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Interview: Mason Menzies

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Today I'm talking to Mason Menzies. His work has been featured here on BlenderNation before and when I learned he is fifteen years old I wanted to know more about him.

Hi Mason, could you introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Mason Menzies, I’m 15 years old and for the past 3 years i’ve been in the 3D world looking to create art and resources for others. I mainly focus on art but i also make some video tutorials. for the past 10 months i’ve been working for Blender Guru and recently some side work for The Grove 3D.

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I noticed your impressive portfolio on ArtStation where you mention you’re 15 years old. How long ago did you start learning Blender and how did you become so skilled at it?

Thanks, I started using blender and 3D in general almost 3 years ago, however I knew I wanted to go into CG when I first watched Toy Story, I was probably 3 years old. So when I found Blender I figured why not go for it? So I started learning. I still don’t have a full understanding of the software but I’ve learned what I need for what i want. I guess I got good by wanted too, which sounds weird but I think that if you really want something, nothing can stop you.

What does your typical workflow look like?

My workflow can vary a lot, but for a typical scene I’ll usually start by just doing some rough sketches, you don’t have to keep them, just use it too get the idea out there. if it looks good on paper then I take it into 3D and start constructing large shapes, I do this so i can make sure my composition is strong.

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Once I know my composition is strong then i start making the scene one piece at a time starting big, so if I have a hill with a tree on it, I wouldn’t start with the tree I’d start with the hill. And then I just work from there. now some people might suggest that when you finish modeling the hill, make the textures and materials for it and then move on to the next thing, but I highly disagree, I think it is better to model everything first and then make the materials all after, this way you can make sure your materials have better harmony with each other.

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Which tools do you use? Why have you settled on Blender?

I mainly use Blender, nothing else. I don’t usually like to do after effects in other software. but for drawing my ideas before I start in 3D I use Krita and or a note pad.

I use Blender not because it is free, but because of the community, it’s great to post something and 3 minutes later have a bunch of other users talk about what you just did. it’s how I improved so fast. some people don’t like it when they are heavily critiqued but i think it is vitally important.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

The important thing is to get outside, you most likely won't find inspiration locked in your room staring at a screen, but if you go to town and see something cool, then you have already made up for the time you would have spent looking at that screen.

Which is your favourite work? Could you talk a little about it?

It might not hold up to my recent work but i think the render i’m most proud of is my Architecture Academy 2014 competition submission, That’s the render that got me more out in the community and got my name known. It’s the render I’ve spent the most time on and i ended up winning the competition in the interior category.

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Are you thinking of a career in CG?

Definitely, It’s been my dream since i was 3. Right now i’d like to continue what i’m doing.

Do you have any tips or insights to share with the Blender community?

If You’re starting out in CG and are wanting to succeed don’t be lazy, just remember these quotes:

“Talent, you have naturally but skill is only developed by hours and hours of beating on your craft”
- Will Smith

“Don’t set out to build a wall, set out and say that you're going to lay this one brick, as perfectly as a brick can be laid, and if you do that every single day, soon
you have a wall”

- Will Smith

Thanks Jason!

You can see more of Mason's work on:

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-)

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