FVCKRENDER and zomax Twitter Spaces Recap: December 9th, 2022 [Behind the Network(BTN)]
The Render Network hosted two of the most prolific 3D crypto artists over the past two weeks: FVCKRENDER and Cornelius Dämmrich (AKA Zomax)! While there is nothing like joining these sessions live, where you can interact directly with groundbreaking artists, get insights into their creative processes and origins, and even win some prizes — for those who were unable to attend, we’ve collected some of the highlights in this week’s Behind the Network:
On November 29th, Render Network’s Edgar Irizarry hosted FVCKRENDER (aka Frederic Duquette) as a part of the continued series of Twitter Spaces with members of the Render Network sphere. FVCKRENDER is the creator of LVCIDIA, a prolific NFT visionary with works auctioned at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in the past two years, and one of the top artists on SuperRare and NiftyGateway.Outside NFTs, FVCKRENDER is a renowned visual artist who has worked with names like Lil Nas X and Lebron James, and has had his work profiled in Time. One of the more inspiring aspects of FVCKRENDER’s rise has been the humble origins which preceded it.
A simple start
Like many before him, Fred’s journey that would lead to the creation of the FVCKRENDER-verse was not a straightforward path. Raised in an Eastern township of Quebec, he’d always had an interest in the arts, but was unsure of how to channel it. At 17 he had an encounter with a VFX artist working in his hometown, who was working on some of the effects for “Iron Man”. This was his first exposure to 3D at that scale or quality, and it inspired him to download Maya (and the subsequent tutorials); but almost immediately he realized that self-teaching himself Maya was “way too difficult”, and with the barrier for entry set so high, he shelved his dreams of pursuing digital art for almost a decade.
Fvckrender on Instagram: "DIGITAL_REVIVAL// Been highly inspired lately, i used to hate my art and…
Fvckrender shared a post on Instagram: "DIGITAL_REVIVAL// Been highly inspired lately, i used to hate my art and in the…
It wasn’t until a decade later, after a bike accident left him hamstrung and in need of something to occupy his time, that he decided to revisit his dream. By this time Blender had hit the market and with more tutorials and program materials easily available, his passion was reinvigorated. From Blender, Fred began to look for more resource rich programs, which eventually led him to C4D, where he fell in love with generative art. “Love” is not an understatement either: at the time Fred was working in a restaurant, but would spend nearly every free hour teaching himself 3D and honing his style. Early in the morning before work and late into the evening at the bar next to his restaurant job, oftentimes until it would close at 3am.
The long hours eventually paid off when Fred was accepted into a VFX studio, but the destination was not quite what the journey would have led him to believe.
“Every week or so someone would go on a ‘depression vacation’. It was so common.”
The harsh working environment and lack of creative fulfillment had Fred questioning whether this line of work, or even 3D art itself, was meant for him. However, in his free time he was still creating, just to feel better and express himself, like how some would use a diary. As Fred put it, “art is just an expression of how you feel”, a sentiment that was echoed by his growing following of internet fans. Eventually he decided to take the leap, removing himself from being a cog in the machine and becoming a freelance artist. As Fred put it, this was the turning point in his career, and was the best thing he ever did.
Like many aspects of his journey, the way that FVCKRENDER began his journey into the Metaverse was a natural progression. As he put it, to him the idea of cryptoart “just makes sense”.
“I’m a digital artist, it makes sense that I’d sell my art digitally, using a digital currency.”
When he sold his first piece at Christie’s a year ago, the feeling left behind was one of satisfaction, but also a hunger: this was something he wanted to continue to push for. In that vein lay the foundations of what would become “LVCIDIA”. Right now LVCIDIA is a full project, with a thriving community of creators, a Discord server and a full team of ~30 working on it, but originally LVCIDIA began as an extension of FVCKRENDER, as a way for him to show his followers and potential curators like Christie’s what he was working on. From there the project began to blow-up on NiftyGateway, selling out in seconds, and it was here that he began to understand that this could be so much more. Evolving into a thriving ecosystem of FVCK_CRYSTALs, FVCK Avatars and animated NFTs, FVCKRENDER sees LVCIDIA building out into one of the biggest collector based artwork platform in the world.
Building LVCIDIA and the Future
As Fred put it, the Render Network has been a core element of the LVCIDIA tech stack:
“Any animated NFTs on LVCIDIA are rendered on the Render Network.” As a lot of creators know, any animation or piece will go through multiple iterations before it’s ready, but this process can be time consuming in house. With the speed and availability of Render Network, it allows Fred and his team at LVCIDIA to remix more efficiently until they get what they’re aiming for perfect. With some of this power he’s hoping to build out aspects of LVCIDIA to make the experience even more dynamic: In the future he’s hoping to see NFT staking invoke crafting elements and other resource systems, with CRYSTALs and Avatars tied directly into the systems alongside more conventional NFTs. Wherever LVCIDIA heads, he sees Render Network growing along with it, and that anyone who tries the product will be hooked, a sentiment mirrored by the Render Network team about LVCIDIA. As Fred says, go on the LVCIDIA discord, get a feel for what they’re building, just get the hang of it and get involved, you won’t regret it.
Yesterday the Render Network had the pleasure of hosting Octane and Render Network power user Cornelius Dämmrich aka “zomax” as the latest featured creator for Render Network’s Twitter spaces initiative. A creator with a dynamic and distinct style, Cornelius has been an artist the last 19 years, creating some of the most visceral, meticulously detailed 3D art on the web.
Born in then-known-as East Berlin, Germany, Cornelius studied 3D visualization in university. After graduating he began freelancing, but after a short stint he began working for an architectural firm in late 2013 doing modeling and visualization. However, neither the work nor working environment was fulfilling. Often working 11 hour days, frequent forced overtime, and working through the holidays kept him and his coworkers in a miserable state, who’s only upsides were forging comradery between them in shared suffering, and inspiring Cornelius to create an exit strategy. Over a span of 7–8 months he began building his “dirty 3D kitchen” scene as a contrast to the work he did during the day.
“All I did, day in and day out was super clean environments. Fuck it, let’s do something super dirty.”
The personal project gave him the confidence to quit his job and return to freelancing, where he was almost immediately swamped for a long period of time.
Discovering Octane and 52 Hz
During this same timeframe Cornelius first discovered Octane. As he put it, this was a career defining moment for him, as Octane was “a paradigm shift… compared to CPU renderers, it was so fast.” He had initially purchased a GTX 960 to run GTA 5, while at the same time downloading OctaneRender. While he didn’t have enough VRAM for producing big images, it was a different experience having a GPU path-tracer to play with. Only 6 months later, he upgraded to Titan X cards, allowing him to utilize V-Ray, and as he put it, “this is when I really started to play around.” Luckily for the internet he did, because that project that he began playing around with eventually became 52 Hz, one of the most important pieces in his collection.
“There wasn’t a big plan behind it, I was just playing around.”
While he may not have planned it, 52 Hz would be a life changing piece for him, eventually allowing him to quit freelancing and focus full-time on personal projects and expanding the zomax universe.
NFTs and forays into the Metaverse
This liberation came in the form of NFTs. During the start of the first lockdown in 2020, zomax was mostly known in the 3D artist community, with a small but dedicated community. It was through them that he began to become aware of NFTs and platforms like SuperRare. While initially skeptical, seeing more and more of his friends and colleagues expanding onto the platform encouraged him to apply himself, confident in its legitimacy. After a short review window, he was accepted onto the platform, and within a few days sold his first NFT for ~1 Eth.
This initial success was compounded when he minted “6088AD”, his expansive and integral Octane tutorial, as an NFT. Not only was it an instant monetary success, but it sent the Octane and rendering communities online into a frenzy seeing such an important tutorial released widespread on the market. Capitalizing on the virality, a few weeks later zomax was able to sell a mint of “52Hz” for ~100 Eth, changing his life and giving him the financial freedom to create full time. This freedom has seen him work with other huge artists on projects like the recent ASH2, including a series of Cathode NFTs, one of which was raffled off to a lucky winner during the Render Network Twitter Space!
The world of zomax, beginnings and going forward
Alongside working on other projects in the Metaverse, Cornelius has been building out the depths of his own zomax universe through his work. Whether it be patterns of emojis telling a deeper story of the history of his worlds (hint: the “plus” mark emojis aren’t just plus marks), or bigger pieces like BLITZ showcasing a period in time that defined his world, the lore behind the zomax-verse is told part and parcel in drops and releases. While he sees other artists like Pak using smart contracts and functionality in NFTs, that’s “not necessarily something he wants to do… there’s nothing I’m doing specifically in that regard… I’m not that kind [smart contract] of artist like some others, I’m not a software engineer.”
Commenting on the state of the NFT space and cryptoprojects as a whole, Cornelius views this down period as a pause that could serve as a time for some to jump in, and others to work ahead of emergence:
“Marketers are in a weird and vulnerable spot right now. It feels more like a pause that you can use to gather your breath. You’re at the prom, at the end of the prom, and you see all the metal on the floor and the music is still playing and there’s 5 people left. It’s hard to concentrate when there’s all the noise around you all the time. People who are really quiet are out there planning and working as we speak.”
For those looking to jump in during this down period, Cornelius has 3 pieces of advice: Tutorials, Cloud Rendering and staying playful. The age old adage of imitation being the sweetest form of flattery isn’t just that, but is in fact a great place to start in Cornelius’ opinion:
“Play around with the stuff you like, imitate the stuff you love, and grow taste… try many different things and find what suits you, what you enjoy…”
Once you’ve found a sense of style, start looking to see what is out there in terms of established help, whether it be tutorials or reaching out to artists you may look up to. As he put it, most in the community that’s been fostered are kind and really welcoming to newcomers. Finally, you do not need to initially invest in a massive rig to get started, the community is there for you with the Render Network:
““Hook your gaming setup to Render Network, earn some tokens helping some people out, then use those to make your stuff. Or invest some money and just make your own stuff. It’s a shared platform, which I think is really beautiful. It’s a nice use of that blockchain technology.”
FVCKRENDER and Zomax are two of the most groundbreaking 3D artists working today, not creating stunning imagery, but building narrative universes that are pioneering the future of web3. It was a thrill to host them the past few weeks, and the Render Network is thrilled to support their work, pushing forward the future of 3D art and the open metaverse.
To close out the year, the next Behind the Network will be a year in review, looking back at all the highlights from 2022 and looking forward to what is on the horizon next year.
Join us in the Rendering Revolution at:
Knowledge Base: https://know.rendertoken.com