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Interview with environment artist, Richard Piper

By 3dtotal staff

Web: http://www.richardpipespiper.com (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 15th July 2014

How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?

RP: I recently changed my web hosting to Wix.com, who also offer an amazing WYSIWYG interface for quickly creating and adding content to your on-line portfolio site. I managed to re-make my entire website design and add all the imagery and text within one day without any HTML knowledge. I can update my site remotely and increase content or change layout extremely quickly. If you purchase a domain and get their pro package you wouldn't even know it was a Wix site as all branding is removed. I no longer have to worry about coding a site, I just drag and drop the layout in place. The layout is also optimized for tablets and handheld devices.

In regards to your personal portfolio, I think it’s important to only show your very best work and to keep it specific to the role you aim to acquire in your chosen field. When I first began, I tried to do everything from characters to demo levels, but I received valuable advice from an industry professional and I scaled it down to small environments and now mainly textures, as this is what I enjoy the most.

An arcade machine prop for the Viaduct Pub interior
©2014 Richard Piper

I also think it is invaluable to share your work on forums and art groups and to receive as much constructive critique as possible, but this is only useful if you act upon it and be humble about your work. I find the 3D community to be an amazing place, with plenty of honesty in respect of work and we always support each other when required.

Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?

RP: Four artists always come to mind when I am asked this question.

The first is an artist who is a digital master but not within the gaming industry, and this is Bert Monroy. He is a digital illustrator who creates realistic imagery within Photoshop completely from scratch, using photos only as a reference. His tutorials are also invaluable and a great introduction to Photoshop as well as Illustrator.

The second is Helder Pinto, an artist I have followed since his Crytek days, who has now moved to Blizzard in the USA. His videos on material setup in CryEngine on Eat3D helped gain me a firm understanding of shader creation, image manipulation and tips on getting the most out your texture work. His professional and personal artwork is second to none and he always shares his techniques and scenes to help other artists understand the technicalities of scene creation.

A forest scene created using UDK
©2013 Richard Piper

Third is Rogelio Olguin, his artistic style has always appealed to me, from his work with Crystal Dynamics on the Tomb Raider franchise to his recent work with Naughty Dog. He is another artist who is willing to share his techniques using Substance Designer and also an Art Dump showcasing textures from The Last of Us, which helped me to appreciate the quality bar Naughty Dog have achieved.

Last but not least is Tor Frick, his work using UDK for scenes such as a Baroque-styled room is an amazing achievement and I love how his work is presented in a vivid, ethereal style.

What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?

RP: I hope that my artistic journey sees me looking at more technical aspects of the craft. I feel the recent procedural setups are an amazing way to gain control over surface variation and the most efficient way for a studio to build a library of presets to accelerate and enhance a studio’s workflow.

The Quixel suite is an application I intend to evaluate and I also want to explore Allegorithmic's Substance Designer and Painter even further, as I feel this is the way texture creation is being driven in future works. I do hope that the artistic flair is retained in this procedural era and I feel Substance Painter is the medium that will allow this to happen.

Point Reyes Lighthouse inspired by John Carpenter's 1980's Film The Fog
©2013 Richard Piper

Links to my tutorials mentioned in this article:

Knald â€" An Introduction and Overview
Photo-based sculpting in Mudbox, XNormal, NDO2
Substance Painter an Overview

Other related links

Check out Richard Piper's site
You can also find him on YouTube
Submit your work here

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Wdcstudios on Wed, 16 July 2014 3:12pm
Great interview, very inspirational as I'm going through a career change myself.
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