Do you ever get the urge to spend some time digitally painting again and creating some of your own concepts? Is the ability to do this kind of thing appealing to potential employers?
Oh yeah all the time. It's one of those things that I know I need to do more of and plan on pursuing in the near future. It's important for character artists to have some ability to concept. It comes in handy quite often at work. During game development not every asset gets a concept, so at times you may have to step in and do your own. It's quite appealing to have concepts in your 3D portfolio and it shows diversity.
In the footnotes to many of your images you mention that you use Marmoset to render your characters. Can you tell us a little about the benefits of doing things this way and why you use this method over the other software available?
Developing real-time characters is what I do for a living. So for me it's natural to display characters through a game engine.
You know it didn't seem that long ago that 3D engines just weren't accessible to regular consumers. These days, with Marmoset and Unreal, anyone can show off their work in real-time. The reason why I use Marmoset is because it's so easy to use. In fact, when it comes to my personal work I use it in my pipeline during the texturing stage. In the past I would paint my textures in Photoshop and render out small test images afterwards in Maya to see how the character was progressing. Unfortunately these test images would take roughly 5-10 minutes to render. Nowadays I just toggle between Marmoset and Photoshop and see updates within seconds.
Another reason why I use Marmoset is because more and more character artists are using it to display their 3D artwork. For the time being it does look like it's becoming a standard in our industry. All you have to do is visit any CG art forums and you'll start to see more and more 3D artists displaying their work using Marmoset.
Can you tell us a little bit about using ZBrush in your pipeline? How long do you spend in ZBrush and is it hard to know when to stop sculpting there and rely on the textures on your final model for detail?
Using ZBrush can vary depending on the project. I used to just use it for general sculpting and to extract Normal maps, but over the years I've also learned to use it for general 3D concepts,