Exploring the Creative Universe of Onur Erdurak aka Blendreams: Director, Writer, and 3D VFX Artist

October 26, 2023
15 min read
By
Rokoko

Step into the mesmerizing world of Onur Erdurak, a versatile Director and 3D Artist from Turkey. His journey began with a budget-less short film and today he's a Fulbright grantee in Los Angeles. Onur's artistic spirit thrives on storytelling, which he showcases through his "Blendreams" channel on Instagram and enlightening tutorials on YouTube. His artistry is unique - merging dreamlike 3D landscapes with elements from the real world. Onur's transformation into a 3D artist has ignited a newfound appreciation for life's intricate details. His work is an exploration of dreams brought to life, we hope you will enjoy his story as much as we did!

Hello Onur! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Hello! My name is Onur Erdurak (my first name means "Honor"), and I'm a director, writer and 3D artist from Turkey. I love telling stories!

While studying I made my first short film with no budget, one location, and one actor, which was my uncle. I was lucky enough that my uncle was already a professional actor, Kemal Erdurak. With the help of a great team we made my debut short film "STRANDED," which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner in 2018 and it is available to watch for free on youtube.

Currently I am a Fulbright grantee and I am pursuing an MFA degree at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

I share my daydreams and ideas as animations on my instagram under the name "Blendreams":

I also share my knowledge on my youtube channel as tutorials and informative videos:

How did you get started in 3D and how did you first start animating?

I have been learning and using VFX in my works for over a decade, and I always wanted to learn 3D.

After watching Ian Hubert's World Building video at the Blender con 2019 video on YouTube, I knew I had to learn Blender.

Following my bachelor's degree graduation, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and I was stuck in my house, much like everyone else. 

However, I viewed this as a chance to enhance my skills and knowledge. Seizing the opportunity, I embarked on learning Blender by watching free tutorials available on YouTube from Andrew Price, Ducky3D, Ian Hubert, CgMatter, Martin Klekner... I watched anything and everything that looked interesting and played around in the program all day everyday.

If you had to choose, what is the single most defining characteristic that makes your content unique and entirely yours? In other words, what would you say is your artist trademark?

In my films I always chase the feeling that makes us forget about the real world. For my 3D works I also chase that same feeling. I try to show short stories, snippets of otherworldly and fantastic events. I daydream a lot, that's why the descriptions of my socials says: "I turn my daydreams into 3D renders and animations", I chase that feeling in my works.

Additionally, I always try to include real world things in my digital works. It can be a scan of an object, or someone. A painting I hand painted, I take a picture of it and mounted on a wall in my render. Recently I started doing hand drawn impact frames on paper and compositing them on top the render. I believe inclusion of real world things into the digital work makes them really special. This is also why I am so happy about having the Rokoko mocap suit and the gloves. The characters I create in the digital world are tethered to me in the real world. I believe that handcrafted items bear a unique essence in their creation. Even though my projects are mostly digital, I make an effort to incorporate real things from the real world.

Do you have a favourite artwork or project you're especially proud of?

This is a challenging question, and while I'd like to say that I love all my works equally, the truth is that it varies over time. Most often, I find myself particularly proud of the latest project I'm immersed in. I like to believe that I'm continually evolving and learning, which leads to improvements in my work. Consequently, I tend to feel a stronger sense of pride in what my most recent projects have evolved into. My most recent favourites are "The Apple Thief" (watch it here) and "The Gatekeeper":

In these projects Melis Caner (@melniverse) designed and simulated the characters clothes using Marvelous Designer. Without her help I think so much life would be missing from these worlds.

What has been the most significant change to your life, since you started creating 3D content?

It's a challenging question to address without delving into the peculiar, but the most profound change in my life has been the transformation in how I perceive reality. I find myself closely examining what makes reality real and distinguishes CGI from the real. Is it the accumulation of dirt in the nooks and crannies, or the distinctive growth patterns of moss? Look up at the corner of the room you are in right now, why is the corner darker than the rest? How does ambient occlusion cast a shadow in the upper corner? This shift in perspective has heightened my fascination with the real world, making me appreciate its intricate details.

Name three pieces of equipment (software or hardware) that you can’t live without.

A computer, preferably my laptop. A mouse with customisable buttons(this saves so much time!) and headphones. Music is often plays a significant part in inspiring me and my works. If given a fourth option, definitely the Rokoko Full Performance Capture tools!

Talking about gear, what do you love about Rokoko mocap tools / why should anyone buy them?

As a filmmaker, 3D generalist, and storyteller, I believe that in storytelling, human figures play a pivotal role in creating connections with the narrative. While inanimate objects and animals can also serve as storytelling anchors, I tend to gravitate toward tales where human figures are the main subject. 

If you review my earlier renders, you'll notice that I often incorporated subtle movements, such as neck motions or animations from existing libraries., avoiding walk cycles and complex animations.

The introduction of a mocap suit has transformed my ability to bring my 3D characters to life, enabling me to choreograph custom movements that liberate my storytelling process. Using your own body to animate characters and tell your story adds a unique essence in their creation. 

{{cta}}

I think this is a strong reason for wanting to get Rokoko mocap tools. I am glad Rokoko also offers suitless solutions like Rokoko Vision, that are completely free and where you can just use your phone camera or webcam. I used this before in my work “The Apple Thief”:

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Here is the “The Apple Thief BTS” featuring Rokoko Vision AI mocap, a super easy and free to use video to animation tool:

Do you currently have any artists that inspire you in your work?

As for all it is for all blender artists, Ian Hubert's works are quite inspiring to me!

Martin Klekner's world building and visuals are always inspiring (watch our live webinar with Martin here). Clinton Jones's realistic renders and the way he makes his tutorials, BTS and process videos is a big inspiration for my youtube channel (read Clinton's story here).

Talking about BTS and tutorials, for making tutorial videos I really enjoy William Faucher, and Josh Toonen's videos (read his story here). The vibe, editing, and the way their videos are constructed are really inspiring to me.

I am inspired by almost anything Corridor creates. Similarly, I cannot believe the short films Peter France, creates. Packed with so much CGI and even more emotion. His "Spider-Man: Cake Day" and "SCOOTY" shorts are mindblowing achivements and incredibly inspiring to me.

What advice do you have for aspiring 3D creators? What would you say are the key ingredients when learning 3D you wish you had known from the start?

Some essential insights worth considering, often overlooked in the realm of 3D learning, involve the significant connection between 3D and filmmaking. Understanding real-world camera techniques, such as camera movements, lighting, composition, and motion, can seamlessly apply to the 3D domain. Personally, I've found that my background in filmmaking has been a substantial advantage in my 3D learning journey. I could suggest learning filmmaking simultaneously with 3D could help those who are starting out.

I've also made a video about answering my follower's questions about how I learned blender, and the tips & tricks I would love to teach my past self:

I have to note that this video is more about learning Blender but I’m sure there are tips that can be applied to any other 3D software.)

Can you reveal some of your next projects that we can look forward to?

My short term future plan is focused on my most recent live action short film we shot a couple weeks back, which is titled "If Only I Could Alter Reality". It's about a man who gains powers to alter reality with his keyboard, much like using cheat codes in a video game. He uses his powers to get his ex-wife back. He is also playing a game in the film. The game draws parallels to his life. 

I will be creating the game in blender, using Chracter Creator 4's new plug-in Headshot 2.0 to create a digital double of the actor (learn more about this process here). Then using Rokoko Smartsuit pro II and Smart Gloves I will animate the game world. 

After this live action short film is completed, I would love to keep creating my short sequences. The ultimate goal is to create an animated short film, web series and a feature bringing together all the tools I use.

I've been slowly improving with each work, hopefully I will get the resources to be able to do this passion project as my full time job so I can create the web-series and feature film.)

We wish you all the best with these future projects Onur! We have no doubt that they will be inspiring.

You can follow and support Onur, aka Blendreams, on his channels:

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