Mr. Cherif Tougourti: A Man Who Knows His Calling

by Joshua Diokno   

Trained in Computer Graphics and Multimedia, then specializing in conceptual 3D designer, Mr. Cherif Tougourti is an artist who knows how the industry works. He knows well in that he recognizes that nothing in it is ever permanent. Sure, those who have set up the foundations of the industry will always be held in high regard, but the approaches, the implements, and the standards will always be subject to change.    

And this had not prevented Mr. Tougourti from seeing his craft as a calling, a passion that he had done good pursuing. Today, let’s get to know Mr. Tougourti and see just how artists of his calibre are made of. 

Xeno Creatives (XC): We understand that with just about any craft, passion takes precedence. In your case, how did it start becoming a passion? Would we be right in assuming that you consider it a “calling”?

Cherif Tougourti (CT): I think that at our beginnings when we are young, we all look for a “calling” and generally, our parents try to guide us towards jobs like lawyer or doctor for a better future. In my case, I remember that I wanted to do archaeology maybe because when I was a kid I was always exploring my grandfather’s attic. It was so exciting for me to find old objects and tools. Finally, I choose an artistic path: Graphic Design and print with the great support of my parents whom I thank from the heart. All changed when one day I came across a CD from Computer Arts Magazine with the release of Maya and all the work to do with it, I think it was my revelation and since then there we are 🙂

XC: Was there ever an art piece (digital or otherwise) or artist who served as a catalyst for your involvement in the craft? When did you get involved fully in the 3D industry?

CT: There are many exceptional artists around the world who are less well-known or who do not get as much exposure, but with the democratization of the internet, we get to see their works more and more. We get to marvel at them. I remember when I started, I came across a polygonal video presentation of Martin Krol; it was great that I was able to be given the chance to watch it. The software used was Mirai. It may have been unknown but it was very powerful especially in the hands of a genuine talent. I would say other top artists like Alex Alvarez, Aaron Sims, Neil Blevins, and many others who inspired me and made my passion grow

XC: Now that you’re an active part of the industry, would you say you have pegged a solid place in it?

CT: We can’t be sure about anything. The good thing is, the longer you work in the industry, the more you learn and develop your skills; it’s always in constant evolution. I try to do my best and above all, staying humble.

XC: How does your day look like in production?

CT: Since the start of the pandemic, I have been working remotely from home. I have some projects back home that I could not disclose, but I can say that I experimented a lot on these times on personal projects. If I work in production, my day will start with a good cup of coffee–it’s my fuel. I then check my emails first and the production schedule, making sure to respect my deadline on the assigned tasks. Afterward, I refine the parts that cause problems with other departments and follow up with the lead and the supervisor

XC: What are the common challenges that a 3D artist like you encounters day-in, day-out in a project?

CT: Regardless of the technical problems that we may encounter, the challenge is always to complete and deliver a project on time especially when the budget is tight. In this case, you learn new things and it forces you to become more versatile.

XC: We saw your works online and we must say they are tremendously impressive. We really admire your style—how you were able to render some of your digital pieces as if they were hand painted on canvas. How do you go about creating your pieces? Is there a personal “ritual” that you follow before working?

CT: Thank you, I appreciate it. I try to do my best. There is a lot to do and especially to learn. It always starts with: “…if I experiment…” and the whole mechanism is linked. I always try to be inspired by immersing myself in the universe of my character. After that, I create one visual mood board with all the pieces and you let your creativity proceed.

XC: Do you have favourite pieces among your works? If so, what made them your favourite?

CT: I would say that we always have this impression of wanting to add something and you feel that it is never finished but let’s say my last character “The Lord”.

XC: What would you consider your biggest or most exciting project to date?

TC: I think the most exciting moment has yet to arrive. I wish it would very soon, but I think things started moving when I moved to Canada. And I know that all good things take time. We can only move forward towards its accomplishment.

XC: If you were to market yourself what would you highlight as your edge?

CT: I think I have the ability to quickly adapt to the unexpected, have a good open-mind and my versatility. 

XC: If you weren’t a 3D artist today, what would you be working as?

CT: I would say in the artistic field but for the moment, 3D is my passion and I see no other options!

XC: What is your message to other artists especially in these challenging times?

CT: First, I would like to thank Xeno Creatives for this interview; it is gratifying for us artists. I think that the most important thing in our industry is that you need to have a solid knowledge of the fundamentals of art and then choose a specialty that you like that will allow you to access work. When you consolidate your achievements, you can try to become more of a generalist. Stay curious, assiduous, and especially humble.

Want to see more of Mr. Cherif Tougourti’s amazing work? Click here!

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