Get to know the artists | Andres Saarnak

By - - 3ds Max , Arnold , Flame , Maya , MotionBuilder , Mudbox , Shotgun
Last modification: 22 Mar, 2021

Welcome back! 

This week, we're getting to know the brilliant artist who modeled the snowy mountainous environment in Mkali's Mission. Meet Andes Saarnak, self-made architectural visualization artist in Estonia. Learn about his modeling workflow, his journey to 3D, and more. Let's get into it!


Joining us for the first time?
We’re producing an epic 3D sequence called Mkali’s Mission using each of the tools in the Media & Entertainment Collection and sharing the whole journey right here on AREA. Take a look back at earlier blog posts in this series to learn more. 



 

Tell us about yourself. 
Hello! My name is Andres. I’m an architectural visualization artist and the founder of The HIGHLIGHT from Estonia.

I first found out about 3D in 2005 when I was 15. I was hooked the second I opened the software and played around in it all day. Most nights, I thought about how to model a fork (it was a hard problem for me at the time as I knew very few tools that were available). I even faked illnesses the next morning instead of going to school because I wanted to keep learning the software. I still have my first renderings from those first days of learning.

Andres' first models and render. Image courtesy of Andres Saarnak.

3D continued to be my hobby. I didn’t think about doing it for a living until I was in my third year of University studying mechatronics. This is almost when I had the chance to work on some architectural projects as a freelancer. I loved it and once again, I chose 3D over school. I quickly realized there weren’t any companies in Estonia that focused on creating high-end visuals of architecture, so I had decided to create my own company.

It's hard to articulate why exactly I’m drawn to 3D, but it has been the one thing that I've never gotten bored with, even after thousands and thousands of hours of work.

 

Image courtesy of Andres Saarnak. 

 

Image courtesy of Andres Saarnak. 

 

Image courtesy of Andres Saarnak.

 

Why do you use 3ds Max?
It's the industry leader in architectural visualization. The infrastructure around it is huge - all the best plugins and render engines come first to 3ds Max, and there are vast databases of assets available.


Have you worked on any projects similar to Mkali’s Mission? How was your modeling approach different or similar?

The HIGHLIGHT had a similar project where we created 3D environments for a movie, but it was filmed entirely on a green screen. I was contracted to create a mountain range in the past as well (Observatory images), but it was all covered in vegetation so the detail in the landscape was secondary.

The same modeling tools applied as always, but the snowy mountain range in Mkali’s Mission was definitely different from what I'm used to. I modeled and textured the bunker, too and this was much easier and closer to my day-to-day work.

 

Image courtesy of Andres Saarnak.

 

Image courtesy of Andres Saarnak.

 

Image courtesy of Andres Saarnak.

 

Can you briefly describe your modeling workflow on this project?
I was provided with excellent concept art, which I tried to follow as closely as possible. I started by taking heightmaps from different mountain ranges around the globe, and I displaced the plane with one of these heightmaps which created similarly shaped mountains to the concept art. Then, I pretty much brute-forced it and just poly modeled the details in.

Has the pandemic changed your day-to-day work?
Not much has changed for my company. We have been based on a small island, Hiiumaa, for 3 years now, and we are used to virtual meetings. It has even made it easier for us as our clients are getting more used to it now too.

We had less work for a short while last year, but nothing to stress about. We have always been good with work-life balance and it continued to be even more so.

 

Image courtesy of Andres Saarnak.

 

 Image courtesy of Andres Saarnak.

 

Image courtesy of Andres Saarnak.


See Andres model the environment in Mkali's Mission. 


Want to see more of Mkali's Mission? Visit our virtual animation studio to discover the different stages of the process and to get a glimpse at some real 3D eye candy.

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Tags
  • 3ds Max
  • Arnold
  • Flame
  • Maya
  • MotionBuilder
  • Mudbox
  • Shotgun
  • Film & VFX
  • Games
1 Comment
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| 14 days ago
This is incredible. I'm. Coming from the theatre world, I'm a set designer, and using Autocad, SketchUp etc... I'm learning Maya and enjoying it very much. Not sure yet what I want to do but I enjoy 3D modeling a lot. What would be my incentive to move to 3Ds Max?