Image courtesy of James Dowling, Atmos Visuals

James Dowling

December 2018 Artist of the Month

Last modification: 3 Dec, 2018
4 mins

Hi I'm James Dowling and I'm an Arch Vis/CG artist living in Brighton & Hove, UK. I graduated from Portsmouth University in 2010 with a degree in Animation.

I have worked in the 3D industry for 8 years in a variety of jobs - from motion graphics for airlines, 3D illustration for children's books and finally moving into Architectural Visualisation. Two months ago I became freelance under the name Atmos Visuals.

While I was working for a studio creating children's book illustrations I remember seeing some Arch Viz images and being amazed at how realistic they looked, which was the polar opposite from the stylised illustrations I was doing. I think that's what made me so determined to one day be able to create a render that people thought was a photo. It's still a bit of a hit or miss but sometimes I get it.

Personal work
I think that personal projects outside work (or non-client work) are extremely important as they really help develop your style as you can explore your own ideas without a client's inputs or visions. The main reason I have improved and learnt new things is because of my personal projects. When working full-time in a studio it can be quite hard to go home and work more in the evenings and weekends, so I always try to keep the ideas simple. The project "Ambience" came from the idea of just creating a corner of a room and applying different lighting, interior styles and colour palettes. I can still come back to it even now if I feel inspired and add more to the collection!


For my first own Architectural Visualisation project I decided to do a cool building in a snow storm and called the image Serenity (I have dug it out from the archive below). It doesn't look great any more looking back at it after 4 years, but I was super proud of it at the time. A few months ago, I needed a new project, so I decided to go back and re-create that image with all the new skills I had learnt over the years. It was a great exercise because I could see the improvements I have made since starting out. I'm sure I will look back at them in another 4 years and think they look rubbish! The lesson I have learnt is that you'll always improve yourself - don't become complacent and think you've reached the top, there's always room for more.

My dream job
I always wanted to be an animator at Pixar, although I think my character animation skills are not up to scratch these days! Apart from that I always wanted to have my own studio, and I'm on that route now so I am excited to see where it takes me next!

I started using 3ds Max on my course at university and have used it ever since. I like that you can do every aspect of 3D in one package and with the abundance of plug-ins and scripts available you can do pretty much anything you want.

My favorites
In my third year at university we had some new tutors from the film and games industry, and I think I learnt the most from them in the early days. I always felt it's best to learn from people who are working in the industry and do it successfully as they have such a wealth of knowledge you can tap into.

I like to do painting in my spare time as it's nice to get away from the computer. I have always loved the old artists such as Rembrandt, Turner and Matthijs Maris. I think there's so much you can learn about colour, lighting and depth from looking at the classical painters. I recently went to a photography exhibition by Zanele Muholi which was really impressive.

To see more from James visit his 
websiteInstagram and Behance.

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