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Øyvind Fiksdal: 3D generalist interview

By 3dtotal staff

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Date Added: 28th May 2015

Norwegian freelance artist Øyvind Fiksdal mixes professional work for advertisers and personal work in his spare time, using Sculptris, ZBrush and MODO – find out more...



3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Øyvind Fiksdal: I'm a freelance 3D artist located in Oslo, mostly working for the advertising industry here in Norway.

I come from a background in traditional art and unlike a lot of other 3D artists reminiscing about the old DOS days of Max, I have to admit I had no interest in 3D until I discovered ZBrush back in 2005. Getting into ZBrush and in turn 3D opened a new world, and I have stuck with it ever since. In the beginning I mainly focused on modeling and surfacing, but have since expanded to more general and technical tasks.

This image was an experiment to learn to hand-paint skin textures

3dt: Tell us the story behind your recent gallery entry. What inspired you to create it?
ØF: This image was created on commission for McCann Oslo and the idea was worked out by their creative team, which is often the case when freelancing for the advertising industry. The concept was ironically enough for a bacon commercial under the slogan "It's better with bacon in water than water in bacon” as the producers are one of the few who are not using water to increase the weight.

"When working with a short deadline I think it's important to pace yourself and do a thorough job in the initial stages"

3dt: Did you face any difficulties when creating this image, and how did you overcome them?
ØF: The job offered quite a lot of challenges and in particular the short deadline given. I had a total of 9 days to finish 3 completely different images in this series. When working with a short deadline I think it's important to pace yourself and do a thorough job in the initial stages. If you rush through it you might finish faster, but when working with art directors you are frequently in need to edit your work, and then a solid foundation is important.

Advertisement created on behalf of McCann Oslo

A large part of this job was to tackle the skin of the pig. I approached this by hand-painting the separate SSS layers such as epidermal, upper dermal and lower dermal, as well as the reflection and roughness attributes. This offered me a great freedom to control the amount and color of skin, flesh and fat separately.

3dt: What software did you use and do you have any tips for using this software, or any other software that you use to create your art in general?
ØF: When starting this project, and for my process for creating characters in general, I roughed out a base and a mid-detail sculpt in Sculptris. It may not be the most common choice of weapon for professionals , but I find it to be the best fit for me during the conceptual stages.

After this I brought the model over to ZBrush where I created my high resolution details, and for this project I also chose to do my texturing there. Most jobs I do individually get done in MODO, and this job was no exception – this is where I set up my particle system, rigged and posed the character, fur grooming and eventually rendered.

I created this as an exercise in creating product shots

3dt: Would you consider yourself to have a particular signature style, or techniques that you use often?
ØF: I think that when I do my personal projects I have a particular style, but when working on commercial jobs it tends to be more affected by client needs. This is not always the case though, and on some jobs you get to influence the artistic direction to a much larger degree: these are the most rewarding.

Advertisement created on behalf of McCann Oslo

3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
ØF: I want to be able to work more on my own concepts and ideas, and self-created shorts in particular. I enjoy experimenting with different artistic expressions and would like to create a series of 10-to-20-second shorts.

3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?
ØF: There is so much software I wish to learn at the moment, but as of late I'm focusing on learning Houdini. I think it's a natural progression to look at more TD solutions as time passes. I am using a wide variety of 3D packages and think that for a freelancer it is a good initiative to learn several programs in order to take on more projects and fit
client's pipelines.

This is a fairly old image that I made during a school project

3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
ØF: The most important thing is to finish, so I try not to take water over my head and start a large scale production I can't complete. Part of this is to evaluate every element of an idea, how long will this take and how tedious will the task become towards the end.

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
ØF: There are so many artists over the years that through their work have inspired me, and especially in 3D, but I think I'm generally more inspired by a large gallery of images than any single artist. If I had to choose one from the top of my head I would maybe have to go with a Norwegian traditional artist called Odd Nerdrum, who I find to have stunning renditions and strong topics.

This was the second image in my bathing pigs series

3dt: How do you like to unwind?
ØF: I like to unwind with a good movie or show, going for a walk or just hooking up with friends.
I also find that using 3D only for work can create some negative associations, so I think it's important to do some personal project in a relaxed setting and bring back the hobby aspect of it.

3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
ØF: I hope that I soon will be able to show some more of my personal works. I have roughed out a few concepts and started some of the groundwork – so keep your eyes open.

A character I did for a short film called Reaping for Dummies

3dt: What animal would you choose to be reincarnated into?
ØF: That's a tough one: I kind of enjoyed being a part of the planet's ruling species, but maybe a turtle. That way I can always aspire to be a mutant ninja turtle.

Collaboration with a fashion designer named Young Hee Chung

Related links:

Head over to Øyvind Fiksdal's website
Take a look at Bacon in Water in the gallery
Grab a copy of ZBrush Characters & Creatures

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