Something I am fascinated by is mastery. When we see it in practice we can point to it, but what exactly is it and how do we get there? Is it simply 10,000hrs of practice? Is there a genetic component? Is it psychological? Do we need to love what we do to achieve mastery? Or is it simply a process? I suspect it is a little of all of these things.
When thinking about mastery, I'm sometimes astonished to stumble on individuals who have achieved some degree of self-mastery, often in domains we rarely consider, in unusual ways or perhaps at unusual speeds. By talking with them I hope to unveil something previously unseen in their learning environment, the tools they used, their minds or perhaps their process.
I always knew that with a lot of dedication and passion people can improve fast. It's simply a matter of not giving up as there will be times (especially at start) when you think "ah f*ck that ... - Paweł Rymsza
Recently I was watching a product release presentation by Unreal (the game development engine), of software developed to support the field of architectural visualisation (also known as Archviz). The product on show, Twinmotion, allows designers to create photorealistic renders of 3D models and place them in a realistic environment. As the presentation proceeded we were introduced to Paweł Rymsza from Poland who explained how he had used Twinmotion to develop a career in Archviz.
What was astonishing about Paweł's story was that in only a few years he developed this career, having previously worked at as a Systems Analyst, with no training in architecture. It was his desire to represent his interior design ideas for a new apartment that brought him to Twinmotion. Paweł then went on to hone his skills, develop his portfolio, enter and win competitions, and get clients.
Paweł's story was fascinating to me so I reached out to him with a few questions. He is obviously a very busy guy but he nonetheless found the time to answer them for me via email, and in English, which is not his mother tongue. Between the lines below are my questions and his answers...
Earlyprototype.blog INTERVIEW with Paweł Rymsza:
EP: What skills did you have previously that helped you on your journey to become an Architectural Visualiser?
PR: To be honest I do not think I've had some skills which translated from system analyst job. Maybe attention to detail would be the one.
EP: What are the key skills of an Architectural Visualiser?
PR: I think just not giving up and have passion in improving. For example: when I started doing works for Twinmotion Challenge I compared my works to what ppl are posting on facebook, and my works were rly good - maybe better than what people were throwing back then. So I could just sit back and relax but instead I was doing crazy amount of new projects and instead of trying to compare myself to other people using twinmotion I was taking works from best studios using corona/vray - obviously that was way above my head but I had clear goal for improvement and I saw (regardless hardware limitations as well as software) how I have to improve. Having such goals is rly important for improvement. The other factor closely connected to first one is attention to detail when it comes to model and textures - those are some basics to say but with time and each next project you start to look for improvements when it comes to modeling - for example when I started super basic windows were more than enough (created from rectangles) but right now each window is much more complex - having a lot of such small details makes the difference in the end - but that comes with experience - 2 years ago I simply did not notice such stuff as something worth doing.
EP: What motivated you to not just learn, but master these new skills.
PR: Well as I said before - I like competition and I like to view best archviz projects from best companies around the world - I know a lot is created through photoshop but when it comes to animation more often it's just pure render and its easier to compare. So I do like to compare those projects to my works and look what's done better - this way I'm looking what can be still improved, or im checking some interesting camera angles. If I would close myself to look only on twinmotion works then there would not be as much motivation for sure.
EP: What resources (online, social, books etc...) did you use to teach yourself?
PR: I did not watch any twinmotion tutorials but I do watch sketchup tutorials as thats my modeling software (at least for now as I would love to learn blender in future - no time tho). I'm ok at modeling so basic stuff doesn't rly interest me much but I love "TutorialsUp" channel as they show new plugins and how they work. Plugins are super important when it comes to sketchup workflow and without good model there won't be great archviz in the end.
EP: If you could go back in time, what would be one thing you would tell your past-self at the start of your Archviz learning journey?
PR: Hehe well that's pretty hard question - I probably would say what I already knew "don't give up and get better"
EP: Did you learn anything about yourself on this journey?
PR: Not rly ;D to be honest I always knew that with a lot of dedication and passion people can improve fast. It's simply a matter of not giving up as there will be times (especially at start) when you think "ah f*ck that I better just learn programing coz there is no money in this" and so on. As I already said archviz is rly highly competitive and hard market to work in - there are ton's of people creating and entering that market each day so there rly is no place for people which are "ok" or "good" - as rough as that sounds, it is how it is. (I'm talking pure archviz coz if you are architect and archviz is an addition then its fine to be just "ok").
EP: What about your character makes you good at this career?
PR: I think pessimism is perfect :D I'm never rly happy with my works - sometimes when I do something exceptional I do say to myself "that looks pretty ok" but that's the best what I think about my own stuff - I'm always very self critical and I look at what's bad rather than what's good. This allows for improvement coz otherwise you look and think "wow I'm so good" there is no point to improve and you end up mediocre.
EP: Are you learning anything new at the moment?
PR: Yes im learning each day - for example yesterday I found out that if you use latest version of Twinmotion (2022.1 preview1) and you switch on Path tracer then it doesn't recognise parallax bump on materials (some call it displacement bump which uses height map) and that's no surprise - its official info from Epic Games. However if you use Landscape from Twinmotion library and change ground texture to the one which support parallax bump it suddenly works also in path tracer. That's not even mentioned in official notes. That's obviously weird and wild example coz its not like every day I find something like that, but each next project which I do I try to push myself into thinking - "ok what else can I add to have even more realistic output then last time" and usually the answer is "add more detail".
EP: Do you listen to music when you work? If so, what's your favourite?
PR: I like to listen to some ambient songs and not very loud so I can focus on the project rather then music. Right now I like to just play some ambient from games - for example World of warcraft 3h playlists from different zones (ages ago i was playing video games on pretty high level so I did spend a lot of time in general in front of PC)
What I thing Paweł's answers reveal is that when he started with Twinmotion he was doing something he already had an interest in and that he had received motivation from early positive feedback. He is clearly driven to be the best and not afraid to put himself out there for real world feedback, either in forums or the spotlight of competition. Looking through his work reveals a truly incredible achievement and clearly his self-belief has paid off for him. I personally find his story and personal attitude very inspiring.
If you would like to see more of Paweł's work you can check out his Portfolio and ArtStation Profile. Paweł Rymsza is a multiple prize-winning Archviz professional and if you would like to commission him for work you can do so via: firstname.lastname@example.org