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Interview with Maarten Verhoeven - 3D


By Richard Tilbury

Web: http://mutte.cgsociety.org/gallery/ (will open in new window)
Email: moc.oohay@ettum_htrad

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Date Added: 15th November 2011
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In your CG portfolio you state your passion for 3D sculpting and anatomy, but you have had a few years experience in other sectors of the industry. Can you tell us a little about your previous jobs and how your interest in sculpting developed?

As long as I can remember, I've been holding pencils, crayons and white paper, accompanied by hours of monster and creature films. So when I turned twenty I went to art school. It taught me absolutely nothing except figure drawing and basic anatomy. I always wanted to create creatures for movies and the best alternative I could find over here in Belgium was to study Animation. I got a masters degree and went looking for a job. Finding a job wasn't easy but eventually I found a place and I have worked there as the only 2D/ 3D generalist. In a few words this covered storyboarding, logo design, motion graphics online editing, color grading and small visual effects in both 2D and 3D.

I've always loved creating things on paper and in clay so I decided to pick up on an older passion. I went online and saw some pictures from other artists and thought: "Hey I want to make that!" So I found ZBrush.

Not finding what I was looking at my previous job, I decided to go freelance as a digital sculptor and design artist and here we are.

Do you feel as though your grounding in figure drawing and anatomy has proven useful with regard to your character modelling in ZBrush, or do you believe a different course may have been more beneficial?
I believe observation is everything. Learning to see is one of the most important pillars for figure drawing. Try to understand what you're looking at in an objective way. Analyze the shapes and proportions and you'll see it all makes sense in your mind. The human eye and mind are very hard to trick or fool and errors will be picked up by any viewer.

You have numerous sculpts in your portfolio based upon film characters, but what do you look for when choosing your subject matter?
I love movies and their characters. For a long time, it was the only way to see weird characters act and move in an environment as a puppet or in CG. What I look for in a film creature is very diverse, ranging from a wish to recreate it through to a purely technical understanding of why someone has created it that way. In my opinion you can only learn from the best CG and makeup artists like Rick Baker, Jordu Shell, Dick Smith, Scott Patton and hundreds of others that have inspired me. Often by studying their work and trying to recreate it with your own twists and turns you can learn how it's made, if you take time to look and study it.
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As a keen fan of films which movies have impressed you with regard to the CG characters and why?
When I was a kid, I loved Jurassic Park, The Abyss and Terminator 2: Judgement Day but this was mainly because I couldn't guess how they did it. But in recent years the creatures in King Kong have really impressed me, particularly the ape animation which although being motion captured displays priceless facial emotions. The Pirates of the Caribbean series is another one for the diversity in the design of the zombie pirates and the sea-infested guys on the Dutchman. Transformers, LOTR, District9, Iron Man, Rango and the Harry Potter series have their great moments and also made me feel like a kid again wondering "jeez, how did they do it?"

Do you think that part of the beauty and appeal of CG is in wondering about how it is achieved, or do you think it has more to do with reproducing something that is completely imaginary?
CG can be looked at in different ways, but one thing is sure: it will always be just a toolbox for an artist. Once you know the tools, the technical aspect ends and the creative process starts. It's hard to create good CG work. Even if they are simulations, you must be very skilled to make them work. I feel that's the beauty and appeal of CG from a technical aspect; it will be more appreciated by those who know how it's created. But a random viewer is a better judge looking at any concept or idea; he's not distracted by the technical baggage.

Can you describe your work methods and approach to sculpting and do you ever create a low poly mesh in LightWave before going into ZBrush?
I don't draw with pencils or crayons anymore. I create the base concept in my head and search for a lot of references in art books and pictures on the web. I have a library of base meshes that I built in Lightwave in the past, full bodies and busts. But now I create and sculpt everything in Zbrush, since the feature shadowbox was introduced to Z4 I never leave the program especially with the new DynaMesh feature. I don't like to waste time during the creative sculpting process.




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(ID: 63029, pid: 0) Anne on Fri, 18 November 2011 12:45pm
We're very proud of you ;o)
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