We had the good fortune of connecting with David Schäfer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Founding Mondlicht Studios was a quite natural process. The key was to combine our different skills to build one company, because they were a very good fit to do that. By the time I met my partners, each of us had vast experience in the industry with specific expertise in different areas.
The three of us had worked on a few projects together and it was really cool, comfortable and successful. So the idea was born to develop together. We founded Mondlicht Studios in 2019 in Germany and are right now in the process of bringing our brand to the United States.
I have worked in the automotive industry for many years in cgi, where I have learned a lot about engineering and transportation even beyond cgi. Dmitriy can look back on many years of international work with big agencies and clients in advertising as well as working inside production studios. Maksym started his career in the gaming industry, but he has a strong artistic and architectural background.
Combining our knowledge and experience enabled us to offer our services to a wide field of possible clients. As a starting point we created business plans with the focus on how we can grow our company in the most sensible way. Which clients to approach first, how to do that and how to expand the team. Starting small means you need the highest levels of flexibility and professionalism you can get.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I can talk about our skills, attitude towards clients and the atmosphere in the studio. But I want to highlight our personal projects and collaborations. Many are so focused on commercial inquiries that they leave no time for creative projects. We are developing this trend very strongly and love collaborations very much.
For example, in 2020 we released the «Elevation» project for the Motion Design Awards. In many ways, it was precisely the collaboration and freedom that MDA gave us that helped us create the video in one breath to support the global motion community. In the same year, several of our artists organized and participated in the Zwoelf project – 12 automotive artists from around the world created 12 incredible images dedicated to the history of cars. It was an incredible project. One of the recent examples is a project inspired by Dune and created in collaboration with Ilya Nodia.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’ve not been to LA yet, but I know what I will do after visiting famous places. I will try to find all the beautiful locations where the backplates for some of our automotive projects were shot by our dear friend and colleague Dmitry Bocharov. I think these locations could easily form into a very cool touristic route.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
At the beginning of my career, I was inspired by my love of beautiful things, cartoons, concept art and every cgi production I could get my eyes on. With a passion for computers (since the early 90s) I specifically was blown away by digital 2D and 3D artists I discovered later. I was fascinated more by the visual content born from an electronic pen or mouse and what beauty can arise from such tools, which I am much better able to control than oil, brush and canvas. Big shoutout to ’undo’. Bigger shoutout to Goro Fujita who gave me a personal lesson in speed painting in exchange for some guitar tips and tricks. Other idols are Syd Mead and Dylan Cole. I will never be able to get close to mastering sketching and drawing like Mr. Mead, but I have every publication and this mix of retro and futuristic style just warms my heart. Dylan Cole had already published tutorials on DVDs (these ancient disc-ish data storages) for matte painting. With the limited possibilities of the internet at the time, that was as good as it got.
Of course I still am fascinated by this burning flame today, but this initial passion and inspiration has a friend now, who is the love of our team and our achievements. Feeling the appreciation of the team’s efforts with new and returning clients with new incredible ideas means that you are going in the right direction.
Dune https://www.behance.net/gallery/133517729/Dune PRODUCER – Ilya Nodia, Dmitriy Glazyrin CO-PRODUCER – David Schaefer, Zhanna Travkina CONCEPT ARTISTS – Ilya Nodia, Dmitriy Glazyrin PHOTOGRAPHY – Ilya Nodia MATTE PAINTING – Dmitriy Glazyrin, David Schaefer, Ilya Nodia MODELING – Bohdan Morykon, Gleb Kurilkin POST-PRODUCTION – Dmitriy Glazyrin, David Schaefer, Ilya Nodia VFX SIMULATIONS – Maksym Khirnyy, Pavel Morozov COSTUME DESIGNER – Khalukhaev “Agnivo” Bekhan ACTORS – Khalukhaev “Agnivo” Bekhan, Ernesto “WhitePyke” Manuel ANIMATION – David Schaefer, Maksym Khirnyy, Pavel Morozov, Daniel Vesterbaek BEHANCE DESIGN – Sergey Duryagin Porsche Maxon https://www.behance.net/gallery/104097143/Porsche-911-by-Singer-3D-Motion-Design-Show Photographer: Dmitry Bocharov Creative studio: CTC Creative Studio 360 HDRI AND BACKPLATES LOS ANGELES: GUMROAD CGI studio: Mondlicht Studios 3d modelling: Szymon Kubicki Honda – Jacaranda https://www.behance.net/gallery/98675597/HONDA-CGI-HDRI Creative studio: CTC CREATIVE STUDIO Photographer: Dmitry Bocharov CGI studio: Mondlicht Studios