True Love and Advocacy: Mr. Iniyan Vijay, a Genuine Vanguard of the Digital Arts


by Joshua Diokno   

When asked of his edge in the craft, Mr. Iniyan Vijay had this to say:

I am a good learner and a teacher, that’s the main reason I became an Art Lead instead of a specialist. . .I believe in creating better art. What I mean is that, if I just work as an artist, I can create only one single art, but by teaching and guiding others I will be able to create more art and contribute to the game in a much bigger way!

Through this statement alone, we can tell, Mr. Vijay is not only in love with his craft, he has a fervent advocacy for it and an uncompromising one at that. He is an artist who knows where to take his wisdom and is not afraid to recognize that the industry he is in is constantly changing, that,

. . . trying to survive with only an artistic skill is not gonna cut it. Learning new tools and new soft skills is the way to go if you want to move forward.

Mr. Vijay is a true vanguard of the digital art industry. Xeno Creatives feels more than proud to have had the chance of talking to him.

Xeno  Creatives (XC): Has producing 3D art always been a passion for you? How were you involved initially in the 3D industry?

Iniyan Vijay (IV): I have to give credit to my dad for the life I have, as my career started very early because of his initiative. I remember he took me to the campus of the College of Fine arts in my 10th-grade exam break. I got so inspired by all the paintings and sculptures produced there. I am so amazed with the craft; creating art can be good career.

I joined BFA right after 10th grade. In college, I have discovered my passion in the library. I saw the works by Boris Vallejo, Frank Frazetta, and the art from Star Wars which I found through the movie’s books.   

Instead of studying Rembrandt and Van-Gough I started studying the creatures from Star Wars and Stan Winston. Instead of sculpting abstract sculptures I sculpted monsters through Mudbox and ZBrush.  

XC: Who or what influenced you the most going into 3D creation? Was there an art piece (digital or otherwise) or artist who led you to decide that digital art production is something you want to do for life?

IV: It’s hard to just name a person. It’s the whole magic that the art from films that my influence hails from.

My main inspirations are Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, and Michael Angelo. These guys are inspirations for many artists. These are guys whose books were available at that time. The Internet came very late in my life so did the internet. 

XC: How would you describe your day in production?

IV: I work as a Character Art Lead. My main responsibility is to oversee if all the projects I am involved in is doing well in terms of art quality while maintaining the technical specs given by the client. The main challenge is to develop and train the artists to get to the level of Quad A quality project’s demands.   

Through my position, I get to experiment with new techniques and make the asset development pipeline more efficient and fun for the team.

Also, I communicate the issues and status to the Art Directors and the clients. 

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

IV: The studio I am currently employed at is an outsourcing company. We have many clients and every client has different art styles, workflows, and needs. We can’t get comfortable with a specific workflow for a long time. Sometimes this is a blessing as we get to learn a lot of different workflows, but sometimes it is very hard for us to change the way we work. But thanks to ZBrush and Substance Painter, nowadays, producing art is so much easier.   

One more big issue I face as a Lead is overseeing multiple projects at the same time with different art styles. Every art style needs a different approach and skills. Some projects are very photorealistic and some are very stylized. Both would need very different workflows and both are very hard to keep up with.

I do believe in the saying “What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger!” And when the project succeeds, it is very rewarding as an artist.

XC: Would you say you already have a solid place in the industry? What’s it like being an active part of it?

IV: I feel I am just an atom in the whole universe; I believe it’s true for everyone. It’s very hard to say I have a solid place. The secret is to keep evolving and not to take it easy. I have seen so many good artists lost their place or value in the industry just because they thought they have learned the trade.

For example, in the earlier days of my career, I have seen a great texturing artist who does amazing textures without so many resources available like today. But when the industry turned to PBR and the speed that Substance Painter allows artists today, he, the artist, no longer had the same value due to the software. So, nope I am not optimistic; I believe that no one will have the same value in the next 5 years if they don’t evolve along with the technology. 

Gaming and VFX are industries that are too technical. What this means is that trying to survive with only an artistic skill is not gonna cut it. Learning new tools and new soft skills is the way to go if you want to move forward. And I would like to say this: Skills can be developed, but attitude will never be.

XC: We’ve seen your works online and we must say, your collection is indeed impressive. Your attention to detail and sense of anatomy are awe-inspiring. Do you have favorite pieces? If so, what would these be and why? Also, what would you consider your biggest or most exciting project to date?

IV: Thank you!

 I like what I have done for the Lakshya challenge 2019 because 1. I haven’t done many female models and 2. I was able to complete the piece within the timeline for the challenge.

In my professional work, I have a lot of pieces which I am very proud of but not allowed to say what they are. However, I can say this: I used to take that game as inspiration, getting to work on it as an Art Lead was a dream come true. 

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

IV: I am a good learner and a teacher, that’s the main reason I became an Art Lead instead of a specialist. I am very much afraid of working alone as a freelancer in a room. I love to go out and report to a studio every day and face issues and solve problems by collaborating with others. Creating art is a mandatory thing for an artist; I shall keep on learning and trying to master the craft. I believe in creating better art. What I mean is that, if I just work as an artist, I can create only one single art, but by teaching and guiding others I will be able to create more art and contribute to the game in a much bigger way!

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

IV: I would be a screenwriter or a movie director. I am still very much interested in writing stories and attending screenplay writing workshops. But I can’t say how successful I could be.

Want to see more of Mr. Iniyan Vijay’s works? Click here!

 

 

 

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