Well-made visuals capture our minds, bring substance to our emotions, and inspire on so many levels. With years of experience delivering these types of visuals, Serdar Korkmaz is a creative director, multimedia designer, and traditional sculptor who excels at turning big ideas into, often times, even larger realities. He has led the creative direction on large 3D projection mapping projects, interactive animations, and other awe-inspiring installations. He recently added KeyShot to his toolset and shares with us why it’s so important to the creative process.

Serdar Korkmaz

Serdar Korkmaz

Modeling software used: ZBrush
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What sparked your interest in art and sculpting?
It all started when I was a kid. My parents thought I had a talent for drawing and they always encouraged me to draw. I know that my father used to be interested in sculpture and he had some amateur bust experiments. I have been interested in automobiles since a young age, and I’ve frequently made sketches about car design until university. I think that some cars are a piece of art, and it has always been a pleasure to examine car forms. I think this helped me to be fully aware of the blueprints of an object and to improve my knowledge of seeing its three-dimensional form.

When I was 15, I went to the U.S. for a short period of time; some of the technological innovations I experienced during my time there impressed me significantly. At that time, I remember that 3D stereoscopic films fascinated me and I was very curious about how they were produced. When I came to university age, I had a short preparation period for the faculty of fine arts talent exams, which is an area where I could show my drawing skills. I stayed with two respectable painters for about a year as a preparation process for the exam. This process has contributed a lot for me in terms of developing my basic art and drawing skills.

After this, I was entitled to enter the sculpture department of the Faculty of Fine Arts. During my education, I decided to combine my curiosity in design and interest in animation with the form, aesthetics, and three-dimensional perception I gained at the university. Then I started learning some software with the support of one of the well-respected character animation instructors of Anadolu University. So, I literally started to find a connection between traditional sculpture and digital arts.

What was the turning point in your career?
I’ve had a few moments throughout my career which I would say are turning points. The first one is after graduating from art school. I spent a very educational year in a company that makes three-dimensional stereoscopic films. It was my childhood dream to create experiences that surprised people so much. This one-year period has contributed a lot to me in terms of improving myself. Later, I had meetings with a company from the automotive industry. They were hiring a clay modeler for their studio for a long-term project and it was a perfect opportunity for a sculptor like me who is interested in automobile design. But then I learned that they were going to hire an experienced clay modeler from abroad for their process and I am not accepted for this job. If I were hired for this job, my journey would take a very different direction. Shortly after, I met Illusionist Digital Arts Studio which is the real turning point in my career so my journey began to evolve. I started as a CG artist but then promoted as an art director which has lead to this day where I am the Creative Director of Illusionist. Although my current responsibilities are much wider, I still continue to learn new software, watch tutorials, and keep on improving myself with the same excitement I had on the very first. In short, I do what I enjoy doing.

What is unique about your approach to a project/design?
I care about all the minimal details for every job I work on. It is always in the details what make your work unique and valuable. I always begin with visualizing the whole experience of the creation in my head which sometimes takes days and nights. In my work, it is very important that music, rhythm, and aesthetics come together in the best way in line with the given deadline. You have to make sure that you have covered every aspect of your work in your mind before starting it otherwise you simply will lose more time in the process. Knowing what to sacrifice makes my job unique. When we create an animation film or a digital experience, I watch it many times before I present it to the audience. If an idea I like very much did not turn out to be what I imagined in the first place, I can abandon that idea immediately if I have enough time given for a start over. Sometimes you have to know how and when to let go of the ideas you love so much.

What is your primary 3D modeling software?
I have been using 3dsmax for many years now. Another important software for me is ZBrush, which allows you to create almost anything. It is a unique software that anyone who deals with modeling should experience. I use ZBrush actively in my spare time too. I can easily say that it is the best software that I can transfer my knowledge of traditional sculpture techniques directly to digital media. And of course, KeyShot is an indispensable tool for me. Transfer any model you have created to the KeyShot, then create a quality light setup, easily access the materials that come with the cloud library, and then the result is very satisfying. The rapidity of all these processes means that you can spend more time on the artistic part of your work.

KeyShot is much more than just rendering still frames or creating 360-degree product animations. Now you can produce some serious films and animations with it.”

Where in the process do you use KeyShot?
Usually, in my creation process, KeyShot is no different than a digital sketchbook for me. I take the 3D models I create in every project to KeyShot and I always use still frame renderings about how the final look will be.

For the first time, in our studio’s last project, I planned to make an animation film creation process with KeyShot. Due to some limitations that emerges from the pandemic, I had to finalize the process very quickly. I took the digital sculptures that we modeled with ZBrush to 3ds Max and created the whole layout design and camera animations. I added extra mobility to the work with some morph animations. To tell you the truth, the fact that I was able to import this whole process into KeyShot using the 3ds Max to KeyShot plugin without any problems has accelerated things a lot. I didn’t lose any time preparing textures or UVs because I was able to choose materials suitable for the concept on the KeyShot Cloud library. Since I wanted the designs to have a traditional bronze sculptural texture, I chose an applicable material and easily edited them in the material graph. I quickly set the environment I wanted for lighting and moved to the rendering stage.

Thanks to KeyShot’s GPU mode, I was able to render a 4K animation film with my revisions in a few days with two GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphic cards. I must mention that it seriously is a life-saving software and really fast. It improves day by day and reaches more people. KeyShot is much more than just rendering still frames or creating 360-degree product animations. Now you can produce some serious films and animations with it.

What makes KeyShot an important tool to have?
You can easily create photorealistic results. Easy to setup the lighting and material stuff. I also love the camera and image settings. The more time you spend on a job in the creation process, the better quality it will have. But in the rendering process, speed is everything. KeyShot provides you that, with quality.

What advice would you give to someone interested in doing what you do?
You can be inspired by everything around. You should always feed yourself with visuals and artistic content. Be a good observer, a good listener, and create your own style while interpreting your knowledge. On the way to searching your own journey, don’t let anyone’s opinion of your work to stop you from doing what you are so driven to do. Keep on the road and work hard. There are countless resources you can access on the internet. A lot of content is produced daily in any area you are interested in, just focus on what you create. Feel free to get feedback from other artists. Everyone’s opinion is worth listening to and follow people who inspire you on social media. Respect yourself and what you do.

“You should always feed yourself with visuals and artistic content. Be a good observer, a good listener, and create your own style while interpreting your knowledge.”

See more at serdarkorkmaz.com