Simon Kaempfer

Simon's 3D artwork expresses serenity and illustrates the visual representation of a peaceful state of mind.


Germany & Spain


Abstract Pool Space


His use of lighting, colour, and placement of elements facilitate a harmonious composition and elude to a tranquil aura. Recently, he has often incorporated water into his work.


Train Ride


Summer in Spain - 02


Sea Shack Living Room


You have a large body of work and it’s clear to see that it’s changed over the years. How do you interpret the different phases that your work has gone through from both a mental and visual perspective?

For me, it is still a long journey into the unknown. I am constantly trying to enhance my own style and visual language, communicate my ideas better, and improve as a designer. In the past, I changed my "style" every 1-2 years. Now it is the first time that I kept the same aesthetic, but still worked on a lot of different projects this year which I simply haven’t shared publicly. It is exciting to think about how the work of "future me" will look like.


Would you consider yourself self-taught or did you study under a mentor or at an educational institution?

That’s a good question! I still would consider myself as self-taught as there is so much time I invested on my own in learning, creating, and improving my work, but I would not be where I am today without the experience and help from working at Six N. Five, the two internships at Frame.dk and Foreal, and the overall exchange within the 3D community!


In your more recent body of work (summer 2019 and onwards) your designs are well lit, geometrically balanced, and have a calming aura. In addition to a change in elements, there is also a change in the colours you used. What do these colours and colour palettes signify?

For me, I was ready for a change. Since I started with 3D to the date you mentioned I always used dark color tones and had a kind of "gaming" style, so I felt the personal need to explore different areas as well. When I was an intern at Frame we had a creative meeting where we would collect works we were currently inspired by. That was the moment where I realised the more minimal and simple approach, and natural, bright colour tones, is something I am really drawn to. Besides all the other amazing work I discovered from various artists and studios, Six N. Five was a big influence and still is to this day.


Summer in Spain - 01


Wanderlust


Lost Place


Summer in Spain - 07


Looking back on your achievements to date, what is something you are proud of?

Everything was built on top of each other and felt so long and fast at the same time, especially over the last two years. My personal most rewarding experience and achievement is just the fact that I am able to do this as my full-time job rather than a hobby on the side.


Simon has worked for companies such as SixNFive, Foreal, & Frame and his work has been featured with ARTE Television (Germany & France), Vogue Netherlands, The New York Times, Gestalten, and Elle Decor.


In terms of working as a freelance 3D designer, generating income, and coming up with new ideas, what advice can you share with other 3D artists who are looking to break into the industry?

Personally, the best thing everybody can do as a freelancer is build an audience first. Rather than spending your time searching for potential clients and trying to "sell" yourself, the clients will come naturally to you. Not only that, but you also work on the type of projects you enjoy creating! This way, the collaboration will be more smooth because they already like what you are doing and have faith in you.

Another important topic is savings. I know it’s something the design industry (also me) doesn’t really like to talk/think about, but the more money you can save before going freelance, the better. Not only financially, but it also means there is less pressure to accept a job you don’t really want to take.


Start a risky passion project where you are not sure where it will go or just take the opportunity to spend time on learning and creating personal projects. Also, connecting with other 3D artists in your community can help a lot; giving each other feedback and growing together as a team instead of seeing each other as competitors. The whole 3D community, at least from my experience, is always open to help if you are stuck with a specific task.


Gallery


Virtual Holidays


Virtual Holidays (close-up)


Ball Pit


What motivated your decision to create tutorials for others to learn tips & tricks in Cinema4D?

When I started out, most of the tutorials were hard to watch. They all had the exact values or numbers they needed written down, and just told them to the audience without explaining why you should put this specific number here instead of a different value. One out of all the content creators stood out to me, which was Greyscalegorilla.com. These guys were the first people I discovered which made it actually fun to watch the tutorials. Explaining not only how they did it, but also why they did it and kept their mistakes inside the video to find a solution on the spot rather than cutting it out. I would say the biggest inspiration to create tutorials was Nick from Greyscalegorilla. In the past, I recorded tutorials on different YouTube channels in English and German. Also back then, when Skype was a big thing it was normal to help each other out. Without the kind 3D community and all those tutorials and blogs, I would probably still do this as a hobby. I am just passing my knowledge and experience to someone else and some of them will probably do the same, so it is a never-ending chain.


It appears you like to give back to the creative community by sharing creative assets & knowledge with others. Why did you choose to make the “Water Material Pack” that can be used in Cinema4D?

Most artworks I created recently have a pool or ocean filled with water. I saved my materials in a library in order to work more efficiently, so it only made sense for me to also share some of my water materials with my patreons. All the materials I shared were actually used in my personal projects and client work.


How do you navigate and effectively express your creative ideas when collaborating with other artists and/or producing work for clients?

Working with other artists on projects is most of the time quite natural as we speak the same visual language. It can only take a quick talk or chat to be on the same page and everything else can be discussed in the process. With client work, it is more important to have a clear overview of where the project is going, when it can be done, and explain what the end result might look like. In this case, besides explaining my idea, I share reference images or a whole mood board.


Future Space


Hidden Place


Pool Side


Summer in Spain - 03


Have you done other creative work besides 3D art and design?

I tried out different programs for music creation, video editing, and mixing existing songs together, but besides my education in graphic design where I mostly created posters, layouts, logos, etc. I haven’t really worked on anything special to mention in terms of other creative work.


When did you begin making 3D artwork?

In general, I discovered the 3D world in 2012 and since then I've been fascinated by it. I started out by just following tutorials, but also created some strange motion projects and images which I shared on various YouTube channels. After a few breaks, 2018 was the year where I saw the potential to actually turn my hobby into a full-time job and focused more on learning the basics and pushed myself to improve as a designer/artist. This was also the year I decided to start my Instagram account.


What about non-creative work; have you ever had a different career goal than what you are pursuing now?

When I was younger, I did not really have a lot of thoughts about my career. A classic answer would be becoming a professional football player. This dream was shattered rather quickly as I played with very good players and noticed I am just above average, but far away from what it takes. Some of the players I have played with actually made it into the professional league.


Why are you interested in 3D artwork? What about it motivates you to create?

I think it is the combination of endless possibilities and freedom. Every project has a different challenge and there are multiple ways to overcome a specific solution. I like that there is no one way in order to get to the end result! No matter if it is a client project or for myself, I can work and set up my scenes how I enjoy it the most. There are also a lot of "happy accidents" or randomness which is a really fun thing when it happens. This can be by just moving the camera around your scene or applying the wrong material/color on an object and it looks unexpectedly good.


Tranquilo


Summer Night


Ice Bath


Soft Seating


What do you do to overcome creative challenges?

Whenever I am stuck with a project or a specific task I usually step back and work on something else and look at the project later again with a fresh mind. This approach works most of the time. Other than that there is not really a secret, sometimes it is just procrastinating until the pressure is so high that I will find a solution.


Below is an overview of the creation process for Simon's design "Sea Shack" and the updates he made to it.

This Artwork was actually one of these happy accident moments. When I started building the scene it was in a completely different direction. I was building an open bathroom interior with a sky view.

Once I played around with the camera I noticed an interesting shape between the walls and ceiling. On top of that, I just explored different sand types and from that moment on I had a picture in my head which I tried to visualize. The goal was to create a small beach house that has a lot of open spaces in order to appreciate the beautiful view of the beach and ocean. For some reason, I had the idea that the house should not stay on the ground. It was more of an aesthetic decision rather than a functional one. The first idea was to have the house on a big rock, but within the process, the piers worked well so I kept them and just added small rocks below the house in order to balance the composition.


For the stairs, I only used one 3D scanned wood panel which I deformed and rotated to make it not so repetitive. Later on, I removed the left stair wood panel, just so the overall image looks more inviting. The lighting was very simple. It is mostly one HDRI and two area lights inside the room. The light direction was based on the idea to have shadows on the front base. I cut some of the palm tree leaves in my scene and used them only for the shadows, but not visible in the scene. This creates some nice details and also lets the house feel more connected with the surroundings.

The camera angle was quite tricky at the beginning. I wanted to show the interior with the bed, the shapes of the exterior, the stairs, sand, and also capture the ocean view without letting the artwork feel too busy. At the end, I think the angle works quite good.


Sea Shack (Before & After)


Follow up question's to the "Sea Shack" design:

What were you feeling at the time you created it?

Pure joy. This was one of the projects where almost everything in the whole process went smooth and I was in a flow.

How did you feel about it's initial release and how do you feel about it now?

This artwork is one of my favorite pieces. Usually once I publish an artwork the excitement slowly goes down and I move on to something else. This artwork however is still exciting for me.

What is your favourite thing about it?

The favorite part for me was the whole end process. I remember before I went to sleep I marked everything in the artwork that I would like to add or improve on the next day. You can see in my sketch that it is almost finished, but adding the last 5% is really important for me. Also the last touches in photoshop were really fun. Adding the color correction and fixing some distracting texture spots.

 

When others come across your work, what kind of impact would you like to leave with them?

I always try to get the audience to have positive feelings like joy and happiness while observing my work. My goal is that the audience or the viewer realizes early on that the artworks are not real, but are still something special you want to explore further.


Sea Shack Bathroom


Calm Place


Flower Pool


Visit www.kaeptive.com and check out his Instagram account @kaeptive to see more of Simon's work!


He also offers prints for purchase and tutorials for 3D design which you can find at www.linktr.ee/kaeptive