Zhelong Xu was born in JingDeZhen, a beautiful, small town in the northeastern Jiangxi province of China. This town, though small, is known as the “Porcelain Capital” with its rich history in over 1500 years of porcelain production. Zhelong’s grandfather taught about drawing when he was just a little boy. It was from this that drawing became more than an interest, it has become his life.
Modeling software: ZBrush / 3ds Max
While attending college at the JingDeZhen Ceramic Institute in 1998, Zhelong discover ed CG and realized how it would revolutionize art. “I was even more fascinated by 3D art, which was totally incredible at that time, so I became a professional 3D artist after graduation in 2001.” To compliment this, a college entry gift of a camera from his father nurtured his interest and expereince in photography through college and beyond.
After graduation, he started publishing his artwork on the internet which, in 2003, brought him some awards on popular 3D artist websites. His work was published by Ballistic Publishingand also selected for the Atodesk 3ds Max user gallery. Growing his knowledge of rendering, photography and new 3D software, his artwork continued to be published across websites and around the world. It was then that he and some freinds started Shanghai Magicstone Images, focusing on interior visualization. Over the past year, with his use of ZBrush and KeyShot, Zhelong received major attention among 3D professionals in the CG industry.
His work in ZBrush and KeyShot continue today and once he finishes modeling in ZBrush he brings the model directly into KeyShot. “Quality and speed comprise the most important things for artwork. KeyShot brings a perfect balance. You cannot imagine such a perfect tool a few years ago. I have used almost all the render software on the market–they all have their own characteristics, but are either complicated or slow–KeyShot is all realtime, and can meet the most demanding requirements on quality. On one hand, it is so simple, I do not even have to read any instructions–this is very important. On the other hand, the operation is very similar to taking photographs. The physical based lighting and the camera settings are just like taking a photo in the real world. KeyShot and ZBrush are best partners for me. Furthermore, the material system of KeyShot is very simple and effective, and can also be customized. The Pro version also let the artists use more passes for final artworks in compositing software. I will use it not only for my still artwork, but also for some character work in future. In short, KeyShot is just amazing for you to achieve best result using the least amount of effort.”
For each of his projects, Zhelong focuses on quality, then speed with a style that is all his own. “As you can see, I use Chinese elements and style in my artworks. It makes one think of how to use modern tools to illustrate a thousand years of ancient culture. To do this, you have to make sure the artwork has their own characteristics, not only greeting histiry, but learning from history and surpassing it. The ceramic lion is an example of this. You cannot find the same one in another place. I bring my own touch to the lion that truly represents a fine ancient Chinese ceramic art piece.”
With this, creating your on unique style comes down to a simple practive. “Absorption should be the most basic quality. You can only be unique if you stick to the work you do. In the CG industry, you have to spend plenty of time learning the traditional skills like drawing, sculpting, photography, etc., but above all you have to remember this: the most difficult thing in finishing an artwork is not the artwork itself, the difficulty is whether you are focusing enough on your work. On top of this, you don’t have to be afraid of imperfection, because your next artwork will go beyond this one for sure.”
To see more of Zhelong Xu’s work, visit his portfolio on CG Hub.