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Alexandr Novitskiy: 3D artist interview

Coffee-lover and 3D artist extraordinaire Alexandr Novitskiy talks about the thought processes and workflow behind his recent “Black” concept, and about creating art for video games. Find out more…

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3dtotal

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?

Alexandr

Hey. I can only say one thing about myself: I love a damn good cup of coffee! I live in Kiev, Ukraine. I work with graphics for video games and concept designs. I see a lot of value in creating things. It’s important for anyone to do something interesting, whatever it is.

3dtotal

What was the workflow behind your latest gallery image? Where did the idea come from?

Alexandr

I wanted to create something dark, with an emphasis on design and character. The idea was to show a gloomy knight from the forgotten past. Only shapes describe about him: glimpses of plague, signs of battles, and marks of time. I think that good design shows emotion. When you can read the background from the shapes and assemble it within your head. That’s what I tried to reach with this.

The workflow was simple: first of all I created the silhouette, then made a block of basic shapes in Maya with a simple topology. The next step was a fast overpainting and preparing parts for subdivision for further sculpting (only visible damages on the armor). The mid-poly model I received from my high-poly just by deleting edges, because it was made for subdivision. The materials were made in Substance Painter procedurally, except the uneven effects of the armor – it was made by hand. It was rendered in Marmoset because I like real-time and try to use it often.

3dtotal

What challenges did the image present? Did you learn something new?

Alexandr

I think that my personal projects are part of my meditation. They allow me to polish my vision and skills. My goal is to find the best way to implement my thoughts into shapes and I will continue with this in coming works. I tried to achieve believable shapes and polish my style with new approaches in design and workflow. Probably, the speed in work is as important as quality. If you see something in your head, you should create it fast. It’s the only way to catch all you imagined. I’m sure: it works not only with creating 3D. I tried to make mystical lightning, which shows only important parts of the model. So I have learned lots about it. It was a very cool experience.

3dtotal

Do you use any other software, either for work or personal projects?

Alexandr

I’m ready for any software, actually. It’s just a tool, so all you need is to find the tool that allows you to work without thinking about how to use it. I know lots of software, but I really like when I can do something without serious obstacles in interface or any other waste of time. That’s why Marmoset and game engines like Unreal are the best decisions for rendering now, I think. Technology is the future.

3dtotal

How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?

Alexandr

I’m just trying not to stop working for myself. Art for me is not a kind of work, it’s just a way to be creative in different fields. I use CG as a tool to train my brain and to keep myself “on the wave.” Learning and creating are important things of being. So allowing yourself to create something is a good way to develop your personality. I have a rule to work on something for myself every day. It can be art or something else, but it should be creative. I love what I do. For example, now I’m working on a video game with friends. It helps me to grow.

3dtotal

Are you a member of any social media groups? Any favorite hashtags you check on a daily basis?

Alexandr

Sure. I love 80.lv – Kirill Tokarev created a great, fast-growing community. It’s a pleasure to read and write articles for it! I’m a part of Polycount and Ten Thousand Hours on social media as well. I have no habit to check hashtags, but I’m always interested in everything new within gaming and the CG industry.

3dtotal

What are your artistic ambitions?

Alexandr

I use art as a tool for focusing on important things. Art forms my vision. Learning is a process; it helps to look on the world and life from different angles. Maybe in the future I will create something else, who knows. But this will be the next stage of what I'm doing now. I mentioned that the world around us was created and designed by someone or something. It’s a pleasure to understand that we can be a part of it.

3dtotal

Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?

Alexandr

You asked me about artists in a previous interview. This time I want to mention Yoji Shinkawa. His technique based on sumi-e, traditional Japanese black ink painting. I am amazed by the accuracy of his lines and shapes. He draws emotions. It’s the most important part of any art.

I really love art and have tons of game artbooks in my library. Games inspire me more than other forms of art, maybe it’s all because of its complexity. Many things could be told through the games, it’s not just art, it’s a way to talk with people.

Alexandr Novitskiy Hollow Knight dark fantasy skull skeleton armour
Hollow Knight © Alexandr Novitskiy

3dtotal

What can we expect to see from you next?

Alexandr

Last time you interviewed me, I said that I’m going to kill my inner perfectionist. It was not easy, but I did it. I enhanced my speed and quality, so I am no longer focused on a continuous polishing. I'm interested in things like “from design to the engine” now. Fully real-time, atmospheric. I don’t know exactly what I will do next. But I am sure that I will find something that is hard to make and will challenge myself to do it very well.

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