When an image spills forth emotion, you know the creator can capture the essence of the design perfectly. That’s exactly what Mikael Lugnegård is capable of. Mikael is an incredible Digital Artist from Sweden, developing design ideas and concepts using KeyShot as part of his trademark rendering process. He has a passion for automotive and transportation design, creating compositions and visualizations for clients such a RED, cmiVFX, SCANIA Truck and others. We talked with Mikael about his passion, his process and find out more about how he uses KeyShot.
Mikael has always been had a passions for different types of creativity. “Creativity is vital for me, it makes me happy, it motivates me, it keeps me pushing my skills and having fun at work!” Mikael says, “I think this is one of the keys to why I like KeyShot so much. It let’s me be creative!”
It wasn’t long before he decided to pursue a way to apply his desire for creating. “About 10 years ago I read an article about a swedish designer called Lars Falk (now at Volvo Cars), in a swedish design magazine called Form. I thought it sounded very excited and began to investigate what industrial design was all about.” This lead Mikael to begin his studies at UID in Sweden. “My main interest wasn’t problem solving or innovation. It was the form, communication and concept development. This led me more towards concept design & concept art than into industrial design. I love making images and create visuals that really pop and make you stop and have one more look.”
What is your primary modeling package?
I primarily use Maya and Modo for my modeling. Maya is amazing, it’s easy and fast working and just great for the initial modeling. I really like Maya’s interface and the speed of the program. It lacks, however, some features when it comes to modeling, so I use Luxology’s Modo in parallel. I use Modo when I need to build a little more complex parts and elements. It is primarily a modeling and rendering tools, and it shows in the amount of tools and smart features to build complex polygonmodels. Previously I did a lot of modeling in 3DS Max, but as there is no Mac-version I ended up choosing Modo instead. When it comes to modeling, it is very practical with a program that is built around just modeling as there is a more advanced tools for selection, falloff, duplication, and deformation. Modo also have many very fine features for construction of hoses, cables, springs, etc.
What brought you to the decision to use KeyShot?
It is stable, fast and very easy! I love speed! The advantage of working in real-time is huge! It’s such a great way to quickly evaluate your design and get a good understanding of how it’s working out. Honestly, there is not much to choose from for those of us running Mac and wants a realtime renderer. Sure, it works great to create awesome images of Maya and Modo, but I want the benefits of a realtime renderer when it comes to testing different lighting rigs and material combinations. Here, I feel that KeyShot is very user friendly and fast working. I been working in KeyShot for a long time and can’t see how I would manage without it.
Since the image itself is so important to me, I put a lot of effort into finding really good back plates, just because I’ve learned that a good environment, instead of just a studio, makes a huge difference for the end result. A good backplate needs to match the object in many different ways. The composition needs to enhance the object being depicted and helps to create an interesting picture, I use almost exclusively material from moofe.com to build my backdrops. Moofe has a wonderful selection with awesome quality. The images are of high technical quality and is very high-resolution.
What do you enjoy creating the most? How has KeyShot helped?
My passion is design and images that tell a story. It does not really matter what is being depicted. Cars, environments, characters – as long as the focus is on design, I’m happy! It’s not a secret that I love cool vehicles. I love that kind of aesthetics and design, the feeling of something that’s fabricated & manufactured. Vehicles are great to construct images around, because the object itself has a lot character and presence (hopefully).
KeyShot lets me work in a very creative manner. By quickly testing different environments and materials, I’m able to retain my creative flow through the entire rendering process, never allowing the technicalities to take over. That’s crucial. I can experiment and try out different combinations without it taking too much time and preventing me from being spontaneous.
KeyShot has a very good quality of light and renders fast! Although the settings are very limited (perhaps to limited for some situations) it’s sufficient in most cases and with some tweaks in Photoshop it allows me to produce high quality images fast.
What has been your favorite project?
Difficult question. Each project has its charms and its challenges, of course. I recently did a workshop for Scania Trucks, it was very exciting and interesting. A few years ago I worked for Jim Jannard, founder of RED and Oakley. It was at the very least a special project and a great privilege to work with Mr. Jannard.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to someone interested in doing what you do?
Stay true to you passion. Passion is contagious and attractive. Passion shines through your work. Passion will make you to grow and become even better. Passion means you get extra energy, it sharpens your vision and give your work a little extra. That’s number one.