Interview With CGI Artist Andrius Balciunas Also Known As “CryingHorn”

Hello Andrius, thanks for taking time away to chat with us. Can you briefly give us a little insight into your background as an artist, and how it all started for you?

Hello. The main reason I started doing CG was because of my passion for playing video games when I was younger. When I saw Final Fantasy VIII intro for the first time I was impressed so much that I started to learn deeper about 3d and computer graphics in general. I’m self-taught artist and it’s going to be now 8 years when I’m into CG.

Where do all your ideas and inspirations come from? And why do you love creating them?

Ideas and inspirations can come from anywhere. For me, personally, the more I think about it, the harder it gets to answer this question. Sometimes I think that what I try to express in my artworks is what I miss in my real life. Sometimes I think that what I express in my artwork helps me to understand better what kind of person I am. But I would mostly agree on that the result of my artwork is always somewhat that could be called a tribute to what inspired me in general to do it in the first place.

How long does it usually take you to create a 3D model? What percentage of project duration does it take to achieve such detailed works?

Each time I do something, I experiment a lot with the design, techniques, different approaches and so on. Most importantly I try not to rush anywhere in general. Because I tend to set high standards for my own projects, and that requires a lot of my patience. And my patience runs out very fast when I’m rushing.

This is also one of main reasons why I never put any “deadlines” to my own projects. I like to “mess” with what I do, because the whole process and the result becomes more enjoyable. A single artwork takes a few months to complete for me. There was an exception with my attempt to recreate a portrait of Haley Joel Osment. Since I had a reference I followed and there was almost no experimenting in process, it took me 3 days to complete and another one to render compose and do the post.

Do you do any preliminary drawings before you model, or do you just start and see what happens?

Probably start and see what happens” is more close to me. I draw only when I design something that is a part of concept. This is always inevitable. Also I do a a lot of quick over paintings in my progress to see and develop what I aim for. It sure easies my work flow.

What would your suggestions be for our audience and for 3D beginners? What are the typical mistakes to avoid while producing a good 3D Model?

I suggest to learn and practice at the same time, and try to put practice in the first place. Try to get familiar with the tool before you start learning more about it, sometimes this helps to absorb easier any learning material related to that tool.

Speaking about mistakes to avoid, what comes to mind first is not to work in viewports with incorrect field of view when you are using any references in the scene. This is so simple yet so much people does this mistake. Sometimes I see even professionals to miss importance of that.

Are you formally trained as an artist or are you self-taught? There’s a well known debate in the design community regarding the role of education in a designer’s work versus no design education,what do you think about this?

I’m self-taught artist. I think people spend to much time thinking which way is better to learn or become an artist. For me, word “education” associate with knowledge and knowledge alone is useless. You have to practice that knowledge and feel how it helps you, or not, to do what you want. I would prefer to look at education as a guidance. It helps you if are going along with it. And you are tend to stay limited if you are only following it.

Can you tell us how the idea of Crow came about? And can you give us a quick outline to what the story is all about?

Concept of Crow actually was almost created in it’s own progress. I had in my mind the idea of creating something with gothic dark and cold theme. In general, it supposed to be a glamorous image showing an escaped prisoner. I could mention two commercial that triggered my inspiration for Crow. One of them was MTV’s commercial with crows which was created by Psyop to advertise MTV in HD. I was so impressed with it I just couldn’t stop watching ir for a while.

Also PlayStation 3 commercial with the baby was something I believe influenced the overall atmosphere of my image. In the end I saw a cover on a pair of stockings. I liked the girl’s pose on it and that led me to start to develop this project. By the way there are some small trivias in this image like logo of EPA wich represents handcuffs and means slavery. The code below says ‘freedom’ if you read it.

Of all of your artwork, which piece is your personal favorite and why?

If I speak only about the result, I think my most favorite and successful image is “Open Green”. There are few things I still don’t like about it, but in general I’m satisfied with it. However most of satisfaction I got when I was creating Four Nights Fountain. This was the first and probably the only time when I felt I was doing something more then it was enough to satisfy me as an artist. In the end it didn’t turned out exactly the way I wanted, but I was feeling a pleasing effect of all that experience in myself after I finished it.

Open Green is my favorite image, can you tell us little more about on how you went to create this image?
Well, one day I saw a photo with the green leaf on the hand and the warm mood of that photo inspired me to create something of my own. At that time I got to know one of my favorite music artists Alex Roudos. I had some strong favorites of his music so I was quite surprised to get the chance to know him personally. He gave me some of his unpublished music and one of his tracks called “After I Saw Her” really inspired me while I was developing the concept of Open Green. The rest went pretty much naturally.

Are you working on any projects currently and what projects can we expect from you in the future?

I have several projects in my “3D images list”. Some of them already in rough progress. So for now it’s hard to tell which one of them will come next as finished. I’m also working on my first personal short animation. Recently I moved to new place so this whole situation and problems are a bit distracting me from my creativity and free time. Currently I experiment a lot with new techniques especially with hair. So the best to say is probably that I’m currently preparing to create something rather then I’m already doing something.

What are your hobbies and please describe your free time, if you have any?

Well I don’t have any constant hobbies or something I would always enjoy. So I tend to spend my free time on things or activities that interest me at that moment. I like to be near water, cause I enjoy swimming, I like watching interesting movies. From time to time I love to create or listen music. Of course do my own CG projects and so on.

How would your life change if you were no longer allowed to create CG art?
It’s hard to tell. I would relate myself with producing music I guess. But as long as there is a desire to create something, I think it’s always possible to find even several ways to do it.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Start gathering learning material. And try concentrate on principles when you learn something. Practice a lot and be patient with your progress.

Finally, Red Bull, coffee, or something else?

Tea or coffee is ok. Red Bull is evil, it gives you the “wings” and then you die… 😀

Well its been a great pleasure and thanks for taking the time out to talk with us.

You are most welcome.

For more info visit Andrius website:www.cryinghorn.com


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