Interview with Sungwoo Lee

Sungwoo Lee is a 3d Environment / Level Designer from Beijing, China with 6 years of industry experience. He likes to work with 3ds max, zbrush, Moi3d, Unreal Engine, Substance Designer, Substance Painter and Octane Render.

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

when I was a kid I was attracted by fairy tales and fantasy stories and dreamed about those fantastic worlds. I really love to play video games with my brother, I also made board role-playing games to play with my family then. That was quite interesting to making board games. Before learning 3d, I was a Warcraft 3 custom map creator. It’s a great time I have been through, I experienced the fun of creation, but I gradually felt, it’s hard to create my own stories and worlds with War3 assets then decided to learn other knowledge to support my creation. That is the turning point led me into the 3d world.
So, I started to learning 3d software since then, I remember it was the second year that get into high school. Like many other CG artists, I learned these skills through self-study.

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

Cafe or beach is a nice place for getting inspiration, the quiet environment can activate my thoughts. There are many online art communities nowadays. for example; Deviant Art, ArtStation, Pixiv, SketchFab, facebook groups, Unreal community etc. I visit those sites average days, they are also a good source to get me inspired.

How does a typical working day look like?

Nothing special, just go to the workshop and making or design stuff.

How do you stay motivated in this tough industry?

CG industry in China is getting mess these years. Nowadays, films and games are not just artworks or commercial merchandises, it’s becoming a medium of finance. Even these projects made more money than before, but the marketing and business strategies(operation) are making all these CG related ecosystems getting sucks, and what’s more, the level of Chinese CG industry was not high before.
I will leave the industry in the near future whether the industry environment good or bad. In these years of learning I just kept the focus on visual skills, and now I think it’s time move on to the next stage. I want to focus on creating more interesting things and share with others. Moreover, creation itself is a fun. I think this is the reason that I stay motivated in the 3d area.

What is your passion beside CGI/3D?

I watch motorsports racing every weekend. of course, on the internet. It’s a pity there is no culture about motorsports that the place I live in.

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

1. Do not too ambitious, it could lead you can’t finish the work. But it’s a common issue for everyone
2. Keep a clean plan. After confirming idea analysis which software more suitable for creating
3.Evaluate the manufacturing time
4. Don’t get a hurry. Keep calm and keep pushing.

What Software do you use to create your artwork?

3ds max is my platform software which I can put all assets together to render them out.
For modeling, I use 3ds max, Moi3d, and Zbrush.
Substance designer and Substance painter are my main tool for texturing, sometimes I use Mari for projecting textures.
I use Octane Render for rendering, perhaps I would deploy Redshift for future artworks.
For real-time projects, Unreal Engine is my first choice.

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

Cinema4d. Cinema4d looks have better UX than other platform software, I don’t sure Cinema4d could handle large projects or create better pipeline than other software, but I’m sure it’s really fit to make personal artworks or do freelance works.
Blender also on my list, as I know Blender has powerful features and interesting add-ons, besides these features, it’s totally free!

Which books would you recommend to the read?

“A brief history of time”, “The universe in a nutshell”, “The grand design”.
Amazing books from Stephen Hawking.

What music do you listen to while working?

I don’t listen to music too much while working, but I love listening to KOKIA’s song and new age music while design or imagine.

Any advice for new Artists?

Be yourself and just keep pushing.