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Ahmad Turki: lookdev & lighting artist

Ahmad Turki

Lighting / Comp / VFX Lead at Omens Studios

Jordanian lookdev and lighting artist Ahmad Turki puts his photographic skills to great use with his digital artwork, creating atmospheric pieces using Maya. “The first thing I do when I start any artwork is build my light setup first. Having a mood is something I always look to when presenting my works.” Find out more…

Ahmad's Artstation

3dtotal

Thanks for speaking to us! Please let us know where you’re from, and what work your specialize in.

Ahmad

I am from Jordan. I started my career in the 3D animation world in 2009 as a Texturing and Lighting Artist. After gaining some experience I moved towards the look development and art direction –creating looks for movies and TV series was a fun part for me as I had a chance to explore more of my artistic side, and have some ideas presented in projects.

3dtotal

You’ve uploaded some amazing work to your 3dtotal gallery – thank you! And we’ve staff picked some of your great environmental / scene pieces. One thing that stands out in these is your use of lighting – often with shadows and sparks of color to create contrasting atmospheres. Is this something that came natural to you, or did you decide that lighting was right for you and so something you focused on?

Ahmad

For my CGI artworks I tend to use some of my photography skills while doing the lighting. The first thing I do when I start any artwork is build my light setup first. Having a mood is something I always look to when presenting my works. Creating contrast or a cinematic feel is my goal. Even when I comp or edit my renders I use the same techniques I use for editing my photos. I try to have a vintage washed-out look instead of having a sharp, crisp look. I believe these looks just come naturally as it’s my style of work. My goal at the end of the day is to create something different and unique.

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3dtotal

That method works really well – it shows in the end result. How essential would it be for someone to study photography, who was planning on becoming a Lighting artist?

Ahmad

Since photography and CGI lighting are two different topics, I believe learning photography and capturing good camera angles helps a lot while creating your artwork. And of course, the lighting in photography can be used as a reference for the 3D renders. It is good to have understanding on how lighting works in photography as it's a great tool to create more realistic looks.

3dtotal

What are some of your favorite projects to have worked on as art director? Did it feel more rewarding? Or is there something to be said for having your focus on a single element like the lighting?

Ahmad

I have worked on a few projects and unreleased titles. Some are VFX movies and feature films, and some TV commercials I will be happy to share once they're out.

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3dtotal

Which software do you use most, and is there a difference between what you use for work, and what you use for personal projects? What would be essential to learn as a beginner just starting their adventure?

Ahmad

I have been using Maya for my personal work and production works. Rendering with Arnold for me is by far the strongest render engine Maya has. As for learning lighting for beginners I would suggest first to watch movies, and see how lighting works, setting up the mood of the movie and what kind of lighting and colors are used. In production it's pretty much the same. Once you understand the principles of lighting and how you set up your key, fill, and rim lights, you will get a good understanding of the basics of light, And once you use this knowledge in your personal artwork, or any project it will help polish this skill.

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3dtotal

Whose work do you admire? Do you have a preference for digital art over traditional art?

Ahmad

One of my favorite artists nowadays on Artstation is Huleeb. I admire his day to day work and how consistent he is with his works, motivating me to create more artworks and never stop learning or sharing.

As for arts I am a huge fan of traditional arts but unfortunately my drawing skills are not that good, but I love the freedom that traditional arts have. With digital art at some point you might get some limitations, and I believe having knowledge in both worlds is a big plus.

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3dtotal

Are you working on any personal projects at the moment? If so, is it to focus on any particular thing to improve? Otherwise, what can we expect to see from you next?

Ahmad

At the moment I have decided to take a small break from the production works and put some more focus into the real-time rendering and Unreal Engine. My next line of works will be all produced real-time, as old school rendering becoming too expensive many production houses are moving to the real-time world. Now it’s the best time to join the club! So hopefully I will be putting more work on that and will be publishing a new style of work pretty soon!

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