Interview with Ivan Rastrigin

Ivan Rastrigin is a Senior Artist on Concept Art from Russia with 6 years of industry experience. He likes to work with Photoshop, 3Ds Max, ZBrush and Maya.

What brings you to CGI / 3D? Tell us your story.

When I was 16 years old, a friend of mine gave me „3DS Max“ and ever since, I was addicted to it. When I was studying interior design at the university, I was very happy to be able to use „3DS Max“, which helped me a lot during my studies. After my graduation I got the opportunity to work on the computer game „SKYFORGE“ as a 3D designer. After working there for a year I became a concept artist, this whole journey was a very cool experience for me.

Where do you go to get inspiration? What / Who inspires you?

I have been inspired by everything I have seen. At first, I analyze each reference to various parameters, such as: color, shape, texture, general character, characteristic special details and materials. Then each selected parameter is taken from a reference. In my imagination I mix different characteristics of a reference with each other. A simple example would be dyeing a coral fish mixed with crab shapes, where I turn everything into a robot and stretch the proportions of the legs according to the beautiful references of the running ostrich. This whole thing becomes an absolutely new product.

What does a typical working day look like?

As soon as I get to the office. I concentrate on specific tasks, I work thoroughly and attentively. At first, I look for reference pictures and analyze them. Then I draw it in my notebook and then on the computer.

What does your workplace look like?

My Workplace is a small room at my home. I like to work on my projects in different places and poses. I can lie on the bed and draw, or I can connect my laptop to my TV to have a big screen. But also, I can sit on the hot floor in the bathroom and draw something. I like mobility and not being tied to a specific place. And a minimum of details – I am using just a laptop, headphones and a tablet.

How are you motivated in this tough industry?

I like what I do and I enjoy it very much when I draw something interesting and people like it. I am very excited and I want to thank all those who like my work, who give their preferences and comments on my work at Artstation – without them I would not draw so much and not with so much enthusiasm! Thank you very much! That motivates me a lot to raise the bar and produce new content from time to time. I also see a very large number of talented people of whom I take an example and whose skills I admire and envy. But the community promotes much stronger and with a more pleasant atmosphere.

What is your passion for CGI / 3D?

I really love 3D. And when I draw in 2D, I imagine that I only model in 3D with a fixed camera. In this case, the boundaries between 3D and 2D are removed, you feel comfortable everywhere, and I don’t see much difference between these art directions. One very cool complements the other, and they’re great tools to achieve your goal – to make great art and a cool design. I started out as a 3D artist and I’m very happy about it, it was always useful in the work and made it also a lot easier. As for 3D, it’s an amazing art, and I’m very happy to touch and participate in it. It’s the true art of the future.

How do you constantly update your portfolio? Any tips?

I very rarely start entirely new works, and basically I use the backgrounds of old works that I have finished, change it, and save it under a different name. For this reason, I have collected a large number of different sketches and color sketches. Once a few months I look at the most promising drawings and transfer them to the folder „finish“. I often catch myself making small changes at midnight and then spending the whole night drawing new pictures.

What software do you use to create your work?

Photoshop, 3Ds max, Maya.

What software do you want to learn in the future? And why?

I want to learn Fusion 360 and ZBrush.

Fusion 360 because its intuitive and very comfortable CAD modeling, and ZBrush because of the fact that it allows me to use more detail, both in organic and in solid forms. It is also a lot of fun to work with these programs.

What books would you recommend reading?

I really liked all the Scottish books by Robertson. They taught me to break render into layers and calculate each layer separately in my head (light, material, occlusion) and transfer the finished image onto the canvas. After reading his books and trainings, you have a rendering machine in your head that always stays with you.

What kind of music do you listen to while you work?

I like almost all genres, as long as the track itself was good. I like the long techno sets, for an hour or two – they help to get into the easy working trance and not to be distracted by anything else.

I also like to listen to Sphongle.

Any advice for new artists?

If you like drawing and enjoy it, then believe in yourself no matter what, and improve your knowledge and skills. If you perceive negative feedback appropriately, it’s the shortest way to learn from it and so you’re less angry when something doesn’t work. It till helps a lot to keep track of progress and to keep to the goal you have set – mental cards. It’s very handy to divide everything into stages and links and just paint the checkbox when you get a separate advantage. (Like in MMORPG). The whole bandwidth of data is stored visually and simultaneously in your head with the help of this thing, and once I try to keep all my projects and it’s in this format – it’s very cool, interesting and helps with the work.