3D World

Day in the life

The free­lance dig­i­tal and VFX artist takes 3D World through a typ­i­cal day cre­at­ing syn­th­wave-style im­agery


Dig­i­tal artist Max­i­m­il­ian Auer talks us through his daily rou­tine

Max­i­m­il­ian Auer, a Stuttgart-based free­lance dig­i­tal and VFX artist cur­rently fin­ish­ing a di­ploma at Film Academy Baden­würt­tem­berg, be­gan cre­at­ing retrowave-style art un­der the moniker of RET­RIC DREAMS sev­eral years ago. He is con­stantly ex­cited to take on new chal­lenges and cre­ate unique worlds and vi­su­als across graph­ics, an­i­ma­tions, short films or mu­sic videos, and he in­vites any­one in­ter­ested in work­ing with him to get in touch via his web­site.

3D World caught up with Auer to get an in­side look at his cre­ative process and daily rou­tine.


I usu­ally start the morn­ing by catch­ing up with emails and any other so­cial me­dia com­ments or mes­sages while pre­par­ing for the day. Also, I’ll have a look at the day's sched­ule and pri­ori­tise the tasks that need to be done. Af­ter get­ting a small break­fast, I put in some time to try and get some smaller tasks out of the way, whilst re­spond­ing to emails and mes­sages. Af­ter that, I’m ready to start the rest of the day.


De­pend­ing on the day, I ei­ther pur­sue my life as a stu­dent and at­tend a course at univer­sity, learn­ing some new things, keep­ing up to date with what oth­ers are cre­at­ing and meet­ing some of my fel­low stu­dents. Or I’ll sit down at my own desk and start work­ing on some of my run­ning projects or client com­mis­sions. The morn­ing is usu­ally a good time for me to bring things up to date, such as start­ing to im­ple­ment feed­back into new ver­sions or to spend a few fo­cused hours work­ing on tasks sub­se­quent to the day be­fore.


Ev­ery new pro­ject, many of which I’m en­tirely re­spon­si­ble for my­self, brings its own chal­lenges and forces you to con­stantly de­velop new ideas and ways to bring things to life. Be­fore div­ing into the ac­tual pro­duc­tion process, I try to iden­tify what the main dif­fi­cul­ties or risks, whether tech­ni­cal, vis­ual or or­gan­i­sa­tional, might be and, in the best case, ad­dress them some­how. This will make my life much eas­ier or at least sen­si­tise me to po­ten­tial bot­tle­necks that might oc­cur later. Lunch is usu­ally a great time to get some fresh air and grab food with some of my fel­low stu­dents.


In gen­eral, but especially as a free­lancer, I think it is im­por­tant to find your own work­flow in or­der to do the best pos­si­ble work in the re­spec­tive time frames as ef­fi­ciently as you can. To work on projects as seam­lessly as pos­si­ble, in one go, I like to cre­ate or­gan­i­sa­tional ta­bles and small scripts to au­to­mate things or dis­play them as clearly as pos­si­ble. But I’ve also learned that some­times it is good to force your­self to stop and con­tinue with some­thing else, or af­ter some time in be­tween. Of­ten prob­lems can then seem much more fea­si­ble, or the re­newed fresh per­spec­tive can prove very ben­e­fi­cial to the end re­sult, too.


When work­ing on my own art­work, I usu­ally start with a rough idea in my head of how I would imagine the scene and the over­all mood. This usu­ally makes it much eas­ier for me to start in 3D and not have too many fun­da­men­tal thoughts dur­ing the process. Of­ten I also have a par­tic­u­lar or mul­ti­ple songs, which I lis­ten to while trans­fer­ring my ideas into the 3D world. This helps me to fo­cus on the core emo­tions and mood that I want to con­vey in the fi­nal art­work and to in­cor­po­rate it into ev­ery step of set­ting things up.


Dur­ing projects, the part I usu­ally like most is see­ing how ev­ery­thing comes to­gether as a fi­nal pic­ture dur­ing the light­ing and com­posit­ing stage. I love how light and com­po­si­tion can trans­form an ini­tially ar­ti­fi­cially put-to­gether scene into some­thing whole that can suc­cess­fully con­vey a cer­tain mood or feel­ing. I also al­most al­ways move on to do­ing some com­posit­ing to have that ex­tra con­trol and flex­i­bil­ity. I’ll usu­ally end work by re­view­ing the tasks com­pleted to­day and if nec­es­sary up­date the sched­ule for to­mor­row, send­ing out email up­dates with new ver­sions as needed, or go through some new mes­sages and then call it a day.


There are many ways for me to end a day af­ter work. I like watch­ing movies and TV shows or just lis­ten­ing to some mu­sic while get­ting some rest, or best of all com­bin­ing it with an evening stroll around the block outside. This is also where I tend to get a lot of ideas for my own art­work. I also love check­ing out some gen­eral CG and tech-re­lated news in the evening, and get in­spired by hav­ing a look at some of the amaz­ing work be­ing done by many oth­ers out there.

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