Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Digital Art Maker

Meet Mr. Khalid Al Muharraqi, Founder, Muharraqi Studios.

The award winning Arabian Warrior Horse that welcomes you to the spacious interiors of the Muharraqi studios in Isa Town leaves you with awe at the mastermind who has skillfully combined the effects in 3D, digital painting and more to create this signature piece.

“There are many who consider digital painting as an easy job.” said the founder and master artist of the studios, Mr. Khalid Al Muharraqi. “They think that the whole job is done by the computer. But that is not the case. This is just like any other medium. It requires the same creative level like oil painting on a canvas.” Mr. Khalid explained his point showing the Bahrain This Week team a demo painting using a light pen directly onto his computer screen.

Born into the much acclaimed Muharraqi family, Mr. Khalid carries with him the legacy of the renowned Bahraini artist, Mr. Abdulla Al Muharraqi. But unlike his father, Mr. Khalid has taken the art of painting to the next level from digital arts to 3D designs.

“My transition from traditional paintings happened over a long period. Of course I started off with oil paints and canvas and continued with the same for many years. Only after visiting the USA I was introduced to digital art. During the time it was fairly new and many artists where not in a mood of acceptance for this new age tool. Even for me it took around 4 months to accept the change in my work flow. Over the years, I changed from retouching and painting on computers to 3D works and I still use the traditional painting method skills in all the work I do. I believe that it is this foundation of traditional art that helped me to get better at what I do digitally. It is Impossible to go the other way round. You can’t start digitally and then be an artist. You have to have the basics of painting using the time-honored methods.” explains Mr. Khalid.

When we asked him about the birth of Muharraqi studios, he described. “I always wanted to set up something where I could have the chance to work with my father and at the same time take the Bahrain art traditions to the next level. We started off about 9-10 years back and have now grown from creating architecture works to character development and animations.” He also stressed on the support that his father continued giving to his efforts. “My Father continues supporting us with his thought process as an artist. And I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work with him every now and then.”

While we entered the work area fitted with most technologically advanced firmware, the first thing that caught our attention was the animation being rendered in the back ground, which had 48 hours left to finish off the actual piece. The first of its kind to be produced in the Kingdom, Mr. Khalid explained to us complex animation mechanisms he has used that are being used in Hollywood productions. “It takes gregarious amount of time and human resource to complete one full animation. We need to have the kind of budget and will have to leave all other commitments aside if we need to have a full fledged animation movie as you see in the theatres.” He explained the difficulties of having a full length animation movie released. “In the current scenario at the Muharraqi studios, we won’t be able to do that. But of course the work you see being rendered at the background is a test run we are making with an international firm and if it works out then it should be a new experience for all at the studios (Inshallah).”

“When my friends would go out on weekends to have fun at the sea side, I spent my time learning the basics of 3D.” says this self taught animation master. It didn’t come as a surprise to know that Mr. Khalid is one of the Beta testers of animation software like Lightwave and is credited by the developers for the support he has been providing with the valuable suggestions that adds to the improvement of the animation tool.

Being a traditional artist himself, Mr. Khalid expressed his concerns over the degradation of the golden Islamic art. “It has become hard to find the authentic art form these days. Of course the existing art works are being preserved, but there is lack of original form as the advance of art forms from other parts of the world has changed the novel creations.”

Mr. Khalid is one assiduous person who keeps a positive outlook to everything around him. From the architectural 3D works of a concept design to the CG arts and to the motion animation, he loves to test out the new tools and concepts available out there in the tech world and doesn’t take failure as an option in life.

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