In this interview, we talk with Tom Doizy, the 1st place winner of the Monster in the Closet Challenge from La Réunion. He will give us some insights of his journey as a CG Artist and a look behind the scenes of his winning artwork.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Hi, my name is Tom Doizy, I’m a 25 years old Frenchman currently living in Réunion island.
I’m training full time my CG skills with the hope of making a living of it.
2. Tell us more about your creative path: How did you get to the point you are now?
During my schooling I first studied sciences, then cabinet making, but I did not have any courses regarding artistic creativity.
However, since I was a child, my parents encouraged me to develop my creativity through drawing, observation of the world around us, music, and many manual activities. So I don’t have a well-defined creative path, it’s just something that has always been an important part of my life.
Concerning CG, I discovered it during a school internship when I was 13, and I have never stopped since.
You can see here some of my previous works, both personal (Nature Morte and Nature Vivante) and professional (Johanna Grégoire).
3. What was your main motivation for participating in the challenge?
This project fits in perfectly with my CG learning, and also allows me to expand my portfolio.
Also having a framework to follow, interactions, and feedback on the work I’ve done is obviously a major benefit.
4. Where did you find the inspiration for your latest entry, and what inspires your work every day?
Due to a lack of inspiration, I didn’t think of participating in this challenge at first.
But two days after the theme was announced, I came across some paintings by M. C. Escher, which, as some of you have guessed, were a major inspiration for the creation of this image.
I found that the feelings I experienced while looking at his works were a perfect match for the proposed theme.
5. What software (and plug-ins) did you use to create this image?
When creating this image, I used 3DS Max as my modeling software and V-ray as my renderer.
The TyFlow plug-in allowed me to create the wooden floor. I finally used Photoshop for compositing.
6. Are there any particular techniques that you use often?
I don’t focus on one particular technique, on the contrary, for now I try to discover as much as possible.
I still have a lot to explore!
7. Can you give us a short breakdown of your entry?
Once I had the inspiration for this project, I already knew what I wanted it to look like.
So there were not many back and forth, I just changed some elements on the way, but the image conception has been pretty straightforward.
The first step was to set up the camera, and then to blockout the scene according to the frame I had.
I then refined the models and added textures.
I modified some elements along the way like the pictures in the frames or the lighting, until I achieved this final render.
From there, the final step was only compositing.
8. What was the hardest part on creating your entry?
One challenging part was to make the fish-eye effect.
The camera settings in my software did not allow me to distort the image that much, so I had to point my camera at a spherical mirror to get the effect.
The drawbacks of this trick were that I could not use any render passes to help the compositing process. Also I could not use hidden lights to enhance the details I wanted (because they were still shown in the reflection), and the rendering time was considerably longer: the 4K version took nearly 24 hours to render.
9. Have you learned something new from participating in this challenge, and if yes, what?
There was nothing completely new for me when making this image, but making it did allow me to significantly improve some fields, such as lighting, compositing and even character modelling, which I’m not used to.
10. Any advice for people who want to learn 3D art or join challenges like this?
Don’t rush to the result, be picky and careful, and most important but also difficult for me: try to give a meaning to what you are doing, like the choice of colors, the camera angle, where and why you put elements into your scene…
11. Any good books, podcasts, YouTube channels or other useful / inspirational content you can recommend to other aspiring artists?
Yes ! For the 3ds Max + Vray or Corona users, there is the excellent Adán Martín YouTube channel, where I basically learned almost everything I know about texturing.
There is also Unmesh Dinda from the channel PiXimperfect who is to me the best Photoshop teacher I can think of.