Vik Sorensangbam ~aka vik3d interviewd by * : First of all we're happy to interview you and it's a pleasure to know you're one of its kind, first Manipuri 3d Character artist to land a successful job in the west. Tell us something about your early days and how it inspired you to become an artist?
Vik3d: Pleasure is always mine. I am glad to share my thoughts. Well, I grew up as a solitary kid with imaginary things and fantasy. Most of my best friends were comic's character and I always have fun with storytelling. As far as I could recall my childhood memories I spent my early days in a country side where my mother was posted for her job. At a very tender age, my life was filled with natural and untouched environments. As my dad was very fond of comics, he used to get for me bunch of comics like superman, batman, flash gordon etc. And I used to spend most of my time with those comics in the country side without a friend around.

My inspiration about art begins when I saw my elder brother sketching and painting with oils. My desire to draw and sketch started growing day after day. As I was always influenced by my dreams my brother insists me to draw what I saw in my dreams. I never had any formal art background however my dad never let me miss out any art competition.

The passion to become an artist has had taken me to endless journey. I believe its ones drive, passion and dreams takes to many eternal flight. Tools alone doesn't make one an artist. Tools and technologies are kept changing from time to time. It's simply the inventions for necessity.

Creech is created for Smithmicro Poser 8. Creech is inspired by "Monster from black lagoon"
Sculpted and textured with Pixologic Z-brush. Creech "The Oath"is my personal pose, rendered with 3dsmax V-ray.
Image copyrighted When did you start your digital flight?
Vik3d: I enrolled in a local Multimedia School in my native place to learn desktop publishing course. There I came to know about 3d software and PC Games which really interest me. The awakening of the 3d world came from playing video game. I was completely influence by the PC Game "wolf3d" published by Id software. Classic game of the 90's in MS-Dos Platform. Later on, Prince of Persia (MS-Dos Platform), another oldest game of the time developed by Broderbund released in 1989. Microsoft's series Age of Empires almost took my youth away. Pretty much game maniac and addicted into virtual 3d world of video game.

EA's Medal of Honor is one of the sweetest memories where I played with my elder brother. These Games started set up many dreams and vision for me. I was curious about the development of the game and many question started cropping up in my mind and I desperately wanted to be part of it. That's how I decided to become a 3d character artist for video game industry and cinema.

Image copyrighted How did you land up in Canada to learn 3D? What sort of 3D program did you take up in college that prepared for where you are now?
Vik3d: After learning Adobe Photoshop, Adobe premiere, Elastic reality and finally 3D Studio Max I came to hear of Alias Maya. A desire to transform dreams into reality urged me to search for institutes for Alias Maya. Setting out in 2004 when there was no single animation institute with authorized training school for Alias Maya or Softimage XSI in India. I turn my gaze to authorized institutes of repute. The intention of acquiring knowledge thoroughly from its place of origin made me zeroed down to Vancouver Film School, Canada.

I feel quality education is very important and never wanted to compromise it. However school is just a ladder, later on one has to mold his own career. I took up diploma in 3d animation and visual effects program. Whole two years program was compressed to a one year, which comprises of 6 terms. With the compact program and 3D technologies being advancing constantly, I try my best to grasp and there are no magic or miracle it's always many sleepless night and sweats. Great!! So can you tell us about how did you managed to get Admission at Vancouver Film School, Canada? What was the eligibility and also the cost of the course?
Vik3d: Getting admission at Vancouver Film School (VFS) was tough for me as I am not from a well-to do family. I ought to risk so much just being part of Vancouver Film School.

I came to know about the school from an animation magazines at LCC, AOC Imphal. The School's curriculum and infrastructure really attracts me and a good foundation is very important in every aspect of life's journey. Besides, Canada happens to be birthplace of many animation tools and application. Eager to know more about the school, I started contacting them through e-mails. Later, they responded to me with schools' brochure which includes alumni's portfolio which was very inspiring.

Eligibility for getting into VFS : A visual art portfolio that includes life (preferred), still, or character drawings and 3D computer work (maximum 12 pieces total). Some 3D experience is required. However, if one do not currently have sufficient 3D experience, one may be given conditional acceptance based on the strength of a combination of other computer artwork (e.g. Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) and drawing skills.

When I came to know about the cost of the program and lifestyles in Canada. I thought of stepping back from it and leave it as a daydream. Cost of the program was $ 46,000 US dollar (Rs 2,047,000 INR) at that time for an International student. My eagerness and desire to be part of VFS had prevail me to enrolled in the program at $ 26,000 US (Rs 11,59,418 INR) equivalent to Canadian student.

Enrolling in the program was successful however my struggle to lend the student loan from SBI Imphal was a huge challenge. It took me almost one month to convince the SBI manager to lend me the student loan. I even had to mortgage my own land steed in the name of SBI since we had none liquid asset to show to SBI except my piece of property. I had to risk the only land asset my parents owned after their retirement. I had endless sleepless night, if I fail to pay back, I could be homeless. I had to risk though as I was very passionate of learning 3D from the roots.

Reminds me of William Shedd's qoutes "A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for." we will never know about America if Christopher Columbus didn't risk his life to discover the new world. If we are dare to dream, we shouldn't be afraid too much about moving forward to catch our dream boat. That set me off for the bon voyage of my career to Vancouver Film School, Canada. So you returned to India after graduating from Vancouver Film School (VFS)? Can you tell us a bit about it and how you head back to Canada again?
Vik3d: After graduating from Vancouver Film School (VFS) I got a job offer in Canada however I could not get the work permit. It left me with no choice than to return to India and find a suitable job related to my field. Getting a diploma from abroad, like most VFS' alumni I had lots of expectations having a suitable job with a competitive salary. But it wasn't easy as I thought as 3D is a competitive career. I started working with Exigent Game Art, Noida. Working at Exigent was the real beginning of my career. I was involved for the level designing/modeling for the online game kwari. Later on, I got chance to work on AAA game character for Rogue Warrior game.

I commute from Delhi to Noida daily in an overcrowded bus, waking up early in the morning to get to work on time and back home by late evening was really a hectic days. Recalling those days was like a dark hours before the dawn. A lot of sleepless nights and hard work I had put on to reach my goal. I started wondering how I am going to pay the loan with the mere salary. My parents were retired and I don't want to burden them for help as they already did so much for me. To put this nightmare to an end, I mull over myself looking for better future and started practicing my tools of trades by setting specific goals and deadlines.

After working with Exigent Game Art, I set off as a freelance character artist. Freelancing open many doors for me to the gigantic world of 3D. With a strong portfolio in hand I started applying for job everywhere in abroad.

My first client from Los Angeles hired me as a contract based artist for creating 3d characters for his animation project. Gradually, I was blessed enough to work with few prospective clients sculpting characters. In 2008, I co-founded DevilDog Studio, US based along with my prospective client as a partner.

In the mean time I also got a full-time job offer from Gameloft-Montreal, Canada. I'm especially grateful to Gameloft-Montreal who offered me this rewarding job. This is how my journey started but career in 3D art is never ending business.

Legend of the Manitou is released for poser communities from Devil Dog Studios. My responsibilities includes conceptualize, modeling/sculpting and texturing for Manitou.
Image copyrighted How is it like working at Gameloft- Montreal? Tell us something about your professional life?
Vik3d: Working in Gameloft-Montreal has been a great experience for me both personally and professionally. Most of the primary tasks are creating hi-resolution characters and props for Cinematic trailers for video games. Gameloft is a leading international publisher and developer of video games for mobile phones and consoles. We come up with cutting edge games and it has been established as one of the top innovators in its field. It's always fun to work for our own incredible games, cherishing us with new experience.

Leonidas Statue for the "Hero of Sparta 2 cinematic Trailer"
Image copyrighted Gameloft Inc

It is another favorite piece I sculpted for the cinematic trailer, "Dungeon Hunter"
Image copyrighted Gameloft Inc

I had great pleasure working with the "Hero of Sparta-cinematic trailer" where I was fortunate to model/sculpt and texture the lead character.
Image copyrighted Gameloft Inc Do you have any dreams or plans to create 3d movie or game based on Manipuri cultures, acts, folktales etc? Tell us something about your future?
Vik3d: Yes, I do have dreams for Manipur, though I live far away from home. I have a dream to recreate the past historical event, unseen and untold stories in big picture, though it is a vast and expensive project.

Future is unpredictable but, that shouldn't prevent one from dreaming. In future I want to become an independent player and would love to motivate pools of passionate artists.

I had great fun with this piece. I achieved most of the sculpting and texturing using pixologic zbrush 3.1. I started inspiring most of its visual idea from the scorpion. Image copyrighted Foskia fx workshop pvt ltd Could you give some advice to those people who like 3d and share some of your experience?
Vik3d: My piece of advice to those who likes 3d is 3d is making one's dream into reality and should be passionate about it. It takes lots of perseverance to realize your dream and you will love it at the end. One should keep away from plagiarism, be original and try to get inspired from many things around you and learn to observe them. An artist must try to bring into being his inner imagination in order to give life to 3d.

Image copyrighted

*** Vik Sorensangbam ~aka Vik3D is a Manipuri 3d Character Artist currently working at Gameloft-Montreal, Canada. You can browse his works from his website and blog The Art of Vik Sorensangbam. The Artist can be contacted at vikramski_1995(at)yahoo(dot)com

* You can contact Vik Sorensangbam ~aka Vik3D at vikramski_1995(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was posted on February 25, 2011.

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