We have left young Jan alone with his first 3D plane and dreaming about possibilities, which he can achieve. But it is almost impossible to achieve something completely alone. You need support, help and inspiration. I’ll talk a little bit about how all of this came to me, how I found motivation and who helped me to in the beginning to evolve my passion for 3D.
I started to gather as much information about 3D as possible. Early I was lucky enough to find Czech 3D community website called 3Dgrafik.cz. Yes, it’s the website’s screenshot at the end of the previous chapter. The most important person of that site recognized it after almost 12 years. I’ll talk about him later. The site opened another door for me. There were roughly 20 young people discussing 3D, showing their creations, tips and trick and sharing experiences. Few of them stand out, let’s call them giants. Guys who ruled the world of Czech 3D. The most important thing was that they were so opened to share their knowledge and thanks to them whole community grew. I was even scared to ask them or talk to them online. It’s called respect. Who would guess that after few years I’ll meet them all, or work with them or even have them as friend? Me not at that time.
It was in the middle of my high school studies when I started to interact with Czech 3D community. It was very friendly environment because there were very few people doing 3D. There were no schools to learn computer graphics so everybody was self taught at that time. Everybody was sharing everything and we were learning from the more skilled ones. I want to introduce you the most important ones. At least important for me, they helped me a lot in the beginning, inspired me and kept me on my path. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, I was able to find their very old creations, so you can see what they were creating. It’s a little bit funny to look at it now, but it was incredible at those times. Let’s take a look what they did in their beginning and what they are doing now.
Founder of 3DGrafik.cz website now working as a lead game artist for iOS games. He took me into his editorial team and helped me a lot in the beginning. Including getting me into my first full time job, where I was lucky enough to work with him.
3Ds Max guru, now running his own studio and helping other studios to set up their pipeline. Lukas was doing tons of tutorials and had an answer to every technical question. We did a lot of jobs together later and he became my close friend.
Skilled 3D artist, running his own freelance business now. Richard was the first giant I’ve contacted with some question. I was so scared to do so, but he was really patient and answered everything and helped me a lot. We had really nice chats later during meetings.
Character artist since beginning, now world known ZBrush guru working on games like Doom. One of the few who did characters since the beginning and he’s now pushing ZBrush polygon limits everyday. He’s always source of inspiration. I was honored to have him as my character supervisor.
Master, world known environment artist, now running his own business and cooperating with companies like Blur studio. Almost everybody who is working in 3D knows his work, he always pushed boundaries and filled us with motivation. Happy to met and chat with him quite a lot of times.
Magic man, matchmove wizard, now layout lead at ILM. Not much giant, he’s pretty small. But we started almost in the same time and met in the beginning. We met a lot of times later, during work or in the pub. Amazing guy, amazing friend with amazing career. We pushed each other into work and into learning.
Another milestone in the community came, when meetings started to be organized. I clearly remember my first one. I was travelling alone to the capital city Prague, being roughly 17 years old, to meet the giants. I was sitting in the corner of the pub, sipping Coke with other newbies and the other table was occupied by them. All of them. Unforgettable moment (especially Loocas with ponytail :D, he’s having 0.5 cm hair since then). It was strange feeling, but I guess that everybody knows it. Meeting your heroes, be scared to ask or even talk to them. I still have it, I still meet other of my heroes. But I’ll talk about them in later chapters.
Two sites had us all
Time went by and I wasn’t scared of them anymore. I was talking to them online on daily basis. I started to read and learn from English tutorials and engaged with the community more and more. Once upon a time Martin asked if I want to join website editors. I was so happy and honored. I was translating a lot of tutorials to Czech, publishing a lot of news from the 3D world everyday. It was the moment when I became true part of the community. People started to know who I am. Almost simultaneously with 3Dgrafik.cz website another important one was established. Maxarea.com. Both of them attracted whole Czech community. Each of them had slightly different content, but the same people. Both played very important role in the evolution of Czech 3D. Sadly 3Dgrafik.cz wasn’t able to compete with Maxarea and was closed and few editors moved there, including me. Maxarea still lives, but community moved to Facebook, people started to attend worldwide sites more and it slowly loses its breath too. A little bit sad for us all, but it’s just technology evolution and us getting older and spending our time doing 3D for living and just dreaming and chatting about it.
I want to thank you a lot giants. You showed me the path, you helped me, inspired me. I owe you a lot. Whole Czech community owes you a lot. And not just you, there were many others, I hope that they will forgive me that they are not mentioned here. This selection of people just stick to my mind. But we will talk about a lot of others later! Next chapter will be about earning first money with computer and fulfilling first dreams. Thanks for reading!