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Interview with Alexandre Troufanov

By 3dtotal staff

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Date Added: 6th January 2014

There is just one week left to register for the Professional 3D game character creation workshop with Alexandre Troufanov. We chat with the man himself in this
exclusive interview!

Alexandre Troufanov is a renowned character modeler for one of the world's biggest videogame creation studios, Ubisoft. Having worked on the hugely successful projects, Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations over the course of his career so far, Alex has a wealth of experience in creating top-quality characters for the games environment.

Here, we talk to Alex about his experiences in the videogame industry and how he hopes to share his techniques and practices in the professional 3D game character creation workshop, to allow students to hone and perfect their own game character creation skills.


3dtotal: When did you first become interested in digital art, and was it as an extension from more traditional methods?

Alexandre Troufanov: During my early childhood I liked to draw - like every kid, I guess. During my high school years though, I discovered another passion for portrait and figure drawing, and eventually I became amazed by the CG VFX revolution that was taking place in the film industry in the early 1990s.

My real first experience with 3D was in 2001 when I enrolled in an Introduction to Maya course, which ended up being insufficient to help me land my first job in 3D but still gave me a reason to stay motivated and continue and persevere for many years to come. It also helped me discover the area I most enjoyed: creating 3D characters. It certainly encouraged me to pursue a career in that direction.

3dt: Who would you say your main influences have been?

AT: I've been working in the game industry for past 5 years (which is far from being that long) but the amount of creative people I have worked with is amazing - you never get bored learning or being inspired, so it's really hard to tell right now who exactly inspires me.

During my teenage years though, I was captivated by car design and all forms of shiny rendered illustrations, so for that reason my all-time favorite is Sead Mead, I guess. Just don't ask me what the link between him and character modeling is!


3dt: What was the inspiration behind your workshop image?

AT: Ha ha, easy one! I would say working in the videogame industry gives you the advantage of meeting a lot of interesting and talented artists. The concept of the character used for this workshop was a personal design by Patrick Lambert, one of the most talented character concept artists at Ubisoft. He was kind enough to lend me permissions to use his concept for this workshop. Even before finding his concept though, I was searching for that type of character.



3dt: Do you have any favorite specialist techniques, trick or tips that you would consider make your signature style?

AT: I would say attention to detail when it comes to armor and materials and overall organic-looking characters.

3dt: Is there any area of digital art that you haven't yet explored and would like to pursue?

AT: In my free time I try to sketch characters on my tablet and would very much like to eventually be able to design my own characters in the same professional way character concept artists do. Not just in terms of Photoshop rendering but with everything else that it takes to create a successful character design. At work, I have excellent mentors like Patrick Lambert, Jeff Simpson and Remko Troost who are all helping me become a better artist (thank you, guys!!).

"Creating this workshop was the perfect opportunity to share my knowledge and also inspire those who are willing to take that journey"


3dt: What made you decide to share your experiences and techniques in a workshop series?

AT: I received a lot of email requests asking if it's possible to describe how I go about creating a detailed and believable armored character. So, for me, creating this workshop was the perfect opportunity to share my knowledge and also inspire those who are willing to take that journey.

This is not my first experience sharing my techniques, though. Back in 2010, Nicolas Collings (Senior Character Artist on the Assassin's Creed brand with me) and I gave a presentation on the Assassin's Creed II character pipeline during a CG Conference in Montreal. Also for past 5 years, I've being doing portfolio reviews in different schools, mainly here in Montreal.

"This workshop is for those who are looking to learn how to create cool characters with techniques that won't take years and years to master"

3dt: Who will benefit most from this workshop and what can they expect to achieve after completion?

AT: This workshop is for those who are looking to learn how to create cool characters with techniques that won't take years and years to master. Simple motivation, perseverance, and with my help I will guide you through the process of creating such a character. You don't need any super-advanced knowledge in any of the mentioned software, with just the basic knowledge I can help you accomplish the rest. Through this course, I aim to inspire you and help you prove to yourself that you can do magic (without any magic tricks!).


3dt: Do you have any advice for artists who are just beginning their journey into the world of digital art and looking to improve their work?

AT: There were a few things that helped me reach the job I have today. First, you need to stay focused on your goal, no matter how cool and tempting other things might be - stay focused on one goal. For example, if you decide to become a character modeler but have no experience designing concepts, ask an experienced artist from the internet if you can recreate their concepts.

You alone have to decide what you would like to do the most, be it characters, environments or other subjects. Don't think you will impress anybody if you have a little bit of everything in your portfolio, especially if you are junior and looking for your first job. These days many companies want to see your specialist field and not necessary how much of multi-tasker you can be.

Secondly is the most obvious - and also hardest - to achieve: WORK BEYOND HARD. During my last session back at school, I slept on average 3 hours per night, and the rest of the time was dedicated to personal work and school. I ended up looking like zombie after a month - but I got the best job I could ever wish for and that's all that counts.

Finally, for those who are going to enroll on the workshop I can offer to have this conversation (and more) during one of our live sessions!

Professional 3D game character creation workshop: your questions answered!

To secure your place on this workshop, simply head to the 3dtotal shop and purchase your seat! We've had a brilliant response to the workshop so far meaning there is now only a few spaces left. If you're unable to get one of the remaining spaces, please send an email to emma@3dtotal.com and we will do our best to accommodate you on the workshop!

Related links

Check out the Professional 3D game character creation workshop
Visit Alex Troufanov's personal website

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Alex Troufanov on Tue, 07 January 2014 8:38pm
Thank you Paul, see you in class ;). OmarBrice not sorry no able espagnol :), english, french, russian.
Paul on Mon, 06 January 2014 6:24pm
Looks like a great course Alex! Can't wait for it to start!
OmarBriceo on Mon, 06 January 2014 4:15pm
hi man good job :)
do you speak spanish? only for email question not the class.
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