In this article, we interview 3DCG designer and NEWVIEW SCHOOL graduate SAKI TAKEGAWA to talk about her VR work CUSTOM T.R.I.P, created for this year’s “Featuring Alumni Project,” and C’est la vie, SHOGYO-MUJO, winner of the KMNZ PRIZE at the 2019 NEWVIEW AWARDS.
We asked her about her encounter with XR, about behind-the-scenes stories, and about NEWVIEW SCHOOL’s program and how it has influenced the style of her work.
- 1 About the Artist
- 2 “My interest in XR was sparked by a setback in the video industry”
- 3 “XR allows me to pull people into my own world and share my perceptions with them.”
- 4 Finding out about NEWVIEW SCHOOL from the culture magazine “Cazi Cazi”
- 5 “I was never very good at 3D.”
- 6 About CUSTOM T.R.I.P
- 7 “I began to think more about how I want to convey my work”
- 8 Let’s Customize CUSTOM T.R.I.P
- 9 How to use WORKS
- 10 Uploading to STYLY
About the Artist
Majored in 3DCG animation at the Faculty of Image Arts and Sciences at Ritsumeikan University.
Currently develops and creates 3D content for a residential architecture software company.
Collaborated with virtual girl group KMNZ for the NEWVIEW AWARDS 2019, and winner of the KMNZ PRIZE.
“My interest in XR was sparked by a setback in the video industry”
-Hi Saki. Please tell us about yourself and your current activities.
TAKEGAWA: Hi! I am a developer working for a company that creates architectural VR and 3DCG content. Right now, I’m busy doing that full-time, so for creative projects, I work at my own pace on personal and commission work.
-How did your work in the architecture industry lead you to your creative activities?
TAKEGAWA: It’s a bit of a long story, but I started learning 3D animation during college. After graduating, I joined a video production company and worked on projection mapping projects, where we projected images on buildings’ exteriors. But the industry was also very physically demanding, and I fell behind after about a year and a half. From there, I started working for the architecture industry, where I could take advantage of my CG and VR skills. Fortunately, I had more spare time at my new job, and I could resume my creative activities.
-Have you been interested in VR and AR since then?
TAKEGAWA: Yes—I started working on VR around 2017, when I joined the architecture industry. At my previous job, I barely touched the equipment. There was also a trend where we used game engines, such as Unity, to create animations in the video industry, and I was able to successfully catch up with the times (laughs).
-I was looking at your portfolio, and the projection mapping on the Tower of the Sun looked very interesting!
TAKEGAWA: Yes. It was a project I was involved in during my first year.
-Did that project lead you to your current creative activities?
TAKEGAWA: I wasn’t consciously aware of it, but I guess it all happened naturally.
-So, which aspect of XR appeals the most to you?
TAKEGAWA: It was really simple at first—I loved how futuristic the goggles and devices looked—I wasn’t very interested in the technical aspects though (laughs). Apart from the gadgets, I was intrigued by its ability to convey the senses of perception, hearing, and touch to a complete stranger.
-Haha, I see. The ability to appeal to the five senses certainly is an important element of the VR experience.
TAKEGAWA: Even though I create artwork, I am a shy person and I am not very good at showing off my work, but with VR, I can pull people into my own world and share my perceptions with them, just by uploading my work on STYLY. It’s like being able to invite people into a secret room in your psychological world. In C’est la vie, SHOGYO-MUJO, I 3D scanned and placed my personal belongings inside the room, so it’s a very personal space.
-What is at the root of your artistic style?
TAKEGAWA: Hmm, in my work, I think I try to sublimate negative aspects inside myself, such as the feeling of despair or a certain eeriness that I feel in life. My worlds have dark elements inside the bright tones, and may trigger a sense of nostalgia and a pleasant sense of discomfort.
Finding out about NEWVIEW SCHOOL from the culture magazine “Cazi Cazi”
-Now, I would like to ask you some questions about NEWVIEW SCHOOL. How did you discover NEWVIEW SCHOOL and why did you decide to study here?
TAKEGAWA: As I mentioned earlier, I originally was a video creator but after getting overwhelmed at my former workplace, I started working on VR development at my current architecture company. Here, I could gain basic knowledge of 3DCG, but The work consisted in formal BtoB production for housebuilders and corporations. With my background in video creation, I felt eager to do something more creative. My boss was very understanding, and I was able to enroll in NEWVIEW SCHOOL with the support of my company.
-How did you discover NEWVIEW SCHOOL?
TAKEGAWA: I regularly check XR websites and magazines for work, and I read about the first NEWVIEW AWARDS held in 2018. The following year, I found out that they were also going to establish NEWVIEW SCHOOL, and I thought that was really interesting. Also, there was a fashion culture magazine in the Kansai region called “Cazi Cazi” (its publication has since been temporarily suspended), which runs a web magazine called “Comepass.” On that website, I saw an article on NEWVIEW SCHOOL. That was the main trigger for me.
-There are many options available when it comes to learning XR. Why did you choose NEWVIEW SCHOOL in particular?
TAKEGAWA: Well, the XR community—especially in the Kansai region—was not that active at the time, and I had the impression that the main focus was on Tokyo. Also, there were many game-related XR study groups, but I hoped to find one where people were interested in art, fashion, and music. And since NEWVIEW SCHOOL was going to open a school in Kyoto, I thought this was my chance to try it out.
-What did you learn and what impressed you the most when you enrolled at NEWVIEW SCHOOL?
TAKEGAWA: For our group, we were put in a tatami room with our laptops, and the atmosphere was like a training camp—It was a very refreshing experience. The other participants, who came from a variety of backgrounds, were all very interesting, and there were people from famous companies whose names I had heard before. Here, the amount of interactions and exchange of information among classmates was very impressive. The classes were a mix of online sessions by guest lecturers and in-person Unity workshops that were both very informative and helpful.
-How many people were there?
TAKEGAWA: I think there were less than 20 people in the group.
-What was the most memorable thing you learned at school? I’m sure you learned about many technical aspects, like how to use Unity, but tell us what you learned about the fundamental aspects of creating in XR.
TAKEGAWA: What impressed me was the way evala explained the importance of sound and how it can create an impactful experience without any visual information. My work revolves around images, illustrations, and graphics, so this gave me a totally new insight. SUGE Syunichi’s lecture on line-of-sight guidance was also very informative.
“I was never very good at 3D.”
-After graduating from NEWVIEW SCHOOL, you have been working on your own, so I would like to ask: What are some of the difficulties you come across when you work on personal projects?
TAKEGAWA: Even though I’ve been working with 3D since I was a student, I am actually not that good at it. I didn’t really understand the software and was barely pushing through. When I started my current job in architecture, I had to learn how to use software through work. I guess I can only learn if I’m forced to (laughs). I had a lot of trouble learning Unity and other game engines, and it took me about one or two years to even master the basics.
-Do you mainly work in Blender and Unity?
TAKEGAWA: Yes, that’s right. I also sometimes use 3ds Max.
-What software did you start out on?
TAKEGAWA: My first 3D software was Maya, which I learned at school, and then I started using 3ds Max at my workplace. Then, I gradually transitioned to Blender from 3ds Max.
-Are there any common areas when you work in 3D, and what do you think is important to keep in mind when you study 3DCG software?
TAKEGAWA: Each software has its own unique characteristics, but the basic concept of 3D is the same, so I think it is a good idea to grasp the conceptual aspects of the software. For example, the concept of UV development is basically the same in all software. I am currently working on a model that leans toward photorealism, so I try to focus on elements, such as UV scale and distortion alignment accuracy. Even in my personal work, I try to be very precise and make my assets with care. I also always consider data capacity, and keeping it low is very important when creating in STYLY and VR.
-We are all aware that there is so much to learn in 3D, so I’m very keen to hear how you keep up. Do you have a study method or a daily routine?
TAKEGAWA: I don’t try to do a particular thing every day. Rather, I have an idea in my head and if I don’t know how to create it, I look for tutorials or sample data. I imagine what I want to make and think about what measures I should take to make it happen. I learn naturally through the process of figuring out how to bring my ideas to life.
About CUSTOM T.R.I.P
-This is a customizable version of your past work T.R.I.P. Tell us about the production process and your thoughts on this work.
TAKEGAWA: When I was commissioned to create an interactive and customizable scene, I wanted to make something that people with no experience in creating art or XR work could easily modify. I made the original work in 2020, two years ago. I wanted to give people the freedom to move and play with it as if it were a remix, or like a Lego house kit.
The complete model is provided in the default scene, but it’s modified so that the player can rearrange the components to make it into something completely different.
“I began to think more about how I want to convey my work”
-Tell us about how your attitude toward artwork creation has changed since attending the NEWVIEW SCHOOL, and how you are making use of what you learned?
TAKEGAWA: Before attending NEWVIEW SCHOOL, I was satisfied with my work as long as it was fun to make, but after graduating from NEWVIEW SCHOOL and winning awards at AWARDS, I realized that my work had gained more traction than I expected. Through this experience, I began to think more about the people who experience my work and how I want to convey my art to them.
-Lastly, do you have any messages for NEWVIEW SCHOOL students or for those who are considering taking the course in the future?
TAKEGAWA: I feel that my art and the style of my work changed drastically as a result of attending NEWVIEW SCHOOL, and it was an eye-opening experience. I have been able to work on various STYLY-related projects, and I have made connections with many different people through personal business exchanges with other students. It was a very fruitful experience, and I hope that those who take the course will enjoy it as much as I did.
Let’s Customize CUSTOM T.R.I.P
For the STYLY “Featuring Alumni Project,” SAKI TAKEZAWA recreated T.R.I.P, which was selected as a finalist in NEWVIEW AWARD 2020, as a customizable version, CUSTOM T.R.I.P.
By duplicating the scene, anyone can customize it by changing objects’ sizes or modifying the world, without the need of any 3D knowledge.
How to use WORKS
Copy the Scene into STYLY Studio
Sign up below if you do not have a STYLY account.
- First, log into STYLY Gallery.
- Click the “Copy Scene” button. Make sure you are logged in for this to work.
- Check to see if the scene has been added to your scene list in STYLY Studio.
Uploading to STYLY
Let’s upload your 3D model to STYLY.
How to create an account:
How to upload to STYLY:
How to upload from Unity to STYLY:
For questions about STYLY, bug reports, and improvement requests, please contact the STYLY FORUM:
Edited by SASAnishiki
Translated by cpnnn