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Interview with Rohan Oka

Welcome to Tutorialboard, please introduce yourself. Could you tell us where you’re from and how you got started in the field?

Let me start by saying a big Thank You to you guys for interviewing me, I honestly feel honoured to be giving this interview. I am 25 years old & was born in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India & have been moving from city to country to continent in the past few years for learning and earning in my field of passion that is CG.

My childhood memories have been filled with me and my friends glued to the TV for eons playing the Atari to the Nintendo to the Segas . All of them well preserved till date, creating a micro videogame museum in my house haha .. As I grew up my fondness for Games and Art grew much more and whenever me and my parents went abroad I made it a point to buy a Ton of Game Magazines so that I can poke my nose into and get lost in the wonderful world of gaming. Getting those magazines in India was quite a rare thing at that time and having them was like a treat to the eyes.

In Terms of CG, I got admission in CDAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing) to learn 3D, Art & Multimedia and have never looked back ever since. That was one place where I found equally passionate guys and gals who loved doing 3D/Art and sharing it which helped my 3D seeds to start germinating. After CDAC I joined MAAC (Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics) to specifically learn Maya and get more technically knowledgeable.

After all that learning I landed up working in a studio, had my few initial hiccups but kept moving on to other studios and got to travel to various cities for work. Having done a few years of earning I decided to re-school myself at ‘Vancouver Institute of Media Arts’ (Game Art & Design Diploma Program). I Graduated with Honours there… and man what a ride it has been since! I must say that was the most treasured period of Art time I ever had…

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

Do you really want to know? … As most artists would agree with me is in the morning while taking a … u know what…: D haha. After a short period of day dreaming or having a terrible nightmare, I immediately write or draw stuff that I saw… Luckily my dreams end up like big budget Hollywood movies with all the special effects and interactivity which helps me in pushing my Art to a higher level. The satisfaction that 3D gives you after what you had imagined is in front of you is completely priceless.

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What areas of your work do you enjoy the most?

Personally I started off doing everything that was thrown at me as I enjoyed the fact I had finally entered the world of Computer Graphics which was a childhood dream and was pretty much a generalist doing animation , unwrapping , texturing & modelling. But thankfully my Boss at my first job was observant enough to actually tell me that I was good at Texturing & I should focus my skills in Texturing

.And that was it, I myself realised that fact as what I enjoyed unconsciously was to make stuff look and feel nice and push the surface detail till the Wow factor was apparent. Over the years as I moved through jobs, I had the opportunity to work with some kick ass modellers and enjoyed modelling characters and Texturing them. In my last job I really got the opportunity to do Organic Texturing and Modeling and also got to train my fellow co-workers and freshers, on Anatomy and the Human body.

That was one place where I was given a chance to actually study Anatomy and a lot of Art fundamentals by my Superiors, which finally led me to studying & majoring in Character Art, at VanArts, Vancouver, Canada. And now, I definitely must say that is what I really enjoy doing. There is just, something awesome about Character Art /Anatomy & its form, which I find, lets me spend hours on end without straining myself.

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What software programs do you use for your CG and why?

Hmm .., personally I would like to say once you have your art fundamentals down, you pretty much can use most of the softwares available to create something credible. Presently with all technologies merging together and the software, as a tool, is trying to make the Artists’ life much easier, is pretty much similar across the board. I use Maya & 3Ds Max as my Primary Modelling tool to create base meshes and then sculpt in either Mudbox or Zbrush . I use Adobe Photoshop for Texturing Purposes.

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You recently graduated from The Vancouver Institute of Media Arts, there’s a well known debate in the design community regarding the role of education in a designer’s work versus no design education and loads of design experience. What do you think about this?

Overall, I would say that your co-workers at work or friends at the Art school who are equally passionate is all that you actually need to grow in this field. Yet I would say going to the Art School helped me in focusing myself completely on developing my Art Skills. Life Drawing was crucial part of the Art learning that I had, which I could not have at the workplace. The experience at work lets you learn how to be sufficiently good at the output while being efficient and productive, while the learning at a School builds your foundation.

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Of all of your artwork, which piece is your personal favourite?

That’s a tough one, I do have a few favourites although the one that I still maintain on my website even though it’s ancient by now, is the piece titled “My Friend”… The world might collapse on you, but if u have someone to be there in your worst, it keeps you afloat. The piece shows a Chipmunk like character controlled by his master on his head who tells him what to do, but unfortunately the chipmunk’s clumsy self takes over and he falters on stage. Looking at him from the backstage is his Bulb friend, with a neon sign on his head that reads, “Applause”.

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Can you tell us how the idea for your latest project ‘The Cursed Pirate’ came about? And can you give us a quick outline to what the story is all about?

A nightmare which had a liberating ending, lingered in my head for quite a while was hypothetically superimposed ( big words there .. haha ) on a piece of patterned wooden tile in my room which led me to thumbnail a few doodles and rough lines. The Idea grew and concepts were made. ‘The Cursed Pirate’ is a character in the Scene “Death of a Spell” and the core outline for that project is as follows – “A forbidden treasure belonging to the witch of the sea, was looted by the wicked pirate.

He was then cursed to the bottom of the sea and became the part of the sea life. Corals living and breathing on him, he is immobilised as a plant. He also became the keeper of souls who dared to ever touch the witch’s treasures. Being prisoner to the curse, he is lonely and lost his evil nature. Years later his daughter (unknown to the witch of the sea, that she is the cursed pirate’s daughter) grew up to be a voyager, accidently ends up helping the witch, on this she bestows on her, powers – of telekinesis and stamina and strength and focus of a scorpion ( based on her zodiac constellation ). Fighting the consuming negative traits of the scorpion she comes to save her father…

What are your major principles for doing a great 3D Model?

A 3D model usually starts with an idea as mentioned before & grows into a sculpt. To me making a model believable is the most important part which helps in making a character memorable. And to make it believable, I feel putting your work in front of the public eyes while you are making it, helps, cuz of the crits and comments from each of them. The other thing that I feel is giving it sufficient time so that it does not look rushed that is, if it’s your own creation.

What is the most important lesson you have learned since you started modeling & texturing?

Every ones inputs must be heard, even if you can’t do everything that is told, always keep it in your mind… it helps. Apart from that, Modeling and Texturing tends to be a bit subjective at times, so just keep your mind open.

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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?

Do not try to do guess work! Have as many references as possible when doing any of your Art. Even if it is a Fantasy type of creation there needs to be some part of it that is grounded in reality so that the audience can relate to it and not discard it as something totally weird.

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You are currently looking out for a position as a 3D Character Artist / Texture Artist have you got any interesting offers yet?

I have got a few offers, but I guess I need to wait a bit considering it’s a recession period before something nice comes along. Till then I keep pushing my drawing skills & and I know I have a long way to go.

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

Going through awesome concept art by the wonderful artists all around .Reading Art books, my recent prized possessions being the Massive Black Art Book & The Cinematic Art Of World Of Warcraft. Also reading up on the latest gadgets and gizmos that pour in everyday. And yes drawing!

Free time?.. Driving and hanging out with friends and of course enjoying movies & console games.

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Where do you plan to take your designing career in the future? And what do you hope to accomplish in the next couple of years?

Being in a team of passionate individuals and artists and work on projects that I can stand back and feel good about.

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Finally, Red Bull, coffee, or something else?

Green Tea with lime .. oh yeah !

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

Thanks to you & your whole Team, once again.

For more information visit ROHAN’s blog:
www.rohanoka.com


View Comments (9)

  • great arts . excellent works

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  • Excellent work. Excellent Models And Textures. Thanks for sharing your views.

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  • Excellent inspiration. One of the best yet.

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  • Good interview, Badass skills..

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  • "earning in my field of passion” agree!

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  • V Nice. Thx for sharing.

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  • I can appreciate his work.
    Awesome interview.

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  • He is a AWESOME artist!
    definitely one of the top and upcoming designer.

    talented.

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  • wow, i just love his arts,
    btw great interview

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