What is the story behind this piece, Hyungrok?
When I first saw the Steampunk kit, it brought back memories of the time when I worked at Weta. I was thinking of a colder mood full of steam and dust, so I wanted to make something inspired by Mortal Engine London or a city floating in the sky. But I felt that the Steampunk kit had a warmer feel to it. I didn’t know if that was the correct image, but I thought it would be better than giving it a darker ambience, so I tried to evoke warm feelings of the city in the steampunk style. I added colorful trees and a market using warmer lights.
How did you create this piece?
I mostly used ClarisseiFX for this one. ClarisseiFX can handle a huge environment scene and has an excellent scattering system, so recently it has been used by most VFX Environment artists. Now with the high-performance ClarisseiFX, it's really easy to set up scenes and environments that feel alive and real without using additional VFX tools.
First, I found a reference, and then did the layout work for the scene. As I mentioned, if I use Clarisse, I don't need to make LOD modeling for set dressing such as low modeling. You can check it through the 3D viewer without using a proxy box.
After that, I did the Lookdev work through ClarisseiFX, and used the original KitBash3d data and added more detail to the texture.
Next, I set up some lighting to create the mood for the scene. I also didn’t use as much materials in the beginning, so I made more variations of materials in ClarisseiFX for the final touch.
This was my Lighting Test:
And my render passes:
Can you tell us a little bit about your career so far?
I have worked as a Lighting Artist and 3D Environment Artist in animation, commercials, and the VFX industry for almost 10 years at companies such as Polygon Pictures, BaseFX, DNEG, MPC, and Weta. Currently, I am working as a General Artist at ScanlineVFX in Vancouver. I have always been interested in working in VFX and used to work as a Sound Engineer and Motion Graphic Artist when I was in Korea, and from there I gradually started working in VFX.
What drives you as an artist?
I love making art because it is a form of self-expression and I’m fortunate enough to be able to make art as a living. But I also make art outside of my work, because I find it more rewarding to do my personal work where I can work on whatever I want and have complete creative control. It fulfills me in a way that is different from work. Of course, I can get a great feeling from working on famous movies, but sometimes it's difficult to find the feeling that it is my work.
What I've been wanting to do is to test out new tools through my personal work, so that I can use them if I need them. Unfortunately, I don't get to use all the new tools I want to try out just by working at a company, because each company already has their own tools. It's incredibly difficult to do this after a day of work, but I think I have become a better artist through these experiences of putting in the extra effort. Most rewarding of all is having a space where many people can see my personal work and share it with each other as well. That's been my motivation to create art and my reason to work on my personal work.
Hyungrok Kim has worked as a Lighting Artist and 3D Environment Artist in animation, commercials, and the VFX industry for almost 10 years at companies such as Polygon Pictures, BaseFX, DNEG, MPC, and Weta. He currently lives in Vancouver, Canada as a General Artist at Scanline VFX.