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Kieran McKay: 3D character artist interview

By 3dtotal staff

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Date Added: 14th May 2015

Sony/Guerilla Games 3D character artist, Kieran McKay, talks about his latest ZBrush projects and shares his recent work...



3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?

Kieran McKay: Hello my name is Kieran McKay. I'm a 3D character artist from South Wales, UK and I'm currently living in Cambridge working with Sony Computer Games Europe/Guerrilla Games. I am passionate about art and games and I love to get inspired by great art.


3dt: Tell us the story behind your recent gallery entry: What inspired you to create it?

KM: This is my World of Warcraft fan art piece that I recently made. The concept is by Cole Eastburn at Blizzard Entertainment. I first saw the image at a friend's house while he was playing the game and it blew me away. I loved the design of the character and all of the little adornments and armor!

I believed it would be a great challenge to make the character in 3D and I thought I would learn a lot from the creation process. I really loved the differences in the surfaces and how I could translate them in ZBrush, really making it come alive as a sculpt. I really had a lot of fun making this guy and I hope to do something similar soon!


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?

KM: I used ZBrush and 3ds Max to create my World of Warcraft artwork. Making this work was a great and wonderful journey. I tried and tested things I had never done before. I think it is really important to sometimes take a big leap and do something you are not comfortable with as it helps you grow as an artist, and it will develop your knowledge and skills.

My main goal was to nail the textured surfaces and material quality of the character. I done this by using many alpha brushes, textures and Ztools that I had never touched before.

For most of my work I use mainly use ZBrush and 3ds Max. I also use other software like Maya, Topogun, Roadkill, Photoshop, and Marmoset.


3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?

KM: For me it is important to practice and learn new things outside of work with personal projects. I like to add fresh things to my portfolio, and I work on them whenever I can. I like to pick something challenging and something that I can learn new skills with. I have had loads of fun with my latest works and I am working on a new project right now.


3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?

KM: I am inspired by many artists and it would be hard to name them all.

I have always been a huge fan of the Guys at Sony Santa Monica working on the God of War games, like Katon Callaway, Patrick Murphy, James Van Den Bogart, and Bryan Wynia. Their stuff is hugely inspirational to me and I would love to work with those guys someday.

I think Yosuke Ishikawa has some really amazing work lately, and I am always excited to see more from him. I love his real-time renders - you need to see them!

Darek Zabrocki is a close friend of mine and I really envy his Photoshop painting skills and incredible eye for detail. He has some really great work also.

I love both 2D, 3D and traditional artwork. Some of my other favourites are: Frank Tzeng, Joshua Brian Smith, Gilberto Magno, Jamie-Lee Lloyd, Daniel Bel, Marart Ars, Michal Kus, Kurt Papstein, Satoshi Arakawa, Jon Troy Nickel, Reno Levi, Bruno Camera, Khyzyl Saleem and many more.


3dt: How do you like to unwind?

KM: After a day at work and finishing off with some personal stuff, I love to hit the gym and blow off some steam. I love to keep fit and eat healthy as it is important to have this in your life.

Usually I never really unwind as I am always thinking about 3D and art and how I can do this... or that... and so on. But I think it's a good thing because it's something I really love and I want to make work that others will enjoy.


3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?

KM: Right now I'm working on another personal 3D character project. It is something I have only just started and I'm squeezing it in whenever I get chance! I'm really excited about this one so I hope you will look out for it.

3dt: What animal would you choose to be reincarnated into?

KM: I think I would love to be a bird of some sort. I would really love to have wings! It would be amazing to see the world from that perspective and own the sky.

Related links

Kieran McKay's personal site
Kieran McKay's ArtStation
For help making your own ZBrush creatures, grab a copy of ZBrush Characters & Creatures

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