That is a rather adventurous story behind your success! Do you have any tips for aspiring 3D artists?
Hmm, tips, let me see. The best thing any aspiring 3D artist can do is get to know the basics before you even touch any programs. Life drawing and plenty of reference is always a good thing! No tool or 3D package can teach you good form and silhouette. All too often I see kids jumping the gun here. You can't expect to be a good 3D artist without a strong foundation. Foundation is everything! In fact I try to go back to the basics as much as possible. I wish I had more time for it to be honest! I work a lot so my time is limited, but I try to do life drawing and painting when I can fit it in.
You went to both The Art Institute of Las Vegas and Vancouver Film School not too long ago - how did they help you get to where you are now?
Well, I think they were both pivotal to my career for different reasons. When I first decided to attend AI of Las Vegas, I was very green in terms of 3D. Besides what I saw my father doing years ago, I didn't know much at all. I've always been a gamer so initially that's what sparked my interest. I figured I could go to school and end up in a game studio somewhere making games I'm passionate about. Initially I wasn't too impressed with the program but I stuck it out and eventually got into it. Once I had my first 3D course it was off to the races, I was hooked on modeling. I sought out anyone who could show me more than what I already knew. Eventually I had made friends with everyone at the school who was passionate about the work and we sort of bounced ideas and workflows off each other. Sadly, the school was very general and there wasn't much emphasis on modeling so I dug up information anywhere and everywhere I could.
Around this time VFS was blowing up the internet with amazing modeling reels and you couldn't help but take notice. VFS had a hefty price tag though and I was a little apprehensive about it. However, I just kept seeing stuff coming out of there that was far better than anything I was doing so I bit the bullet and decided to enrol.
I moved up there in the spring of '06 and started classes in the beginning of May. VFS was tough love, let me tell you. It was a huge workload and a bit overwhelming, but it was well worth it. It was a different environment. Everyone was pushing each other. It was very moving to be a part of that atmosphere. My class was great. I learned so much from everyone around me, made some very good friends, and the majority of our class is all working in the industry.
In terms of the actual curriculum you get six months of a basic introductory style course and then you moved into your specific stream of choice: animation, modeling or visual effects. You then move into the "ant farm" where you spend six