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Karolina Sereikaite - Interview

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Hello Karolina, thank you for your time.

1) Just for start... can you tell us "who is you" and what do you do in the world of VFX?
I'm Karolina Sereikaite, a director, 3D Artist and founder of Catalysee. Catalysee is more of a brand name, which stands for design change viewed from a catalyst personality eyes (my own). You can see my work and all of the main social platforms.  I focus on photo realistic macro looking CG and all kinds of emmersive 3D watery design for commercial work and creative projects. 3D watery design is a concept I made to define design based on fluid simulations and make sure all process from the idea to tests and final result is included. Design solves problems. It's about time we solve some focusing on quality of design made with fluid simulations. That is why I've created LearnWateryDeisgn platform. To help spread the quality through all of our work. To help people to save years of energy and dig to the point in their workflow, building right skills and sustaining inspiration. LearnWateryDeisgn Masterclass enrollment is closed, but I continue provide free useful content and Particle Monthly (coming out soon (depending on the day you're reading this it may be up already!) to help you dig a little deeper into fluid simulations & design of it.

2) Can you tell us what kind of study you do?
I am a self-taught CG Artist, and I had to go through all of the struggle to combine it all from peaces. I literally was sleeping for 4 hours for few years and learning/working all of the wake ones. I had an honor to get tremendous amount of experience working at KORB, which I am grateful for. However, it was time for me to leave, because I wanted to create more watery design and recover my burnoout (health problems). I got up and found extremely sustaining creative habits and things started to bloom in different colors. That is when I realised I want to share my experience with others to help them built it without any big "crashes" in their life. That is why I've created LearnWateryDesign. Other than that, I continue to improve my own skills and specify my own style while focusing more and more on creative projects. Community I've built by far has made an extreme inspiration through people and me included, and I am sure even greater future awaits for all of us on Catalysee and LearnWateryDesign platform.

3) Can you tell us how you arrive and why do you prefere work in fluid-dynamics?
I was always fascinated by water and macro photography. I've been a photographer for years before I found out about 3D design in general. In Lithuania is not very common proffesion, so it doesn't get much to your ears. I was about to graduate bachelors of Psychology (yes, non artistic proffesion, and I've chosen it only because I'm curious to improve behavior and mind, which helped a lot), I was eager to find out what I want to emmerse myself in to the fullest. I knew it supposed to be some kind of arts, but I've tried everything I knew (editing, filming included) and this wasn't enough to me. Until one day I accidently heard about 3d Design and I knew it from the get go. One thing lead to another, and I found out about fluid simulations. Then my heart was stolen. And I didn't want it back. All I see is particle and rendering world and I instantly knew and still stick to it that the baseline is always not the tools or how to, but why I want to create and what. So life goes on in wonderous ways to deepen my focus to create watery design.

4) Your pipeline is based on RealFlow and Maya, in the last realese of RealFlow the nextlimit push more on Dyverso Solver, what do you think of it? does is it ready for production?
Yes, RealFlow has been a real joy since Dyverso has been brough to life. From RealFlow10 we have much more than that, we have all kind of solvers, viscous solver, granular, elastic... and all of them can interract with each other. Different domains ect. It is definitely up for production level work, moreso RealFlow is constantly upgrading and improving, and I'm sure in the future we will have even bigger of a BEAST to work with loads of SPEED and Control.

5) Can you tell us your present project "LearnWateryDesign"?
I already talked a bit about why I've created LearnWateryDeisgn in the second question, but please allow me to expand on what it is and what it is "eaten" with. LearnWateryDesign is made for you to learn time-saving fluid simulation fundamentals and reap the best results with profesional 3D deisgn practice. In LWD Masterclass you get those skills and knowlege you MUST know in one, well-developed system. Eliminate countless time thieves forver, learn to think ahead, connect the dots between the vision and the workflow. We use RealFlow as our main software at the moment, and VRay Maya for look development. However, C4D update is in the plans and we may even move to octane in the future. In addition to this, we have community to support you and you will have personal feedback from me to the best of my ability. However, as mentioned before, LWD Masterclass is closed, and may or may not re-open in the future, because of a overload of work on my side. But I never leave my people behind, all of those who follow me, are very welcome to join 7DAY FREE training, we have fb group where people share their tests and I keep things in loop, commenting and making sure everyone keeps going! Also Particle Monthly is about to come out, and more free trainings. So I am constatnly making time along side client work, to make sure I contribute to the growth of others and bigger change in 3D Design community.

6) Where do you get inspiration from for your project/work?
My biggest inspiration is nature, silence and explorations with macro photography. But also I am very inspired by ideas itself I read in the books or get a feeling from watching a good movie. I follow some great fellas who does amazing 3D art in instagram, such as Aaron Westwood, Simon Holmedal, Man vs Machine, Future Deluxe and others. I am really inspied to see how great other softwares can be used, such as Octane, and I am constantly researching on what is the best next right action of my own.

7) What your plans for the future? Can you tell us something?
I have big plans for the future. In LearnWateryDeisgn I am planning to build even stronger community, and bring real change in quality of watery design of others, but also hopefully, with enough support I will not only contine providing good material, but maybe even make a live workshop, conference or creative re-treat for the community. I have also some other ways going in the back burner to provide value to design community and some of it is already in progress,but I can tell you only that it will be a different format to gain inspiration and valuable workflow/creative habits and skills. On the Catalysee side of my personal creative work, I have much bigger plan which has been delayed because of creating LWD masterclass, but now I will be focusing more on creative work and collaborations, plus making it all in a slightly differnt way in a long run. I'm working with few collaborative projects rigth now and building new very specific reel. But there is lot that goes in Catalysee life overall. Hope this answer satisfies you.

8) What are the "keys" to create a successful fluid/dynamics simulation?
"Keys" to create successful fluid/dynamics simulation are these:

* first and foremost, do research, kow the "why" you're doing this
* keep it minimal, use less tools as possible and maximum focus
* patience, you must have loads of patience
* right scene scale (essential)
* working thorugh substeps and fps ( these two are very related and extremely important, especially with other solvers, like viscous)
* working through the force and some basic physics (for example, if you want to get nice splash, you need most of the time to use some geometry and balance the higher than usual emission speed, othwise it won't be natural enough and not work at all)
* ALWAYS mind the resolution, because it does not work the same way as resolution in photography does ( Higher simulation resolution does not nescessarily mean the higher quality version of the low resolution one. )
● Check the export central (merely for saving disc space and being sure you export what you need).
* Use Alt (or Option) + D and it will disable the viewport. Another time saver! OR, PREFERABLY, use command line, I show in this video how to do it. It's faster, much faster, and way easier to cancel the simulation.
* Always use kVolume to avoid shooting particles and slowing sims

That is pretty much the base line keys. But most importantly Complexity is not our pride, but great and efficient design is. So be conscious about every step you take for the greatest good of your design and workflow.

9) do yu have some advise for a young CG artist started now?
Oh yes, I have tons! But most important one: have patience and be deliberately curious. Find what moves you, try it out, but only emmerse yoruself more deeper in things you love and value the most. Make connections from a place of shared values and isnpiration. Make your own game, and challenge anything that is thrown at you, if it doens't feel right. Overall, believe in yourself and learn, create deliberately. Learn ONE THING at a time, or schedule two things. Make your self-care a priority, because you won't be able to sustain it all in a long run otherwise. HAVE FUN. If it's not fun in general, it is not worthy. But be conscious about bumps in the road, and have fun with those too. Essentially be prepared for really hard work, but do it from a place of curious and focused mind, and do it with fun. Lean towards positive change and exploration. This is pretty much the basis, always trust in yourself. No matter how overused that phrase is, if you don't believe in yourself, noone will. And always, always build new bridges. Find new connections and create work and work relationships from shared values. Do not be afraid to speak up. And speak up sooner. Do not be afraid to ask.

thank you for your time

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