Cristóbal Vila of Etérea Estudios, Spain

Canasta - Created by Cristobal VilaCanastaCristóbal received this July the Master (1st place) award in the category of Mechanical/still life of the 1st annual EXPOSÉ Awards. (Click here to read this interview in spanish)

EXPOSÉ is the industry’s first annual art book celebrating the creative talents of digital artists worldwide. EXPOSÉ is an unprecedented premium publication featuring the finest digital artwork the world has ever seen. It consists of international artwork covering the fields of 3D, digital illustration, industrial design, architectural visualization, games, television and feature film.

In addition to showcasing the world’s best digital art, the EXPOSÉ AWARDS honors the best artists in a diverse range of categories and styles. The award recipients all demonstrate the astounding fusion of artistic and technical excellence that the explosion of digital tools opens up to the modern artist.

In each category EXPOSÉ honors both 3D and 2D (illustration) entries separately. Master and Excellence awards are given in the following categories: Character in Repose, Character in Action, Mechanical /Still life, Architectural, Environment, Visual Effect, Transport and Grand Master

Mechanical/ Still life award

Celebrates the best device or part of a device. This category is highly dependant on the artist’s ability to demonstrate an excellence in technical design and execution. This includes both the intricacy of subject design and the technical excellence of modeling / texturing / lighting / illustration.

How and why did you start your career as a 3d artist?

I was working professionally as a 2D illustrator for many years. I considered 3D as something attractive but somewhat far away and difficult to achieve. Little by little I began to approach that world; it all began to click and then I was captured by it completely.

I think I’ve always been attracted to the combination of both, the artistic and technical, and 3D work combines, better than anything, these two concepts. Besides, every time I see more clearly that this is a medium in which I feel very comfortable and with desires to learn more and more. I never have enough: you see other people’s work and you feel that there are some things that you haven’t tried yet…

Anyway, I would like to emphasize that I’ve never liked to think of me (in fact, I don’t consider me) an artist. This is a word that nowadays it’s used rather easily to define the occupation of many people: “3D artist”. I rather think of me as a sort of “image artisan”. I have a lot of respect for the work of a good artisan (craftsman) and I identify myself more with someone like that than an artist grin.

Canasta Wire - Created by Cristobal Vila Canasta Wire

Why did you choose this particular piece for your project?

Simply because I like it very much. I think is one of the few still lifes that Caravaggio painted, maybe the only one. He died very young and didn’t have time to produce a much more extended work than some of his contemporaries.

I was immediately attracted to the simplicity of the composition. That point of view, so frontal, that it escapes a forced perspective. The color, almost flat in the background. The light and fruit treatment (specially the grapes)…

Besides, it seemed to me as a completely different theme of the typical 3D piece (you know, robots, spaceships sports cars)

I was also attracted to do an adaptation of a classic work using totally digital means, but trying to maintain to the fullest, the spirit of the piece.

Any finally I was attracted to the challenge of the technical complexity. To produce a still life with glasses, plates, bottles, jugs, etc. would have been easier (they are elements easy to model). But sometimes I just like to complicate my life a little and that’s why I liked the idea of solving the modeling of the cluster of grapes, the weaving of the basket, the leaves, etc.

Why do you use Universe for your projects?

There are several things that I like about this software:

  • It’s fairly easy and intuitive to handle. It doesn’t have thousands of floating palettes where you can loose yourself. Everything is easily accessible by double clicking on the element you want to edit.
  • The warmth of the renderer seems excellent to me. I would say that the images outputted from Universe’s Camera have a special characteristic “warmth”.
  • It’s an extremely fast and great quality renderer. I like to do a lot of test renders; test after test after test, until I get the exact picture that I have in my mind. If I had to wait a lot of minutes and hours for each of these tests it would drive me mad or I would simply not have the opportunity to get the the same finished level of my work.
  • The application and the degree of control of the textures seem excellent, and at the same time simple and intuitive, to me. I can apply huge textures with a great level of detail, for example 8,000 or 16,000 pixel images with no trouble at all, and it still is fast.
  • I can work with millions of polygons without fear that the program will crash. Universe has always been very good in handling high quantities of polygons combined with high-resolution textures.

Any projects for the future?

I have many projects, but as always, very little time. To tell you the truth, I now have more time to create my personal pieces but even then I have a lot of trouble making them come true because every day I become more and more demanding of myself. Well… I’d rather not give too much away for now.

Anything else you would like to add?

Only to thank you for the opportunity to explain my work. I hope that the people at Electric Image keep up working hard in the development and improvement of this software, making it even more attractive and known to the general public.

Greetings from Spain

Cristóbal Vila

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