Interview with Simon Fiedler

Simon Fiedler is a 3D Artist from Mainz, Germany with 9 years of industry experience.
He likes to work with Sidefx Houdini.

What led you into the CGI/3D? Tell us your story.

Since we got our first computer at home, I was playing with 2D apps and made pictures, later websites for friends or posters for my band. My older sister started to study graphic design in Wiesbaden and showed me a lot of the stuff she made there which made me interested. She later had a project together with the students of the University of applied sciences in Mainz, where theyfocus a bit more on moving imagery. I remember that I was totally blown away and decided that I want to learn that too. So I did an internship at a design agency in Stuttgart and applied in Mainz.

Luckily they gave me the chance to study here which I did for the next years. After some projects in different fields, I found 3D to be my favorite part, where I felt most comfortable. I then graduated with my film “Droplets”, which was a very big step in my career. I already freelanced a little bit during my studies and finally got a full time position in a studio called ACHT Frankfurt where I stayed for a year before I decided to go freelance again. Since then I try to collaborate with interesting clients worldwide and enjoy my work.

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

I have a shared office together with some friends who also work in the creative industry. That is very inspiring and helps to get new ideas just by chatting with them. I also love to visit conferences like FMX or US BY NIGHT. Since I sit on the computer a lot, it’s also pretty good to ride some trails on my mountainbike and go to a lot of concerts.

How does a typical working day look like?

I get to my office at around 9:30 and start my day with a cup of coffee, some chitchat with the guys here and read through some forums and twitter. To have some breaks in the working day, we sometimes cook together or go out for lunch. We also have a pingpong table which was fun in the beginning, but is now pretty a serious and competitive activity.

What does your workplace look like?

Since I’m working mostly in Houdini and prefer a 1-screen-setup, I have a ridicolous big 43 inch, 4K screen (LG43UD79-B) on a pretty big table. I’m also a pure tablet user and do everything with my wacom intuos pro. Other than that, there’s not much more on my desk. I usually have 2 types headphones here (one normal Studio headphone and one Bose Noise Cancelling if I need to focus more).

How do you stay motivated in this tough industry?

Technology evolves extremly fast, which is scary for some people, but since I’m a huge nerd this is super exciting for me. So I try to challenge myself from time to time with learning new stuff which motivates me a lot. I also get motivated by seeing the great artwork that my friends create. I just enjoy that I can sit in my own studio and goof around instead of wearing a suit all day in a boring company.

What is your passion beside CGI/3D?

Mountainbikes, music, stand-up paddling, travelling, red wine, movies and old emaille lamps.

How do you keep your portfolio up to date? Any tips?

I tried a ton of different portfolio plattforms. I’m now using adobe portfolio which is super simple to update, is linked to behance and has a good responsive design. My tip is to use something simple. A minimalistic CMS is more than enough for a portfolio and the design of the website should also be simple. Let your artwork be the hero here.

What Software do you use to create your artwork?

A while back I made a switch to a Linux workstation and use Houdini, Fusion, Resolve, Substance and some smaller tools for my stuff.

What Software do you want to learn in future? And why?

Actually right now I’m super interested in Blender. They have so many cool tools which I would like to check out. Other than that, I would love to extend my coding skills. More VEX, maybe a bit of Python or some OSL in the future.

Which books would you recommend to the read?

“The Power of Limits” by György Doczi

What music do you listen to while working?

My taste of music is very wide. So it reaches from skull crushing black metal to oldschool Hip Hop. It really depends on my mood. Often people can’t understand how I can work to music like Dillinger Escape Plan, but sometimes it’s just what I need.

Any advice for new Artists?

Don’t be scared to learn the complicated stuff and stay curious. Only put stuff on your portfolio that you would like to do again.