At 15 years of age, when digital artist Ziv Qual was first introduced to computer graphics, he was quickly hooked. “When I was first exposed to CG, I immediately knew that was what I wanted to do,” he says. Since then, he has trained himself by experimenting with the medium, furthering his skills and knowledge with tutorials and help from online forums.
Today, Qual is head of 3D at MDSimulation, a studio in Israel. While a professional CG artist, Qual also considers himself a hobbyist, with a preference toward fantasy. “I make a good living out of CG, but it is also my greatest passion,” he says.
As with any good artist, Qual’s work has evolved over the years. “Experience is always the key to evolving,” he explains. “Over the years, the ‘evolution’ occurs on two levels. First, you learn to develop an eye for details (lighting, colors, composition). Second, you learn from experience through the development of new technical approaches and solutions to achieve your goals. I think that improvement shows in the portfolio of any artist who is passionate enough to keep an open mind to new experi ences in CG.”
According to Qual, his content creation process varies somewhat from project to project, particularly if he is building environments or crafting characters. “One thing I came to realize over the years is that rendering out many different passes to compile your final image in Photoshop gives you a great deal of freedom and can speed things up, as opposed to taking care of everything in the 3D stage,” he explains. In addition to using Adobe’s Photoshop for textures, the artist also employs Autodesk’s 3ds Max for all the 3D work (modeling, animating, render ing, and so forth), in addition to Adobe’s After Effects for post processes. On the hardware side, he had used a Boxx computer for some time, but has since upgraded to a new 64 bit, double quad core machine.
While Qual bypassed traditional art training and focused directly on CG, he admits that the medium can be tricky. “In 3D, every aspect of the process modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering, and so on is complicated and requires a lot of skill to achieve desirable results,” he continues. “Many steps of the process rely on the other steps, and if you want to change something, it often means going back and redoing previous steps. The hard part of creating CG is knowing how to advance from step to step correctly to achieve the final result.”
Nevertheless, Qual would not switch to any other medium. “I love doing CG because it provides a wide range of tools that allow me the freedom to create anything I can imagine.”