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Negro Elkha: 3D generalist interview

Negro Elkha

3D Generalist

Negro Elkha is a self-taught 3D generalist whose latest project was inspired by the cosmos and caravan-living, while trying to push his knowledge. Find out more…

Negro's ArtStation

3dtotal

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

Negro

My name is Antonio, but in the digital world I go by the name of Negro Elkha because… well, that’s a long story. I’d say I am a 3D generalist, or maybe just a 3D artist, I’m not really sure! I am a self-taught artist, and I learned all that I know from devouring books, manuals, and tutorials, and I do think this shows up in my works – I do use some unconventional methods to get the results I want and I do make mistakes that maybe could have been avoided if I had had a normal 3D formal education. Anyway, I do work more in the content creation field and in graphic design. I use CGI to enhance my designs and, in some occasions, to create 3D models for client’s products. I come from a small village in the south of Spain but I am currently in Luxembourg.

kevin boulton boat 3d model
Boat inspired by the work of Kevin Boulton

3dtotal

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

Negro

Each project is a different story. Some do get done because I had something that inspired me and other times I just feel like pushing my technical skills to see how far I can go, searching for crazy ideas that no one has thought of and that will probably overwhelm me.

Regarding the latest gallery image I published, “Time to go,” the idea came by on its own. The caravan and the actual scene do exist. Its owner, a big friend of mine, lived away from civilization for a bunch of years in that caravan, for no apparent reasons. He is heterochromatic and is a mad scientist type of guy who works in the military. When I was hanging out with him we used to watch those crazy comedy Ancient Aliens documentaries, and in many occasions, thanks to the little light pollution we had in the village, we were able to observe amazing astronomical events, some of them were quite wacky. From there, and other nameless moments, was born the idea that my friend came from another planet and his caravan was his spaceship. So, why not create a visual 3D image out of it?

For this project I used Cinema 4D for all the model creation (except some of the assets from the exterior, which I got from Sketchup); I used Octane Render for the texturing and render, and TurbulenceFD and Realflow for the fluid simulations.

cinema 4D bike design
Legend Etna

3dtotal

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

Negro

Even though I had a clear idea what I wanted to create with this image, it took me months to actually start doing it because particle simulations were something quite new for me. When this crisis started, regarding the now well-known virus, my amount of work dropped and I decided it was time to give it a try. I started reading about the software I could use to create smoke and after finding the right plug-in, I studied its functioning and did several tests to see if it really could create smoke that had at the end a realistic feel to it. The result, which isn’t perfect, did look correct for me to go on with the project.

Usually, when you think you can’t do something due to its complexity, that thought is actually just an illusion. The same illusion we all have towards the “unknown.” My advice would be to not really give it a second thought, just do whatever the challenge is, with patience and persistence any task is possible.

3dtotal

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

Negro

I think I might be the worst person to give advices on how to handle a portfolio. I created mine a few years ago with one idea in mind: to get some new clients. After spending a month working like crazy on it, and sending it to different companies, many of them did reply, congratulating me on my high quality work but none were interested in my services. I can say that 100% of my clients came by recommendations or by word to mouth, and I do get the feeling that the CGI and Animation Industry, in many occasions, consists of getting work by having the right connections and accepting to butter up to those companies. Much luck to those who want to be part of it!

cgi 3d bike model
Legend Monza

3dtotal

What are your artistic ambitions?

Negro

Good question! I do have a lot of ideas but not enough time to get them started. Even though for now it might sound a little delusional, my goal is to reach a point in my life where I don’t have to spend time working for anyone else and be able to just dedicate my full time to create whatever comes to mind, without time limitations, and above all no hardware limits either! In my country there’s an expression that translates to something like “Work dignifies you” and that is why I left Spain.

caravan explosion 3d scenery
Time to go

3dtotal

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

Negro

I have many favorite artists and from different backgrounds. I love Simon Stålenhag and Jakub Rozalski ‘s alternative universes, overflowing with imagination. Ash Thorp’s refined sense of taste and Edon Guraziu’s parametric models also inspire me. From a more classical point of view, I was always fascinated by engravings and etchings from Piranesi, A. Dürer, and G. Doré; they do remind me that behind a high technical work, there are hours of meticulous hard work. Simplicity is fine too, but it is not for me.

Other artists that come to my mind are Caravaggio and Velazquez, both huge masters that worked light and shadow in a sublime manner. And to sum it up, and knowing I am letting out of this list some amazing artists, it is my obligation to mention the one and only Roger Deakins, from where I get an endless source of inspiration every time I see his work on films like Blade Runner 2049, No Country for Old Men, or Skyfall. This guy’s work, for me, is the personification of perfection, good taste and love for his craft.

3d dark fantasy adventure scenery design
Rockatansky is back

3dtotal

What can we expect to see from you next?

Negro

As I mentioned earlier, I have many pending ideas and I hope I can pull them together in my free time. I have much to learn and do. My next project is already taking place, and once again it is something quite new for me: an anatomical model where I am learning new texturing techniques and trying to figure out how to create realistic hair. I hope I can share it with you soon enough, on this great platform full of incredible artists to whom I have to thank for this interview.

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