3D artist Daniel Simon discusses his inspiration for his sci-fi category-winning image, Phantom AP-X, moving from characters to mechs...
3D artist Daniel Simon's Phantom AP-X image was entered into the 3dtotal gallery in July, and went on to amass 611 points to win the sci-fi category. We caught up with him to discuss his methods and inspiration...
3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
I'm a 3D artist with more than 5 years of experience in the game Industry. Currently I'm located in Tangerang, Indonesia and doing freelance work. I do humanoid, creatures and recently I've discovered a new interest in learning more about mechanical stuff, like robots and androids.
3dt: Tell us the story behind your recent gallery entry: What inspired you to create it?
The story for this mech is that he is a mysterious robot that helps the main hero in his time of needs. Named Phantom
because of his radar jamming device on the shoulder, it makes the other mech radar malfunction, thus it makes him harder to be seen. My inspirations were movies like Appleseed
, and tons of mech anime.
3dt: What software did you use and do you have any tips for using this software, or any other software that you use to create your art in general?
I used ZBrush
to make this one.
A fan art of Michonne from The Walking Dead series. I like her action in the movie so much, so I decided to make her
3dt: Would you consider yourself to have a particular signature style, or techniques that you use often?
I love exploring, there are endless possibilities. My senses and eyes were trained to figure details while creating a realistic model. So I might say, I have no particular favorite style, but more like my own approach to understand the object itself. Observe lots of references, stories, background, or brief to get the model as close to my imagination as possible – or close to my client's direction.
3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?
ZBrush – there are still many features to explore in ZBrush, especially with the new 4r7 release
. I was very excited with their new feature, and I will use it to the max. I especially love to make everything in ZBrush. Also texturing package like DDO
from Quixel or Substance Designer
from allegorithmic, because the next-gen games will use PBR so much. I think it would be great to have a nice texturing skill set with those softwares. Also I want to learn Unreal
, I do really want to try and learn that engine because it's a next-gen engine.
3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
Keep being inspired is one thing, upgrading skill and portfolio are also important. So time management plays a very big role in my freelance career. Usually while making my own portfolio, I always try to push myself to learn something new. Also, I try to strengthen my basics as well, learning anatomy, silhouette and forms by sculpting famous people's faces or sculpting an ordinary person's face and expressions. Good thing that I live in Indonesia – we have many kinds of people here, with a variety of faces to learn from.
A bust fan art of Assassin's Creed : Black Flag
3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
, for being an awesome teacher who showed me many things in a short course, and who always inspires me with his mech work. Rafael Grassetti
, for always inspiring me with his terrific work, especially his creatures. And also some concept artist like Vitaly Bulgarov
, Jerad Marantz
, Marek Okon
, Nivanh Chanthara
, Maciej Kuciara
, because their designs are so outstanding, they keep me inspired.
3dt: How do you like to unwind after a hard day's (or night's) work?
I always thank my kids for this one, they are beautiful gifts from God or you could say blessings from God. Without them, life would be so boring. They always cheer me up between my work, or sometimes make some doodle on my digital sculpture (but not before I save and back up of course). Ha! Sometimes, I just play some games like Dota 2
or RPG games like Dark Souls 2
3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
I do really hope I can make more sci-fi related stuff, and not just a character, but a scene with a story to tell. For now I'm entering the Blizzfest challenge
, where I'm gonna make a reaper from Starcraft II unit. I'll try my best to make her according to game model specs and see how its turns out.
A mech that I've created after joining Furio Tedeschi's courses
3dt: If you could choose any superhero power, what would you take?
I would take Professor Xavier's mind power, because I'm always curious about what other people are thinking, so I'd like to hear what their thought are.
Check out Daniel's website
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View the results of the trophy voting for July