing to show. However, I think you should still try to show your real focus. Also, try to keep a reasonable amount of content visible. Concentrate on your best works.
One thing that I like to do is making of projects. This way you can show how you did something and you can also re-think why. Tutorials are also nice way to show that you are interested in sharing your techniques with others. A bio is also one of the key parts in your portfolio. It's crucial to keep this up-to-date too.
At the end of the day I'm just trying to keep my portfolio clean and easy to read.
3dtotal: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
I can only name one artist that really inspires me and that is Marek Denko
. His works are just so real and the amount of detail is insane. I really hope that one day I could be as talented as he.
I also enjoy the works of Scott Homer
, Wiktor Öhman
and Tor Frick
3dtotal: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?
There are so many awesome tools out there so it's hard to choose. I think it would be nice to start learning MARI. Texturing is something that I like to learn more about so MARI
appears to be a very good candidate for that.
Sculpting is also something that I want to understand more. ZBrush
offers some nice tools and getting to know those would be a great advantage.
is something that you can never handle 100% so I think I'll be learning to use that for the rest of my career.
3dtotal: How do you like to unwind after a hard day's (or night's) work?
Usually I like to play games and watch movies. This way I can also collect reference materials. I have to admit that I use way too much time doing digital graphics. I guess that is one of the downsides of being a 3D artist.
Nature is really important to me and I spend a lot of time there. Living in Finland has some great advantages like snow and really cold winters. That's why the sauna is really important to me and after all we Finns invented it so it's part of our culture.
3dtotal: If you could choose any superhero power, what would you take, and why?
I like Iron Man
but he has no real superpower except money. Tony Stark is good at inventing stuff so that is always a nice power to have. I think that infinite resources and imagination is my choice here.
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