Decoding Daily Deviations: Jet Futura

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Decoding Daily Deviations is the series that aims to unlock the secrets of what it took to create these magnificent artworks and motivate others to work towards similar recognition. Each week we will present an interview with one artist who has recently received a DD and have them share the details on that specific piece, relating to their creative process, techniques, and narrative inspirations. If you've ever wanted to know more about a beloved artwork and the talented skills applied to it, this is the series to keep track of!"

FEATURED ART: Jet Futura by vladimirpetkovic
DD DATE: 2016-05-20
AVERAGE TIME: 2-3 weeks
TOOLS/PROGRAMME: Maya with Arnold (modeling and lighting)

Zbrush (terrain sculpting)

Mudbox (textures)

UV Layout (UV maps)

OnyxGARDEN (foliage creation)

Photoshop (final layer composite)

Jet Futura by vladimirpetkovic

Share with readers the details of how this piece came into being. Did you have a clear story idea/inspiration from the beginning?

Being obsessed with post-apocalyptic scenery, I am obviously a huge fan of the Fallout game series. Many of my artworks are more or less inspired by it, or more closely, by the idea behind it – the end of the World, set somewhere during the Cold War era. There is something so intriguing in a world, violently disrupted somewhere in the past, which has strangely evolved towards the alternative future.


Another, constant source of inspiration are amazing artworks done by other fellow artists. I would like to mention a few out of many: f1x-2, goneforeverbye, shichigoro756, sanfranguy, Tomstrzal, and Morxx

Jet Futura began as a series of sketches I combined into a composition. It all started with these few elements:

Jet Futura 01 by lovelessdevotions

But I remember I had a major breakthrough on how to tie everything together, when I saw this fantastic concept art done for Fallout 3 by Craig Mullins

Jet Futura 02 by lovelessdevotions

The cinematic atmosphere, where you have the main actors in the foreground, with the environment shown fading in the back, completely occupied me. I also really liked the billboard detail, and decided to go with one of those Route 66 motel signs I have seen on my travels through North America’s Southwest:

Jet Futura 03 by lovelessdevotions

'Jet Futura' shows impressive detailing and creativity in crafting a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Please, discuss your creative process on the scene as it relates to modeling, rendering, and other processes involved in executing your vision.

One of the things I’ve learned during my career is to break big projects into manageable pieces, and deal with them one by one. This way, you are not overwhelmed and you are not rushing things up, but rather taking it slowly, bit by bit. This process is time consuming but rewarding in the end.

The car was based on the Cadillac Eldorado I modelled in Maya a few years ago, but heavily modified to fit a retro-apocalyptic future. The car was textured in Mudbox and I’ve done a couple of studio renders in Cinema 4D to see how it would look. (More renders at…)

Jet Futura 04 by lovelessdevotions
Jet Futura 05 by lovelessdevotions

The next big challenge was creating the Fallout soldier. I am not super experienced as a character artist, so this one was a challenge. Basically, I have a few generic human figures I’ve sculpted in Zbrush, which I am using as a starting point for the character designs:

Jet Futura 06 by lovelessdevotions

Using that as a reference, I model additional elements in Maya (like clothing, armor, etc.), and detail them further in Zbrush, like I did with this one. The final soldier model had around 20M polygons. Obviously, that is way too much for the regular scene to handle, so I extracted Normal maps and used the much more optimized model (20K polies). The texturing was done in Mudbox (might be worth noting that nowadays I’ve completely switched to Substance Painter for the asset texturing). More renders:…

Jet Futura 07 by lovelessdevotions

The terrain also required quite a bit of a problem solving. It was sculpted in Zbrush with a high level of details. But the optimized version, as a whole, just didn’t have enough resolution for the close-up, even with the Normal map attached. So, I broke it into 3 pieces, based on the proximity to the camera, and extracted different levels of decimated poly-resolution: hi-res, mid-res and low-res.

Screenshot from Maya:

Jet Futura 8 by lovelessdevotions

The rest of the scene was just adding a bunch of appropriate elements. Some of them I recycled from my older artworks in order to save time. All of them were modelled in Maya and separately textured in Mudbox. 

Final screenshot from Maya: 

Jet Futura 9 by lovelessdevotions

When it comes to lighting and rendering, I am frequently using Arnold-- a robust and incredibly fast physically based render system. The final image is a composite of several render passes like:

    -          Beauty pass,

    -          Ambient Occlusion pass (contact shadows),

    -          Z-Depth pass (for the Depth Of Field and distant Fog),

    -          Several fog passes.

Layer Stack from Photoshop: 

Jet Futura 10 by lovelessdevotions

Did you encounter any creative challenges when working on the piece? If so, how did you tackle them? Is there anything you would do differently now if you could? 

Half way through the implementation, I suddenly realized the artwork just didn't look right. The arrangement of elements was wrong. In situations like that, I usually back off for a few days in order to distance myself from the work. I also tend to ask others for their opinions (especially my girlfriend, who has an amazing eye for details). Finally, it helps to take a look at the image from a distance.

So, at the end, I changed the camera quite a bit and re-arranged the key elements -- the car, the soldier, the banner -- until it felt right. 

One thing I haven’t done this time, which is very important, is to place proxy elements (simple shape placeholders) and try to solve the composition before going with fully detailed objects. It saves so much time and energy.

What’s one piece of advice that you would share with other artists hoping to reach this standard of work in the future? 

Patience, patience, patience. It’s not only about the imagination and technical skills. It’s equally about following through. Good results cannot come without many hours spent achieving them.

What does this DD feature represent or mean to you at this stage of your artistic development? What can your watchers look forward to next? 

The process of making these artworks is not easy for me; I often find myself cornered by the lack of inspiration and determination.  But this is my third DD and every single time I was awarded it felt very special and filled me with much needed confidence and strength to push the limits and create something even better. This one is no different and I thank all the great people of DeviantArt community for giving me this amazing recognition. I have a few new artworks coming up. :)

Bonus question: Can you cite a memorable reaction to this piece in the comments at DA? 

"Outstanding work... nothing else expected ;)" by :iconpsykohilly:

This short line shows that certain level of quality is expected from me and I am very happy that this time, I met the expectations. I hope I will continue to do so.

Thanks to vladimirpetkovic for kindly consenting to this interview!

Make sure to view more of his wonderful works: 

  Tentacles Rising by vladimirpetkovic

Previous Decoding DDs:

The Northern Administration
Prisoned Singer
Don Kichote
On The Hunt
The Platform
I know a bank
Love and war
Chase, The Dreamer
Until the End of the World..
Crow Temple
Dragon's Breath

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clicyu's avatar
WOW. Great work man!