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Becoming a 3D Character Artist, what is your opinion?

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Paquette_e
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Paquette_e triangle
Hey guys!

First thing first, english isn't my native language, excuse my bad grammar.

I want to get your opinion about my learning path and I also have questions about the industry itself.

-My goal is to become a 3D Character Artist. I'm currently a full time self-taught.

So, what i'm planning to do approximately:
1-Pushing my drawing skill to do point where I'm going to be able to do 2D character design. ( Learning fundamentals, anatomy, gesture, etc...)
2-Starting to do traditional sculpting with clay to the point where I'm going to have a good understanding of sculpting.
3- At the same time as I learn to sculpt with clay, I'll continue to push my drawing skill, but I'll do the switch for digital drawings.
4- Once I'm confortable enough with digital drawing, I'll start to model in Max
5- Once I'm confortable enough with Max to model anything, I'll start to sculpt in Zbrush
6- Practice, Practice, Practice!

So what do you guys think about it? What is your opinion?

Should I look for a job as soon as I'll be able to model anything in max and learning Zbrush by the side at the same time as working?

Or is it something possible to get a first job as a 3D Character artist, is it plausible ?

Thank you for your help guys!

Replies

  • SuperFranky
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    SuperFranky polycounter lvl 10
    Sounds good to me, tho you can avoid any drawing or clay sculpting if you want, that's not really necessary. (Though won't hurt, that's for sure. Do it if you have time and patience, you won't regret any art skills you acquire).

    I kinda regret not getting into drawing first before getting into 3d, so... But I think I'm doing fine without that, even though I'd be better off with that knowledge under my belt.
  • JacqueChoi
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    JacqueChoi polycounter
    Character Art is probably one of the hardest disciplines to break into. Nobody is saying you can or can't do it, but its HARD. Worldwide there's likely under 800 full-time Studio positions for Character Artists.



    I'll just throw this out there, so you understand where the bar is at:

    Here are all of the Character Artist portfolios for everyone here at Eidos (Missing Laura who doesn't use an online portfolio)

    Sebastien Legrain:
    http://sebleg.free.fr/

    Cedric Seaut:
    http://cedricseaut.prosite.com/

    Eugene Fokin
    https://www.artstation.com/artist/eof

    Marco Plouffe
    http://www.marcoplouffe.com/

    Fred D'Aoust
    http://drawcrowd.com/fred2303/projects

    Mine:
    http://jacquechoi.com/


    So.... with the 7 of us, you will need for one of us need to leave before a Character Artist position opens up.
    Then they will expect you to replace the quality+quantity.


    Most studios seem to be staffed the same way.
  • almighty_gir
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    almighty_gir ngon master
    Is Laura's portfolio tattooed to her back or something Jacque?
  • slosh
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    slosh hero character
    That's an impressive lineup Jacque. So, when are you leaving?

    I'm gonna have to agree though. You are talking about attempting to break into probably the toughest art medium in games. Not to mention the general instability of the industry altogether. Those of us who are lucky enough to have done character art for a while definitely have been through the ringer and then some. Be prepared to put a lot of literal blood, sweat, and tears into your art to get there. Good luck!
  • AtticusMars
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    AtticusMars greentooth
    So, what i'm planning to do approximately:
    1-Pushing my drawing skill to do point where I'm going to be able to do 2D character design. ( Learning fundamentals, anatomy, gesture, etc...)
    2-Starting to do traditional sculpting with clay to the point where I'm going to have a good understanding of sculpting.
    3- At the same time as I learn to sculpt with clay, I'll continue to push my drawing skill, but I'll do the switch for digital drawings.
    4- Once I'm confortable enough with digital drawing, I'll start to model in Max
    5- Once I'm confortable enough with Max to model anything, I'll start to sculpt in Zbrush
    6- Practice, Practice, Practice!

    I wouldn't bother learning traditional sculpting at all if your only purpose is learning it is to 'graduate' to digital sculpting. I understand people have a certain romance for traditional media but there's really no practical reason why you would start there.

    Similarly I am not sure why you would start by exclusively drawing on paper.

    You should be painting in photoshop too and doing rendering studies, lots of them. They'll help you understand form and material definition.

    The problem with drawing on paper is that virtually everyone starts with lineart, and the temptation (especially for beginners) is to focus on the lines, not on the shapes they're trying to represent. Get a figure drawing book that focuses on construction (Michael Hampton, Bridgeman, Bammes, etc.) and follow it.

    Do anatomy sculpts on the same days you're drawing, of the same thing you're studying. Meaning if you're drawing arms, try sculpting some arms too.

    Your plan is very orderly, but you've made the mistake of organizing it around tools, not around subject matter. I think it's far more beneficial to learn how to sculpt an arm and draw it at the same time, it keeps you focused on learning the shape and how to represent it accurately rather than how to best approximate it with the particular medium you're working with.

    Just my 2 cents.

    is it something possible to get a first job as a 3D Character artist, is it plausible
    Practically anything is possible if you're good enough.
  • crazyfool
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    crazyfool polycounter lvl 8
    Good to see eidos using the highlander hiring process ;) that's an all star cast right nya :)
  • GrevSev
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    GrevSev polycounter lvl 9
    Fucking goodness Marcos work. Why are people allowed to be that good?
  • WarrenM
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    WarrenM Polycount Sponsor
    Whenever someone says they want to be a character artist, I usually explain that there are a very limited number of positions for that and this is your competition:

    http://www.pseudo-pod.com/

    Best of luck. :-/
  • SuperFranky
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    SuperFranky polycounter lvl 10
    WarrenM wrote: »
    Whenever someone says they want to be a character artist, I usually explain that there are a very limited number of positions for that and this is your competition:

    http://www.pseudo-pod.com/

    Best of luck. :-/

    Is that is my competition - it only makes me excited, to be honest. The guy is just so damn awesome:thumbup:
  • Tits
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    Tits mod
    You are breaking our dream Jacque
  • slosh
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    slosh hero character
    Tits wrote: »
    You are breaking our dream Jacque

    Are you saying you're not living it Marie?
  • Tits
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    Tits mod
    slosh wrote: »
    Are you saying you're not living it Marie?
    Hahaha, depends, some people don't really consider freelancers as people who ''made it''.
    I took the choice of leaving my studio to be a freelancer and I eat everyday so I guess things are going well
  • slosh
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    slosh hero character
    Tits wrote: »
    Hahaha, depends, some people don't really consider freelancers as people who ''made it''.
    I took the choice of leaving my studio to be a freelancer and I eat everyday so I guess things are going well

    I just see the results and I like...
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    Do people think they've made it usually once they've shipped a game? I'v talked to several engineers, and they keep making reference to "once you shipped a game" etc.
  • slosh
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    slosh hero character
    Do people think they've made it usually once they've shipped a game? I'v talked to several engineers, and they keep making reference to "once you shipped a game" etc.

    I don't think so. "Made it" is a statement that only you can answer for yourself. Honestly, I'm pshyched doing what I do but I will have "made it" when I'm retired and sitting on a beach somewhere with a cintiq companion doing personal art.
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 17
    With everyone making MOBAs there's probably a higher demand for character artists right now, it's a very character driven genre. I think last year IGDA reported that 10% of respondants said they were working on an "e-sports" game, these days that translates into MOBA or MOBA-like.
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    On thing of note : most if not all of the people listed by Jacque probably got where they are now not just because they wanted to become better than others to get a job, but mostly because they freaking love what they do !

    It takes time ...

    Also, practicing just for the sake of it is not really that constructive. Working with precise end goals (putting a character into a game, matching the specification of an inspiring art piece, and so on) is much more efficient in my opinion, and also tends to generate better results.

    Good luck !
  • seth.
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    seth. polycounter lvl 11
    I think that traditional sculpting is an ace idea, helps you establish an eye for volume and shape, and its great to get your hands dirty too....good luck on your journey
  • Renaud Galand
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    Renaud Galand polycounter lvl 18
    A lot of good point made in this thread. My one addition would be : DON'T LET THAT SCARE YOU. Becoming a character artist and break into the industry is hard but not THAT hard if (as mentioned by Pior) you like what you do. Also, don't expect to land an amazing position at your dream studio right away. It's actually better to start in a smaller structure and learn the basics of working in a team environment and how to ship a game, IMO. One thing you should know is that being a great artist is one thing but being a great game developer is whole new adventure that will take time and in house experience to achieve.

    Best of luck in your journey! :)

    -R
  • TheWalkerGod
    I think learning to draw is an excellent idea. Im currently learning to draw myself and while it might not be necessary for 3d modeling i find you pick up some excellent skills and knowledge by doing it.ctrlpaint.com is a great resource for traditional and digital drawing.

    However i also agree learning zbrush and photoshop is important. Just today i began doing zbrush tutorials and already i can tell there are things you cant learn just by traditional drawing/sculpting.

    As for the difficulty of breaking into the game industry as a character artist just note all aspects of the industry are hard to break into from art-programming. Nevertheless you shouldnt let that scare you.
  • spiderDude
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    spiderDude polycounter lvl 8
    A lot of good point made in this thread. My one addition would be : DON'T LET THAT SCARE YOU. Becoming a character artist and break into the industry is hard but not THAT hard if (as mentioned by Pior) you like what you do.
    pior wrote: »
    On thing of note : most if not all of the people listed by Jacque probably got where they are now not just because they wanted to become better than others to get a job, but mostly because they freaking love what they do !

    Even though I'm aware of this, it's still good to hear that it's not that impossible. Well, back to work :)
  • Burpee
  • SpaceRogue
  • WarrenM
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    WarrenM Polycount Sponsor
    slosh wrote: »
    I don't think so. "Made it" is a statement that only you can answer for yourself. Honestly, I'm pshyched doing what I do but I will have "made it" when I'm retired and sitting on a beach somewhere with a cintiq companion doing personal art.

    I think shipping a game is a rite of passage. It's one of those things that once you've done it, you've got the scars and you've got the cred. :)

    It's an experience you can't get any other way ... you need to ship something.
  • Paquette_e
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    Paquette_e triangle
    I want to thank every single person that have taken the time to reply to my message, I really appreciate it. You can't understand how ''life changes'' are these answers for me!

    Because everyone have taken the time to send me a message, I’ll also do the same and reply to every message.


    -But first I want to say something to everyone: My name is Évan, I have motivation, dedication, even obsession and I’m in love with what I’m doing. My life turns around artworks. One day I hope to cross the path of one of you and be part of a team, I sincerely wish it. My life has been a really nightmare for years, but now I've completely changed every single aspects of it and I’m serious more than ever about my learning process. Best wishes to everyone of you for your future. Please believe in your dream and keep chasing them, never give up. Dreams gives a sense to our life's, never forget it. Now go my friends and ‘’Make good Art’’.

    -SuperFranky:
    I totally agree with the fact of learning to draw first. I see a clear difference in my thinking when I model now. I also think it's a fundamental to know how to draw if I ever want to texture something.

    -JacqueChoi:
    Thank you for this approximation of 800 people, honestly it has motivated me even more. Now I really know what my life goal is: My goal is to be in the top 800 3D modelers of the world if I ever want to get my dream job in Character Design.
    By the way Jacque, around 3 years ago, I've visited Eidos montreal, I live at 45min of montreal. They gave me a blue plastic strap for the wrist and since that day, I still wear it while I'm writing this message. One day Jacque I'll be part of your team, even if it's as a lower job level, I just want to make a step in the wonderful Eidos studio. I hope one day, our path are going to meet each other! You guys are fantastic artists and I have great respect for you!

    -AtticusMars:
    The main reason why I was planning to learn Traditional sculpt is because of Raf Grassetti. In his video he often say that the key to success is to learn traditional sculpting and to draw a lot. And also, Traditional sculpting is fun, I'm a man who like to make things with his hands, who like getting his hands dirty.
    I also agree on the fact of learning by subject and not by tool. I did this quick ordered list just to make a quickly post on the forum and not writing a giant text to explain everything. My real learning path is ordered by subject first, not by software.

    -Tidal Blast:
    Yes, learning anatomy in Zbrush is a good thing, but I'm actually learning it with drawing and clay sculpting. Isn't valuable enough compare to directly learning it in Zbrush?
    I have plenty of books on anatomy and lot of ressource, I even plan to buy a skeleton soon to assist me in my journey. He will make me feel less alone in my long learning sessions haha ;)

    -SuperFranky:
    I totally agree with you! Competition should not be seen as a negative thing. It should be see as an opportunity to learn even more, to grow even more our skills and motivation. As you said, I also feel very excited to look at these guys work. You know why? Because If I push hard enough, one day I'll be able to do the same quality as they do and THAT is what is exciting about it!

    -Tits:
    Nice nickname by the way haha! I think the answer I've given to SuperFranky will also apply to you. My best wishes!

    -Brian ''Panda'' Choi:
    Personally, I think the day when ''I will have made it'' is going to be the day I'm going to be perfectly able to clearly express any image, idea, character or concept that I have in my head through digital sculpting. This, my friend, is my ultimate artistic goal and that day is going to be a liberation for me, a great day. This is one of the main reason why I'm studying so intensely.

    -Slosh:
    I agree with you, the day I'll have my butt in the sand with a Cintiq in hand, I'll know I'll have got a good life career! haha

    -Justin Meisse:
    Interesting point, I've did not think about it before! Thanks!

    -Pior:
    One of the most wonderful and heart touching post that I've read recently. That's a very, very good point Pior. Working for no reason is a terrible thing, I totally agree with you! And yes, I freaking love what I do, you can't know how much! Honestly, I've been diagnosed as an obsessive person, so I let you imagine how much I'm in love with what I'm doing everyday! ;)

    -Seth.:
    That's exactly what that the traditional sculpture and drawing helped me with. I've got a better ''Volume/3D thinking and visualisation''.

    -Renaud Galand:
    This was one of my main worry! Thank you for the answer it really helps me, I feel more confident now! It was actually my plan to just start at the ''bottom of the ladder'' and with years, climbing steps slowly till I can find a character design job. You've just confirmed me that it was a possible plan to achieve, thank you a lot man!

    -TheWalkerGod:
    Thank you, that's all I have to say!

    -SpiderDude:
    Exactly, thank you buddy!

    -SpaceRogue:
    Thank you! But as I've said to AtticusMars, I was planning to learn traditional sculpting because of Grassetti. Also, thank you for the links, but honestly I already have bookmarked every of these links! But sincerely, thank you! I appreciate your help! :)

    -WarrenM:
    Yeah I think you have a good point there, ''the first time'' is scary and uncomfortable but you have to do it once! After that you're good for the rest.

    I wish you a great week-end everyone and thank you again!
  • AtticusMars
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    AtticusMars greentooth
    The main reason why I was planning to learn Traditional sculpt is because of Raf Grassetti. In his video he often say that the key to success is to learn traditional sculpting

    Did he explain why?
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    I cannot speak for Grassetti, but I can confirm that learning traditional sculpting helps a ton. For once, it allows to raise one's own bar for expectations : once you realize how much easier it is judge global forms in traditional sculpting (as opposed to always working zoomed like Zbrush often requires), you'll be more likely to attempt to judge things globally in digital sculpting too. Besides brush behavior, this is actually the main reason why I personally prefer to sculpt in Mudbox as opposed to Zbrush - being able to review an asset freely is paramount.

    And then there are some great technical things to learn from traditional sculpting. For instance, attempting to smooth things out in clay requires the use of a wide rake, to then gradually move down to teethed tools, and finally, textured sponges. This gives a very natural look, which also works well with digital rakes ... and it looks much better than attempting to shift-smooth everything.

    Lastly, working with traditional media forces one to plan ahead ; that is to say, coming up with a design beforehand, putting together an armature, and so on. While digital is great because possibilities are infinite, it also comes with the risk of always ending up with yet another alien head ...

    That being said, I am willing to accept that this opinion comes from my own experience, and everybody is different. But I have yet to hear about a single artist who *did* dedicate some serious time to traditional sculpting and then say that it wasn't useful. (buying a few blocks of Sculpey on a whim and giving it a try over the weekend doesn't really count :D )
  • TAN
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    TAN polycounter lvl 6
    Compeletely agree with all the comments about how long and hard it will be.

    I decided specialising in 3D character art and started working for it seriously ( and I mean 9 to 6 almost everyday, I had the time) 2 and a half years ago. If you click the link below you will see I can't even touch the guys who I am supposed to "replace" when they quit.

    Finishing a high grade character model takes around 4 weeks (or a month) of daily 6-8 hours of work. So forget about even breaking into Marketplace- Asset Store for earning your life when you are unemployed. Won't happen


    That is why let me suggest you a crazy idea. Take an aptitude test. You know the ones that tell you what your strengths are so you can keep on polishing on them ? Yeah these ones. Take a detailed one you can find on the net for free, an spare some time, clear your mind and do it.
    Lynda.com has a very great one titled " Discovering your strengths" . Go get it do it.

    Why am I suggesting this ?
    Once you get into this business you are with he business. Don't look back 3-4 years later and start asking " What the hell was I thinking ? "


    If you are wondering how am I so sure well.. hehe experience my young friend :D

    I am still modelling characters but as a hobby right now when I can find the time. I gave up on trying to make money from it and currently earning my life on different ways.



    So here you go. Decide well before you ste out your journey.
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    This is better than clay sculpting.

    How so ? Sorry for asking, but I think it would be great if you expanded a bit on your statement, as one-liners don't really add to the discussion.

    There are obvious parallels between digital and traditional sculpting, but they are definitely not the same thing, and no one ever claimed that traditional was "better". (and this is certainly not what Marc is arguing for in that video !)
  • Torch
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    Torch interpolator
    Pior (or anyone else for that matter,) do you happen to know any good courses on Clay sculpture in the London area? A friend recommended the art academy - http://artacademy.org.uk/evening-classes/spring-2013/sculpture/ ...but wanted to see if other people had good experiences with any other courses? Thanks :)
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    Ha, sorry I can't be of much help on this, I am only familiar with the LA / Hollywood area for that kind of stuff. I personally took a few classes there (Jordu Schell and Erick Rodriguez) and of course the cool spin about these instructors is that they are into monsters !

    I would think that any class would do though ? These links look interesting, maybe drop by the school to see how the setup looks like and ask to see what the students and teachers produced ?
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    Yeah, I totally agree that they are different things - which is why I think it's irrelevant to claim that one is better than the other ...
    the amount of time that we would invest in clay sculpting is not going to be worth it.

    But ... how do you know that ? I believe it would actually be impossible to quantize one against the other, simply because it all goes back to the same old issue : many people get confused between design tasks and execution tasks. It doesn't matter how many hours someone spends in Zbrush or with traditional clay if a design sense is not there to begin with ...

    This is why I would argue that traditional art (sculpting, painting, drawing) brings something very important that people starting straight with digital tend to miss or forget, which is the need to plan things beforehand. The traditional mediums themselves are not superior, but their inherent limitations force one to think harder and make choices, and I strongly believe that it is a good thing.

    But then of course it all depends on what you mean by "become a great character artist". Ironically, while there is an obvious high demand for character artists showing the ability to faithfully translate existing concepts to 3d, the jobs actually go to the ones who are also able to show a strong design sense on their own - and this skill has nothing to do with software mastery ...
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    Huh, sorry, I do not understand your analogy ...

    Again, my point is simple : mastering technical tools is quite irrelevant when it comes to developing a strong design sense, and ultimately this is the core skill that is in demand - even for positions that do not directly involve concept art. Knowing how to use Substance or how to press Zbrush buttons will never help anyone understand anatomy or product design. Once this is understood, *then* the tools come in in order to make execution faster and easier.
  • AtticusMars
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    AtticusMars greentooth
    pior wrote: »
    I cannot speak for Grassetti, but I can confirm that learning traditional sculpting helps a ton. For once, it allows to raise one's own bar for expectations : once you realize how much easier it is judge global forms in traditional sculpting (as opposed to always working zoomed like Zbrush often requires), you'll be more likely to attempt to judge things globally in digital sculpting too. Besides brush behavior, this is actually the main reason why I personally prefer to sculpt in Mudbox as opposed to Zbrush - being able to review an asset freely is paramount.

    And then there are some great technical things to learn from traditional sculpting. For instance, attempting to smooth things out in clay requires the use of a wide rake, to then gradually move down to teethed tools, and finally, textured sponges. This gives a very natural look, which also works well with digital rakes ... and it looks much better than attempting to shift-smooth everything.

    Lastly, working with traditional media forces one to plan ahead ; that is to say, coming up with a design beforehand, putting together an armature, and so on. While digital is great because possibilities are infinite, it also comes with the risk of always ending up with yet another alien head ...

    That being said, I am willing to accept that this opinion comes from my own experience, and everybody is different. But I have yet to hear about a single artist who *did* dedicate some serious time to traditional sculpting and then say that it wasn't useful. (buying a few blocks of Sculpey on a whim and giving it a try over the weekend doesn't really count :D )
    I've personally not experienced this ability to be able to see forms better in traditional sculpting but perhaps I've not done it long enough (I started late last year)

    I agree it requires more planning, but I don't think it's really all that beneficial to teach planning through traditional media. When we teach people digital painting we don't tell them to go back and learn oils first so that they can understand the value of proper planning. We just try to drill good work habits into them by making them do thumbnail sketches and work their paintings large to small.

    The really ironic thing is I find myself just planning out my traditional sculpts in ZBrush. Similarly iirc when Craig Mullins began working with oils he would use digital sketches to plan out his paintings ahead of time.

    The speed and flexibility of working digitally makes it very useful in a traditional workflow and for same reasons I think it's a better means to learn since you can experiment and fail much more quickly.

    To be fair I never really took to traditional media like others did. So I mean.. Idk ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    Hehe yeah, there are many crossovers ! Similarly to your approach, I personally love doing digital paintovers on top of photos of traditional sculpts still in progress, it saves a ton of time and allows for very precise adjustments.

    I like your final statement of "I don't know". I think this is the key to progress : simply accepting that one doesn't know everything about anything, especially before trying it out first hand !
  • AtticusMars
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    AtticusMars greentooth
    True enough!

    On a related note (though from your blog I'm guessing you're already familiar) I think anyone sculpting traditionally should also look into silicone molding and eurethane casting. Not terribly useful artistically but very cool to be able to cast copies of your work (and useful for making costumes, for the hardcore halloween/con people)
  • Finalhart
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    Finalhart polycounter lvl 6
    I would say...go with traditional art: draw, paint, sculpt. I started 3 years ago with modeling, rigging, photoshop, UDK, etc, basically learning everything related to CG thinking that i needed aid of a computer to create good art(sounds weird isn't it? but many people think that if they have Quixel their texturing problems are gone or that because of the flexibility of ZBrush they can sculpt everything that is on their vision) but just a few months ago i realized little by little that 3D art have the word ART on it.

    If i've had learned how to paint, i would train my eye to distinct different surfaces just by painting them. Value/Color studies? I would rememeber a lot of real world objects and how the are, architectual patterns, rocks, landscapes, everything. Learning to draw? You will train your eye too, you could train your anatomy too and when you go to ZBrush you can apply your skills there. Then you can paint your own pieces and quick concepts which is a huge time saver. Train your composition, etc. Is a WIN WIN situation.

    I played Final Fantasy 8 yesterday and it was mind blowing to see the graphics, no fancy rendering engines, limited polycount on everything and yet they managed to create great art, they didn't need zbrush, ue4, substance or anything, they were just good artists:

    ff8-escenario.jpg

    4.jpg
  • Neox
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    Neox high dynamic range
    pior wrote: »
    On thing of note : most if not all of the people listed by Jacque probably got where they are now not just because they wanted to become better than others to get a job, but mostly because they freaking love what they do !

    It takes time ...

    Also, practicing just for the sake of it is not really that constructive. Working with precise end goals (putting a character into a game, matching the specification of an inspiring art piece, and so on) is much more efficient in my opinion, and also tends to generate better results.

    Good luck !

    for the art itself i agree, but just for the technique?

    i learned sooooo much by just speedmodelling and pushing for precision in shorter times. the result wasn't that important, the task itself wasnt that important.
    Get a task, set a goal do it in X amount of time.. Stop, do the next one. Don't look back for some time and then check the stuff a bit later. You will notice where you can speed up, you will need to adapt to make it possible in time, quality was never the first goal back then. but obviously it also was good for the quality, thanks to muscle memory being trained and all.
  • Daew
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    Daew polycounter lvl 9
    How many top character artists actually spent a decent amount of time doing clay sculpting? If you ask me, clay sculpting is kind of a dumbed down version of zbrush

    I think pixar and a lot of others would like a word with you.
    (to be fair they are more concept artists)

    tumblr_nk5f50heyS1u4xoxco2_400.jpg

    tumblr_nk5f50heyS1u4xoxco1_1280.jpg
  • leslievdb
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    leslievdb polycounter lvl 14
    i`m very unexperienced with traditional sculpting but having some more time spend with traditional clay now i see how it could have helped me along with my digital sculpting.
    A lot of people know how to use zbrush but lack knowledge of proper form, working with clay all you get is form, no real cheats , no real shortcuts just you trying to approach a design by working with form by slowly building it up.

    Do you absolutely need it in the beginning? No but the better you get the more you`ll see your own flaws (hopefully) in not having addressed some of your fundamentals earlier on.

    also as mentioned before learn all the steps , single trick ponies need to have an extremely well executed trick. being able to give a workenvironment more than just a pretty picture but actual technical know how alongside of it makes you a valuable team member

    and finally theres a lot of smaller companies out there that need people who know what theyre doing, there are no lesser jobs if you enjoy what you`re doing. Being in a misserable workenvironment but working on a AAA game wont make your life any better either so just saying that you need to keep a wide look on the jobmarket
  • Burpee
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    Burpee polycounter lvl 6
    TAN wrote: »
    Compeletely agree with all the comments about how long and hard it will be.

    I decided specialising in 3D character art and started working for it seriously ( and I mean 9 to 6 almost everyday, I had the time) 2 and a half years ago. If you click the link below you will see I can't even touch the guys who I am supposed to "replace" when they quit.

    Finishing a high grade character model takes around 4 weeks (or a month) of daily 6-8 hours of work. So forget about even breaking into Marketplace- Asset Store for earning your life when you are unemployed. Won't happen


    That is why let me suggest you a crazy idea. Take an aptitude test. You know the ones that tell you what your strengths are so you can keep on polishing on them ? Yeah these ones. Take a detailed one you can find on the net for free, an spare some time, clear your mind and do it.
    Lynda.com has a very great one titled " Discovering your strengths" . Go get it do it.

    Why am I suggesting this ?
    Once you get into this business you are with he business. Don't look back 3-4 years later and start asking " What the hell was I thinking ? "


    If you are wondering how am I so sure well.. hehe experience my young friend :D

    I am still modelling characters but as a hobby right now when I can find the time. I gave up on trying to make money from it and currently earning my life on different ways.



    So here you go. Decide well before you ste out your journey.



    You just gave up man, its a longrun, you juste did 3 years its nothing
  • Paquette_e
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    Paquette_e triangle
    Thank you guys for your time!

    My ''ideal'' of a life path would be:
    Studying 2 or 3 years at home as i'm actually doing. Learning intensively each traditional skills for 6 months or more, clay and drawing. At this point I'm not going to focus too much on Zbrush, I would like to master Max and have a strong basics knowledge of Zbrush in the optic to find a job as a 3D modeller only.

    With my first job, it will give me the opportunity to get experience, learn teamwork, make contact and live my passion. At the same time, at the end of the day I'll focus on learning by my side, learning anatomy, pushing further my Zbrush skills etc. Maybe doing this for a couple of years depending of my progression.

    My ultimate goal would be to move from Montr
  • xvampire
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    xvampire polycounter lvl 14
    @Paquette_e

    if you live near montreal, probably you wont be too far from good opportunity.

    there is a lot of CG active art community there, during summer, they tend to have some good gathering. ( no boundaries between student and professional )
  • Paquette_e
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    Paquette_e triangle
    Thank you for the reply guys!

    Tidal Blast:
    With what you've said my question is: What would be, for me, the first job I should aim for if I want to start at the bottom of the ladder and climb it slowly with years and maybe to climb high enough to reach Character Artist if i'm lucky? By answering that, you'll tell me what is going to be my first goal to achieve and it's going to help me a lot.

    Also for the community things, I'm really aware of it and I often look at things but I rarely speak. Because I'm strictly learning traditional medium for the moment I don't have digital things to show.

    xvampire:
    Thanks for the tips and yes I'm near montreal, I can't wait to move there the day I'll be enough skilled to start looking for a job.
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    I think there are still some misconceptions going on ...

    You won't become or "reach" the status of character artist by being lucky, but only by being good at it. Comparing oneself to others is actually fairly straightforward ... I think everyone can tell when they still need to improve to reach the level of the artists they look up to (now that doesn't explains *how* to progress, but that another story !)

    Also, you don't need to move somewhere to look for a job. You can get the studio job first, and then move there ! With 100% of job recruiting being based on online portfolios there is no real point in being local in order to apply anywhere. Now of course being local can be a helpful coincidence from a logistical standpoint, especially if it is not far from your current location to begin with ; but at the end of the day the whole world is within your reach, not just Montreal :)

    Also, and even though it might be a bit early to do so, you might want to get clear on whether you want to become a character modeler for production, or a character concept artist. Both can fall under the broad name of "Character Artist" but they are very different tasks, especially in a game studio environment. The tricky part is that both jobs are equally gratifying to do, but they very rarely overlap : one relies on execution (and requires technical knowledge too), the other on design (and in that case it doesn't really matter what you use - charcoal, markers, poop stains on a wall, or a digital tablet - it's kind of irrelevant).

    But like I mentioned before, the irony is that the artists getting the sought after position of "Character Artist" (=character modeler) are the ones who show a strong design sense too, as it obviously gives them an edge during any job interview. But then again, this is true of any art-related job : the artists getting the jobs are the ones who can do just a little bit more than the average artist applying for the job.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter
    There are too many character artists in the world for not so many jobs. In many games characters are often something swiftly moving around and not very critical for a perception of the graphics as a whole.

    I did character job for not very long. Although that time they were much more simple. Still I believe the character job is not very challenging. You have a lot of polys and texture resolution, even normal maps baking is simple like 2x2.

    You even don't need any advanced traditional art skills with a soft like zbrush. You probably will be just recreating the concepts of other person.

    All this makes the work of character artist not that unique. Often characters looks like siblings from one game to another. Same faces, same style, same big boots, boobs and huge swords.

    As a result companies would easily find an other person for your position.

    An environment art is often completely different story, it's extremely challenging, engine and shaders specific , brain storming , pazzling, subtle nuances and good taste driven. And it's what people see on 90% of their screen all the time. I know very few good environment artists who are able to do something within a given engine limitations, not just nice pictures in portfolio. So they have better chances to stay non-replaceable.

    Keep in mind that all this is just an opinion of environment artist currently who moved on that years ago.
  • leslievdb
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    leslievdb polycounter lvl 14
    gnoop wrote: »
    There are too many character artists in the world for not so many jobs. In many games characters are often something swiftly moving around and not very critical for a perception of the graphics as a whole.

    I did character job for not very long. Although that time they were much more simple. Still I believe the character job is not very challenging. You have a lot of polys and texture resolution, even normal maps baking is simple like 2x2.

    You even don't need any advanced traditional art skills with a soft like zbrush. You probably will be just recreating the concepts of other person.

    All this makes the work of character artist not that unique. Often characters looks like siblings from one game to another. Same faces, same style, same big boots, boobs and huge swords.

    I am not sure what quality of character art you are talking about... you make it sound as if you can just load up zbrush , press a button and have good ingame character models.

    Its hard to translate a concept to a 3d character in a proper way. Just like environment artists you dont just take the concept and get to create whatever you see 1/1. Actually for your entire post you could switch around the word character artist with environment artist and have the same false statements made since a lot of environments tend to look the same in games.
  • Paquette_e
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    Paquette_e triangle
    Honestly, I feel kind of lost, let me explain why.

    I feel like I should focus first on learning 3D modeling. Like I should start strictly by aiming for a job as a modeler and with time and experience I'll find which specialisation I would like to do later.

    Is my thinking wrong?

    Cause logicialy a specialisation come after a ''basic'' job, if I can say it this way. Would it be more logical to find a job as a modeler, with time I'll be able to explore the different specialisation and find the real one I want to do if it's either Character, environement or generalist.

    And the fact is, If I decide to go straight for 3D modelling first, my learning path is going to dramatically change. Because for modeling you dont need to learn anatomy perfectly, gesture, pose etc... If I decide to go this way, my learning time is going to drastically decrease.

    Do you guys understand what I say?

    Is it manageable to aim for 3D modeling first, find a job, let time do the things and after that to learn a specialisation by myself on my side?

    Thanks
  • Finalhart
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    Finalhart polycounter lvl 6
    Well, i am in almost the same position as you. It would definetely be much easier to find a job as a 3d modeler than character art, specially if you want a job as soon as possible. But that doesn't mean it won't be hard, the competition is still tough for almost every aspect of CG.

    It really depends on your country, look for what are the jobs that the companies are often offering positions. In my case, Pre-rendered architecture visualization is the most common job here(if not the only one) related to CG. Yours might be different.

    In my case i am planning to just practice drawing and painting at home and leave the 3d technical side to the job. I may also practice sculpting too, but now drawing and painting are my most weak points. Whatever you may want to practice be sure to do it every day to form an habit and remember that art is super hard, it will take a long time until your skills will match up with others who are better now so don't expect to see a change in short term goals and be confident the if you keep practicing you will get there sooner or later.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter
    I am not sure what quality of character art you are talking about... you make it sound as if you can just load up zbrush , press a button and have good ingame character models.

    Its hard to translate a concept to a 3d character in a proper way. Just like environment artists you dont just take the concept and get to create whatever you see 1/1. Actually for your entire post you could switch around the word character artist with environment artist and have the same false statements made since a lot of environments tend to look the same in games.


    Again, I quitted with characters before they started to model bristle on mans faces, but partly because of such things. Started to think I am doing rather embroidery than art. And concept guy is only one who does.


    Agree, sometimes environments look very similar too. It's right because of right artists are so rare and hard to employ imo. Still when I see a work of one/ones it differs tremendously often within the same engine, sometimes even on ancient one like Vanishing of Ethan Carter for example
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