Khaled Alkayed - 'Maybach Exelero'

3D artist Khaled Alkayed explains the inspiration behind his Mayback Exelero image and reveals some top tips for the artist on the rise...

3D artist Khaled Alkayed explains the inspiration behind his Mayback Exelero image and reveals some top tips for the artist on the rise...

Khaled's Mayback Exelero car model was a close-runner in July's gallery competition, serving up 1,354 points and 4-and-a-half stars with its matte-black finish and toting guns enough points to win the contest in some months! Here, he reveals his inspiration, as well as some useful tips for other up-and-coming artists looking to make an impression!

3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Hello, my name is Khaled Alkayed and I'm from Az Zarqa, Jordan. I'm 25 years old. I have a Bachelor degree in computer information systems from the Hashemite University. For several years I have been working as 3D artist in the games industry and I have been involved in many videogames and various 3D projects.

My ongoing journey in the 3D world started about 4 years ago when I decided to create a videogame as a graduation project with a couple of my friends. At that time I was a good gamer but I had no idea how to make a game! So I did a lot of research and study in the field, and as I was working with the team in the initial stage, I found out that working on the 3D arts was the most fun part for me in the whole game development cycle. Therefore I started to get deeper and deeper into this by learning 3D tools like Maya and ZBrush. Ive also taken many courses in Maya and some other 3D tools at Trixel Studio, which helped me a lot in this project and many other projects. Finally, I managed to create all the required 3D models for our first game from scratch and gladly our graduation project won the first prize in the Annual National Technology Parade.

And from that day till this moment Im still learning new skills, because I believe that improvement is a never-ending process, so I must keep learning and practicing.

3dt: Tell us the story behind your recent gallery entry: What inspired you to create it?
This success didn't come till after a failure in previous project, a feeling of depression will be followed by another day full of hope and determination. With the beginning of the Maybach Exelero project the first goal was to work in a unique way that distinguished my work from others, so my main train of thought most of the time was spent on coming up with a better and stranger idea than anything that I have ever seen. Most of the time I thought that this project is beyond my abilities and my reach but thankfully I was wrong.

3dt: What software did you use and do you have any tips for using this software, or any other software that you use to create your art in general?
Software I use are Maya, Mudbox, ZBrush, V-Ray, and Photoshop.

Some general tips

If you want creativity and uniqueness in you work, pick an idea thats beyond your abilities because you will always evaluate yourself in a negative and in a less realistic way. You will never learn or push your abilities further unless your go through a hard experience.

One of the worse starting points after picking an idea is working without gathering enough references, leading to unrealistic or vague work, and you might reach dead ends because the idea in your imagination is incomplete. So thats why you should put some effort into searching for references, pictures, other artists work, movies, and games that share a lot of your idea before working on your project. This will help you build a stronger, visualized idea, as well as making your goal clear during the process.

In the modeling stage try to use as little vertices as possible for many reasons, like modifying the model when needed. Creating characters with a low number of vertices means an easier skinning process. Having a big memory (ram) will put your mind at ease about the number of vertices, so it will effect the performance of the program during work.

Do not waste your time and your enthusiasm on details that will not appear in the final result, therefore you should prioritize the things that need more details than the things that will not appear as much in front of the camera therefore will not need that level of detailing.

UV mapping is the stage I hate the most but the Xrayunwrap plug-in (from made it a lot easier, so I recommend everyone to use it.

It's really hard to get a nice distinguished picture without using Photoshop, tweaking and adding some final touches this was a really hard part for me because I'm not a professional user of Photoshop, which is why I use Magic Bullet Looks for these kind of things by using templates that include a lot of features in the composite and post-production process, as shown in the example.

Before Magic Bullet Looks:

After Magic Bullet Looks:

Taking your time before publishing your work on big websites right after finishing is wise it might make you feel down if you get rejected or if you get a lot of negative comments. Try to publish it on some big art forums like 3dtotal's forum taking their notes and comments will be a great help because the people there are considered some of the most professional 3D artists in present time, and will give you great points on how to improve your work as well as adding a professional touch to it. If you reveal your work on a social network dont trust all of the comment because most of them will say it's great/awesome/amazing, even though it might have a lot of flaws.

If your project has failed it doesn't mean you are not creative or talented, it just means you need more time to unlock your hidden talents. Time and loving your work is enough for making creative work.

3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?
In my personal opinion you can't know everything; however we must always try to learn more thats why I want to expand my knowledge and experiences, especially with programs like Photoshop because of how much it affects the final picture.

3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
Talk briefly about yourself in the portfolio and let your work do the talking, so leave enough space to show it. Link your portfolio with every social network site like Facebook, Behance and LinkedIn, you will find a lot of people who will follow your work.

Always share your work on every account you have on social media, and if possible add pictures of every stage of your progress people will love to see how the magic happens.

If you have any awards or recognition of excellence on any sites o pages that you made, you should add to the portfolio this will show the importance and value of your work.

Dont forget to add contact information like phone number, email, etc. A lot of people might want to get in touch with you.

Take a look at my site for an example.

Using Maya, V-Ray, ZBrush

Using Maya, V-Ray, ZBrush

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
In no particular order, my favorite artists are Carlos Ortega Elizalde, Daniel Hahn, Sérgio Merêces, Alexander Koshelkov, Ahmed Rawi, Massimo Righi, Rakan Khamash, and Aleksandr Kuskov.

As for the why; because they were a big inspiration for me and my work. Their work is absolutely amazing if you take a look at their portfolios, you will see what Im talking about.

3dt: How do you like to unwind after a hard day's (or night's) work?
I work all day from the morning till the evening; I do take breaks at the weekend. My breaks include family reunions and hanging out with friends, but would rather not stop working on a project if I had the chance.

3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
I already am working on Ferrari Enzo project that has more weird and unique ideas.

Related links

Check out Khaled Alkayed's website for more
Head over to raylightgames for its Xrayunwrap plug-in
Try out RedGiant's site for Magic Bullet Looks
Need Maya help? Try our eBooks

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