Hyype X 3D_PrintGuy: Write Way Artist Spotlight
March 30th, 2022

The following is a transcription of the conversation with @3D_PrintGuy during @HyypeHQ Write Way Artist Spotlight on March 25th 2022.

Welcome to the Write Way Artist Spotlight, where Artists share insights, perspectives and inspirations throughout their career.

Anaroth: Thanks for joining us today. I would like to start off with a question around building confidence as an artist and overcoming some of that initial self doubt. How do you see artists building confidence and how has your own willingness to promote your work evolved along your career?

3D_PrintGuy: That's a good question actually. I think for the first part where you mentioned how a lot of artists, especially new artists, undervalue their own work. Not necessary a lack of belief, but they don't see the value in their brand as an artist. I think that could possible stem from digital technology these days. If you're a new artist or someone in high school or even elementary school where do you look for art nowadays? You look for it on social media, you look for it on Instagram, Twitter and then you follow a thousand artists. Artists you don't even know, but they are most likely professionals, and have years of work and experience under their belt. The most popular art is usually the best looking art, and the best looking art is usually done by the best artists.

As a young artist you are bombarded daily by these masterpieces, so what do you do? You compare their art to your art. You can come to this realization or thought that all your art is terrible compared to these other people. But these people on social media are masters of their craft. I feel like a lot of new artists can feel like their art isn't necessarily stacking up, and then even as they do improve, when they do get really great, they're just constantly bombarded by this beautiful art from other people. It can really sort of mess with ones psyche or perspective. I guess it is a bit like Instagram versus Reality. You don't look at your art the way you look at other people's art. And then you instantly think yours is undervalued, or you actively undervalue your own art.

That's how I was at the beginning, you get that impostor syndrome, or you compare your art to these other people's. Like, my 3D models don't look half as good as these other peoples! Little do you know that these other people were in the industry for 30 years already. They're masters in their craft. As I have gone through my career I find that a goal of my art that I create is personal progression. The idea that my current piece of work is always better than my last. This allows me to take the perspective of my work in a timeline. If I look back at my first art piece, I was like oh my gosh that's terrible, but now I realize I've actually come quite a long way. You naturally start to build up that value of self worth in your own mind. You can say you are a better artist than you were was five years ago. I believe that type of value overtime builds up and compounds into confidence.

Anaroth: That was great insight. To help people have more perspective on who you are please you share your own art journey, and how you have gotten to where you are today?

3D_PrintGuy: I've been in the animation industry for about 15 years now. I started doing 3D art in high school where I made some terrible 3D animations in my courses. I was told that artists don’t make any money, and I would starve to death out in the real world. So I went to university for computer science and just before I was about to take a job at IBM, I sent out an application to Pixar. When that got accepted, it changed my life forever. I realized there that you can make a career out of being a professional artist. They aren’t on the streets selling canvas prints, they’re in a big studio using cutting edge technology to create masterpiece art. After Pixar I moved on to some other studios such has Sony, Netflix and Disney. Reflecting I would say I started off as a 3D modeler, that was my specialization.

In the beginning if you are getting into the industry it’s hard to make it as a generalist, especially when you're fresh out of university. You need specialize in a certain department because that's how it is in big studios. I started out as a 3D modeler then moved onto texturing work, I was the guy who just makes the model puts some colors on it and sends it down the assembly line. Eventually I started a youtube channel because I had all these stories that I always wanted to tell. Going back to my high school days I made the short films, so I realized I really wanted to have a creative outlet. After work I would make these little animations, and then I started to grow and discover new expertise, hence actually the name 3D print guy. I had made youtube videos of me making 3D models and texturing them and that was pretty much it, just spin it around and call it a day.

Then i realized, oh it's a lot more fun to just make a little animation with these 3D models! I slowly built up my skill set of being an animator, I wouldn't say i'm like a super duper ultimate master class professional animator. I am very good at 3D modeling and texturing, and then i'm OK at animating. I guess that is the humbleness I always try to exude. After the youtube channel I started building up my skill set and wanted to do more. I wanted to be more of a generalist and started doing more animations, then eventually my youtube channel just completely flipped the switch from 3D Modeling, to full blown animations. As I moved into the NFT space I wanted to bring that idea of these short story animations to life.

Anaroth: I think there's a lot of joy that can come from working with someone to provide something that they couldn't have done themselves. I've seen you do some really amazing commissions and wanted to take a moment to highlight that experience. What advice would you want to give to artists who are thinking about, or have started doing commission work?

3D_PrintGuy: I think the main thing about commission work is the collaboration. The main reason a collector or a client commissions work from an artist is because they enjoy the art and the artist so much that they want to be part of the creation process. For example if they just wanted the end result, they would buy a print or some kind of product the artist is selling. A commission is different, it’s like you are purchasing the opportunity to collaborate on a project with the artist. For artists who take commissions, I think it's always important to give the collector the opportunity to have as much input as possible. Input doesn’t mean you accommodate every wish, you as the artist will clarify what you can and can’t do, but the act of communicating is at the heart of a commission.

An artist should also maintain some boundaries in terms of the art style, keep in mind the person commissioned you because they love your art and your art style. Some collectors when you give them a lot of runway they aren't used to the creative process. When you when you tell them they can do anything they want they may come back with too much, and can make the piece unrecognizable from the original intent. This goes against the idea of the commission to begin with, ultimately I think it's really about finding a balance between the two parties through dialogue.

Anaroth: Earlier you shared that you built your skills around texturing and modeling, can you share how you continue to push yourself to learn more within the realm of 3D animation and different aspects of your craft? What resources do you find yourself leveraging?

3D_PrintGuy: Resource wise, a lot of youtube actually. There's always some kind of animation course. Anyone who wants to learn right now there are a lot of free resources that you can leverage. Some are product specific for software like Blender, but for pure animation YouTube is a great starting place. There are some paid courses, but I feel like those are if you want to get into the real nitty gritty and expert / professional grade animation. If you are looking to make some starter animations YouTube is a great starting point.

In regards to bettering myself, the mentality I subscribe to is the idea that every art piece or project you create challenge yourself to try something new. For example, originally when I was doing youtube videos I told you they were 3D models and would spin it around. I decided my next art piece should do more animation. I didn’t feel I was very good at rigging or character animation and I wanted to improve. The best way to improve is to create an art piece based off of that technique so you can learn how to apply it in a future situation. You can’t get complacent especially in the digital art space, everything is usually moving so fast, new technologies coming out every day. I mean, if you showed me a blender 3.0 demo reel of what that software can do like 10 years ago it would have blown my mind. I had no idea that we'd come this far, so I find that especially in the digital space you should always keep on top of your techniques and skillsets.

Anaroth: I love that you mentioned the leap in technology that has occurred. Where do you see art and animation going in the years to come?

3D_PrintGuy: I think one benefit of this sort of accelerating technology, especially NFT art technology, is that it is making art creation available to a lot of people who didn’t see it as accessible previously. More people are being exposed to art, investors who would never even think of investing in art now begin to see value. From a career perspective, making art is a more viable option than it was previously. It used to be you'd think oh what kind of studio can I get hired at straight out of university situation? Now kids can just pick up an iPad, install procreate or something, and start making art. They can post it to Twitter and immediately get feedback from artists all across the globe and improve their next piece. If you're a high schooler and you make some art and post it, you might have someone from Pixar come and say great work, heres a suggestion for an adjustment on your next piece. That is something that I just didn’t think possible five or ten years ago.

I've made this analogy before, but I find that NFTs are bringing back the old world art masterpiece industry. Before, in the 1600s some rich Italian aristocrat in your town would give you some gold coins and then commission you to create a Michelangelo's David or a Venus de Milo. In web2 you would just spend months creating a digital masterpiece, but what could you do with it? You could put it on a poster or something, but in order to pay your rent you couldn’t really focus on such things. Now in Web3 you can focus on creating these digital masterpieces. It's almost like a renaissance where there’s resources and time and a dedicated following of collectors. The advance in technology allows a crypto investor on the other side of the globe to snag up your masterpiece and support you as an artist. I find it's bringing back this old format where artists can choose, they don't have to necessarily jump into a studio situation. Artists can choose to create a very intricate, complex masterpiece, and actually have somebody collect it.

Anaroth: I'd like to learn a little bit more about some of the work that's really important to you. I find that every artist has a piece or two that has some sort of extra emotional value or sentiment. Is there a piece in your collection that you feel really proud of, and could you share a little bit of a story behind it?

3D_PrintGuy: The one that I am most proud of to date I guess isn't really in a collection of NFT related pieces, it's sort of a relic from my youtube animation days. I created a sci-fi three part series, and it was based on Among Us the game which was a super popular game at the time when I made it. Really it's more of a an amalgamation of all my favorite 80s sci-fi horror movies like Aliens, The thing, and Lovecraftian stories. I am proud of it the most because it was such a large departure for my regular work, if you look at the timeline of all my uploaded youtube videos it's like completely different than what I had put out before.

My previous work was more cartoonish and vibrant, I wanted to again challenge myself to do something new or explore new techniques. With this animation I was really interested in engaging with realistic lighting, cinematography, and longer form storytelling. When I finished this three part gritty sci-fi realistic horror series I was just really proud that I was able to do it. The animation became pretty popular on youtube and it solidified my motto of avoiding that analysis paralysis, if you want to try something new, just do it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but at least you tried and learned.

Anaroth: Lastly before I give you the opportunity to share what you are working on right now could you share any tips for organizing your day? How do you put yourself in the right mindset that allows you to be productive in how you create?

3D_PrintGuy: From an organization standpoint I don't really have too much of a set formula for what I do. A lot of times my thought process for creating an art piece starts with thinking of the major themes and work from the top down. Thinking what kind of story you're trying to tell through your art piece. It doesn't even have to be an animation it could be a still image and you're still telling a significant story. For me my projects always start with what story am I looking to tell? What features or what events will happen in this story that reinforce the themes? Then I drill down more into specifics, so if it is an animation what specific characters will be present? What kind of style? What kind of mood will keep reinforcing this theme? The idea is to have an overarching theme at the top and you keep reinforcing it every step of the way throughout the narrative. I think that commitment to dive deeper into the details is what makes a great art piece.

Anaroth: Thank you for sharing your process, while it may not seem like much from your perspective it might be just what someone needs to overcome a creative block they are having. I appreciate you taking time to share your perspectives with us and invite you to share anything that you currently have going on in your creative world.

3D_PrintGuy: I had a great time having this little chat, I love to always talk about artistry and the overall what I think of this space. What I am working on now is a bit under wraps, but i am working on a series I want to call it “A slice of life” type series. I'll be taking characters from different NFT spaces and tell a story of the day to day life they live. It is still in its infancy, so there's not too much to say about it. Some recent work that just came out was my work over with Blockworks, they asked if I could collaborate with them and created some 3D animated PFPs.

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