Interview with Yannik Wenk
Published on 03/12/2018
What led you into the CGI/3D? Tell us your story.
About three or four years ago a friend of mine introduced me to Blender. I always loved the visuals of TV shows and especially films like Star Wars which was the reason I started learning it. It was really hard at first but I was lucky that I started learning it when a lot of people already picked up doing Blender tutorials so I got to an acceptable level rather quick. I realized how big the 3D world really is and how much there is to learn. Eventually I got to a point where I thought very few people would use Blender professionally so I picked up a student copy of Cinema 4D and here I am.
Where do you go to get inspired? What/Who inspires you?
I have an one hour long commute two times a day so I have a lot of time to watch what happens around me, that brings me a lot of inspiration. Apart from that most of my inspiration comes from plattforms like Instagram or Behance even though seeing all this crazy good work all the time can be quite frustrating sometimes to be honest.
How does a typical working day look like?
I usually get up at 6:30 a.m. and after all the stuff everyone does in the morning I take the public transportation to get to the büro bewegt (that’s where I’m currently nerding out over 3D stuff) office.
When I arrive (about 9 a.m.) I boot up my workstation and get a glass of water. Well, sometimes interesting conversations spark up and we forget the time so I don’t start working at 9 a.m. ever day.
Once I finally sit down at my desk I skip all of that social media stuff (I had plenty of time because of my commute for that, right?) and jump in to whatever needs to be done first. I don’t have a fixed routine so I work on whatever needs to be done and answer emails whenever they fly in. I tried to use the last 30 minutes of the day to reply to mails but that does not work for me, sometimes a little distraction from work can be good anyways.
My workday ends at around 6 p.m. and I take the public transportation back home. I try to focus on personal projects in my freetime but after a long day I can’t always find motivation to work on my own stuff after I get home.
What does your workplace look like?
I like to have a pretty simple desk setup. I always work with two monitors side by side (the left one being my main monitor), a keyboard, a mouse and my Wacom tablet in front of me. I don’t have any specific brand I swear by so I usually use whatever I get but I swear by my Wacom Intuous Pro M. I bought it about a year ago but didn’t really use for the first sixth months. Now I love it and can not imagine working without it anymore. Apart from that I have my phone facing down on my desk as well (it’s just there for WhatsApp Web connection, I don’t really check my phone during work that often) and a glass of water (oh, I also love Club Mate and good coffee, of course) next to me.
How do you stay motivated in this tough industry?
I think the most important thing is to not spend every single minute of your day on work. It will mess you up mentally and physically. I always make sure I have enough time for myself, for friends and for other creative things not connected to 3D. Giving myself more room to think and do other stuff really helps me staying motivated every day.
Apart from that I got to know so many great people in the industry so far that it’s really hard not get motivated. I consider myself really lucky that in every studio I’ve been so far I only met great people I love working together with.
Seeing the end result of something you spent a lot of work on is pretty decent as well.
What is your passion beside CGI/3D?
That’s a good one. Even though I spend most of my time doing 3D I really love photography (both analog and digital) and reading.
I also think that learning about photography helped me with my 3D work a lot. Stuff like focal lengths, interesting angles and composition are a fair bit easier to learn through photography than through 3D. At least for me.
Apart from that I love watching movies and Netflix shows but it gets harder and harder to find time for that.
How do you keep your portfolio up to date? Any tips?
Tough question, I usually try to update my portfolio every time I create something new so I don’t have to do a huge bit once a year. It’s quite a good practice I think. Apart from that I think you should do a lot of personal projects if you don’t have any client work to show yet. I still do that a lot even though I don’t really start huge personal projects but rather collect small bits and pieces from my 3D experiments.
What Software do you use to create your artwork?
I usually use a lot of Cinema 4D but lately I’ve been using Houdini more and more. For rendering I use mostly Redshift as well as Octane. I use either After Effects or Nuke for compositing and a lot of other small tools that help me along the way (for example the whole Creative Cloud and workflow tools like PureRef).
What Software do you want to learn in future? And why?
I will definitely dive deeper into houdini since I think it’s one of the most powerful tools to have in your skillset.
Even though programming is not a tool I would love to learn the basics of Python and VEX this year as well.
Which books would you recommend to the read?
I think I never read a book that’s directly related to the industry so I can’t recommend something in that field. I really think everyone should read „The Alchemist“ by Paulo Coelho though, in my opinion it’s a beautiful story about life and finding your own path.
„The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck“ by Mark Manson is another book I like and can recommend to everybody. Even though some of the things he says are kind of hard to implement into your daily life everything definitely makes sense and he teaches a really good approach to life.
What music do you listen to while working?
I listen to a lot of stuff while working. But my favourite for work-listening might be Pink Floyd. When I really need to focus or when a lot of team communication is going on I usually just skip that music part and work without any sounds though.
Any advice for new Artists?
I would still consider myself a new artist but I’d say to not measure yourself based on the work you see online is a good advice. The work you usually see online is the top 5% and if you’re not a part of that group yet that’s okay and you’ll eventually get there if you put the work in and stay motivated. Also I’d say asking other artists for help is something you should sometimes, you’d be suprised how many artists are willing to help.“