VFX Art (Real-Time) Winners Interview — Dragon’s Rise: The Forgotten Realms

1st place Dragon’s Rise: The Forgotten Realms – VFX Art (real-time): Darin Aranda

There are plenty of reasons to celebrate the Dragon’s Rise: The Forgotten Realms Community Challenge. Our most popular non-sponsor Challenge yet, it introduced a new Challenge platform, opened two new VFX submission categories…and of course, received tons of stunning submissions from the ArtStation Community! 

In a series of 10 interviews, we’ll be highlighting the first, second, and third-place winners in each Challenge submission category. Today we’ll hear from VFX Art (real-time) winners Darin Aranda, Nicolas Ceriani, and Ilya Pavlov about their Challenge experiences. This was ArtStation’s first year including a VFX Art (real-time) category, and our three winners certainly set a high bar with their submissions!

2nd place Dragon’s Rise: The Forgotten Realms – VFX Art (real-time): Nicolas Ceriani

Why Did You Decide To Enter the Dragon’s Rise Challenge?

Darin: I wanted to leave my comfort zone and challenge myself, the technical part.

Nicolas: I wasn’t sure if I’d join in for this one, but sometimes you just see a really awesome concept with a cool mood you immediately know how you would execute it. I really couldn’t stop the urge of making it.

Ilya: Challenges are always fun and a good way to learn something new. Also, it was the first time ArtStation had a Real-Time VFX category, I just couldn’t miss it.

3rd place Dragon’s Rise: The Forgotten Realms – VFX Art (real-time): Ilya Pavlov

What Was the Inspiration Behind Your Submission?

Darin: I saw one concept that captured my attention and then I decided that this was perfect to challenge myself and see how far I could go. It has two parts that inspired and motivated me, the stylized VFX and the technical part.

Nicolas: When working off of a concept I generally like to stay close to it, so that when you compare the final effect with it you clearly feel the original tone. This is why I didn’t really use any other reference for this project.

Ilya: I really liked the concept art by Oskar Larsson that I chose for the base of my work. It was interesting to try to work with a chaos flame-themed skill and make a sequence out of it. And I wanted to try some VFX based on a flow map for a long time, and this was a perfect opportunity.

1st place Dragon’s Rise: The Forgotten Realms – VFX Art (real-time): Darin Aranda

What Was the Most Valuable Feedback You Received While Competing in the Challenge?

Darin: I received several comments with good feedback trying to help me, like ideas to make the perfect timing or advice to add new elements to make the final result more elegant… I appreciated it a lot when I was doing the Challenge. I think this is a very important tool that allows everyone to share knowledge and learn in the process.

Nicolas: I always post some WIPs to get thoughts from other peers and friends. I feel like as you grow as an artist, you will make less and less mistakes and be able to self-review more accurately, but having that quick glance from a fresh pair of eyes helps so much to spot the tiny issues you’re not even noticing after hours of work.

Ilya: I got very useful feedback on timing and camera work. Sometimes looking at your work for a long time, you no longer understand how to improve it, other people’s opinions give you a fresh perspective.

2nd place Dragon’s Rise: The Forgotten Realms – VFX Art (real-time): Nicolas Ceriani

What Advice Do You Have for Future Challenge Participants?

Darin: No matter what level you have or if you finish the Challenge, it’s an exciting experience to do and you can learn a lot from the community. I would like to encourage all the people that didn’t take part in the Challenge, do so. See you next year!

Nicolas: Don’t bite more than you can chew! Plan something that you can push and polish as much as possible without having to overwork yourself. Also have fun doing it.

Ilya: Just do it, have fun, ask questions, it’s a perfect opportunity to learn something new and get feedback from really cool people. It will be much more fun and cool if more people participate next time, and I’m sure they will.

3rd place Dragon’s Rise: The Forgotten Realms – VFX Art (real-time): Ilya Pavlov

  • Share this article

About the author

ArtStation Community Manager