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Interview with Sam Yang


By Predrag Rócneasta Šuka

Web: http://www.cg-sammu.net/ (will open in new window)
Email: moc.liamtoh@gc.gnays

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Date Added: 14th August 2012
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Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how you became a renowned artist?

During my high school years I loved to draw my favorite characters and all sorts of nasty creatures on paper. I decided then that I wanted to turn my "hobby" into a career. Inspired by video game cinematics, I finally decided that I needed to go to an art school to learn the fundamentals of 3D to get things started. After graduation I committed myself to polishing my skills in my free time so I didn't fall behind in the industry. Entering competitions on forums definitely helped me get closer to becoming a renowned artist - it is a great way to get more exposure, receive critique and open up to any freelance opportunities.

When looking at your work I can tell that you certainly don't lack ideas. From where to you extract your inspiration; is it comics, old movies, life or something out of the box?

Going back to the old-school low poly characters that we all remember being so amazing has been my newest approach this year. When recreating Zero from Marvel vs Capcom (originally from the Rockman X series) I knew he would already have a great target audience. This way people can easily relate to the character, which is something I think about a lot before committing to anything. I wanted him to have a new twist, yet maintain that iconic original design that Capcom came up with. Thinking out of the box is a good way of putting it. As artists, it's important that we try to step away from what's already been seen and introduce things that are fresh and unique. Some inspiration comes from watching my childhood favorites: Laputa, Nausicaa, and many others. As for video games, the ones that had an impact on me when I was young were Final Fantasy VII to X, StarCraft, and Diablo II.

Modeling-wise, have you ever started your model from scratch, disregarding the current stage or development, due to having a new idea?

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Yes, I have. Sometimes the first pass of your model gets revised and tweaked afterwards in production. Coming back to it a second time or even a third time is usually for a final polish pass in most pipelines in the video game industry.

How have you refined your workflow after so many successful projects and competitions, and how has it evolved?

The reason I enter art competitions is not for the prizes, but because I learn something new at the end of each one. When I was a student I was trying to do everything in a single software package. After a lot of trial and error I started to understand how much faster and cleaner my workflow could be. Things like switching to RoadKill for UV unwraps, and rendering real-time on the Marmoset engine has saved me a ton of precious time. I work with 3ds Max, ZBrush, Roadkill, Marmoset and Photoshop. Learning how other artists approach their contest pieces is another great way of improving your skills as an artist. Silhouettes and making sure the shapes read well at a distance are very important as well.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you deviated from your current style and started to make cute furry creatures that the world could fall in love with?

(Laughs) I will make something cute and furry next time I get the chance! I do enjoy watching movies like Ice Age and Finding Nemo, so perhaps this new direction could turn out to be fantastic.

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