MODO Artist: Martin Oberg

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Martin Oberg Is a MODO Artist and Photographer from Sweden. He specializes in automotive imagery and product visualization. We caught up with Martin to ask him about his history in 3D art and his tools and workflow.

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Martin, what is your background and how did you first get started in computer graphics?
It started out as a hobby about 15 years ago and then I did a tour in the games industry before I started freelancing a few years ago. I’ve always been a creative person and I found that the 3D medium was a perfect match for my skills.

What services do you offer and what types of clients do you have?
I’m mostly focused on technical things like cars and product renders and I can pretty much do it all there from modeling to final render. Previously I’ve worked with games studios and such making 3D models of cars and similar objects. Lately I’ve been trying to shift focus towards rendering and lighting which I find a bit more creative and enjoyable than just modeling. I also do a bit of motorsport photography. As for the type of clients, anyone who needs my services really. Maybe it’s you who are reading this right now? Recently I’ve been doing a bit of work with an ad agency supplying whatever their 3D needs are.

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Do you find your photography has helped you become a better 3D artist?
Actually at first it was the other way around. I had been doing 3D long before I picked up my first DSLR and once I did I found it wasn’t all that different in many areas. It was just a matter of learning the tool as the way of thinking in images was already there. Now that I’ve done photography for a while I’d say that it’s definitely helpful. Just by looking at and editing my photos I learn a lot about how light reacts with different materials. If you’re a 3D artist and haven’t picked up a good camera yet, you should.

How did you arrive at using MODO as your main 3D software and what do you like most about MODO?
I was looking at options to replace XSI as I wasn’t very excited at the direction it was heading after Softimage was acquired by Autodesk. Initially I must say cost was a major factor. It gave me a good all round package at an affordable price. There are too many things to list really but some of my favorites are, Pixar SubD’s, rounded edge shader and the preview renderer. I’d also have to say the community. The MODO forums is an excellent place to find inspiration and help with any issues you might have.

Now that you use HDR Light Studio for lighting your shots in MODO, could you tell us how it is affecting your lighting workflow in these 3 areas; Time saving, quality of final result, creative process?
Before HDR Light Studio I had two options. The quick and dirty solution was to slap on a ready made HDR map. Looks OK in many cases but almost never perfect. The other solution was to light the shot using lights and reflector planes. Good results but often a bit slow and tedious to get right. With HDR Light Studio I get the perfect combination of both. I use custom lit solutions for my shots a lot more now which saves time and increases the quality. It’s also a lot more fun because it gives me more time to be creative with the light.

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What problems or frustrations has HDR Light Studio solved in your lighting?
When I used standard HDR maps there was always that bit of reflection ending up in the wrong place. It can happen with HDR Light Studio as well but far less often.

Would you recommend HDR Light Studio to other MODO users?
I would and I do regularly. I’m going to hold a demonstration of HDR Light Studio at the next Swedish MODO users group meeting.

What’s next for Martin, what kind of projects do you hope to do in the future with MODO? What is your ‘dream’ project?
If you’ve seen my work I’d say it’s rather obvious that I love racing. Something I’ve been wanting to do for a while is motorsport art. Everything from modern cars to classic racers from the 30’s. I have a lot of cool ideas that I will start to visualize once I find the time to do it. Hopefully people will like it enough to want to buy it. I’m really looking forward to some upcoming MODO stuff that will probably make modeling cars a lot easier. As I said I’m a motorsport fan and to do a project that involves that would be one of my dream projects. I wouldn’t mind doing something with Ferrari’s F1 team for example. I also love sports car racing so any Le Mans teams out there are very welcome to contact me for my services 😉 On the photographic side I want to do the 24 hours of Le Mans with full photo access some time in my life.