A great artist whom we met in 2012 explains to us how he found his path into the imaginary world of 3D art, how he keeps himself inspired and his plans for the future. Enjoy him in a great interview & showcase of his work!
Sava Zivkovic is a designer and 3D artist based in Belgrade, Serbia. Born in 1989, he graduated from the Belgrade University of Arts in the department of Interior and Furniture design in 2012. Having developed a strong passion for film and animation, he decides to take on this career path and focuses on motion graphics, architectural animation and all things CG. He has a strong belief in devoting time to personal projects, has received several awards and recognitions from the CG industry and has also given back to the industry by publishing some of his personal tutorials.
Hey Sava! How are you doing? I’m really glad that we can finally do this interview together! Before you started publishing your projects on VWArtclub, I didn’t know anything about you…
If I am not wrong, you started inspiring us with one project called ReConstruct which really made an impression on our forum and not only there since it has won the best ArchViz project of the month award! Hasn’t it?
Hey Vasilis! I’m doing great, just returned from THU so I’m filled with inspiration and motivation to tackle new projects!
Yeah ReConstruct was definitely a turning point in my career, and this has nothing to do with the awards it’s won, more importantly it had to do with me finally realizing the importance of creativity over technical thinking. It has also nudged me in a different direction, enabling me to do what I do today.
Honestly, after this project I was waiting for your next strike :) Some great projects with your teammates arrived and I thought: This guy from Serbia is really good, passionate and a hard worker, but the most important thing which I believe will help you, as far as your 3D future is concerned, is your kindness. What do you think an artist needs to have in order to become professional except for his skills? Do you believe personality matters?
Thanks man, I’m glad I got you hooked:) Personality matters a lot, it’s definitely what makes you unique. To anyone that might need this advice, just be yourself, don’t try to be other people, or impersonate the mentors that inspire you. It’s a long journey but after a while you’ll find your voice and with it great collaborators and friends, friends who will truly support you and with whom you’ll be able to take your work to the next level.
Looking at your VW Profile I would say I can recognise your preferable style at a first glance. Obviously it is cinematic and dark enough :D Strong contrast but also with a soft transition between the several colours, somewhere between black, grey and dark green! Am I right? Also, why do you aim to follow this style and not something clearer and more visible?
Haha I’ve just noticed that dark green color reoccurring, how weird?:) I don’t know whether I’ll be able to give a clear answer on this, but to me I’ve always wanted to emulate the cinematic look in my work. That usually means for me going darker in terms of value, and try and play with as little light sources as possible, keeping everything silhouetted. I’ve always liked this look, and because it is simpler to achieve you get faster render times as well, so that’s a nice plus:) I don’t mean to say that only dark images are cinematic looking, but to me it was easier to achieve because at the end of the day you keep everything almost monochromatic. Color is extremely hard, and that’s maybe why I’m taking it slow, trying to figure out simpler stuff first before moving to color.
Great! Let’s go to another project which you presented in 2017, the “IFCC 2017 Main Titles”. It was a team work and it described a story… Would you like to tell us more about it, let’s say “something behind the scenes” and I mean something that we can’t read in your description.
Oh man I can talk about IFCC for days:) Without a doubt my personal favorite project I’ve worked on so far! Basically, most of my day to day work is actually motion graphics, so when we got the chance to create the titles for IFCC we really wanted to do something different, and decided to treat the whole thing as a short film.
We wanted to connect with the artists that are visiting the conference and tell a story of an artist’s journey, so at the beginning you can see him feeling down, reflected in his body language, there’s a group of people looking down on him, you know that pressure when you want to do something and you feel like everyone is watching you and judging you. Our hero goes on his quest, where he’s faced with adversities, namely the interdimensional travel, that wall that transports him from one dimension to another. That’s a personification of our hero’s deadline, constantly chasing him, not allowing him to find his true self. In the end, he has to eject and basically forget about the deadline in order to pursue his dreams. He finds his creativity and he is transported to where he began this journey, maybe that thing he was searching for was always there, but he absolutely had to go on a journey in order to find it.
This is all part of the Hero’s journey, a story structure that has been used in almost every Hollywood film in the past couple of decades. Obviously there are many more metaphors and subtext that went into producing the titles, but this answer would just be too long if I included everything:)
As a side note, we didn’t really want to explain these things before, but you can see how subtext can bring a piece to life even without uttering a single word in your short film. I hope this was relatable to most artists out there, it certainly was for me.
Very interesting! After the ReConstruct project which you made using V-Ray, I noticed that you changed your workflow using the Octane render engine. What did you find more comfortable in the GPU process and Octane?
Well I’ve said this many times, but Vray is, in my opinion, still the best render engine out there, but when we’re talking about animations you really need studio support and render farms in order to make the most of it. As a freelance artist the biggest value Octane offers to me is the ability to render realistic animations without the need for a render farm.
All of the projects I’ve done are rendered on a single workstation with 4x 980TI graphics cards, and you can get those cards pretty cheap nowadays. The second biggest value for me is the ability to not have to think about technicalities and just focus on the creative task. I don’t ever want to think about render settings or if I’m going to be able to render something out again, and Octane has given me this opportunity so far.
A few days ago, you presented a new creation which I really loved due to its concept, “Playgrounds 2017 The Art Department”. Would you like to tell us more about this project? Is it your best one until the next :) or maybe another one is your favorite and why?
Thanks Vasilis! Well these titles are a direct result of the IFCC project, and again as with IFCC titles I just couldn’t make it into an abstract motion graphics piece. I think once you’ve done a character driven “story” there’s just no going back:) So I again devised a simple story around the Playgrounds titles, although this time there just wasn’t enough time to dive deep into subtext as I wanted to. It’s a very simple story of friendship, where our hero finds friends on his journey and furthermore a purpose to his being. I guess this was kind of an art therapy for me since I worked on this one alone, and missed my friends, so maybe the story manifested itself subconsciously:)
I think it’s kind of tricky picking up what’s your best work, because you’re always going to be biased to some of them for a variety of different reasons. Having said that I still think IFCC is my best work to date, and that’s only due to one reason, team. Just by working with an incredible team of friends, people who are passionate about what they do, we were able to learn so much and grow as individual artists but also as a team. And those experiences you’ve had while working on a project is what defines the best project for me, and I’ll always cherish the process and memories we’ve made while creating IFCC titles.
I’ve been involved in 3D field since I was 21, that means about 17 years, and I can say there have been times, days and periods of my life that I didn’t feel inspired to do 3D art professionally. You know what I mean… deadlines, pressure by the client and a general stress which is not really healthy :) Actually this is the main reason for creating VWArtclub. You are a decade younger than me, so I don’t know whether you’ve had “bad feelings” concerning your professional path as a 3D artist. I suppose you have and that’s why I would like to ask you if you think that you can follow this job for many years or you have any other plans for the future?
Sure thing, I think pretty much everyone goes through these feelings of doubts and insecurities, it’s one of the key ingredients of being an artist. What helped me a lot was working on my personal projects, client work is important, true, but if you don’t take time to do something for yourself, you risk getting burned out. I always try and have a couple of personal projects at all times, even if you get 30 minutes a day to work on those, I think they still help to keep you motivated and inspired.
One of the things that I’ve found out while working on self-initiated projects is that the aspect I enjoy the most is the initial concept stage, where you’re either creating the story or coming up with the “big” idea. And that’s actually where I’d like to be in the future, luckily that has already started happening for me, and I’m currently working as a director at Axis Animation, a studio based in Glasgow focusing on producing AAA game trailers and cinematic content.
I really want to hammer this fact hard, if I hadn’t done all of those personal projects, if I hadn’t taken those risks, I would not be in this position today. So do your personal projects, do what inspires you, even if it’s not your field of expertise, take risks and some day it will resonate with someone and it will change your life.
Thank you Sava for your time, it was a pleasure to have you on VWArtclub for this interview. Finally, I would like you to give us your motto and a few words - suggestions for the new guys on the field who have already started living in a 3D mood or they are thinking about picking up their ticket for a beautiful 3D trip, just like you did a few years ago!
Just be patient. This field encompasses many disciplines, and it will take years before you feel you’re starting to get a grasp on them. I, for one, certainly feel that way now. Technology is getting easier and I feel that young people today want everything instantly and success over night, it’s one of the drawbacks of the world we live in where you have quick access to almost everything. Well, creativity is something different, and a bit of a longer journey, so just be aware that it will take some time before you get there, but you most certainly will get there.
Thank you Vasilis for having me as a guest, see you around the web!:)