Gaea: Behind the Render
If you’re looking to imagine a civilization of peace and learning or even an ancient stronghold of battle, Gaea may be the kit for you. Our latest 3D asset kit features beautiful cultural centers, intricate yurts, grand banquet halls, and much more! To demonstrate these 3D models in action, we turned to ‘Colonial’ cover artist Oliver Beck, who agreed to conjure up another magical world for Gaea – and now he joins us to discuss his work for this new edition of “Behind the Render.” Keep reading below for more.
KitBash3D: Hey Oliver, great to have you back. Can you catch everyone up with your creative journey up until this point?
Oliver Beck: Hey guys! Glad to be back with another cover! My name is Oliver Beck, I'm currently based in Germany, and I work as a freelance concept artist and illustrator with clients like NetEase, Nickelodeon, and Double Negative.
I started out full-time on my art journey about four years ago after I graduated high school, but even before that, art was a huge part of my life. I knew I wanted to pursue concept art when I was done with school and got started right away with some CGMA classes and mentorships. It was all pretty straightforward. Roughly two years ago I attended Focal Point School in Poland with Darek Zabrocki and Michal Kus, which was pretty intense but an amazing experience.
Soon after this I met my girlfriend (now fiancée). She was a major inspiration in my life and pushed me to work really hard towards my aspirations. I don't think I would be where I am now if I had not met her. Since then everything has been going great, both personally and also in terms of my career.
So this is my journey so far. At the moment I am focusing on client work and try to keep learning with some personal art projects on the side!
KitBash3D: Congrats on the engagement! And speaking of honing your skills, what was your first thought when we asked you to make this cover art?
Oliver: I was very excited and waiting for this for a while, and the cover was done on a very tight deadline, so my first thought was, "Yes! Here it is!" but right after that it was, “Phew, I'm not going to get much sleep" – which ended up being true but it was totally worth it. The end result is amazing and most importantly I learned a lot, which helped me grow as an artist. I didn't mind the tight schedule either as I love challenges and I'm always looking forward to pushing myself.
KitBash3D: What were your biggest takeaways from the process? Is there anything you learned that you'll incorporate into your next piece?
Oliver: I learned a lot about composition while creating the cover art. There are so many elements in the piece and balancing all of them out in a way that is appealing was very difficult. I shifted things around over and over trying to fix some tangent or small issue in the composition only to create a new problem. It was like a complex puzzle piece. So yeah, composition was definitely the biggest takeaway. I look forward to applying this knowledge onto my next piece!
KitBash3D: The puzzle metaphor is a good one. Sometimes you have to try a number of “pieces” before it clicks and feels right. “Trial and error,” as the saying goes. What software were you using to aid you throughout your creative process?
Oliver: I used Blender for the initial blockout, then I exported to Cinema 4D, where I replaced the simple geometry with pieces from the new kit. I also used Cinema 4D Octane for rendering, characters were added later using DAZ, and foliage was done via Forester (a Cinema4D addon). Post processing and overpainting were done in Photoshop.
KitBash3D: What inspired or influenced your design?
Oliver: Just with the last cover, I didn't do a lot of research (maybe something I should work on!), I just had this vague idea of a tribal civilization situated near the ocean, worshipping these huge monuments or spires we see in the background. I didn't have any particular inspirations for the design...I just started kitbashing things together based on my rough blockout and...somehow this is what I came up with. It's interesting how we conjure up these cool ideas from the ether of our minds by just trying, struggling, and trying again… and somehow at some point, it clicks and things just come together.
Or maybe I just didn't get enough sleep, but that's what the process felt like to me!
KitBash3D: References are certainly useful, but sometimes it can be satisfying to just let your mind wander freely and discover the world as you go along. How was that process of experimentation with Gaea? What stuck out to you?
Oliver: This is by far my favorite kit of yours! When I first opened it and looked at the models I was blown away. What I like the most about it is the detail and how intricate it is. The design is so awesome and I can't even begin to understand how your modeler put this together. I also like how you guys are getting better with each kit you make! Keep it up you guys!
KitBash3D: Thank you very much, we’re honored to work with such talented artists and it’s great to hear you appreciating their work! Is there something you would like to try next with this kit (without the constraints of making a cover art)?
Oliver: I would love to design a city in the trees with this kit, similar to Lothlorien from The Lord of the Rings. This was my initial idea for the cover but I decided not to go for it because I was on a tight deadline and I knew that it would be much more challenging to utilize the kit in that way. It's definitely something I would like to try though. An Elven city in the trees with magical blue lights illuminating the night would be pretty rad.
KitBash3D: That would be awesome to see! This kit definitely lends itself to woodland kingdoms. If you could give this kit to another artist to see what they’d come up with, who would it be?
Oliver: Hmm, there are so many artists I would love to see using this kit so it's hard to choose one. I'm not really sure but I'd like to give it to someone who is really into grand architecture and huge scale. Leon Tukker would be a cool pick since he is more into scifi. I would love to see him do some work in the fantasy genre, so that would be cool!
Alternatively, I wonder what would happen if you gave this to one of the classical masters. I wonder what Albert Bierstadt would have done with this.
KitBash3D: Oh wow, Leon’s work is great. Thank you for sharing! We'd love to see his take as well. And Albert would have been interesting to see if he were around. Perhaps someone can make a piece with Gaea inspired by his work?
Last question before we go: What drives you to keep creating?
Oliver: Art is my passion, I just like to explore it more and get better at it for myself. It's just such a fun way to spend my time. Sure there are jobs, career opportunities, money, competition, social media… but when it really comes down to it, I just like creating. I can't think of something better to do with my time than sitting down with a cup of coffee, listening to metal and going hard on some artwork. It's very intriguing and since art is such a huge field I will never run out of stuff to do! There is nothing more amazing than that in my opinion and this is all I need to keep making art.
KitBash3D: Thanks for inspiring us, Oliver. Any final thoughts for our readers?
Oliver: I hope you like the cover art and keep creating! Excited to see what everyone does with the kit!
ABOUT OLIVER BECK
Oliver Beck is a concept artist and Illustrator working in the movie and games industry. He is passionate about creating art for the pure sake of creating. His clients include NetEase, Nickelodeon, and Double Negative. You can see more of his work by following Oliver on his Instagram, ArtStation, and Twitter.