Interview with Simon Liechti

Simon Liechti is a Freelance/Self-employed 3D Artist from Switzerland with 5 years of industry experience. He likes to work with Blender, Cinema4D, After Effects and Affinity Photo.

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

It was the Suit of Iron Man that made me download Blender for the first time. Like everyone I had a rough start with Blender, but after some tutorials things started to make sense. I spent hours creating stuff that looked like crap, but it was fun!

Over time my skills improved and in 2014 I got an internship at Cloudscape, a 3D/Postproduction Studio in Zürich. They later offered me a fulltime position, and there I was, a professional CG generalist.
In 2017 I decided to leave Cloudscape and started freelancing.

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

To quote Pablo Picasso: „Inspiration exist, but it has to find you working“
Of course I‘m influenced by many great artists and I do love browsing Artstation, Behance and so on.But I believe that inspiration is nothing that can be consumed. Ideas often emerge as soon as I draw a set of frames in my sketchbook.

How does a typical working day look like?

Usually I start working at about 9:30 after a good cup of coffee. As I‘m not much of an early bird, the morning is not the most productive time of the day. But It‘s perfect for meetings, answering email and other administrative tasks.
A lunch break is essential and I regularly go for a run in the afternoon to get some fresh air. In between I sit in front of my computer and do my thing. Usually my workday ends at 19:00, but I often do personal work and explorations till late at night.

What does your workplace look like?

I work from home and my workspace nothing special. A table with two monitors and a Lego R2D2 on top.

How do you stay motivated in this tough industry?

It‘s a privilege to make a living by doing what you love to do, but sometimes the business part takes over. That’s why I try to always have personal side projects to keep myself motivated.

And whenever I’m in need for an additional dose of motivation, I listen to an episode of the Collective Podcast.

What is your passion beside CGI/3D?

Music. I‘ve been playing the bass for some years now and I love it. My bass actually sits right beside my computer, I often pick it up when something is rendering or my brain just needs a bit of relief.

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

Whenever I‘ve finished a project that‘s portfolio worthy, I add it right away. And I try to have as many personal projects in my portfolio as possible. It‘s the easiest way to land the kind of jobs you like.

What Software do you use to create your artwork?

Blender, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer

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

Houdini, it seems to give so much more freedom and flexibility.

Which books would you recommend to the read?

  • The War Of Art – Steven Pressfield
  • Steal Like An Artist – Austin Kleon
  • Breaking Out Of A Broken System – Seth & Chandler Bolt

What music do you listen to while working?

Mostly electronic music like Pilotpriest, The Glitch Mob or Lorn.
Favourite album is Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Pilotpriest, it’s opening track always gets me in the zone.

Any advice for new Artists?

Strive for exellence, but not perfection. It’s easy to get caugth up with perfectionism, but your imagination will always be a step ahead of your skills. This is especially true when you just started out.
Buy a camera. Your eye for composition will improve right away because you get instant feedback. No need to wait for your render to complete!

And the most important thing: Stay curious and have fun!