Jama Jurabaev is a renowned concept artist and professional matte painter working in the game and movie industry, with a talent that has given him opportunity to work on such movies as Avengers: Age of Ultron, X-men: Days of future past, Guardians of the Galaxy and many others. His work has a realism and complexity that draws you into the scene–many wonder what part of his work is actually digital. He uses KeyShot throughout the process, from creating render passes for overpainting to high-res production renders. Jama tells us more about how he got started, his process and why KeyShot is such an important tool.
Modeling software used: 3D-Coat
After 6.5 years of learning about hardcore rocket science, I realized I enjoy drawing small airplanes on the corners of my notebooks more than failing in math-heavy aerospace lectures. This is how it all started. But so far, I’ve never considered those years as a waste of time, since having the engineering background helps me understand the fundamentals so much, to dig deeper and experiment a lot more.
After graduation I had a strong feeling that I would never enjoy working as engineer at all, but I desperately needed some means for living, so I started working as a junior graphic designer in a design studio. I spent there two years trying to learn as much as possible. In 2007, I started my own design studio at my brother’s advertising agency and by 2011, I was art-directing a dozen very talented designers and illustrators there. In my spare time I was constantly trying to improve my drawing and painting skills, which was more like a hobby for me. I never thought I could make a living out of it. I started sharing my stuff on forums and surprisingly getting a lot of positive feedback and comments which motivated and helped me a lot.
In late 2010, I was given a full-ride scholarship at the online art school called The Art Department. It was an awesome experience but I wasn’t able to graduate since I received an offer from MPC (London) to join their team as a matte painter / concept artist. In late 2012, I moved to London and worked at MPC for two years. Last year I joined Framestore as a senior concept artist working on feature films. I had a lot of up and downs throughout my career, but I just kept going. Nothing was easy, but I believed in myself. hard work and support from others did the rest.
What would you say is unique about your approach to a project?
I can’t tell if there is something very unique about my approach, but I like to be fast. That’s why I’m always working on methods to help me put ideas together as quickly as possible. Working as a concept artist, all I need is to show my ideas, that is why I use my entire arsenal of skills, like painting, drawing, 3D, photo-manipulation and more.
What is your primary 3D modeling software?
My primary 3D modelling software is 3D-Coat. I started using 3D back in 1999, but it always felt very technical and over-complicated for what I was using it for. 3D-Coat is a very straight-forward and intuitive software, and also has a lot of very unique modelling tools.
Where in the process do you use KeyShot?
I use KeyShot at various stages of my process, starting from rough renders for over-painting to finished hi-res renders. It works perfectly for a wide range of subjects as well. From macro-renders to huge landscapes involving hundreds of millions of polygons. Having huge set of material presets gives me a lot flexibility with render styles as well, from cartoony/sketchy to hyper-realistic renders.
What makes KeyShot an important tool to have?
KeyShot is fast, easy to learn and very reliable. The ability to preview your renders in a matter of seconds gives me so much control over my decisions. Often, I simply take screenshots directly from the KeyShot preview render and compose them in Photoshop. KeyShot gives me that speed that I need to quickly put images together and provides all the tools to create complicated, realistic-looking scenes. I don’t need to deal with the “rocket science” any more. Everything is very straight forward; you can learn it in couple of days just by moving sliders. If you’re looking for stability versus speed versus quality versus simplicity, KeyShot is definitely the best option so far.
What advice would you give to someone interested in doing what you do?
Just keep going and believe in yourself. So many times in my life I’ve met people who told me: Jama, you will not be able to do that. If you stay smart and focused you can do anything you want. Keep learning, experimenting and trying new things.