🔻Darko Mitev, a CG journalist hailing from Macedonia, has quite the journey to share.
🔻While he couldn't make it to the festival in person, he's brought his insights online to discuss the intriguing world of intellectual property (IP) and how it's intertwined with his artwork.
Who is Darko Mitev?
- For those unfamiliar with Darko Mitev, he's an accomplished professional in the CG industry.
- His career has taken him through various branches of this dynamic field, beginning with Visual Effects (VFX) and extending to commercials, TV show animation, feature film development, and even dipping into the world of gaming, particularly game cinematics for companies like Axis.
Darko's Journey in CG
- As Darko recounts his career in CG, he reflects on how his journey started as "all fun and games."
Back then, he didn't envision CG as a profession.
His approach was loose and experimental, leading to a collection of unfinished projects. - However, this habit persisted even as he transitioned into the professional sphere, which eventually posed a problem when he sought job opportunities.
The Turning Point: A Wake-Up Call
Darko's perspective shifted during a festival in Germany, where he applied for a job but faced criticism from a recruiter. They pointed out that while he had the skills, his portfolio was filled with unfinished personal projects, which made him appear unreliable. This eye-opening experience made Darko realize the importance of not just creating art but also finishing and polishing it.
Transitioning to a Business Mindset
- The realization that his personal projects reflected his professionalism pushed Darko to adopt a more business-oriented mindset. He recognized that he had become a brand, and his online presence played a crucial role in securing job opportunities. This shift in perspective marked a turning point in his career.
The Birth of Darko's Intellectual Property
- Darko's journey toward building his intellectual property (IP) began organically. He embarked on an exercise to create something entirely his own, going beyond merely copying existing concepts.
This process involved extensive world-building, encompassing everything from the backstory of his creations to their environments, technology, and culture, and even drawing inspiration from various real-world civilizations and ruins.
The Unexpected Expansion of His IP
- What started as a simple exercise quickly spiraled into something unexpected. Darko delved deeper into world-building, developing characters, stories, and civilizations. Before he knew it, he had amassed three books worth of material. He couldn't ignore the momentum his personal project was gaining and decided to dedicate more time to it.
The Fusion of Fantasy and Sci-Fi
- One challenge Darko faced was reconciling his love for both fantasy and sci-fi genres within his IP.
To bridge the gap, he introduced a time gap in his storytelling, allowing him to explore both aspects within the same universe.
This innovative approach added depth and complexity to his creation.
IP Integration in Professional Projects
- Darko's passion for his IP led him to seek opportunities to incorporate it into his professional work.
He made the most of every chance to infuse elements of his IP into courses, marketing materials, and projects.
This strategic move not only allowed him to further develop his IP but also brought him income.
The Gigantic Tutorial Project
- One significant opportunity came when WinkFox, a Chinese tutorial website, approached Darko to create a course.
He decided to leverage this opportunity to its fullest potential.
Over four months, he meticulously crafted a comprehensive 150-hour tutorial.
This immense project demonstrated the depth and scope of his IP, showcasing his ability to translate it into engaging content.
The Challenge of Creating a Sprawling City
- A central element of Darko's IP was the creation of a vast city where storytelling would thrive. However, building such a complex city within his deadline required careful planning.
He aimed to complete 12 "hero" buildings, develop the undercity, and create backgrounds, transportation systems, and more.
Building by Building: The Detailed Process
- Darko's approach to building the city was systematic.
He began with rough blockouts, ensuring that he focused on the parts of the buildings visible to the camera.
He exported each building into separate scene files to manage complexity efficiently.
This allowed him to detail each building and maintain consistent shadows and lighting throughout the city.
Texturing and Procedural Detailing
- Texturing the city was a monumental task, but Darko had a plan. He prioritized two buildings closest to the camera for detailed, hand-crafted textures, giving them the utmost attention. For the remaining buildings, he devised a procedural approach, saving time and maintaining quality. Darko shared tips on managing color spaces, adding saturation controls, and utilizing procedural texturing techniques in Maya.
Stickers and Storytelling
- Darko emphasized the importance of storytelling within his artwork. He explained how he introduced stickers on buildings using a combination of Substance materials, achieving a realistic effect where stickers spanned the gaps between metal plates. These stickers played a role in conveying the city's character and history.
Stickers and Storytelling
Darko emphasized the importance of storytelling within his artwork. He explained how he introduced stickers on buildings using a combination of Substance materials, achieving a realistic effect where stickers spanned the gaps between metal plates. These stickers played a role in conveying the city's character and history.
The Transition to Procedural Texturing
As Darko noted, spending too much time on one aspect could lead to burnout. Therefore, after completing the first two buildings, he transitioned to a procedural texturing approach for the majority of the city. This decision allowed him to maintain efficiency and focus on other elements of his project.
Darko's CG journey serves as an inspiring example of how passion, dedication, and a strategic mindset can transform personal projects into valuable assets. His experience underscores the importance of both creativity and professionalism in the competitive world of CG, and his ability to merge the realms of fantasy and sci-fi within a single IP demonstrates his versatility as an artist. As Darko continues to build his intellectual property, the possibilities for his storytelling and creative expression remain boundless.