Not Just for Games

Figure 1: The Mexican by Seid Tursic using 3ds Max

It seems today’s entertainment is so saturated with visual effects and near-perfect resolution that sometimes it’s easy to miss the art that sparks the imagination. But every once in a while I come across something different that catches my attention. Lately, it has been the work of Seid Tursic.

If you Google Tursic you might find a pirate, a master of mice, or perhaps a musketeer. You would even find Oliver Twist, which he describes “a character that endured a miserable existence,” noting he portrayed him in his own way. One thing is certain, if you’re like me you will find a masterpiece and be astonished to know it was created using Autodesk® 3ds Max®.

Figure 2: The Little Mice Master by Seid Tursic

The Interview

Brian: Would you tell us about yourself?

Seid: I am a CG Artist from Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am a self-taught 3D artist, but I also finished traditional printmaking at the Academy of Fine Arts last year. I always look at the traditional art as the inspiration and forerunner of the modern digital arts and effects; it is probably connected with my educational background. I previously worked in some creative agencies and studios, but I am now working as a freelancer on some various interesting international projects with some good artists. 

Brian: When did you realize character illustration was something you wanted to pursue?

Seid: I have been inspired by people and all different characters since I attended my studies at the Academy of Fine Arts. I always like to draw and paint portraits. I realized soon that 3D computer graphics offers all the same tools and possibilities, and even more, so I decided to give it a try. Since then I stuck with all 3D characters. It was a long journey to be able to spend time modeling characters for a living, but it is definitely something I would like to do more in the near future.”

Brian: What, or who, inspires you?

Seid: Traditional art, modern CG art and design, music, interesting books, and so on—quite a few things.  You can never get enough inspiration. Traveling is also very important for collecting inspiration. Inspiration is everything in the actual process of creation, it gives you the strength to start new things and push it until you are satisfied with the results. Inspiration is everywhere.

Brian: What do you think is the most important quality to have as a 3D character artist?

Seid: I think it is the understanding of people, their behavior, and appearance. Maybe it does not have much to do with drawing, but it actually does in some way. Concentrate on what you intend to do, not how you want to do it, and new possibilities will open up in front of you. Of course a good fundamental understanding of forms, shapes, anatomy, and motion are also very important aspects of a good characters artist.

Figure 3: Oliver Twist by Seid Tursic using 3ds Max

Brian: What is your favorite project and why?

Seid: Private projects that are done in my spare time are always more fun than the everyday tight deadline projects. I really do not have a favorite project on my mind, but I favor projects if there are many good artists involved in different aspects of art and design. It feels good to contribute with my skills to a bigger picture and have a great team to work with and learn new things through the process.

Brian: When did you first start using 3ds Max, and is there a particular feature you like most?

Seid: I think 3ds Max was the first 3D software I came across and since then it is the most important piece in my workflow. Since I spend most of my time modeling, I particularly like the new Graphite modeling tools. It is really easy to use and gives you perfect control over all the polygons and vertexes, especially when it comes to retopologizing.

Brian: Would you describe your basic workflow or process for creating characters when using 3ds Max?

Seid: I use different software through the process, but I always start in 3ds Max. As I mentioned the Graphite modeling tools, it is easier for me to add or remove the basic objects from the start. It gives you the perfect overview of the shapes and forms consisting of different objects that are easy to create inside 3ds Max. From building up the base objects to further sculpting and detailing to the final tweaking and retopologizing, this software gives you the best possible control.

Brian: Can you remember or describe a particular problem that you were able to solve with 3ds Max?

Seid: There are always new problems that jump out during work, but luckily, there are so many features to solve them. There are no big problems that I remember, since I was able to solve them through some exploration. I remember doing the mice for my art work, “The Little Mice Master.” I was able to create very easily realistic fur and hair with the built-in plug-in Hair and Fur, and I was not dependent on expensive third-party plug-ins for the realization.

Brian: Do you have any advice for 3ds Max users who might be following in your footsteps?

Seid: I recommend 3ds Max to everyone—it is a great piece of software with new great features every year. But no matter what great software you use, it is always important to practice your artistic skills and let the software follow your habits and workflow.

Brian: Can you tell us about the projects you are working on now?

Seid: I am working on some new characters with a very good international team for a short animation advertisement. I am responsible for the overall visualization in 3D. Also, I am starting with some friends our own creative game studio—it is really a long-term plan with a promising start. We have a great team with very talented people and we want to pitch the game to the CG industry here in Bosnia and Hercegovina. Check out!

Figure 4: Knight Girl by Seid Tursic using 3ds Max

One Small Step for Max Kind

Tursic used programs such as Photoshop, Zbrush, and plug-ins such as Hair and Fur with 3ds Max to complete his pieces. Today I’ll demonstrate Max’s Hair and Fur plug-in on a mouse of our own which can be downloaded by clicking here. [Mouse Without Fur.Zip]

To start, you select the mouse body, locate the Modifier Tab in the Command Panel, and select the drop-down Modifier List.  If the Hair and Fur plug-in is installed correctly, it will be located under 3ds Max Hair. When you select it, fur will be added to the body with its default settings.

To continue we’ll adjust several settings including Hair Count, Cut Length, Root Thick, Frizz Root, Frizz Tip, and Display Hair properties to match the settings displayed in Figure 5 (Tip: You may wish to start with a much smaller Hair Count than 250,000 depending on the graphic capabilities of your computer). 

Figure 5: Hair and Fur Settings for mouse rendering

Next, in the style roll-out, select Style Hair. Here you can choose several options, but we’ll want to select ReComb to comb the hair how we see fit.  When complete, select Finish Styling and proceed to render. As a general tip to obtain a finer look with the hair increase the Hair Count and decrease the hair Root Thick properties.

Figure 6: Our mouse with fur

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