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Creating creature concepts for film

By 3dtotal staff

Web: http://jeradsmarantz.blogspot.com (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 15th October 2013

You are now freelancing after working as lead concept artist at Aaron Sims. How have you found this change? Do you have any advice for other people thinking of going freelance?

I've always technically been a freelance artist. When I was working with the Sims Company, I decided to spend the majority of my time there. It was a very comfortable environment and a lot of projects went through the studio that I could work on.

"I would advise an artist wanting to go freelance to first spend some time in a studio"

I decided to become completely independent because I wanted more responsibility. I wanted to deal with the clients on my own and take a greater part in the collaborative process. I also really enjoy going from studio to studio meeting new artists and new directors. It's a lot of fun and I enjoy the freedom of making my own hours.

I would advise an artist wanting to go freelance to first spend some time in a studio. Gain some experience first.


Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance concept - My first concept for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance


Final design for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance - This is the final design for the character in the film. I had a lot of fun working on this for Tinsley Studio

What is your design process? Are you someone who does lots of research, or does inspiration just hit? Do you sketch on paper or go straight to a computer?

My design process can vary depending on who I'm working with. Usually when I get a call for a design job, the client will tell me what they like about my work. If the client talks about how much he likes my drawings, I'll actually start the process with a bunch of sketches. This has become more and more rare as the years go by. Most of the clients that I work with respond to either my Photoshop or my 3D work. Ideally, I would love to start every design on paper but often there isn't time for that.

I used to spend a lot of time working things out in sketches just for myself before jumping into a model or a painting. Since I have been working with clients for so many years, after getting the description of the character or creature and understanding what the look and feel of the film is, I can get fairly close on the first pass. I'll then get a couple of notes and work on the design from there.

Costume concept illustration is a bit different. When working on a character for a film with a costume designer, the first thing you want to do is get the body and pose down. From then on, you're simply working on top of that image for a while, doing tons of variations until everyone's happy. No matter what I design, everything tends to flow in this manner. Every now and then I'm lucky enough to get the design approved in the first pass but that's rare.


Infantata 3D head and shoulders - This is a model that I did to begin my illustration design of the baby character from American Horror Story season 1

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