ErcX: Render Artist | Crew-Talk 04

ErcX is one of the most popular render artists, regularly showing us his work on Twitter. More than 70k fans are following him on the social media platform, many more have seen his posts. His answers to the questions from our community...

Why did you start making renders?

I’ve always wondered how 3D graphics work but never really understood it, but as the pandemic broke out I found myself with more time than usual and began a 3D tutorial on YouTube. At the time I had also been interested in the Starship program and enjoyed watching the likes of Marcus House and WhatAboutIt!?, so going on to modelling the Starlink Dish, Starlink Sat and finally Starship was a fun way to both learn and help out the space community. 

On average, how much time goes into each render? 

For me there are generally 3 things which contribute to how long it takes to make a render, firstly if there are premade assets or if I have to model something from scratch, secondly the time required to set up the scene (lighting, camera angles and FX), thirdly post processing. I’ll give an example to illustrate this:

In the Starship Launch Scene pictured below all of the ground and vehicle models were already made, but I had to spend 2-3hrs creating a new smoke simulation where most of the time goes into “baking” the smoke at a certain resolution. Add another hour to tweak camera angles, lighting, rendering and touching it up in post. All in all we’re looking at around 4hrs for this one render.

The process to a published render

With Starship’s design changing a lot, do you scrub any renderings? If yes, is it frustrating?

Fortunately I haven’t had to scrub any renderings yet, as they are usually posted the same day as they are made - but I have had to scrub A LOT of outdated models. I guess there is a charm to it and I really like looking back at what we predicted things to look like a year ago, especially how the tower’s catching mechanism would work.

Do you watch any Sci-Fi shows, if yes which one do you like the most?

Yes! I’ve really enjoyed watching the first two episodes of The Book Of Boba Fett, among other things it features stunning special effects. I strongly recommend it!

How much do you enjoy what you're doing on a scale of ten?

I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from a lot of awesome people. I’m also glad that so many are getting excited about space and that the renders (how ever little) can help drive that excitement. It has to be a 10/10.

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