Art by Ibrahim Saad

Interior Design: The Fingerprint of Ibrahim Saad

Pierre Bosset on March 17 2017 | Substance Painter, Stories, Architecture

Who are you?

Ibrahim Saad.


Where are you based?

Cairo, Egypt.


What do you do?

I'm a CGI artist, I work mainly in architectural visualization and sometimes in product visualization.


Where can we find you online?

Can you tell us more about yourself?

I'm a freshly graduated architect and a CGI artist from Cairo, Egypt. Before I knew anything about the CGI and 3D world, I used to make identity designs using Photoshop and Illustrator, and while working with Illustrator I started to see how powerful and easy it was to create a 3D element or an object with a 3D software! I then switched to 3D modeling and it all started from there.

Can you tell us more about the Black & White Apartment project?

I was looking for inspiration for a personal project and I saw the concept on Archdaily, I really like it because it was very simple and small. At the beginning I was aiming toward a clean render, but I then decided I want it to be a little bit dirty and that’s where Substance Painter came in handy.

The modeling was quite simple and easy and I also used a lot of pre-made models, but most of the time in this project I spent on textures and materials.

Can you describe your workflow on this project?

Most of the time I start any project with sketches but in Black & White Apartment everything was already there (Archdaily photos) so I went straight to the modeling. After I finished modeling everything I started the UV unwrapping process which is always tedious (but I kinda like it now :)).

After that, I move to ZBrush if I need to add more details to the model. Then comes the texturing and materials part. I prefer to do the materials/textures for every object separate and in different lighting conditions.

How did you discover Substance?

Throughout my work I was always in need of a 3D painting tool. I started to use Mari for a while but I figured out it is very complicated for my workflow and takes a lot of time too, so I tried Quixel and it was very simple but with very few tools so it was like the opposite of what I had in Mari. But after I heard about Substance Painter, I gave it a try and it was just in the middle of Mari and Quixel: very easy but yet powerful and a lot of tools so I think it was perfect for my workflow.

What tools and materials did you use in Substance Painter?

Substance has a lot of tools but most of the time I use brush painting and generators (which I really like). Also creating metal materials in it is so much fun. Metals are one of those materials where you can't just crank the reflections and colors, and then you are off to go! You must work on the glossiness maps bump (which is always very small) and most importantly, edge wear and dirt. Then, generators will be your friend!

One of my favorite tools is the particles brush. You can't imagine how cool and amazing this brush is :D Maybe it’s not very good as a final output since it uses a particle system but it gives you an almost-perfect correct result. For example, if you’re painting an object with burn marks, is burned, it can show you exactly where the fire and the flames would go! This is amazing because then you can paint over these areas with your own brushes.

Do you have some cool tips and tricks you want to share with the community?

Sometimes when we add tiny details in modeling or texturing (like scratches or fingerprints) we add a lot of them so that they will be very visible. Sometimes this is realistic and great, but sometimes it’s not. Maybe we can fool our eyes, but not our brains. The brain instinctively knows exactly how much detail is involved and can tell you yes, this is fine or not (sometimes one scratch over an object is much better than an object covered with scratches, and in some cases just the opposite).

Adding very subtle details can make your model or material very different, so don’t be afraid of adding an extra layer of detail with 20% opacity or even a 4%. It will make a difference because in the end, we are just filling a bunch of pixels. So don’t leave it as a solid color!

What new feature would you like to see in Substance?

Maybe integration with 3Dconnexion’s SpaceMouse, that would really help and make the painting faster!

Now that Substance Source exists with the architecture selection, would you use it for archviz projects?

Yes, of course! But not in every project because the pace of the archviz industry is very fast. Sometimes you don’t have time at all, and the senior/client won’t wait until you texture your models – maybe all they want is just the standard materials and textures.

We noticed you are also interested in automotive rendering. Did you use Substance in one of these projects?

I haven’t used it in automotive yet before but sure I'd love to try it out!

What are your future projects?

My next project is an exterior project for a small house surrounded by a green area and a small pool – it’s very simple, actually! And I'm also working on another interior project but it's a bit classic.

What do you do besides 3D archviz?

I used to do automotive and also product visualization which I like very much! I’m very interested in studio lighting, but in the meanwhile I'm focused on archviz, plus 2D architectural presentations.

Is there a 3D artist that inspires you a lot?

Many, actually! Jesus Selvera, Grant Warwick, Joel Langeveld, Tamás Medve and many more!

Can you add a picture of your workspace?

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