3DTotal: I guess you are best described as an ‘organic 3D modeller’. What has led you into this field and how do you currently make a living doing this work? Alex: Well, I started by modelling a bit of everything from spaceships to buildings to characters. I started doing 3D as a hobby and I was always modelling stuff... one thing then led to another and I suddenly started working as a modeller for a little company in Barcelona. After that I got a job in the UK where I started modelling environments and characters. What I like the most are characters, so I guess this is why I’m best known, if I’m known at all! Actually, I work as a Senior Character Artist for Ilion Animation on a 3D movie, and I also work freelance as a character modeller...
3DTotal: Can you tell us a little bit about this 3D movie you are working on? Alex: Sure! We are working on a 3D animated film which is hopefully going to be great fun and very high quality. There’s a lot of effort being made by many people on this project, and there are a lot of hopes to create a solid 3D animation studio here in Spain. I can say that, right now, the quality that we are getting is set very high and the technology being developed within the studio is also great! The movie should be released in 2009, and you can visit www.ilion.com to see some of the stuff being done over there!
3DTotal: I know you use a considerable amount of ZBrush within your creations, so what do you find best about this software and what enhancements has the new v3 brought to your workflow? Alex: ZBrush has brought to modelling a new way of working, where you can nearly sketch more than you model, which makes it fairly quick to try out different designs for your characters. As an example, I had to create an alien for a freelance project, and the guys didn’t give me any references because they wanted to see different designs, so it was quite simple and cool to sketch different faces in ZBrush very quickly... After two days they knew what they wanted by seeing all the different models! (See images Alien 1 and Alien 2). Version 3 is just great; it’s very powerful and allows you to use many more polygons than before! Also, the ability to use more than one object and the transpose are just great! That allows me to spend more time modelling and less time exporting to Max to move, pose or fix some things.
3DTotal: Sketching concepts in 3D is something new to me! I can imagine your employers loved this; is it an alternative method you would recommend for others as opposed to traditional concept drawing? Alex: It is a great method for me at least: it is fun, very creative and very fast! I don’t think that it is a totally alternative method to traditional concept drawing but I think they work together very well since you can sketch something on paper and straight away you can start sketching it in 3D and see how it works! I have to say that we don’t use ZBrush or any other sculpting packages here at work, since the models that we do are quite cartoon-ish so we don’t need to use this kind of software, but I’d love to add it to our pipeline!
3DTotal: What other software do you regularly use and how does this plug into your workflow? Alex: I also use Mudbox, Maya, 3DS Max and, of course, V-Ray! I just find it to be so powerful and so good with displacement maps! Also, Photoshop and Bodypaint for texturing are both great and all of this software are OBJ compatible so they fit together quite well (for me at least...).