Art Wanted! Featuring Ekaterina Domracheva

Thursday, August 15th, 2019 by Julian Karsunky

Simple color palettes, functional, yet elegant style and concise arrangements: Russian archviz artist Ekaterina ‘Katie’ Domracheva is a strong proponent of minimalist design. This overarching creative vision lends a timeless and universal quality to her refined interiors. While her work speaks for itself, we nonetheless wanted to hear from Katie and are pleased to feature her in August 2019 as part of our ArtWanted! campaign.

Continue reading to learn more about the inventiveness of nature, uncovering the essence of an idea and Katie’s general approach to design.

Simple, yet elegant: this apartment interior is an impressive demonstration of Katie Domracheva’s design philosophy.

Hi Katie, thanks for joining us! To start things off, please introduce yourself to our readers!

Hi everybody, my name is Ekaterina Domracheva, I'm a 29-year-old freelance archviz artist. I was born in Vladivostok, Russia, but I've been moving around a lot, and am currently living in Riga, Latvia.

Do you recall when and how you first consciously encountered CGI?

It was around 2010, during my third year of my architecture studies. I used 3ds Max and V-Ray for one of my projects. This was not a popular choice at the time, and most of our teachers were against it. Nevertheless, we students understood that 3D was the future of architectural performance. It helped us to work faster and to reflect our ideas in a more elaborate way.

When and why did you then decide to pursue a professional career as a 3D artist?

After graduating, I had the chance to work in almost every field connected to architecture and interior design, testing the waters, so to speak. These practical experiences helped me better understand my personal preferences and shortcomings and define the direction I wanted to go in. Eventually, I decided to drop the drafting and building side completely and focused solely on photorealistic visualization instead. I’ve been enhancing my skills ever since!

What is your current job situation? Are you exclusively freelancing at the moment?

Yeah, I’ve been freelancing for about five years now, offering architectural visualization services for both interiors and exteriors. My clients consist of interior designers, architects and studios based in Russia, for the most part. However, my long-term goal is to grow my client base to include other countries as well.

What are the main benefits and challenges of freelancing to you?

Traveling is my biggest passion next to my work, so being able to work remotely from any place with an internet connection is a huge plus for me! My biggest gripes, on the other hand, are definitely the lack of paid holidays and the general irregularities that come with freelance work, be it financial or workflow related.

This glass wardrobe is as neatly organized as Katie’s interior compositions!

Is there a specific design philosophy or school of thought you adhere to? Do you have aesthetic or stylistic preferences?

The overarching concept in my daily life as well as in my work can be summarized by the phrase ‘less is more’. Keep everything simple and functional, avoid overdecoration, overconsumption and so on. I’m not a fan of retrograde and superfluous design elements. We should try to capture the essence of our day and age instead of burying it under a sophisticated, yet ultimately meaningless facade. This trend of mimicking and reliving the past is ubiquitous not only in architecture and hinders progress. Leave that to the history books, I say!

What inspires you as a 3D artist?

Inspiration is all around us, always within arm’s reach, both on- and offline. Nature is the most obvious source: humanity has imitated nature since forever, especially when it comes to design, so of course this extends to CGI as well. It’s all there already, you just need to be observant and know where to look.

The same holds true for online sources. Usually, I start my working day by browsing various sites and blogs connected to architecture, design and photography. There is a sheer limitless amount of beautiful and inspiring stuff put out every day!

This outside area of the apartment gives us a glimpse at the building’s exterior.

As a traditionally male-dominated field, it still seems somewhat rare to find women in certain positions in this line of work. Do you think women generally have a harder time breaking into the industry?

Speaking of artists only, I agree that the higher echelons in our field are still mostly filled by men. However, I see the situation is slowly changing. While the CG field is not very complicated in my opinion, it does take up a lot of time and dedication to reach a certain stage of expertise, you really have to put in the extra hours. In that regard, it might not be the most women-friendly career, as that can be hard to balance with other life choices such as the desire to have children.

What has your personal experience been like in this regard?

The amount of devotion I just mentioned has not been a problem for me. When I’m really into something, I dedicate almost all my free time to it. That’s exactly what happened with 3D software and archviz. I was (and still am) so amazed by the work of other CG artists that I wanted to perform to the same high standard. Luckily, I have a very supportive husband, so I can follow my passion with all my heart!

Is there something that could be done to increase female representation in the CG industry?

From my experience, more and more women become involved in the industry as it grows in popularity. I can’t speak for the whole world, but in Russia and the post-Soviet states, there are many online CG teaching courses, which levels the playing field by allowing everybody access to knowledge. This factor is especially important for women because it lowers the entry barrier significantly. Streamlining the learning process saves time and allows for personal growth independent of local structures and institutions.

While each room in the Vladivostok apartment unit has a unique identity, the style throughout is coherent.

Now let us talk about your submission in more detail, a set of elegant interiors. Can you first describe the circumstances that lead to the creation of this piece?

This series of interior visualizations was made for an architectural bureau located in Vladivostok. The client needed a number of images for an advertisement of a residential complex, which is currently under construction.

My job was to design the concept and make a rendering for each room specified in the task. Each room has a different function, but there was to be a distinct and coherent style throughout the entire apartment.

How did you go about realizing the project? Can you walk us through the development progress step by step?

Before starting the actual 3D work, I first had to conceptualize each room. That's why I decided to start with elaborate mood boards which fully reflected the essential features of the interior. After editing and approval of the mood boards, I rendered 3d models in gray material to show the geometry of the rooms as well as the lighting scenario. Then, I made texturized renders and after several correction loops, I rendered the images in high resolution on RebusFarm. From start to finish, this project took me about a month to complete.

Please tell us more about your overall experience with RebusFarm. Is there anything you especially like about our service?

I always use RebusFarm for high resolution images. It helps me to speed up the process of final rendering tremendously!

What software did you use to create these images? Any plug-ins you found particularly helpful?

The entire series was done using 3ds Max , Corona Renderer and Photoshop for editing.

Mood boards such as this one are an important tool during the concept stages of architectural visualization.

Besides architectural visualization, you are also actively designing interiors yourself.

Yes, I do! I like visualizing my own concepts above all! I particularly enjoy the creative aspect of it: coming up with designs, putting my own spin on things, realizing my own artistic vision is fulfilling on another level than just making use of my technical skills. That being said, I’m professional enough to do my very best for every client, regardless of me liking a design or not.

Speaking about interior design in general, I prefer to work with images because I really don't like any of the other components.

How do you approach interior design? Do you have preferences for certain materials, structures or room arrangements?

When it comes to design, I search for the materials, furniture and lighting on web sources or in magazines. Pinterest is especially useful in this regard. It's easy to find images related to different themes on there.

In closing, is there anything else you want to say? Any present or upcoming projects you’d like to mention?

All I want to say is this: CG and 3D are such fascinating and creative fields and we’re always in need of new talent. I would be happy to share my passion with as many people as possible, so please, if you’re reading this, join the CG community!

Katie, thank you very much for taking the time and all the best in the future!

Keep up with Katie Domracheva and her work here:




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