INTERVIEWS: Saiyam Marwah, an animation student at the National Institute of Design, in India:
Saiyam: Hello! My name is Saiyam Marwah. I have always had an inclination to art and animation from a young age and have worked on both live action and animated short films. I am an animation student at the National Institute of Design, in India. I am currently working on my graduation film.
I was always intimidated by 3D, and would go to any stretch to achieve a 3D look using 2D softwares. I tried my hand at Cinema 4d and 3ds Max but it never caught on for more than a month or two.
Last year in January I had a month long module on 3D in my college. We were being taught Autodesk Maya. I was having trouble keeping up with the assignments on Maya so I decided to make the switch to Blender. The Blender 2.8 update had recently come out.
What astonished me was the amount of online resources available to learn Blender. Having the 3D animation workflow being taught in the class helped me streamline my learning process. Like everyone, I started with Blender guru’s donut tutorial but could not finish it because I had an old laptop and working with Cycles was not possible for me. (I wasn’t aware of Eevee’s capabilities yet).
It was Grant Abbitt’s tutorials that really helped me get in the groove with Blender. He has an amazing collection of tutorials for almost everything a beginner needs to understand. I owe a lot of my workflow to him.
I was always fascinated with making 3D things look 2D or converting my 2D artworks into 3D. Given the limitations of my hardware and the progress made by grease pencil this proved to be the perfect path for me.
I created a number of illustrations which I would then turn into 3D and animate them. The freedom that 3D provides is unparalleled, and with techniques like gradient texture mapping and project from view, one doesn’t even require a very high end machine to achieve this. I have to also thank SouthernShotty’s youtube channel for my progress. I learnt about gradient mapping through his tutorials. He has some amazing tutorials and I go back to them from time to time to learn. I think most of us are aware of Ian Hubert and his work is a constant source of inspiration.
I also used Blender as a previz tool for my classroom project. The film was 2D animated on Photoshop and I used Blender as a guide to set up the composition and animation.
Till this point I was still dependent on photoshop for my 2D work and I really wanted to change it. For that I took up a personal project of creating a 30 sec film for Earth Day. The entire film was created using grease pencil and it proved to be a great learning experience.
Dedouze’s tutorials on the 2D grease pencil workflow helped me a great deal, I followed his juice carton tutorial before working on my film. He has been a constant inspiration. This is what I really appreciate about Blender. The community behind it is so strong and active and people are constantly creating newer ways and styles to use the software. Anytime I was stuck somewhere, I could just search on forums and I would usually find an answer to my query.
It has been almost a year since I started to use Blender and it has been the best decision for me to level up my work. It has so much versatility that I don’t think I could ever fully master it. There is something for everyone.
Since then I have fiddled around with shape keys and drivers to create some basic rigs. I love the problem solving aspect of creating a rig. I have also started working with grease pencil in 3D spaces and creating animations with it. Having 2D drawings in 3D space, helps me set up my compositions more organically, which I didn’t know I was missing till I made the switch to 3D. I am not aiming for realism in my work, rather I want to realise my imagination in three dimensional form.
Artists/Channels that have helped me in my journey with Blender:
I continue to learn and get inspired by the amazing artists working with Blender. It almost feels surreal to be recognised at this level and I owe it to 3dblendered for giving me this opportunity. Since my corona character rig got reposted, I have been getting so many queries regarding my process and technique. It makes me feel more confident and gives me the belief that the work I am doing is substantial. I wish to keep this energy going with my upcoming graduation film, which I am making completely in Blender and would be a huge learning experience for me.