Interview with Blender Contest winner, Robert Paprotny

A while back we put out a contest called Matilda’s Individualistic Interior Competition, where participants from all over the world designed interior flats for our beloved mascot, Matilda. Robert’s work caught our eye for its bold combination of traditional and mid-century modern styles into an eclectic living space that would have absolutely tickled the eccentric sensibilities of our render cow! Here is a very long overdue feature of Robert, and his experiences using Blender both for our contest, and his professional life. Enjoy!

How did you discover Blender?

I discovered Blender at the end of my university studies. It was about 10 years ago. I was doing a project which required a few simple interior visualizations. Unfortunately, the programs which we used at the university didn’t meet my expectations, I searched the internet and found out that there is a program called Blender 2.49.

I remember it wasn’t easy to work in Blender 3D instead of current at that time AutoCAD in 2D. Despite that and all the difficulties related to the specific interface of the software, I made it and I went through the modeling without totally realizing the complexity of the process! I rendered my first visualizations which I’m very proud of!

What made you move towards creating Architectural Renders?

My first contact with the design and interior visualization (already described) was more of an adventure than a continuation. From that time I was involved in various professions but I realized that all I wanted to do is to design interiors. At that time I had some personal and health problems that forced me to redefine my life. I chose 3D graphics that I learned myself using the Internet. Meanwhile, I was working as a construction worker or was picking up vegetables or herbs seasonally. It was really hard but the energy that I released by following my heart let me overcome all these problems. After 2 years of learning really hard, I created my first portfolio in the form of a printed calendar.

As it turned out, soon after it was a hit! :) The projects included in this calendar became a starting point for cooperation with my current employer. In the beginning, I was working at home but now I work full-time for him.

I am an engineer in the architectural and construction speciality so I was delegated to do projects in the field of archviz. The beginnings were difficult, especially when I had to work with very big scenes where optimization had to go along with the level of work. However, I was lucky and I had a lot of helpful people around; thanks to them, I learned a new approach based on linking assets. I am very grateful for that and I would like to thank all my job colleagues! It made big progress, namely, I started concentrating on composition, realism and general impressions instead of optimization.

What benefits have Blender brought as your tool of choice for professional work?

I use Blender in both full-time and individual jobs ( interior design and product design). If I had to point out an advantage of Blender, it would be primarily the idea, flexibility and the openness to new solutions. For me, Blender is not only a tool, but a trademark, like a coat of arms, really.
As awkward as it sounds, this symbol gathers the crowds of adepts, hobbyists, and professionals. Every day those people create something unique.

At the beginning of my ‘adventure with Blender’, I received support from various online forums, social networks and also in person. It allowed me not only to learn this program but also brought something more valuable, what I mean is: a sense of creative power and also an ability to transform my thoughts into tangible objects and spaces. So, I would like to thank the whole community gathered around Blender for constant inspiration and motivation to become a better designer and also a better man!

What struggles come with using Blender in your professional work, if any?

(Laugh) There is one thing that sometimes drives me crazy, it’s when I can’t remove material from the edit mode level :)

Have you been experimenting with 2.8? What are your favourite changes?

Yes, I did. I like the new organization, grease pencil and Eevee of course!

Tell us about your entry for the contest.

I have been wondering for a long time about how a place would look like where Matilda could feel pleasant and comfortable. My intuition told me that the combination of classic forms and something more modern may turn out to be a hit. I was most afraid that the whole project will be too dark and overwhelming. The initial versions looked just like that but over the time, during subsequent changes connected with lighting and composition, I started convincing myself that this is it!

What were your experiences when working on this entry?

I spent about 2 weeks collecting visual materials and first sketches. I was also looking for an inspiration. The work itself lasted about a week. I spent a lot of evening hours creating this project. I listened to good music and drank a lot of coffee :)

On the last day, my boss gave me a day off so I had time to take care of the scene very precisely and I had to complete all formal criteria for the competition.

It is worth to mention the invaluable contribution of my colleagues and friends who were able to advise me in a matter-of-fact manner. I am very grateful for that!

How was your experience rendering on our farm?

On the last day of the competition, my fears started to grow. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to deal with the functioning of your render farm on time. So far, I haven’t had too much experience with this type of instruction. Luckily for me, my fears were needless. Despite the pressure of time, I rendered my shots just in time using a short tutorial.

I would like to mention that I am writing this completely honestly. After that competition, I included GarageFarm.NET render farm to my arsenal as an important element. Thanks for that!

Where can people find you?

Share your Blender journey with us on our Facebook group and tune in to our Youtube channel for some Blender resources and chats.