Today we continue our animago Award 2017 series of articles by introducing you the winner in Best Still nomination –  3D visualization artist Marek Denko.

We talk about his way in CGI and behind the scenes of creation and development of his latest awarded project, “Her Eventual Hesitation”.

animago award & conference 2017, © Uwe Voelkner / FOX

Under The Southern Highway - 2012

Marek Denko - Under The Southern Highway

Can you please introduce yourself: tell a little about your background, education, why did you decide to work in 3d, how have you started?

So my name is Marek Denko, computer graphics artist, father of 3 and co-owner at studio. I was born in 1980 in former Czechoslovakia in the small town in the central part of Slovak republic.
I always liked drawing and music. My first computer graphics attempts were on early Atari computer and later moved to first generation of PCs. I crossed my path with 3dstudio and 3dsmax later on and that was the time when I fell in love with 3d world and never let it go. I’ve finished Civil Engineering at the University of Technology but officially I never went to any art or cg/3d school. They just didn’t exist yet.

Souvenir - 2013

Marek Denko - Souvenir

You work already for quite a long time in CG field – how did your interests and priorities change during this period? If you were able to start anew, what would you change? And what do you consider your most important achievements?

It’s quite hard question. I’m not really a person dwelling on my past too much thinking about what would I change. My priorities changed for sure… but nothing out of ordinary. Most important achievements, that I’m still around and having enough work to do :).

Rooftops, Rockets and Adventures Beyond - 2013

Marek Denko - Rooftops, Rockets and Adventures Beyond

“Her eventual hesitation” – What’s the story behind this project? How did you get the idea? how long did it take to accomplish it?

During summer 2016 I came across this beautiful Volkswagen Transporter parking on the front yard of the house where the English teacher of my daughter lives. It really hit my eyes. So I rang… After short chit-chat and explaining what I do, the teacher Jimmy and his wife were so kind to let me in and take some pictures. I started to work on it in the same week. I wasn’t sure where I was going from the beginning with this work but I focused on the car modeling so I got it right. There was a lot of work on details so that kept me busy.

Her Eventual Hestitation - 2017

Marek Denko - Her Eventual Hestitation

Later on, I placed it in hollow hills nature scenery and continued. As I went on I got bored by the emptiness of the scene and probably with the lack of space to put some nice details which I love to do so much. So I change the settings completely. I started to play around with the “leaving city/world” setting/story. I gave it a try for a day or two. Played with new fresh angles and lighting.
It ended up with lighting set to an early rainy summer morning. My hero is waiting for the girl to show up. But will she?

I spent on it several months in my free time. Hard to keep track of time.

What was your workflow? Which software, plugins, other tools did you use?

My workflow is nicely visible on the youtube making of video I’ve created for this project.

I basically started to model the van adding details textures and tweak shaders. Later I’ve created a simple scene with lighting to block the general composition. Then it was all about searching for right references, modeling, texturing and rendering.
I used 3dsmax, Marvelous Designer, Vray and Photoshop.

Was it your first time to participate in animago Awards? In your opinion, what does participation in professional competitions give to artists? what would you advise to young artists just starting their career to keep in mind about participating in competitions?

If I remember correctly it was the first time I participated and it was great to find out that I was shortlisted to final 3 images. I’d like to thank again to all the people who gave me their vote so I could hold that beautiful and heavy Animago trophy in my hands.
I think, at least for me art isn’t and shouldn’t be about competing. The only competition there should be is with yourself. Trying to do your best and not thinking about what the reward will be if I do it a little better. It might help you with a career but I really feel art is and should be disconnected from professional work.

Return to Prime Even - 2014

Marek Denko - Return to Prime Even

What’s going to be next? On what project are you working now?

I have tons of work-related projects at the moment (advertisement animations, some shots for film and big modeling project) There is only a little time for my own doodles. I have something in progress but the ending is still open.

Autumn at Relay Outpost - 2016

Marek Denko - Autumn at Relay Outpost

The animago AWARD is an international competition aimed at creatives from all around the world who work in the realms of 3D ANIMATION & STILL, VISUAL EFFECTS, VISUALIZATION and DESIGN.

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