Interview with Thomas Friedrich

Started doing GFX around 02/2014. I’ve started doing Freelance around March this year.

Thomas Friedrich is a Freelancer from Deggendorf, Germany with 5 years of industry experience.
He likes to work with Cinema4D.

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

I had a gamer friend that I was always playing with after school when I was around 14(2012).
We then talked about hobbies and stuff and so I got to know what Cinema 4D and 3D-Design was. We were kids so it was nothing impressive but it made me curious and I wanted to learn it too.
(Not knowing what I was getting into)
I still remember that the first version I was using was R11(Just now R20 was released). At first it was very basic stuff.
No big models, I didn’t worry about wireframe and I didn’t care much about materials or photorealism.
Naturally I wanted to get better with time and so started to learn new workflows and techniques.

That was the time I got to know portfolio sites like behance or artstation. They helped me a lot with finding inspiration and it also opened my eyes on what was possible with CGI.
I also got to know what Sub-D modeling or render engines were by that time.
Frankly, that stuff just blew my mind. These super tidy wireframes, these highly detailed models and these stunning renders everywhere.
From that time on it was basically the same for me. Trying to get better to create better images.
And that’s still my goal. So for the past few years I’ve just kept trying to get better.

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

I’m sometimes browsing artstation or pinterest but behance is definitely my main source for inspiration.
There are so many great artists on this website. If I would have to name 3 it would be:

Grant Warwick:
Raphael Rau:

How does a typical working day look like?

My usual working day doesn’t start with CGI work.
Simply because I don’t work as a artist fulltime. I mainly work as a software developer/consultant, meaning that I basically have 2 jobs.
Having 2 jobs can be stressy sometimes but having fun at CGI definitely helps to get rid of some of the stress.
Maybe I can switch to CGI one day but that’s not possible right now.

I usually wake up around 06:30 and start work at 07:30. Until around 5pm I’m at my development job.
I guess no one here is really interested in programming so I’m not gonna go that deep into it.

So after getting home I eat something and the design part of the day starts for me.
Nothing special really. Depending on the current workload it’s either freelance work or personal studies.
I think it’s important to sometimes do work that’s just for yourself and not for any customers. It helps you to get new skills and improve your current ones.

I then go to bed at around midnight and the cycle starts again.

What does your workplace look like?

I work from home so it’s nothing special really. Just my normal desk. Even though it’s usually not so tidy.

How do you stay motivated in this tough industry?

Having fun is a big motivation but apart from that I have this urge to get better and get on a level that’s as close to „perfect“ as possible.
I still have a long way to go but that keeps me even more motivated to get better every day.

Money is also great but because I have my other job I’m not dependend on it. So if I decide not to do any freelance work for a month that’s also fine.

What is your passion beside CGI/3D?

Music and video games. I literally listen to music all the time.
When I wake up, when I’m in the car, when I’m at work and even when I do 3D.
Considering games I mostly play multiplayer games. I like the competetive feel and it just makes more fun playing with your friends.

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

I don’t really try to keep my portfolio up to date that much. I just constantly keep producing work.
I do something CGI related nearly every day and when I finished something cool I just upload it to my portfolio.
I then look at my portfolio from time to time and just throw out the projects I don’t like anymore. So I try to keep only the work that I’m ok with on my portfolio.

What Software do you use to create your artwork?

Cinema 4D is always the core of my workflow. My main workflow is modeling with SUB-D in Cinema 4D and then shade/light and render it with a render engine inside C4D.
Currently it’s either Redshift or Corona render.
But I really like to outsource parts of a project to other software that’s more specialized for ceratain things.
Sometimes I model with MOI3D(CAD software), sometimes I shade with substance or sometimes I light with HDR Light Studio.
But in the end it all returns to Cinema to create and render the final shot.

I mostly used Photoshop for post processing but I’m currently trying to swith to Blackmagic Fusion.

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

I wanna get into concept art in the future. So stuff like enviroment, weapons or products.
ZBrush is definitely a must have in the future. Also software like Marvelous Designer might come in handy.

Which books would you recommend to the read?

Sorry I really can’t help with that. I’m not a big fan of reading. Nothing I could really recommend.

What music do you listen to while working?

Mostly metal. Architects, Bury Tomorrow and other stuff like that. The loud music helps me to block out the stuff around me.
Sometimes also more moody stuff like JOJI.

Any advice for new Artists?

I guess finding your passion is the most important part. Wether it’s product design, architecture, automotive or whatever.
You should really feel the need to produce something.
Find your interest and just get going with that and have fun with it.