Last month, we featured artist of the month Stefan Lopusny, artist and founder of Fat Tony Studio, whose project "In Circles" showcased a fresh spin on the traditional design visualization animated film. We reached out and he gave us a glimpse behind the scenes of his roots and how the project came about in this two-part workflow.
I studied and graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Bratislava. This coupled with my first full-time job working as junior architect taught me a lot, and helped give me an idea of what I didn't want to be doing in the future. I enjoyed creating 3D scenes and took the leap to start a design viz studio with my best friend and girlfriend.
Fat Tony Studio gets a variety of projects ranging from architectural to product visualization to preparing 3D models for 3D printing. Our architectural projects vary from small interior spaces to a huge Marina development project and everything between. But what we are always aiming for and enjoy most is when we have a chance to go really deep with the project and create a variety of shots that show the design as we perceive it.
MADE IN MAX
When I was studying architecture, my friends recommended using Max for renders, and I found everything I needed in there, so here I am! I like the flexibility and very big support base from all the people that are writing scripts and plugins that help with everything from modeling to the rendering process.
SETTING THE TABLE FOR A NEW PROJECT
When we kick off a new project, we try to get all the information that will be needed before actually creating anything new - but this sometimes is impossible due to tight deadlines. The project is then split into three main stages.
The first stage is clay images where we present camera and lighting options accompanied by moodboards and reference images. From there, we regroup and come to an agreement on the mood and general look and feel of the visuals. When cameras and lighting are selected, we go to stage two where we try to final the right materials and proper lighting setup, which we will then go over with the client. Once the client is happy with everything, we move to stage three where we create everything we agreed on in detail and high quality for the final delivery.
HONESTY AND PLANNING IS KEY
In Circles was a first for me.
The first biggest challenge was that this was my first serious attempt at animation. I had attempted a few films prior to this, though they were very basic "fly-throughs" in spaces that were initially prepared for still images. In Circles was made specifically to test and improve my skill in animation, which was important since our clients often ask for heavier animation, but we weren't comfortable enough to accept those jobs due to a lack of experience.
The second biggest challenge was optimization and time efficiency - vital when making an animated film. Planning a film is incredibly different than preparing still images - you have to consider all the additional steps needed leading up to your final, like previews and animation tests. In order not to waste time - which I didn't have since this was a side project I worked on after my day-to-day studio duties - it had to be efficient.
I'm relatively new to visualization and am figuring it out as I go.
It's quite simple: if you really like what you do, do it your way and it will pay off no matter what. There will be people who tell you that this is not the way, there's something better, etc. - but if you feel like this is what you want to do, just do it and test yourself. In some cases, it won't work out great, in some it will, but even then you will learn an important lesson. Projects you fail, or that don’t go as planned are giving you much more than the ones that went smoothly and without a hitch. Those are the ones that are shaping you and preparing you for bigger things.
Want to know how Stefan achieved In Circles?