Embarking on a Creative Odyssey: Navigating the Realm of 3D Artistry
Meet Oleg Zvyagintsev: A visionary in the realm of visual storytelling. As a digital artist, Oleg's mastery lies in blending light and composition within 3D spaces with an authentic and immersive approach. From his reliance on systems for focus to his inventive solutions for laptop overheating, Oleg's interview offers insights into his world, where technology, creativity, and authenticity converge. His journey, underscored by his dedication to profound concentration and authentic engagement in a digital era, captivated us, and we trust it will captivate you as well.
beflo: Hi Oleg. It’s so nice to get to know you more. We love the video and content you created for beflo. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work? How would you describe your profession?
Oleg: Hi there, thank you! I am a visual storyteller mastering blending light and composition in 3D space. Artist by heart, a technologist by choice, and a storyteller by profession striving for my truth through my craft. In a broad sense, I'm a digital artist.
beflo: While engrossed in a project, what is the typical duration of your workday? Given the immersive nature of your work, which likely involves extensive screen time, could you share any strategies, rules, or routines you adhere to in order to maintain a sense of balance?
Oleg: My life is far from balance, so I'm a terrible advisor on this topic. I was gifted with an iron butt and excellent eyesight, and when I'm on a project, I dissolve into it until I'm exhausted. I have to rely on systems and place myself inside them while looking from a bird's eye. For example, I work on a wooden chair to not make myself too comfortable and get up more often and currently surround myself with green mountains to look at something exciting far away.
beflo: When you are in full work mode, what’s that like? Do you work-from-home or do you go to an office? Are you mostly sitting all day? Or do you utilize a sit-stand desk?
Oleg: I haven't been in office space for more than five years, and honestly, I don't miss it one bit. The magic is in a dedicated personal area to dive into the deep focus mode. Sit-standing desks are popular among artists; the first time I heard about it was on a podcast that Ash Thorp hosts, and also Vitaly Bulgarov showed one in the interview for Nvidia, if I remember correctly. But I never experienced it because I never had a place like home, always jumping between locations. I should try one day.
beflo: You definitely should try one! And we hope it’s a Tenon Smart Adjustable Desk. Do you listen to music while you working?
Oleg: My day starts with music as part of my morning routine; I call it "Morning Trips." While I haven't woken up yet, with a cup of coffee, and closed eyes, visualizing my dream projects. It's mostly incredibly detailed melodic techno and house made by the sonic architects I love. But when I start working, I go through 20 minutes of 1/1 Singing Bowl by Jon Hopkins, followed by a ten-hour recording of pink noise; it's like white noise but warmer. Music is too distracting if you do something different than repetitive actions, and I'd like to spend my daily available focus on quality decisions, with music focus sinks faster.
beflo: We love that answer. Do you find that you thrive in an environment with ample natural light or do you prefer working in dimmer settings?
Oleg: I found that natural light is much better for the outcome I'm currently focused on, so I stopped working on light and color when it's dark. Every time I did that part in a dimmer setting, I had to adjust it in the morning. But it depends on the work's nature and how it should be experienced later. Creating work for the movie theater in a bright setting would be a mistake.
beflo: Which programs or apps are integral to your daily workflow, both for professional and personal purposes?
Oleg: My CGI pipeline is built around SideFX Houdini, although I use lots of supportive software like Blender, MOI 3d, Nuke, Touchdesigner, Photoshop, Figma, Illustrator, etc.But a considerable part of my life is thinking tools; I'm not smart enough to use only Apple Notes, so there's Notion for collaborations, databases, and linear research, Simple Mind for diving deep into concepts, and Obsidian for unstructured thinking, where I'm writing this right now.
beflo: Could you also provide insight into your hardware and software arsenal? For instance, your essential tools like a coffee maker, laptop, earbuds, and mobile phone, as well as software like InDesign, Hootsuite, and QuickBooks, that contribute to your work routine.
Oleg: Currently, I work on an MSI Creator Pro laptop with A5500 RTX onboard and 8TB of M2 SSD, but this thing is too powerful, to the point I had to freeze dumbbells to help with overheating; I'm still searching for a mobile workstation that can keep up with my heavy workflow but doesn't turn into a mini furnace. I might migrate to AWS infrastructure sooner than I will find it; although new MacBooks look promising, they have other incompatibilities with my workflow, still have to figure this out.
I'm a fan of Audio-Technica headphones, and as for the phone, I use a simple, reliable Android for now.
I never heard of Hootsuite, I'll check it out, thanks, and QuickBooks didn't let me in, so I use Wave Accounting instead.
beflo: Wow! Frozen dumbbells huh? That’s fascinating. You’ve done some amazing projects. We love the sustainability campaign you did for Mercedes as well as your other projects. How do clients find you?
Oleg: Thank you! The 3D scene is complex to figure out, and artists who can deliver something more complicated than spinning cubes or flying spheres are spreading through word of mouth.
beflo: Word of mouth is the best! What do you believe makes for a successful collaboration?
Oleg: At the core, it is effort in communication from all participants. It takes energy, but it's always worth it.
beflo: Given the visual nature of your work, how do you handle creative blocks or periods of low inspiration? Are there specific practices you engage in to rekindle your creativity?
Oleg: It's all about systems and routines; when you place yourself inside the frictionless system and learn how to guide yourself (sometimes trick yourself) in the deep, focused state, there are no issues with inspiration. But sometimes, I experience low energy; in this state, creativity doesn't exist, and it's time to do something for your soul. And have a good sleep after that.
beflo: At beflo we totally believe in sleep too! In a world today that is saturated with digital content, how do you strive to make your creations stand out and resonate with your audience?
Oleg: I just hope it will resonate; I found it paralyzing if you think about the response in the creation process. My approach is to be authentic with my choices and make the best possible decision at every point in time relative to my current set of values, knowledge, and skills.
I learned to trust my intuition; most well-received projects I worked on reflected my vision; they were fun to create, and also brought meaningful results. And projects, where I was treated as a screwdriver were the opposite; they often felt uninspiring and dull.
beflo: We love that outlook! You also worked on some movies in the past, is this still something you wish to pursue?
Oleg: I still love movies, although the post production part of it isn't very fulfilling. But I'd love to work on some title sequence for Denis Villeneuve or Christopher Nolan's film. They don’t like CGI, though.
beflo: Who would be a dream company for you to work with?
Oleg: Honestly, I don't think it would be the company. Egocentric answer would be — myself, but I'd like to think it would be the Universe. If we consider what Alan Watts talked about, it might be the same thing.
beflo: Great point! How was your experience working with beflo? What did you think of the Tenon Smart Adjustable Desk?
Oleg: These guys are amazing. I took on the project because their choices resonated with me, and while I dived deeper into the project they were working on, my respect for these guys grew. Tenon is such a complex project, and it has many variables to consider that, for me, it looks almost impossible for such a small team; I wish they would become a unicorn sooner. One day I'll be their happy customer when I find where to settle.
beflo: Thank you! We’d obviously love to have you as a Tenon user. What advice would you give aspiring digital creators just starting out?
Oleg: Dive deep into your craft; remember that true mastery is a journey with no finish line. As Albert Einstein once said — "The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know". And don't worry if plan A fails, we still have 32 letters left in the whole Cyrillic alphabet.
beflo: Thanks so much for your time Oleg. Lastly, where can people see your work and follow you?
Oleg: Thank you for having me! I'm not very active on social media for now, and still work on a website with personal projects.
To dive deeper into my collaborative work, I made the first part of the OSTVK website.