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Interview with Luis Antonio

By Predrag Rócneasta Šuka

Web: http://artofluis.com/ (will open in new window)
Email: moc.liamg@acirtceleacaf

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Date Added: 29th January 2013

From pencil drawing to ZBrush sculpts, your work portrays personal stylized characters. Did it take years to develop?

That's a hard question. I would say that my style is naturally evolving and has grown from what it was a few years ago. When I look back I see a huge evolution, but when I look at where I am now I still feel I have tons to learn.

What drives your personal and work projects? Is it the new beginnings, work phases, finished artwork or the game play itself?

I try to guide my professional work by the essence of the gameplay of whatever game I'm working on and let it dictate the visual. It's easy to get distracted and make it personal or just to do what you feel is cool and start to lose focus on what is actually important. I like all the phases of a project and even though I look forward to the finished artwork it's the day to day process that is the most fun. I've noticed in the last few years that the games I have more pleasure working on often don't end up being the best ones.

As for personal projects, I usually use my free time to do what is not possible at work. If I'm currently doing something extremely stylized I will try to work on something realistic at home. Or sometimes I'll just focus on learning some new tools and trying to leave my contort zone.

Did you ever change your entire focus towards the end of a project and start from scratch? What did you take from that experience?

That is a really good question since it happened recently. When I started to work in games I would be very attached to everything and would be very frustrated if I had to change it or if it ended up not being used. After a few projects I started to see the overall picture and how it wasn't my personal work, but a team effort.

On my last project we got away from that overall picture and had to re-design the art direction from the ground up. It was a really big ask for the artists and producers since we were supposed to already be in production, but in the end everyone was really happy with the results. I learned that it is important to always keep in the back of your mind what the real objectives of your project are. You can even write it in big letters on a whiteboard and whenever you start to stray, just look at it and make sure you get back on track.

You must always have the next step in mind - where do you see yourself over the next few years?

I want to elevate games to the art form I believe they deserve to be. I've had a chance to work on triple A games with Rockstar and to lead a team at Ubisoft. Both experiences were amazing and I grew a lot, but felt something was missing.

The current economic climate is forcing the big companies to be money driven and forget what games are about (or maybe it was always their nature and I only just noticed it). I think every game developer has the responsibility to make good games. Games that actually have something to say and aren't just fast food or another sequel with no new gameplay evolution. I need to be part of an environment like this and see if it's actually possible to do something that will give gamers something deeper than just entertainment.

Do you have any big future projects lined up or any more moves on the horizon?

Yes! I'm working on a project called The Witness right now, with someone I greatly admire: Jonathan Blow. He is an amazing designer and programmer.

I moved to San Francisco about a year ago to work on The Witness and it was a big change going from a 300+ team to a small group of 5/6 developers. It has been an amazing journey and I've learned a lot more than I thought I would. The creative process inside such a small team is incredibly rewarding and I feel, for the first time, that I'm working on something that is truly meaningful and that can be called a work of art.

I've also started to learn how to program so I can have a shot at trying to design some games. The future feels really bright and full of possibilities!

Thank you for answering all of our questions and good luck for the future!

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts as an artist. I think you guys are doing an amazing job and helping to make the 3D artist community grow in the right direction.

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