With this third interview we end the first cycle in Vray World as far as architectural visualization is concerned. Our goal was to approach artists who played a different role in the 3D world; a freelance 3D artist (Thiago Lima), a manager of a company (Jan Kristian Volmer from Elberfeld Kreation) and an owner of a company (Matthias Arndt from Lichtecht). We had a very interesting conversation with Jan concerning both professional and artistic-technical matters that have to do with our art. Please enjoy it!
Hi Jan. First of all I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation. My first question could be about your path in 3d world but I think it is a very common one because almost all 3d artists have a similar path. That's why I would like to start with your role at ElberfeldKreation. Which is your role at the office and how did you get that job?
Let me thank your great community for giving me the chance to have this interview! I began my career in an event agency here in Wuppertal, Germany as a graphic designer. There was also a version of 3ds max 3.1. So I started doing some stuff in 3d and I was banned!
After spending a couple of years there and taking a long break in Australia, my company called and asked if I was interested in working there. I started with a mix of graphic, flash and 3d design. One day our company got robbed and lost a lot of equipment and therefore we needed to buy a new computer and a new license of 3ds max. Those days max was still shipped with a dongle! So from that moment on my 3d world was totally different. We also got a copy of Vray. From then on the 3d department has been growing till today. Today I am the lead 3d artist here. It was a long way but was always fun to see and be part of that process.
I can see both your passion and patience :) Are those feelings the characteristics of a successful career Jan? A lot of Vray World members ask me how they could find a permanent job in another country, maybe somewhere in Europe. What is your suggestion? I mean how could they present their work in a right way approaching an evaluated office?
In my opinion you have to share all of your work to get feedback from good artists. Especially since Facebook is everywhere it is a great way to get feedback from good artists around the world. If i post some of my work on your Facebook group, I get instant feedback to improve my work; so spread your work. I sometimes send my portfolio to different companies around the world and wait for feedback! You have nothing to lose when you do that. And it was never easy to get in touch with companies. I always try to improve by looking at portfolios from other great artists. So just be present in the social media and try to build a strong portfolio.
I also think that nowadays presenting your work worldwide is not so difficult. The most difficult thing is to create something from scratch... i.e. your own visualization studio.
What about your thoughts and your future? Are you thinking of creating your own studio someday? You have good experience and skills after so many years in 3D designing. Don't you think that you have to go on and create something of your own?
Sometimes I think about that. But I have a strong connection to my company. All I ever accomplished was because of this company! We grow together and my idea is to work here till my retirement :) but you never know! Also you feel quite safe these days when you don’t know what will happen with the economy. Then it is good to have a stronger background.
That's a view which exists in our days due to the economic crisis but there is a contrasting view which says that when you are a freelancer you have your fate in your hands, don't you think so :) ?
Here, it is not very different from a freelance job. I am almost my own boss because it is a small company. 80% of the jobs I do came due to my own initiative. So I have my fate in my own hands. Here you can see quickly if everything runs fine or not. So it is just like freelance work with less risk. I would say it is just optimal for me, especially with a family. And I am always free to change that status if I want to!
Very nice Jan. Let's talk about your work. The first renders I saw that were your own were part of a small project you called Eiermann. I loved it. Lighting, colors, composition, everything was so well designed. After that, I saw your short animation "design connected in motion". Also, while watching the rest of your projects I discovered an artist with a personal style. I observed the way you light your scenes and the final color correction which I think gives you a nice style to present your renders. What is your opinion about that? How important is it for an artist to find his own style?
Thank you very much! I can just speak for myself and say that the important thing in my renderings is the light! You can get all the models you want on the web. And I am not a great modeler! So I always concentrate on the light. But it should be a nice light! So I almost always have the back light setting in the morning or in the evening. I don't like midday moods, because of the strong shadows. Thus I try to think like a photographer and get a nice angle and light. I think my style is not very special - it's more like a kind of mood that I try to improve every day. So for me and my work the light is the most important thing in the 3d world of architecture.
Please let me ask a few technical questions. Which is the hardware and software you used to create this Short animation?
Our workstation is an 8 core Intel with 32gb ram with an Nvidia graphic card 1gb ram. Also a 96 core render farm to do distributed and net rendering. This is also an advantage of working in a company because I don't have to buy all that myself :)
I then use effects for composing and premiere to edit what I need. Of course I have and love the latest V-Ray version.
Could you please give us some more information about the 96 cores render farm? It could be very helpful for Vray World *Members.
It sounds bigger than it is! It is a 19 inch server rack with four computers in there. It really looks small! Here is the link to the company. The price was about 12.000euros. So not that much I think! Here is a link to the system we have.
Yes I know this smart and practical idea and it's great to work with such a tool :) So Jan I would like to thank you for your time. It was a real pleasure for us to have you here today answering our questions. I hope our members find our interview really helpful. As a last question, may I ask your opinion about Vray World? We would like to know if you found any negative points and if you have some suggestions about what we could improve.
Thank you very much for having me! It was great to talk to you! I love your site! It's a great inspiration for me and the community. You just have the greatest artists on your site. So I can't see anything that needs improving - except posting more of my work there :)
Thank you very much Jan for your kind comments, I really appreciate it. But if you think of any improvements we are here to listen. Vray World belongs to its members.