Onur Can Cayli: 3D concept artist interview

Onur Cayli

3d concept artist

3D concept artist Onur Can Cayli has worked for studios such as Dreamworks Animation and Lola VFX, on big projects ranging from “Avengers: Age of Ultron” to “Game of Thrones.” He talks about his working process and ambitions…


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


Hi, my name is Onur Can Cayli and I work as a 3D concept artist and art director in the industry. I began my professional career at Sony Pictures where I had the opportunity to work with many artists from around the world in the Visual Effects and Computer Game fields, at studios such as Dreamworks Animation, Massive Black, Lola VFX, Gradient FX, and Sega.

While at these studios, I was responsible for creating characters, creatures, and design elements for successful Hollywood projects, such as:  The Amazing Spider Man, Terminator Genisys, Avengers: Age of Ultron,  Antman, Man in Black 3, Marvel vs Capcom, and Sonic. Furthermore, I created character and creature 3D art for the worldwide TV show Game of Thrones.

I moved to a small Town called Urla located in Turkey from where I do freelance work for the studios I worked for before, spending more time with the family and doing personal artwork.

mechanical robotic hand armour


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


I have been developing an idea for a while for a personal project called Steambul and created many concept designs for that. The idea comes from my cultural background combined with steampunk elements. I generally write specific stories which give me the visual direction, otherwise it is very easy to get lost if I don’t have a certain mood and characteristic.

I create pencil sketches before I start doing any CG work. 3D comes with many issues that you can’t forecast during sketching, so I block simple meshes out and create simple renders with many lighting variations. Then get a high-res render with different materials. I put renders together in Photoshop, add textures, and use many photographs to push the realism to finish the final image.

riding a creature model


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


I had never done matte painting before so it was my first attempt to create that type of work. I watched many tutorials and trying to find high-res images suitable for the concept was difficult. I think the quality of your matte painting really depends on the library you gather. Finding the right image which has the correct perspective and values is the key, so that was time consuming. Combining 3D renders and realistic photographs was another skill I had to obtain during the process. Atmosphering effects and getting the feeling of correct scaling for that city was difficult.


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


I use mostly Maya and ZBrush, but recently focused more on the digital sculpting so ZBrush is my main software. For texturing, I’m trying Mari and Substance Painter. Photoshop is the one I visit at the end all the time.

futuristic city alley, trading


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


Trying to watch tutorials as much as I can because there are so many  new things to learn. I cannot say I am keeping my portfolio up to date due to an intense working schedule, just trying to upload some new art work when I find time. I also use Instagram, and my username is Onurcayliart. My favorite hashtags there are conceptdesign and digitalart.

mechanical army of the sea


What are your artistic ambitions?


I think studying history and ancient cultures to create alternative ones is my artistic ambition. To create art which has a unique story with some personal experiences to share with other people is also very satisfying.

Recently, I have been carving stone and wood to relax a little bit. This helps me to transmit what I learn from natural materials into my art as well. When I am done with some artwork, I generally sit in front of it to observe my journey throughout the process and remind myself how lucky I am to be an artist. Creating something personal and sharing my thoughts with other people around the world is my ambition. I appreciate the passion I have as an artist that pushes me forward. Staying up late without realizing how time flies to create something is a gift that makes me feel lucky.

concept art city on a beach

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