Xeno Creatives Artist Spotlight: Maniacarta

by Joshua Diokno   

Maniacarta is indeed the captain of her soul. With true passion and advocacy for innovation guiding her journey toward the mastery of the digital art creation sphere, she developed standout characters and had changed the game altogether. Through this feature, let’s get to know more about how she navigated the space through her own worldview and technique.

Xeno Creatives (XC): We understand that with just about any craft, the 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” as a lot of your contemporaries do?

Maniacarta (M): Since I was a kid I loved drawing, and especially Dragon Ball Z characters, I was mesmerized by Mr. Akira Toriyama art style. Since then I want to become an artist and find my own path. I have gone through many obstacles and challenges but it was rewarding at the end.

In our life if an obstacle arises you have two choices: give up or get up. I’m the latter. If something comes my way, I will smash the obstacle–break it like no one else can. That is how I am. It’s like playing a video game: the goal is to beat the big boss. And once you do, you’d want to play another game.

XC: What was it that got you interested in 3D art? Did you ever plan on taking it seriously initially?

M: To be honest, at first, I had no clue about 3D. The only thing I knew was drawing fantasy characters on paper and then share to my other artist friends. I never imagined that such passion will take me and change my life completely.

And because of the passion I have, I asked my mother to buy me a computer to start my adventure. Since then, the first 3D software I downloaded was 3Ds Max and the first tutorial I did was the popular plane animation.

From that moment on, I knew something is going to change. However, I also knew nothing comes easy or simple. You must face challenges that will arise through time. And that’s the beauty of it: not knowing what comes next. It gives you something to look forward to.

This is where my motivation for creating 3D art started

XC: Now that you’re an active part of the industry, would you say you have figured out your place in it?

M: Interesting question. For me, the only thing that I am sure of now is that is my passion for character design. I can say that I am active in the industry as I have provided numerous services to my clients in Japan and overseas. If we are to take that away, what I always look forward to is to make something unique, something that has soul and personality. That’s what I always make sure to put into my characters when making them.

XC: What does your pipeline usually look like in a typical production? What are the common challenges a 3D artist like you encounters in a project?

M: Regarding my workflow, I’d like to think of it as a puzzle. I am a puzzle artist that doesn’t have just a singular way of going about things. To be honest, around 90% of the time, I get rid of image references–although I still do a lot of research to find the right color, balance, shapes, etc. But because such things already exist, I don’t make it as they are. I try to give them my own spin. In my mind, even before I start doing it, I already have a vision in my mind. It can be a character, an environment, a sculpture, an animation, a visual effect, and the like.

In a production involving fantasy characters, I typically use Blender, as it involves modeling, sculpting, texturing, rigging, skinning, look dev lighting, and rendering.

The reason why I use Blender is that almost all artists in the industry use Maya with Arnold Render. I also use these tools. But then seeing everyone learning the same and going toward the same direction, I decided to deviate from them and follow my own passion.

While Blender is not well-known in the gaming industry, it is one beast of a tool. After I discovered and developed my skills and knowledge in it, and found out that it gives artists the freedom of creation that no other CG software has, I decided to create my company Sandstorm to show the world what Blender production is really capable of. What I have showcased on ArtStation or any other website is only 10% of what I actually bring to the gaming industry and to the artists who want to make the switch to Blender.

Making only images of characters with close-up shots and different views gets boring over time. It’s not my true goal in this adventure. What I will bring soon is beyond all that.

What would you consider your biggest or most exciting project to date? Could you tell us a little bit about it?

The Witches of Linerma has opened so many doors and challenges for me to develop more characters Every character’s appearance has this darkness and mystery that will be revealed after. And it will not only consist of CG art images with cinematics. There will be more than that.

XC: Your works over at ArtStation are impressive. The portraits that you have produced are highly diverse yet indicative of your personal artistic style. Which among your works are you most proud of and why?

Thank you very much for the compliment! Seeing other people from different places interested in my work gives me more motivation to go beyond what I have.

Luna Lankastar was my most rewarding work to date and I think even though I am the creator of it I don’t think I can make the same because she is mysterious and I want to keep it that way, once I got the award which was my first achievement in life, I couldn’t express my feeling, since then I decided to create the Witches of Linerma with different characters and stories.

One of the more mysterious and beautiful witches I created has a deep secret within her that only one person knows–it will be revealed in time.

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

M: As an artist, I bring something new to the world; something never seen before but also that can be used by anyone through time. This is why I only focus on the unique style that has soul and that can be developed through time.

XC: How do you think digital art-generating AI technology will impact digital artists and the 3D art industry in the long run? Is it a helpful tool or an insidious threat to the future of your craft?

M: This is a very important question. Many people worry that they will lose their jobs. They think that the rise of AI can replace the artist. But in reality, I believe, if you have the true skills of a CG artist, there is nothing to worry about. You can always let the AI create close up shots and different camera angles of the same character clearly. This will be always be a challenge. The last thing that you would want to happen is get stuck without some auxiliary tools. You may treat AI as a big library of inspiration; it can really open your mind and creativity when your brain gets stuck.

AI art can never replace artists and especially 3D art, no matter how far the technology evolves–even if one day AI can make 3D models from different angles with real-time shading, lighting, and full close-up shots with rigging and animation. Should the time come, then the artist has to develop something beyond that.

XC: What is your message for your fellow digital artists and those aspiring to be a part of the industry in these challenging times?

M: Let me give you some advice based on my experience.

The first thing if you want to follow this path is to have passion and never give up. Those two elements are very important to move forward. Without them you will fail. Remember you will face a lot of obstacles and rejections. Never let such things affect you. Smash them and go beyond by working hard and learning from other artists who also faced many challenges until they have reach their goal.

Don’t think only about money and what salary you will get when working for a company. It’s good to get experience. Think about how it can impact your own identity. If you think like this, new doors will always be opened for you.

I would like to thank you for such an interview. Thank you for letting me share my experience with readers and artists who want to be part of this business and bring something new to the world that can teach future generations.

Want to see more of Maniacarta’s amazing works? Visit here ArtStation account!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>