User Storie: Vadim Nikitin

How much experience with 3D environments did you have before taking the course

I had no experience in 3D at all. To be completely fair, I recall trying to fiddle around with 3ds Max during my school years (about 20 year ago). It was probably 3ds Max version 5. The only thing I remember very well is that it was a complete failure, I could not understand a thing. The book I was trying to learn from was also unbelievably bad. A lot has changed in terms of learning opportunities since then. We are lucky to have incredible free software like Blender together with the accesses to so many options to learn.

Did you expect, before taking the course that you would be able to create an engaging environment?

I was certainly hoping I would manage to create something good at the end of the day. However, when I started, I did not expect that my 3D reconstruction artwork would draw so much attention and positive feedback from people both within and outside 3D community. I should probably mention that I did a lot of self-learning in addition to the course. It is not possible to cover everything in a single course. The course was a grate foundation for my learning, and I kept referring to it even when I was further down the development process. A lot of motivation is needed to take all classes, what motivated you? The idea and the history behind my project always kept me going. Before I started learning I already knew for sure what I wanted to create. As you know, my project was a 3D reconstruction of the area and architecture which was flooded and lost. I have deep emotional connection to this area and was literally dreaming of recreating it. I think that when you believe in your project that much, you cannot drop it.

The course prepares students for the sometimes difficult moments, have you had this experience too? If so, what motivated you to move forward.

I had plenty of difficult moments and challenges. I am sure everyone does. 3D art is not easy. Sometimes you get stuck because of some silly mistake you made, sometimes you have to start from scratch, often you are trying to do something without knowing how 3D software works under the hood and that lack of understanding causes unpredictable results. As already mentioned above, I was passionate about completing my project and quitting was not an option. As a friendly advice to other students I would recommend the following for difficult times: (1) when you are stuck, ask yourself a question: "What I actually want achieve?". In practice we are often overwhelmed by software and do not have good understanding of what we are aiming to do. When you are able to answer to yourself in clear terms, a lot of problems will go away; (2) If you are still stuck, ask for help from your course author or someone else. 3D community is friendly and there are a lot of people who are willing to help. Just make sure you do your own research first in order to ask clear accurate questions; (3) brake down your workflow into smaller chunks and write them down (e.g. model the building, UV unwrap, collect textures, build shader, texture paint, etc). This also helps not to be overwhelmed and deal with problems one at a time. How does it feel to have the experience to create complex 3D environments?

Feels totally awesome! I posted my 3D reconstruction in June 2020 and have been receiving positive feedback, requests for interviews and comments since then. I do not think I have ever done something that satisfying before. Knowing that I have this experience and can continue is very pleasing. Some say that having a creative hobby makes a person 80% happier. I concur with this statement.

What are your 3D plans for the future? I am currently working on procedural forest environment in UE4. Blender is still my favorite software for the most of tasks. Hope to be able to publish this project the next few months.