Devoted Stories #7: VITALIY VATSKO

3D Photoreal Environment and Props Artist

Don’t be afraid of failures. Motivate yourself.

Hello, my name is Vitaliy Vatsko.

I am a 3D Photoreal Environment and Props Artist from Kharkiv, Ukraine. I like to create buildings and props for computer games.

As far as I can remember I was fascinated by different stories. When I was young I liked to visit museums, look at exhibits of old artifacts, and through their story learn the stories of those who owned them in the past. Old castles and buildings which remain now witnessed a lot of human history and have their own stories to tell. Making 3D models allows me to create something from imagination into some sort of reality, it allows me to tell stories from places that never existed but were inspired by reality. I remember reading Hobbit by Tolkien and how it inspired me to become a magician like Gandalf the Grey. I was a child back then. Now I think that creating something material from pure thought is the most magical thing I know, and by doing so I make my child's dream come true).

There is no secret sauce except that my ideas and thoughts motivate me to create new scenes and props that have a story to tell, an impression to make, and a feeling to share. If my idea demands certain techniques or tools to be used, that motivates me to learn and grow professionally.

3D Artist wasn’t my first profession. Long before I allowed myself to make my hobby a serious profession I was working as a Project Manager in IT. That experience taught me much about planning, risk management, and project documentation. First of all, before starting working on a project it is crucial to understand what is the core of the project, what is needed for its success, and whether or not my skills and competence can match the demanded level of quality. Risk management is very important so before starting anything I ask questions that might be very important to the quality of my work, and that can save much time and effort while working in the process. If I see that I can handle what is demanded, I start breaking down the workflow into smaller stages and evaluate them accordingly to similar tasks that I’ve done before.

I also have a golden rule - I don’t work on several projects at once, since there can be a situation when many projects demand my immediate attention at once, which is not possible for me to do).

Before any calculation and estimation, I have to break down the chosen workflow into smaller stages. For example Blockout, Highpoly, Middlepoly, UV, Baking, Texturing, Importing to UE, Rendering, Delivering. I know myself and I know how much time I usually spend on each stage (it also depends on the complexity of a model). Of course, I’m just a human, and sometimes not everything goes as planned, so for those situations I add some time for the most crucial stages to deal with unexpected complications.

My main portfolio platform is Artstation. It allows looking at the works of other people there and learn some techniques from them, to see how they dealt with some challenges that I’ll face in the future. It is also exciting to look at the “Artist journey” that people make throughout their lives, improving their technical skills and creating meaningful art.

In my country, it is still a pretty close community. Almost everyone knows everyone, or at least the studio or projects that someone is working on (except for NDA’s). That allows artists to ask for advice for their projects, share knowledge, and support each other. I have some friends from different studios, who work on very different projects, yet still face common technical difficulties. One day we made a call and there was a guy who changed his profession from 3D Artist to Game Designer, and while listening to our problem he remembered the same issue that he faced several years ago, so he gave us a good solution to it. As my friends say: Once a 3D Artist you are always a 3D Artist)).

I am a very bad fortune teller, though looking at some new technologies like UE5 and plugins to it, I can certainly tell that some stages that took a lot of artist time like retopology or manual LOD making will go to the past allowing us to spend more time on art itself rather than its technical sides like optimization and other time-consuming things. I assume that If 3D scanning will go further, some professions like Weapon artists can change their ways forever, because why manually create the same existing in our world rifle 1000 times, if you can just scan it and retopologize using some artificial intelligence).
- “Don’t be afraid of failures.

- You will and you should fail a lot. Failure isn’t a tragedy it is a lesson, that will teach you how to become stronger in areas where you are weak now. Don’t be afraid to fail.

- Motivate yourself.

There is nothing more important than inner motivation to achieve something and to learn something that is demanded to achieve it. Motivation from others whether it’s family or friends helps. It helps a lot! But It should never be a core source for all you do as an Artist. Bad times may happen, a family can be separated, and friends can be out of reach. In times like that, it’s only up to you to face the challenges and keep yourself motivated to achieve your dreams. To achieve not for the approval or excitement of others but yourself.

There is no end to knowledge in our industry. Due to its constant evolution some skills that were highly appreciated several years ago, are irrelevant now. You should be prepared that the “Old ways” of doing things might be not needed or even considered inefficient. So it is very important to be prepared to constantly evolve as an artist, to learn new techniques, new skills, new tools and to work on yourself as a person. Evolve constantly”.

I like working with Devoted Studios. Our project allowed me to be part of a friendly, supportive team, that was motivated to produce results as well as possible. During that project, I learned new tools and worked with a type of computer graphics that I’ve never worked with before. I was glad to participate in that project and I hope to work with Devoted Studios more in the future on similar projects or others). As for the Devoted CG - it’s a promising young platform that can become a really good competition for Artstation.

I’m registered there and I hope it will bring some cool projects to me and allow Devoted Studios to be a part of top Game Titles in the Industry.

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