Designer Spotlight: Nikolai Proskurin

We sat down with Audi AG Concept Designer and Gravity Sketcher Nikolai Proskurin, who gave us an insight into how Virtual Reality has impacted his design workflow, how he gets inspired, and what he sees as the future of automotive.

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Designer Spotlight: Nikolai Proskurin
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What was it that made you become a concept designer?

Mostly because of the freedom to be creative. It feels like design gives me the possibility to share my visions, and I have a lot of them! You can just output your ideas, no matter what.

What has the biggest impact on how and what you design?

I would say sleep in the first place! But seriously, I guess what impacts my design process the most is VR in the long-run. It’s like a thing that is there for almost two years or so, but a lot of people just had that “hey look! I have a rollercoaster app on my VR device” experience…really sad in my opinion. Also, 3D printing is huuuuuuuge, it gives us so many new possibilities!

What was your initial draw to Gravity Sketch?

Last year I met this fantastic guy Jama Jurabaev in London. He was a guest speaker at the Industry Workshops event and he basically presented the VR Design idea. He was crazy into a program that was called Gravity Sketch and he presented it really well, everyone was so hyped.

At that point, I’d tried out many VR apps but there was nothing that felt quite right, so when I saw Jama standing on that stage sketching knights on a castle with a flow I’ve never seen before, I was like ‘BAM! That’s it! That’s the tool I didn’t know I needed, but that could be my Photoshop but in VR.’

“BAM! That’s it! That’s the tool I didn’t know I needed, but that could be my Photoshop but in VR.”

How has it influenced your design workflow?

I became waaaay faster. It gave me the ability to create much more efficiently that I could have ever imagined. Before Gravity Sketch I was sketching something, building a mock-up in Maya, sketching on top it, refining it again in Maya — first iteration done. Now, it’s Gravity Sketch, maybe Photoshop, and refining it in Maya.

Do you feel like there is something in Gravity Sketch for everyone?

Gravity Sketch just has this super intuitive way that it’s setup. It’s super easy to understand and most tools are self-explanatory, so even a user with no clue about design can make something and express his ideas.

What do you think the future holds for VR design?

We’re only in the baby shoes of VR right now, but VR is giving a designer the power to iterate designs in high speed, and apps like Gravity Sketch open every door! In my opinion, there is no limit anymore. The future of design with VR is going to be amazing.

“There is no limit anymore.”

Moving on from VR! What is the most exciting thing happening in the auto world right now?

VR! But also changes that are coming with electrical vehicles. Engines are moving to make more space for passengers, that brings a lot of new possibilities for exterior and interior design.

What do you see as being the future of automotive?

  • Electrical Vehicles and their acceptance by the society.
  • VR, but it’s more of a company internal development thing.
  • Sharing your stuff, there are so may cars there just standing around!
  • Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things — everything is connected.
  • Grasshopper, parametrics & 3D print, there are so many new possibilities.
  • User Experience Design — because it really matters.

And finally, what is your favourite Gravity Sketch feature?

INK and Surfacing because it’s like the more intuitive versions of pen and paper. Also the fact you can even export your design into .OBJ and .IGES afterwards so you get proper curves and surfaces in Alias or Maya.

Check out Nikolai’s work here and see his full workflow over on Car Design News!

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