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Billy Lord: Character artist interview

By 3dtotal staff

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Date Added: 22nd October 2015

Get to know Little Krampus character artist Billy Lord, as he shares some portfolio pieces and insight into his ZBrush workflow...



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

Billy Lord: I am a character artist working out of Austin, TX. I am a graduate of the Art Institute and have over 3 years of experience in games and VFX. I'm a husband, cat parent, and sci-fi fan-boy.

Study of Danai Gurira as Michonne (AMC's The Walking Dead)

3dt: Where did you find the inspiration for your latest gallery entry? What's the story behind its creation?

BL: Little Krampus was originally illustrated by the wonderful, Jean-Baptiste Monge. When I initially saw it, I fell in love with its charm and whimsy. I immediately wrote to him asking permission to translate it into a 3D model. Not only was he happy to let me, but he took time out of his busy schedule to give me feedback.


3dt: What software and plug-ins did you use to create this image? Did you face any difficulties, and how did you overcome them?

BL: For this piece, I used ZBrush, KeyShot, and Photoshop. It was an interesting challenge to translate a stylized illustration into 3D, as liberties in perspective were taken by JB to compose his piece. I find sculpting from an illustration to be artistically grounding. By this I mean, I did the bulk of the sculpture without symmetry and was able to get a real sense of traditional quality out of the software.

Sculpt of Viggo Mortensen's character 'The Man' from the film, The Road

3dt: Do you normally use this software in your workflow? What other software and plug-ins do you favor?

BL: I tend to use ZBrush for most everything I do. KeyShot is a bit of a new experience for me, but with the integration of the ZBrush to KeyShot bridge, I find it makes the rendering workflow much more fluid and easier to work with.

3dt: Are there any particular techniques that you use often?

BL: I prefer to start with a sphere and dynamesh in ZBrush to quickly block-out my work. I like the freedom of not having to work around poly counts or edge-flow during the early stages of the game. After I determine the direction and shapes that I am going for, I Zremesh and work pretty conventionally. Re-sculpting from the lowest to highest sub-d level to get some of those secondary forms for free.


3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?

BL: In my career, I have been very fortunate to work alongside some amazing artists and some really great role models. My greatest ambitions are to continue to work with some of the best artists the game industry has to offer, to learn from their experiences, and to provide the same guidance that I have received to younger artists.

3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?

BL: I have been dabbling in Fusion 360 for some hard-surface props and weapons. Although it is a CAD program, it has some really powerful tools for modeling and gets great results pretty quickly.


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

BL: I'm not sure that I have a ton of favorites I can name. I am always on ArtStation and Pinterest getting ideas and seeing what is fresh out in the art community.

3dt: Do you like to experiment with your personal works, or do you prefer to stick to tried-and-tested methods?

BL: I like to experiment with different styles but tend to do them with a pretty consistent workflow. Not that I am not open to something that may be better, just a creature of habit.

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

BL: Well I have a few things in the works that I can't talk about at the moment, but I am eager to show them off. So stay tuned!


Related links

Check out Little Krampus in the gallery
Head over to Billy's website
Grab a copy of ZBrush Characters & Creatures

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