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Interview with Robin Benes

By Richard Tilbury

Web: http://www.tes3d.com/ (will open in new window)
Email: moc.d3set@set

(42098 Views) | 1 Comments
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Date Added: 10th October 2012

How do you normally approach texturing detailed models such as the Goblin Pirate?

I think it is a standard approach that everyone uses. I start by sculpting and some model preparation. I then do some UV set planning for all the elements to simplify the further maintenance and minimize problems when creating shaders. After sculpting the details I make UV adjustments to prevent texture stretching. The texturing itself is quite simple. I take advantage of Normal, AOC and Cavity maps to detail the geometry. Of course what is really important is the source of the textures - either I take pictures myself and make further adjustments or I use the www.cgtextures.com server, which contains a huge, high-quality database. Recently, I started to utilize the 3D Coat application, which makes the whole process very effective.

There are quite a few pieces in your portfolio relating to The Scourge Project. Can you describe the idea and background behind it?

The Scourge Project belonged to the Spanish company Tragnarion. I joined the company as a senior character artist, later moving to a lead character artist position. The project was a third person cooperative sci-fi game based on the Unreal 3 engine. My task was to create an "Echo Squad" unit - a group of unique mercenaries who stood against the corporation and its experiments with alien technology. When all the main characters were done, I had an opportunity to create many monsters and alien creatures. The work on this project was most enjoyable as I was given a chance to realize all of my visions from an initial thought through to design, models, textures and shaders, up to the finished characters in the final product. It was also my first experience with the Unreal 3 engine and my first of many relocations abroad, so I value this experience as the best so far.

Being able to design the characters is a great opportunity. As a 3D artist how do you go about tackling this challenge?

Designing a character or practically anything these days is very problematic - most of the great designs have already been used and processed. In most cases, there is some similarity with an existing and well-known design. This usually leads to a strong criticism of copying/duplicating/plagiarism. There is no other way than to use all of one's skills, get all the inspiration possible and try to come up with something more complex, interesting and new for the audience (client, CG forum etc). However, there are clients demanding a specific style (Gears of War, for example) and at that point there is no more creativity.

What is your typical workflow when creating a new character?

I think my workflow is pretty standard. My first ideas and visions of new characters start with a search for particular elements on the internet. These elements are usually essential for the character - armor, weapons, hairstyle, historical drawings and the photographs of old civilizations and their technology. I always try to think first about the reasons why the characters should have this and that in terms of logic. I would say the essential thing is the historical background; what the character has been through and has experienced. When I'm inspired enough I start with the 3D base modeling, UV, ZBrush detailing, maintaining UV for stretching and sculpting, generating all the maps, exporting models into 3ds Max, light setup, basic shaders and then after all this the texturing can start. I like to do everything continuously and move on to the texturing part of the model/shading when I am happy with the quality. Then I can move on to another model.

If you had the opportunity to work on any film, what would it be and why?

Rather than being interested in the film itself, I am more interested in the company and the bunch of people working together, sharing their know-how and growing together. I prefer darker fantasy/sci-fi movies like Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Aliens, Predators, Event Horizon and Pandorum.

What is it about the darker side of the mind that appeals to you from an artistic point of view?

The "darker" side of the mind has always been much more interesting to me compared to the "pure/bright" one. Bad guys always have a more interesting past; you never know what to expect from them and generally the overall design phase is such a creative orgy. The good guys are, in practice, only copies of a single character. One cannot expect much from them - expect them to get the bad guys "into line" and avenge their loved ones. That is a bit boring.

To see more by Robin Benes, check out Digital Art Masters: Volume 7

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Tom McNamara on Tue, 16 October 2012 4:16pm
Most images look like busy iterations on Blizzard's franchises. Not my cup of tea.
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