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Interviewing Gleb Alexandrov about his blog Creative Shrimp.com

Friday, May 20th, 2016 by Nadine Obst

We´re very excited we had the chance to talk to Gleb Alexandrov from creativeshrimp.com about his inspiring work as a 3D artist and tutorial creator. Without further ado, let´s get started:

Hi Gleb, thanks for taking the time to talk about your work and your website "Creative Shrimp", a page very useful for CG artists and students all over the world. It´s great to find someone willing to openly share his experiences. Can you tell us about how this all started?

It all started when I quit my job. Being a 3D modeler is fun, but being an entrepreneur is much more rewarding. I love taking risks and living the life I want to live. So I thought: "Come on, Gleb. Start your own journey!" So I created a blog. At first it was called "Blender Game", because I started to use Blender and I loved games. I had been a 3D nerd for 7 years (as if it justifies anything) and I just wanted to share tips and tricks about computer graphics. But before I started the blog, there was another thing.

Another thing? Presume you´re talking about the "Her Majesty´s Zeppelins" CG competition? You´ve won the first place! Amazing!

Oh yes, "Her Majesty´s Zeppelins"...when you say these words, my heart stops! Zeppelins literally kickstarted my career. There was a competition held by an online gallery and web resource for CG artists called Render.ru. It was called "Her Majesty´s Air fleet". As soon as I saw it, I imagined the steampunk zeppelins. Fortunately, my wife Lena helped me brainstorm and further develop the idea. After that, it was a whole month of learning Blender. It was my first render in Blender. I had to learn it from scratch basically. It was one hell of a ride! I looked for tutorials like a crazy geek. I watched tons of videos by Andrew Price from Blenderguru, Jonathan Williamson from CgCookie, Aidy Burrows from CgMasters and other helpful guys. In the end my zeppelins won the first place and it changed my life!

As we understand that´s basically when you started making your own tutorials, correct? What was the first video you made and why?

One of the first tutorials that I made was "How to create a stone". Why stone? I have no idea! But somehow I thought it would be cool to show how anyone can create a stone in 5 minutes. I was obsessed with the idea that my tutorials should be quick. Watching longer tutorials bored me to death - I know they are useful, but maybe I´m just too lazy for it. So it was "be quick or be dead". I came up with a quick tips style. I sped up the recorded video and added the subtitles that explained the steps. And when I saw about a thousand views on the first day on YouTube, I was shocked.   

What great feedback! And after that you started your blog Creative Shrimp?

Well, at first I doubted that anybody would be interested in watching my tutorials. But after the first comments kicked in, I saw that people actually loved it! I was so surprised and empowered. Then I recorded a voice-over in the tutorial. Here I should say that my English was so bad that it took a few bottles of beer to find the courage to upload a video to YouTube. After a while my blog was renamed to "Creative Shrimp" which  I thought was hilarious. Certainly it´s not because a mantis shrimp has the most advanced visual system ever. Eventually the Creative Shrimp blog became my micro business.

And to every artist I´d like to say: Start you blog now. Thank me later. Today it´s not enough to create art. You have to make your voice heard! It may sound harsh but if you can´t be googled, you do not exist! 

I read that you created a video course about lightning. Can you tell us more about that?

Realistic Lighting in Blender was the first fully-fledged video course I produced. It´s a course for artists who want to discover the creative side of lighting, in a nutshell. Reviews so far have been astonishing. Sean Kennedy, visual effects artist from OpenVisualFX wrote: "A large part of visual effects and achieving reality in a computer is knowing how to cheat to get the look you want. With these 11 hacks, you´re going to learn some of the best tricks Gleb knows and they are great!" That makes me feel humbled. Thank you Sean. And thanks to everyone who supported me along the way. The Creative Shrimp community is a bunch of amazing human beings. I think that Blender is a unique phenomenon. Artists, game developers, architects, filmmakers and other creative people make Blender what it is. So it´s a joy for me to share my knowledge.

So is lighting your favourite subject in CG?

I´m a jack of all trades, master of none. If anything, I consider myself to be the first ever CG photographer, because I feel a strange urge to take photos, but in 3D. That´s probably why I love lighting. The light is so much more than a mere tool to beautify your model. "Without light there is no vision" - that´s what photographers use to say. When I imagine shining and visually striking Seoul at night, it sends shivers down my spine. High dynamic range photos make me drool. What else? I´m also writing a book called "The Lighting Project". So I guess lighting plays an important role in my life!

What do you find difficult in CG business in general? Any obstacles you had to face during your career so far?

When you start your own business, everything seems scary. Speaking in public is scary. Even showing your renders to anybody is scary. But it shouldn´t be! Just keep going, keep banging your head against the wall - "Pretend to be making something until you actually make something."I personally love this quote by Austin Kleon.  That´s the best advice you can get for $7 - that´s how much his book "Steal Like an Artist" costs.

So stealing is the key, we get it. ;-) Any other tips or tricks you can share with let´s say a "rookie" in the field of 3D?

Well, I wish that someone had said this to me 10 years ago: You can make a living out of doing what you really want. Just don´t be afraid to speak to people and share your work. Start a blog and start spreading your social media virus. Share some work-in-progress renders on BlenderArtists. Post your work on Artstation. Drop me a line and show me some images. I´ll tell you that they suck. I´m just kidding. I´ll say that I´m proud of you! You´re great, but you can make the image even better. Just don´t be afraid to put your personality online. 

Anything else you´d like to say?

Today is a great time to be an artist. A few years ago it would be unthinkable to render a CG movie, working alone. Now with all the technology at your fingertips, it´s possible. You can use free tools like Blender to create content. And you can send the final renders to render farms like RebusFarm, and that´s what I call incredible!

Thanks Gleb!

 

We now support Pixar´s RenderMan 20 for Maya (beta)

We´re happy to inform you that as of now RebusFarm supports Pixar´s RenderMan 20 for Maya (beta). We are offering a special discount rate of 50% during beta phase and will keep you informed about the progress on our RebusFarm News Site

RenderMan can be downloaded as a non-commercial version for free. This version is fully functional, without any limitation or watermark. Pixar also offers tons of video material to make your start more comfortable. 

Read more: .. 

RebusFarm supports Oxfam Deutschland

We´re happy to inform you that RebusFarm decided to support Oxfam Germany with their campaign "Unternehmer für Unternehmer" - "Companies for Companies". Purpose of this campaign is to support individuals in third world countries on becoming more independent. In groups they receive education and support on their entrepreneurship which leads them to more autonomy. Oxfam International understands that many causes of poverty are linked: "The injustice of poverty demands a powerful and practical response to address both its causes and its impact on peoples´ lives."

Please join us and support this great organization!

Read more: .. 

3D Artist of the Month May 2016

Monday, May 2nd, 2016 by Nadine Obst

 

We´re very flattered by all the great entries this month and although it was tough this time, we had to eventually make a decision. Meike Schneider from Germany convinced us with her cute "Little Mary". Well, let´s be honest: How could anybody resist those puppy eyes ?

We asked Meike, our May 3D Artist of the Month, to give us an insight on her career and the making of her winning image. And here is what she told us: "I graduated in 2014 with a diploma in 3D Animation & Visual Effects at the PIXL VISN media arts academy in Cologne, Germany. I started as an absolute beginner to 3D but very soon I was highly passionate about it. 2D/3D is my biggest passion and even when I come home from a long day at work I still like to do some 3D or 2D stuff."

Just inmediately after graduating Meike became one of the finalists in the CG Student Awards in 2014 which paved the way for her future career. She then started working for a company in Cologne where she developed a 3D Viewer and worked on many advertisement 3D projects. But her way brought Meike back to where all had begun in 2014: "Currently I´m working for my former college PIXL VISN as a 2D/3D artist and instructor for 3D modeling. Teaching is one of my favourite parts at work. I really like to see how students evolve and improve during classes." 

Meike also works as a freelancer and is currently working on her own story and artwork for a children´s book: "I´ve been drawing ever since I could hold a pen in my hands. I´ve  always dreamed of becoming a famous artist one day. At a very young age Disney movies such as Cinderella, Pocahontas and The Jungle Book inspired me. To work for Walt Disney one day has been my biggest dream ever since!" But she´s no copycat at all: " Even as a kid I always developed my own characters.I never liked to copy character that already existed. My mother has always encouraged me to challenge and improve myself by participating in contests when I was younger. With 16 years I was the youngest exhibitor on an art event/vernissage." In the end the movie Tangled inspired Meike to start learning 3D: "I love creating cartoony artwork, especially characters like "Little Mary", my winning image. But I don´t want to be good in only one style so I try to also create photorealistic and fantasy artwork." Recently Meike is doing a daily speed painting during lunch breaks at work to keep motivated and inspired. You can follow her progress on her social media channels such as Instagram or Facebook and on her blog on her website

Meike told us how "Little Mary" was born: "First I drew a lot of sketches, references and designs for the character. I also created color keys for each surface and facial expression. After the design was done I started modeling a low resolution mesh and created UVs in Autodesk Maya. As the main shape was done I imported Mary into Mudbox and got more into detail. I sculpted areas such as the face (lips, eyes, nose) on a high resolution mesh. Apart from that I created a displacement map for the low resolution mesh in Maya. Then I drew the textures for skin, eyes, cloth, her teddy bear etc. by hand in Mudbox using my Wacom Intuos Pro tablet. Back in Maya I did the shading and curves for the hair. For the lighting I used Mental Rays physical sun and sky. I rendered a few layers such as sunlight, occlusion, rim light, specular etc. of Little Mary in The Foundry Nuke, which gave her a nice composition ." 

Little Mary was created back when Meike still went to 3D school while working on a team project druring her studies. She was responsible for the art direction and created the character and environment: "Little Mary is a 4 year old kid who loves dreaming. One day Mary´s brother took her beloved teddy bear and kept hiding it in his room. Mary pulled herself back together and started an adventurous journey on rescuing her bear. She dreamed up her brother as an evil ogre and her beloved teddy as a prince bear she was going to save." Unfortunately the time was too short and to finsih their demo reel was more important to the students. But shortly after graduating, Meike decided to rework some of the designs she´d made and finally finished Little Mary on her own. "I was also working on her princess bedroom as an interior set but sadly it´s still not done yet. I´ll try to add some animation to her as soon as possible and finish the project."  

Meike has already worked with RebusFarm on several projects in the past: "We had to render some advertisement projects for clients. I was really amazed how awesome and easy everything works - and so fast!!! I´ll keep recommending your renderfarm to my students at PIXL VISN!"

Currently Meike is also attending the FMX 2016 in Stuttgart were the RebusFarm team got the chance to congratulate her face-to-face. We probably will meet Meike again to discuss future ideas for a student competition such as the one we´ve just recently done with the Università Iuav de Venezia (IUAV). 

You want to be our next featured 3D Artist of the Month in the upcoming month of June and win 250 Renderpoints? Then, just visit our facebook page, upload one of your self-made 3D images and send us a personal message containing your email address. We'll choose the best image and contact the winner.


 

"Another Point of View" Winner Announcement

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016 by Nadine Obst

As already reported earlier, towards the end of February we´ve started our Rendering Competition "Another Point of View" with the Universtità Iuav de Venezia (IUAV). The 50 students of the Master Course were asked to create an image showing another point of view of an existing artpiece and render it with a limit of 25 Renderpoints using our render farm service.  

A high-class jury of 3D specialists - Ondra Karlik, Jonathan Gales, Ronen Bekerman, Martin Benes and Juraj Talcik, only naming a few - were asked to evaluate the entries and choose the winning images. There have been two students with equal points in voting so we decided to have two third prizes. Also one special prize goes to one of the former MADI students who had also entered the contest. Finally the winners are announced and we are happy to introduce them today:

1. Prize and 500 Renderpoints go to Nicole Romano with her interpretation of "Walker Evans - Interior View of Heliker" 

2. Prize and 250 Renderpoints go to Gabriele Simonetta with his interpretation of "Walker Evans - Interior View of Heliker" 

3. Prize and 100 Renderpoints go to Danilo Santoro and his interpretation of "Ezra Stoller - Salk Institute of Biological"

3. Prize and 100 Renderpoints go to Alessia Basili and her interpretation of "Walker Evans - Nova Scotia"

Special Prize and 250 Renderpoints go to Carlo Catto and his interpretation of "Mimmo Jodice - Eur 5 Roma"