The Edge: Thiago Lima, Design, 3D & Animation

August 05, 2014 4 min read

Novedge: Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do

Thiago Lima: My name is Thiago, I graduated in Graphic Design and I am a 3D autodidact. In recent years I have worked in 3D design for architectural projects and advertising campaigns. Currently I am focusing only on teaching workshops, online courses and consulting.

Thiago Lima

Novedge: What matters most to you in design?

Thiago Lima: I think the most important thing for me is to correctly select the colors of the design, to capture the ideas behind the work. I’m not an architect but I often like to come up with some experimental projects, only for my portfolio. All I design in 3D is more related with my graphic design experience, so each project has a very deep study of composition and colors.

Novedge: What is or has been the biggest influence on your work?

Thiago Lima: I believe that vintage style is one of my biggest influences and that includes both the color palette used at that time as well as the decoration, objects, architecture and photography.


Novedge: Can you talk about your creative process? How do you approach each project?

Thiago Lima: Except for my personal projects, clients come to me with defined blueprints. In case of advertising projects I get the concept in 2D and I represent it as best as possible in 3D. when working on personal projects I like to keep away from other similar projects to avoid being influenced. Sometimes you just see a reference and that will stick in your mind without you noticing it. When working with clients, I prefer to have the client’s approval of the cameras position before any other work begins. The camera position determines what I’ll need to model so that I don’t waste time modeling objects that never appear on camera. Moreover, I can control the level of detail in the models according to the objects that are closer or farther from the camera. Then I work with the lighting of the scene, based on the emotion that I want to express and then I begin finalizing the scene creating the materials, textures, rendering and post production.

Novedge: What is a recent project that you worked on? 

Thiago Lima: Currently I am finishing a sequence of 10 images for the same personal project. This project is primarily a study of techniques and render engines. Also I am expanding my skills in inserting photos of people in 3D scenes using in Photoshop. Each one of the scenes has a characteristic and different technique being applied. With each scene, I increased challenges and details in the scene. I cannot show all the pictures at the moment because I’m waiting to post them all together, but the first 5 scenes are already public. 


Novedge:What software do you use?

Thiago Lima: For most projects I use 3D Studio Max. To render, I work with a wide variety of tools. The first is V-Ray, which is the renderer that I know best. Because of developments and new technologies I’m also expanding my pipeline to renderers like Corona (unbiased) and Octane (unbiased GPU). There are other software titles that I would like to add to the list: the first one is Marvelous Designer, a specific software for the creation of fabrics, and the other is Onyx Tree Storm, a software capable of creating trees and bushes in a easy way.

Novedge: Is there anything you discovered while making “Butterfly” that really surprised you?

Thiago Lima: It was a very complex scene, so the main thing to really nail was the organization of objects in the scene, with all the layers of material in question, groups, etc.. This organization made it possible for me to undertake the project, even though I was using a computer that was not the most powerful. Sometimes people ask me what computer or what setting I used for rendering, but forget the most important part, which is the organization and optimization of processes for which there is no need for special processing to finish the images or videos.

Novedge: Your company focuses on 3D training. Can you share with our readers your top advice on learning and keeping up to date with the latest 3D software capabilities?

Thiago Lima: The first tip is: don’t be so sentimentally attached to a specific software or technique to solve some project. What I learned in the 3D industry is that great leaders and great professionals are always looking for people who are responsible, respect the labor market, deliver what was requested with the best possible quality, no matter what was the tool used to get to that specific result. Work with people who value the quality and end result, regardless of whether it was created using 3ds Max, Maya, Blender, Photoshop, etc.. The second big tip is about the 3D software market in 2015, particularly in regards to renderers. The 3D field is undergoing a drastic change and competition between new software is increasing, with each software being able to adapt more or less to your current pipeline. I recommend learning more about GPU renderers and also about the new Unbiased Renderers as Corona for example; they will probably revolutionize the field next year and I believe that the greater the competition between them, the  more tools we will have at our disposal. This research is also very important because you will need to plan differently when buying new hardware to use them.

See more of Thiago’s work on his website and YouTube channel.

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