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Renderfeed: Tell me a little bit about yourself and about your life as a designer.

(Berd) Hello everyone, my name is Miquel, although I’m better known in the design community as “Berd”. I’m 25 years old and I’m from Barcelona in Spain. Currently I live in London.

I started out studying computer science in college, because I knew I wanted to work with computers. But soon I found that it wasn’t what I had expected and I changed to study design instead, all thanks to a designer friend of mine who was kind enough to show me what he was working on.

I came to London a few months ago and I am currently a freelance designer for Stinkdigital (http://www.stinkdigital.com/en/). Stinkdigital is an award-winning production agency with offices in New York, London and Paris. They specialize in interactive content, animations and web development for clients such as Google, Rayban, IBM and many others. Right now I am working on a 2D motion design for Rayban.

Renderfeed: How did Stinkdigital find and recruit you?

(Berd) They actually found my portfolio on the Internet and they liked what they saw. My profile was a good fit for the Rayban project.

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Renderfeed: How did you come up with the artistic name “Berd”

(Berd) Berd is a combination of the English “bird” and “verd”, the word for the color green in my native language, Catalán. I like the bird metaphor: Birds never stay in the same place for long; they keep flying, a bit like me, moving from client to client, from project to project. And needless to say, green is my favorite color!

Renderfeed: What type of work do you specialize in?

(Berd) I like to define myself as a motion graphic designer, with a focus on 3D rather than 2D. I have spent many more hours on 3D, because I think the workflow of a 3D project is much more sophisticated for all steps involved – concept design, modeling, texturing, animation and finally render.

Nevertheless, this type of work is fairly recent and it’s been only a few years since the world accepted 3D design as a proper profession. As a consequence, one has to know a bit of everything; that’s what the market demands.

Within the area of 3D one of the things I most enjoy working on is the actual design aspect: I love working with color, defining the composition of all the elements in space, the texturing and rendering.

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Renderfeed: Where did you go to school and university? Did you attend any classes at school or in college that helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?

(Berd) I think my audiovisual design degree at the Bau University in Barcelona (www.baued.es) really helped to prepare me for my current job.

In total I went to uni at Bau for four years. I think the educational philosophy of the school was really sound. Audiovisual studies there are divided into two blocks: The first two years focus on the study of conceptualization of ideas, while the second two years are centered on producing actual projects.

I am certain that my approach to design and my style of work have been strongly influenced by Bau. However, my technical knowledge of design software is entirely self-taught. I do believe that design schools need to support students whilst learning the basics of the relevant design packages, but beyond that, it’s the student who needs to learn and explore the software independently, particularly because everything can be so easily found on the Internet.

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Renderfeed: What or who inspired you to choose a career in animation industry?

(Berd) I started studying graphic design at my university, until I discovered 3D and I wanted to learn that. After producing my first renders I realized that I could try animation as well. I found that I loved moving things around in a three dimensional space. I also enjoyed trying to copy real life motion (such as a ball bouncing for example) and I had fun trying to animate the logo I had created for myself. It was virtually as if a door to an unknown world had opened and so I started investigating and eventually I discovered Vimeo. On Vimeo I found all kinds of inspiration, which motivated me to learn even more. I wanted to create amazing art myself, similar to the animations I had discovered on the Internet.

Renderfeed: Can you describe some of the things that you have worked on recently?

(Berd) Whilst I was still in Barcelona I worked for creative studio Cómodo Screen (http://comodoscreen.com/) on a project for Nickelodeon. Then, just before moving to London, I free-lanced for creative post-production studio Custom EFX (http://www.customefx.com/) doing particle simulations for a Russian commercial. At the same time I also did a low poly render of a city for Akwan Productions, a creative studio in Saudi Arabia.

Renderfeed: Can you tell us about a personal design that you are really happy with?

(Berd) I’d say I most enjoyed working on the render of Jubail city, because I had so much freedom creating all the different elements for the city – cars, parks, houses and so forth. The only client requirement was that the city ought to keep somewhat of a resemblance to reality. Aside from that, I was allowed to play with the light, the textures etc.

I also had fun doing the Nickelodeon project. Together with Pep Prior, art director at Cómodo, we created the different textures for the characters. This was great fun because of the variety of colors we could work on, resulting in diverse and varied textures.

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Renderfeed: How long did it take to make Jubail city? What software did you use and what were the different steps you had to go through to finish the piece?

(Berd) I worked on the Jubail city project for 2-3 weeks. It’s all done in Cinema 4D and rendered in VRay.

First I created all the sketches for the elements of the city. Then, once I had the elements all sketched out, I started modeling them using the low poly technique, which basically consists in modeling an object with a reduced number of polygons. After creating the polygon models, I had to texturize them with VRay materials. Then I modeled the base for the city (beaches, highways, streets etc.) and I started distributing the objects around the city. Finally it was time to light the scene with a primary light source, simulating the sun. I also added a few additional smaller secondary light sources. The last step was to configure the render and run it in VRay.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

(Berd) The truth is, I don’t even know! I came to London because that’s where all the great motion graphic studios are right now. So, my immediate objective is to end up working full-time in one of these studios. I have two or three favorite studios in mind at the moment, so I am hoping one of these days I will be working with the best in this small community.

Down the road, I’d love to be the creative director in a studio or, why not, maybe I’ll open my own studio one day.

Renderfeed: Which part of designing is most difficult?

(Berd) I think the concept stage is the most challenging phase of the design process. You need to give a creative solution to a briefing and it requires time and experience to succeed in winning a pitch.

Also, it’s the design aspect of your work that’s subject to your moods, not the execution stage.

Lastly in the design phase there’s neither help from the Internet nor are there tutorials to refer to as is the case when you’re further down the workflow, in the execution phase.

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Renderfeed: Which part of your working day makes you think: ‘This is why I do this job?’ and which part of your working day would you rather avoid?

(Berd) I consider myself very lucky because I studied and am now working on something that I can improve upon every day: I take on on different projects and each of them presents a variety of technical and workflow challenges. Not everyone gets enthusiastic about such a work environment, but to me it represents an opportunity to excel professionally and as a person and I like that.

I do find it challenging to conduct client meetings and to cope with tight deadlines, so these would be my least favorite aspects of each day.

Renderfeed: Is it difficult to adjust your style to each client? Or do you have an easy time staying true to yourself while fulfilling the client’s expectations?

(Berd) The advantage (and perhaps also the disadvantage) of this line of work is that since I have a portfolio, the prospective client already knows my style and what he can expect from my work. Even so, sometimes the client wants something done in a certain way regardless of whether I agree or not, so, although I do try to maintain my own style as much as possible, sometimes I have to compromise.

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Renderfeed: What is your greatest source of inspiration?

(Berd) Without a doubt, my greatest source of inspiration is to spend part of my day discovering projects and work by fellow artists. Nowadays, there are so many ways to stay current, thanks to sites such as Behance, Dribble, Vimeo etc.!

Another source of inspiration for me would be music. I imagine animations that match the rhythm of the music and I even envision colors that work with a song.

Lastly, one of the ways I get inspired is by simply experimenting with software. Sometimes you manage to create something visually stunning nearly by accident. That’s called serendipity!

Renderfeed: What do you do when you get artist’s block and inspiration fails you??

(Berd) I try to relax and to listen to a variety of music to try to get inspired. If that doesn’t work, I like to clear my mind by going out for a coffee with friends, in an attempt to reset my mind, so that I can return to pencil and paper later on.

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Renderfeed: How tight are the deadlines in your line of work and how do you manage the pressure to deliver within short timeframes?

(Berd) A tight project plan is key so that you don’t get any unexpected surprises. Fortunately, I like to plan and stay organized, so I usually meet my deadlines without any problems.

Renderfeed: What Cinema 4D plug-ins do you use and why?

(Berd) One of the plug-ins I am using a lot lately is X-Particles (http://www.x-particle.com), a plug-in capable of producing very powerful particle systems, which saves a lot of time since you don’t have to produce those systems using Xpresso.

Another plug-in I use is the VRay render engine (http://www.vrayforc4d.net/portal/), which is very well-known in the 3D world and which achieves beautiful high quality renders.

Speaking of plug-ins, I do recommend a script called “solo selected” (http://bretbays.com/2012/05/17/solo-selected-script/), which allows you to isolate a selected object, whilst automatically hiding all the remaining objects in a scene.

Renderfeed: Aside from Cinema 4D, what other software do you use?

(Berd) The entire Adobe pack complements Cinema 4D really well, although I mainly use Illustrator, Photoshop, Audition and AfterEffects.

I like to create frame by frame animations with Photoshop.

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Renderfeed: Which are the main challenges to consider when rendering your projects?

(Berd) That really depends on the project, but if you’re working on a hyperrealist render for example then you have to keep optimizing the materials so that the render times don’t get out of hand. If the project is more focused and more in the “motion graphics” style, then the render is less challenging.

Renderfeed: Do you choose to render your projects in­house or do you prefer to outsource your rendering process?

(Berd) I usually do my first test renders in-house and if the project isn’t too large then I get by with the 3 computers I have at home. Sometimes, if I miscalculated my render times or if I see that I won’t have time to meet my deadline I do resort to using a render farm.

Renderfeed: Have you used cloud solutions, and if so what type of projects did you chose to render remotely?

(Berd) Yes, I rendered various projects in the cloud. The Nickelodeon project had very detailed textures for instance and that really pushed the VRay render times up, so finally we opted for rendering the frames in the cloud in order to meet our deadline. I also used the cloud for another project, which involved particle simulation using Vray for the render.

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Renderfeed: Which factors do you value when choosing an online render farm?

(Berd) I really appreciate the time freed up by render farms. I can continue tweaking my designs on my computer whilst my render gets done at the farm.

Two other factors I value in a render farm are: The plug-in to check on my render ought to be integrated in Cinema 4D, as is the case with Renderfeed. And I like all my plug-ins to be supported, obviously.

Renderfeed: What kind of advice would you give other young artists trying to stand out from the crowd?

(Berd) Oh, you’re placing such responsibility on my shoulders! Anyway, my advice to those starting out as designers would be to observe everything that surrounds them – you can get something out of it all. Also, it helps to select inspirational artists to learn from and follow. Lastly, I think designers should share their knowledge so that others may learn from them. To me sharing your knowledge is a way of appreciating those who have taught you – at least, I see it that way.

Thanks and it has been a pleasure talking to you, Renderfeed.