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Developer interview with 3D Artist for Klotzen

Maxim Games has started the Developer Diary series, and this week there's another entry from them. This new interview focuses on one of the 3D Artists that have worked on Klotzen! Panzer Battles.
Please note, this interview wasn't conducted by KeenGamer and is a part of a development diary. It can be read on the official website.

In this interview, you will get to know about a man responsible for creating a stunning artwork you see above. Enjoy!

Hello. Please introduce yourself
I was born in Opole, Poland in 1978. During my years of commercial work, I have been involved in many interesting projects and in a great scope of graphic activities, from graphic and industrial design to creating models, textures, and scenes for animations, films, and television. I worked with the famous Platige Image Studio on a few animated films and with the Planetarium of Copernicus Science Centre on the first Polish production in the fulldome technology – “Dream to fly”.

But my greatest passion is still military illustrations – mainly aviation and naval art. Throughout my teenage year,s I spent as much time around aircraft as I could. However, when I read an article about James Dietz in a magazine and saw the aviation art of Polish artist – Jaroslaw Wrobel, I discovered the way to finally express my passion for aviation. Although starting with pencils and paints, I soon found the computer as an ideal tool to create the images that I had in my mind. Using advanced 3D software I painstakingly built my own 3D Lancaster model and then used it to create a series of striking images. I didn’t realize at the time that something that started as a personal project would eventually almost take over my working life. My work was an instant hit with veterans and enthusiasts alike and during the last few years, I have created dozens of Lancaster images for families and veterans themselves.

I create illustrations for books, magazines, and collectors and my works are in many private collections in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. I live in Czestochowa, Poland with wife Agnieszka and two sons Mikolaj and Tymon.

Wow, this sounds like a summary from a resume! You seem to be a renowned person. Now I feel shy a bit. Anyway, could you please tell us how you got connected with Maxim Games?
I am not a renowned person I just create images some people find interesting and describing interesting stories.

Zoran Stanic from Maxim Games contacted me through my website. I try to update my online portfolios constantly, so it pays off in such commisions. Even though I have a lot of work, I like to challenge myself with new things or areas. For example, aviation. That’s why I wanted to work on the “Klotzen! Panzer Battles” game.

Zoran sent me the brief, and I knew how the final image should look like. I know this can sound weird, but in most cases, I see the final image in my imagination before I start the work. I see the lighting, colors and mood. It happens almost every time. Of course, I always prepare a few sketches, so the client could choose the view angle that shows the subject in the desired way, but the colorful version is already in my head.

Oh, I know what you are talking about(having the final image in your head)! I had the same feeling when studied in my architectural academy. Do you happen to have an artistic/architectural education, or is it your talent, or you’ve developed this feature over time?

That’s a great feeling, isn’t it? That has to be even more fascinating when you are an architect since your projects turn into real things!

I have a master’s degree in art education – I’m an art teacher. But I never worked as a teacher. I don’t think that degree is important. I will never forget the words of my first boss on my very first job as a graphic designer. He said he didn’t care if I had any degree. I showed him my artworks and he saw the quality potential in me. We didn’t have the CGI graphic classes when I studied.

I was always interested in the FX industry and wanted to create highly detailed illustrations and films. During my long years at work, I was working towards reaching those goals. Thanks to all those amazing people who invented and developed 3D and 2D tools there are no limits in creating real magic while sitting in front of your screen at home. I know a few artists who work on blockbusters from home.

Could you tell us what you have worked on for Maxim Games?

My job was to prepare a title image for “Klotzen! Panzer Battles” game. It shows German tanks on the battlefield. I used 3d models built by my Friend, Wojciech Niewęgłowski. I prepared textures, shaders, 3d scene and created the final illustration.
I used 3ds max, V-ray, Multiscatter, Mudbox (to prepare 3d scene) and Adobe Photoshop to compose final illustration.

The title image is great! You just described how it was made from a technical standpoint, but could also you tell us about your inspiration and the thought-process that went behind it?

I look for inspiration everywhere. I buy a lot of “Art of …” books with designs and concept illustrations prepared for blockbuster movies and animations. Also, artworks of my favorite artists like Jaroslaw Wróbel, Mark Postlethwaite, Michael Turner (!!!!!), Darryl Legg, Gareth Hector, Wiek Luijken, and others are my HUGE inspiration. The way the compose images, use colors and mood is a great inspiration to me.

After Maxim Games chose their favorite version among few I sent them, I started to prepare the 3D scene – building the terrain, preparing elements like stones, barbed wires, hedgehogs etc. But of course, the most important were the tanks. Those were beautifully built by my Friend, Wojciech Niewęgłowski who let me use them in this illustration. I prepared the textures and proper shaders so they look in the desired way.

This collective work works well although makes me realize I cannot put my signage on the image. That is why I try to build as many objects as possible by myself – to really be sure I am the 100% author of some artworks. Creation of military illustrations is my full-time job, and I wouldn’t be able to earn any money if I had to prepare the scene 100% by myself. That is a very time-consuming process. So I always credit my fellow artists and modelers and pay them properly, so everyone is happy.

As for the process – I had that picture in my mind – tanks coming out the mist, fog and battle smokes. It just had to show that using my favorite digital tools.

What would you recommend to a person that wants to reach your level? Where to start and what to study?

For beginners, I recommend being inspired by art. Many people say I have no criticism since I like so many different images I see. But the truth is you can find something interesting or inspiring in almost every piece of art.  So be inspired – watch films, look at artworks, analyze them and try to answer the questions: why the composition, angle, lighting etc. work in the artwork (or doesn’t work). I buy the artbooks with concept sketches or albums with artworks to be inspired and learn from those beautiful pictures.

As for the tools? Learn through playing. That’s what I say to my 2 sons. Have fun with digital or analog tools.

Thank you for taking your time to make this interview possible! Is there anything else you would like to say?

Thank you so much for your interest. I don’t really think I do something special. I have no magic abilities. But recently my friend said something that I found very true. “When you do something with love and passion it turns into something special.”
That’s it for our interview! If you are interested to know more about Piotr, you can check out the article on Vintagewings, or his Artsation profile.

To get more info on Klotzen! Panzer Battles, you can check out the game's store page on Steam, or visit the official website

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