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Zacharias Reinhardt: Freelance 3D Artist and Blender Trainer interview

Freelance 3D Artist and Blender Trainer Zacharias Reinhardt discusses his working methods and shares some of his competition entries...

Freelance 3D Artist and Blender Trainer Zacharias Reinhardt discusses his working methods and shares some of his competition entries...

3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Zacharias Reinhardt: Hi, my name is Zacharias Reinhardt (27). I'm from Salzwedel, Germany. I have been a passionate 3D artist for many years now. In the past I have worked for about 2 years in an advertising agency, and I have run a media production company together with my brother called AgenZasBrothers for 4 years now. Since 2016, I've been a freelance 3D artist and Blender trainer.

I have been devoted to 3D design since 2004, and since 2010 I have shared my knowledge with 200+ free video tutorials, taught numerous workshops and realized a bunch of customer projects. Since 2013 I have been a Blender Foundation Certified Trainer. Additionally, I try to inspire people with my personal 3D projects. Besides that I'm running community projects like weeklycgchallenge.com or SculptJanuary (zachariasreinhardt.com/sculptjanuary).

This sculpt was created during SculptJanuary 2017, topic was Hydra

This sculpt was created during SculptJanuary 2017, topic was Hydra

3dt: Where did you find the inspiration for your latest gallery entry? What's the story behind its creation?
ZR: It was an entry for the "Humster 3D Car Render Challenge 2016". So it had to be something with a car. Personally I don't like to create standard clean looking cars. I saw an old Trabant standing around in my city and I thought this is a perfect car to create an interesting rendering and tell a little story for this challenge. For my 3D projects, I like to transform old rusty cars into self-made robots or flying vehicles, as I did for this rendering, too. I had a couple of ideas, but decided to tell a story of a grandfather and his grandchild, which had built this flying Trabant. Now, after months of hard work, finally it takes off.

This sculp was created during SculptJanuary 2017, topic was Turtle

This sculp was created during SculptJanuary 2017, topic was Turtle

3dt: What software and plug-ins did you use to create this image? Did you face any difficulties, and how did you overcome them?
ZR: As for all of my 3D projects I use the free but extremely powerful 3D tool Blender as my main tool. For creating the trees, I used the great tree generator plug-in for Blender, called The Grove, which makes it super easy to grow realistic trees in no time. For the grass I used The Grass Essentials from Blender Guru. The stones and other nature objects on the ground are from the Quixel Megascans library, which I tested for the first time. It's a great way to quickly add more interesting details to your scenes. For lighting my scene, I used a HDRI map from hdrihaven.com, which have extreme high resolution and are unbelievable cheap.

I guess the biggest challenge was to create the characters, since I had not much time left until the deadline of the challenge. I created base human figures using the free tool makehuman.org. In Blender, I posed them and sculpted the clothing. For the face of the old guy, I projection painted a photo onto it, to make it more realistic. They are pretty roughly made, but it was enough for this rendering, from this particular camera angle. For compositing (e.g. the smoke effects) and color grading, I used Photoshop.

This sculpt was created during SculptJanuary 2017, topic was Portrait Man

This sculpt was created during SculptJanuary 2017, topic was Portrait Man

3dt: Do you normally use this software in your workflow? What other software and plug-ins do you favor?
ZR: In general these are my main tools and plug-ins. I think if you have your good working workflows, you use them over and over again. I used Cinema 4D a few years ago, it is also a nice 3D tool, but I moved to Blender as my main tool, because I did not miss anything that I had in C4D and it is free. It offers great tools and is very flexible. After you understand how the UI works and how fast you can work with it, it is just a pleasure to create artworks with it. Besides Blender, I work with the Adobe Creative Suit. For 2D works I use Mischief and Krita, besides Photoshop. For a few projects I also use Marvelous Designer, which is also a very nice tool.

3dt: Are there any particular techniques that you use often? Or do you like to experiment?
ZR: Sure, I like to experiment; every 3D project has certain requirements. I also set it as a personal goal to try out new techniques for new projects that will hopefully make my life easier. In terms of texturing and shading my scenes, I really like to use procedural and seamless workflows. With that, I don't need to create a single UV map, which makes it a lot easier. Sadly, that doesn't work on every 3D object. For things that are a bit more difficult to create in 3D, like smoke or fire simulations, I just composite that in Photoshop using photos, if possible.

The Journey - This render was created for "The Journey" Artstation Challenge in 2016

The Journey - This render was created for "The Journey" Artstation Challenge in 2016

3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
ZR: I try to create renders and also 2D paintings that have a specific style, that one can recognize. A part of that are theses rusty self-made robot vehicles. One other important aspect is that I try to tell inspiring little stories, which I think is a very important element, beside technical skills, that many 3D artists did not care that much about. It adds life to your artwork, invites people to look at your image a little longer, and inspires them for their own creations.

3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?
ZR: For an upcoming customer project I have to learn Agisoft PhotoScan which I also wanted to learn for a long time. I think I can put it to good use, also for my personal projects. Besides that, I've always wanted to learn Substance Painter and Designer. Substance Painter I have on my computer, but did not take the time to learn it properly. I know that they are awesome tools to make the texturing process much faster. I also want to learn World Machine for creating terrains, which is looking very exciting. ZBrush is also on my list, but at the moment I'm pretty happy with the sculpting tools in Blender. Personally I find it hard to just learn a software because it's a cool software. I find it much easier to learn it, if you need it for a real project, like the photoscan project that I will work on next.

3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
ZR: I think the best way to create artworks for your portfolio is by entering CG competitions. Most of my personal works are created during competitions. Like on artstation.com or hum3d.com. Nowadays there are CG competitions everywhere. You have a given topic, you have to meet a deadline and so on. It's a great way to learn, build up your portfolio and connect with other artists. I can recommend it to every CG artist. That is one of the reasons I run the Weekly CG Challenge (weeklycgchallenge.com) where you can enter a new CG challenge every 2 weeks.

Final Takeoff - This is my entry for the "Humster 3D Car Render Challenge 2016"

Final Takeoff - This is my entry for the "Humster 3D Car Render Challenge 2016"

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you eplain why?
ZR: That's a hard question, because when you scroll through 3dtotal, ArtStation or other sites, there are so many talented artists (and it's hard to remember all the names). But I really like the works of Marek Denko as many will agree, I guess. I also love the style of Simon Stålenhag. What I find more interesting to share, are great 3D artists that I know in person (more or less), which are Gleb Alexandrov, Sebastián Zapata, Lukas Walzer, Rico Cilliers, Andy Goralczyk and Manuel Peter, to name a few. All of them are a great inspiration for me.

3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
ZR: Besides customer projects, I'm currently working on my YouTube channel. I'm creating tutorials and making of videos of my 3D artworks. Besides that, I'm working on a big video training for Blender. But I can't give away any details at this moment. But I hope that I will find some time to create a few more sci fi vehicle scenes or character sculpts in the near future, I have many ideas.

Related links

Head over to Zacharias Reinhardt's website
Check out Zach's YouTube

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