You might have noticed Novedge is undergoing some design changes (check out our new webinar slides!). On this blog, we have been publishing two interviews every week for the past couple of months. This series of interviews is now called The Edge as we talk to people at the edge of knowledge, innovation, new businesses and art.
Novedge: Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do
Juraj Talcik: My name is Juraj Talcik and I am the co-owner, with Veronika Demovicova, of a small visualization studio based in Bratislava, capital of Slovakia. We are creative partners and longtime friends who shared architectural studies together, which is great help in the type of work we do, since our prime customers are architects and property developers. The core of our business is creating high-end promotional 3D visuals of unbuilt spaces and designs, although we wager into other types of work as well, providing supplementary services in small graphic design and website creation.
Novedge: You have a solid presence on Facebook. As a new business owner, how important is it to show your work on social media, enter competitions and be published?
Juraj Talcik:Although I believe media presence (esp. social media) is still secondary to producing exceptional quality of work, it’s an incredibly important aspect of the current global economic market. Various fields including ours are over-saturated with strong global competition and it’s important to communicate your uniqueness. While a lot of traditional forms of business can thrive off hear-say and personal recommendations, digitally-based companies with globally based customers need to put themselves out there in order to reach new customers. A solid media presence across multiple channels helps you push your work into broader and longer internet limelight in times when attention spans are reduced greatly by the over-abundance of content. Apart from Facebook, we have a strong following on Behance and Vimeo, both sites showcasing original content. I noticed that for most the hardest thing is to maintain these channels, which for me is play. I greatly enjoy sharing my work and experiences and giving back to the community, by giving advice and posting images alike.
Novedge: What software do you use?
Juraj Talcik:The primary software in our workflow is 3ds Max from Autodesk, due to its versatility, relative easiness of use and for being literally the industry standard, which is important because it lets us connect it to various other tools being developed which both expand its capacity and also make our work easier. We use 3ds Max to model individual assets such as furniture, and then assemble the whole scene inside it, probably 90% of our time is spent inside. Our renderer of choice is currently V-Ray. We use it mostly for same reason as 3ds Max, it’s the industry standard, it’s been greatly developed and is compatible with various other tools. Last but not least, is Adobe Photoshop, used in post-production stage, from color grading to photo montage creation. One special software that’s been in our pipeline for quite a long time and makes us stand out quite bit is Marvelous Designer, a cloth simulator that helps us create life-like assets of various furniture. We also currently test technologies from real-time segment, namely Unity and CryEngine3.
One important thing I would like to mention is that although we build strongly upon the newest technologies, we never lose sight of the most important aspect of our work, and that is communicating design with the right ideas, choosing the proper visual language and storytelling. Technology is only the tool that helps us achieve these goals.
Novedge: What is a recent project that you worked on?
Juraj Talcik:Our most successful and recent project is The White Bedroom, which was a non-commercial endeavor started when we were asked by 3D Artist magazine to write up a complex tutorial on the creation of furniture using cloth simulation with Marvelous Designer software. Alongside it, we created our first animation for it, which ended up being quite successful and was even chosen by Vimeo in the Staff Pick category. It was watched by more than 150,000 people in the first week. In our work we always try to bring uniqueness to each project and this is realized both on the style and the technology front. Marvelous Designer is definitely our most popular feature tool, for which we are well known.
Novedge: How do you find inspiration to stay ahead of the curve?
Juraj Talcik:I consider it very important to seek inspiration outside of your field. Find ideas and translate them to your benefit. For us it means surfing through a lot of photography of various sort, from commercial to documentary to artistic, advertising, movies, literature and even computer games. If you focus too much on what your direct competitors are doing you end up in a chasing race that can’t be won and your work will slowly become just another copy, and therefore inherently worse. I see it happen so often. Second, just like most designers, I strongly enjoy what I do, and when work is fun for you, you improve quickly. Nonetheless, I am a very competitive person, so I am still aware of how others are doing, but I keep doing my own thing.
Novedge: What are some of the rewards and challenges of owning your own business?
Juraj Talcik:The biggest reward is freedom. The biggest challenge is responsibility. Freedom enables you to fit work within your own lifestyle, which by itself makes you a quite happy person. And you can pursue the direction that you wish to explore in business. I am an adventurous person and always wished to be my own boss. I also feel good as a leader, motivating others in their pursuits. Responsibility is something that keeps you awake at nights when others already cleared their minds of work. It never keeps you satisfied, always being hungry for advancement and improvements. It’s a never-ending challenge, and although it makes for a more stressful life, I would not swap it for security.