What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Julie Shah and I am a 3D Artist specializing in Props and Environments. Currently freelancing as a 3D Artist.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I actually have a few personal projects that I am very proud of accomplishing. ‘T Bootje (7 Continents) Art Nouveau building from Antwerp, Belgium was an intimidating project because of the shear amount of detail it had. However, I was pretty determined to model it because I am very much drawn by the intricate details which I find incredibly fun to model. From there it was The Mayors Hearse from Nightmare Before Christmas. That was more simplified compared to ‘T Bootje, but pulling off that classic Tim Burton style was a challenge which I thoroughly enjoyed to model and texture. Lastly, the model that gave me the most challenge was based on The Nite On Town painting by Nicole Gustaffson. I wanted to stay true to her concept art, especially the textures, which was what made it so difficult while in the process of making it. These have to be my most favorite projects because each made me grow and learn as a 3D Artist.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from Chatsworth, CA.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Well I usually check my emails first and look through Instagram for inspiration. Then I start fiddling around in Maya and finish up some projects I have started. Take a break, stretch, have lunch. Then practice sculpting on Zbrush while watching/listening to a movie or show.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Bringing concept art to life in 3D. I absolutely love re-creating concept art in 3D no matter what type of concept art it may be. I enjoy modeling different concept pieces which people wouldn’t even think about in a 3D medium. Its as if I am building a whole new world!
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I don’t particularly dislike anything. UV Mapping can certainly be tedious at times though depending on the complexity of the model.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis, how has technology changed in the last few years in your field and how has that impacted you in your job?
The main programs I use on a daily basis are Maya, 3ds Max, Photoshop and Marmoset. Zbrush has found its way into my daily routine now as well. Being in 3D, technology definitely has a huge impact in my field. There are always new programs to learn and the current ones constantly update there features, which you need to keep up with in order to keep up with the industry. As a 3D Artist you definitely can’t know just know one 3D program, be it for modeling or sculpting.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
First of all, finding work. 3D Modeling is a very competitive field. Second, you really need to know which area you want to go into- Animation, Video games, TV etc. Each area has a different approach and technique for modeling which you would need to understand. This goes the same for Character Modeling, Prop and Environment Modeling.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I have had the pleasure to get to know a few really great people in the animation industry who continue to amaze and inspire me.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Recently, my father passed away very suddenly, so that has been very tough for my family. I have had to take over and be the head of the family now. Which has been very difficult while trying to pursue a full-time career in 3D Modeling for Animation. I have had very little time to actually focus on my work since my fathers death, but I have managed to find some time nowadays. This has been the toughest phase of my life so far, but 3D Modeling helps me get away from reality for a little while. It definitely helps me relax and work harder towards my goal.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I am helping a friend with his video game project which he would like to Kickstart later. I will be doing the low poly modeling on that game. Still a little too early to say anything about any projects at the moment, sorry!
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Nothing crazy. I know American Sign Language and speak a total of 4 languages. I really enjoy crocheting, anything from toys to accessories. I am very interested in traditional sculpting so I would like to take some time learning that. I also enjoy cooking, reading, watching Laker games, playing basketball and tennis.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?