Edon Guraziu is a concept artist at Nvidia and also a freelancer at various studios. He has kindly taken the time out to explain to us he is process in designing intricate and amazing 3D concepts for the entertainment industry!

CGS: So first, we really appreciate you for taking the time out to chat with us! What was your first professional project you worked on, and what assets were you designing?

EG: Absolutely! My first real +AAA gig was being hired as a concept designer for the Star Citizen game by the Foundry42 studio. Before that I got some small gigs here and there but that was my first proper job.

CGS: Well that's a great start! And at what age did you start drawing and did you always enjoy drawing mechanical designs very early on?

EG: I was drawing for as long as I remember. My dad could draw and paint really well so that definitely was a huge motivator. He’d show me all the art-books he had and taught me how to use different mediums like aquarelle and oils.

CGS: Was there ever another career option for you? Or did you always know you wanted to design for films and games?

EG: There is no other job. I knew from the start what my passion was and made sure to follow it.

CGS: What was the learning curve while you were first learning 3D? What types of challenges were there initially, and how did this deepen your understanding of mech design?

EG: The learning of the tools was a pretty straight forward thing. When I started my Visual Game Design study they required us to buy laptops to use in the classes. But all the laptops on the reference sheet where Windows machines and I wanted a MacBook.

So when we started the 3DsMax classes I couldn’t install Max. I didn’t want to use bootcamp so I forced myself to keep up with the class using Maya. This has ultimately forced me to do my own research and solve my own problems. In terms of mechanical design, specific driven research is the way to go.

There is no magical website or hidden reference board that contains all the answers like some hope. If you need to make a hip-joint for a robot you’ll have to do specific research in multi axis join systems and find mechanical solutions that fit your requirements. With the acquired knowledge you’ll be able to innovate and play with the mechanical solutions.

CGS: That's definitely true! What are the benefits to you on using Moi3D and Maya to create your work?

EG: The only reason I’m using Maya is because of my macbook. I love MacOS and don’t plan on switching OS anytime soon. I use Moi3D because it is in my opinion the best CAD software for what I do. It’s so minimal and free of obstructions. Of all the 3D packages that I’ve tried these 2 are my personal preference. Which also brings me to the point that you will be able to achieve any result in whatever package you prefer, so in the end it really doesn’t matter what program you use.

CGS: What is your process when designing a new bionic arm or prosthetic and how do you choose which forms to use to achieve a compelling and detailed design?

EG: When I make a new design, the thing I’m looking for more than anything else is to challenge and surpass my last benchmark. I try to stay up to date on scientific, medical and military advancements in terms of technology, materials etc. To stay as fresh as possible with new forms, manufacturing techniques and proven solutions. If there is a specific goal I have for the prosthetic, I collect data and reference that goes well together.

I will figure out what materials are going to be used and how those shapes in relation to the materials are manufactured. Molded Plastic has a different aesthetic to it than a CNC milled billet of aluminium. The key is to study those differences, understand their creation process and apply to your design. This combined with good proportions and details will generally yield the most realistic forms and details.

CGS: I also noticed you use Keyshot for almost all of your work! How do you achieve such realistic results in your shading process in the software?

EG: That’s actually a pretty fun and easy step! My Keyshot scene doesn’t look fancy whatsoever and the only things I use are the HDR’s and hand placed lights in the HDRI editor or physical lights in the scene. I found that the best thing to focus on though is not the lighting, but the materials. I spend a lot of time refining materials, their properties and textures.

Sometimes I spend hours on creating the best looking polymer for one of my guns. It is super rewarding when you can place a basic light in the scene, but the material still looks great. My tip is to spend a lot of times on researching materials, study their behavior and scale. Create your own library and use them on your projects. It’s well worth the investment of time!

CGS: What types of work do you do outside of the entertainment industry, and does your process change between the two?

Yes, I am active in the weapons and robotics industry as well. Since my personal work contains a lot of those 2 and my aesthetic is reality driven anyway, not much changes when I work in these fields. The only thing that could be mentioned is that the specs are different. Way more considerations on a real robotic arm where you can’t fake anything then on one of my personal projects where I can be a little dirtier.

CGS: And Lastly what final thoughts would you give for those looking to be the 3D Concept artists at the level of expertise you are at now?

EG: Ah thank you so much!! Well, I’m definitely no expert. I learn everyday and I will die learning. If you hear someone claiming he/she is an expert, turn around and walk away from that person. If I could give any advice it would be to stay open minded, be curious and if there is any subject you want to excel in try to cut things down to simple tasks and compartmentalize. If for example you want to make better guns, break it down this way: A gun needs materials, go in Keyshot with references of weapon materials you found from research and create a library specifically for weapons. Next, go learn about ballistics and what bullets and ammunition do.

What does barrel length? What does the type of rifling do? Does is have any relation with the length of the barrel? Yes it has In case you wondered! Use these acquired pieces of information and utilize them to create the best possible design. Give it your attention and don’t settle for less. If you are looking at a piece of your design and you know it could be better. Don’t be lazy and go redo it. Enjoy the process while you’re at it! :)

CGS: We would like to thank Edon for taking the time out to give
share his knowledge with us! We hope this inspires everyone and we wish Edon the very best in all of his next