Cédric Séaut is a digital sculptor working in the games industry. His introduction into this career came courtesy of Ninja Theory where he worked on their successful title, Heavenly Sword. He now works for Ubisoft and has recently attained some notoriety for being awarded second place in the Dominance War IV competition... so we thought it was about time we found out more about him!
3DTotal: Could you tell us a little about your background and how you came to be involved in the world of 3D? Cedric: Since childhood, I’ve always been fascinated by cinema, Manga and Belgium/French and American comics. I used to spend every free minute reading, drawing (more trying...) and going to the cinema. Computers were quite expensive 12 years ago so I waited until after high school to get some small jobs and be able to finally get one. After high school, I tried to find some 3D schools, but in France it’s hard to find one; they are usually bad or just very expensive and so I finally opted for computer programming at university for four years. Unfortunately, I didn’t really learn any 3D so I worked hard every evening and weekend. At the same time, I created some mini flash games to pay my rent. One day, after a lot of patience and tests, an amazing guy (Hugues Giboire) gave me my chance in Cambridge on Heavenly Sword... it was the beginning of a beautiful adventure!
3DTotal: Heavenly Sword contained some great artwork and concept design, but what was it like working on the project and what were the main things the job taught you? Cedric: Heavenly Sword was my first experience of working on a game. And working on characters for a first experience was just the most amazing chance ever. So actually, this game gave me the opportunity to learn everything from concept to in-game character creation. It was also the chance to live in a new country and to meet new people and make new friends.
3DTotal: You were were awarded 2nd place in the Dominance War IV competition last year. Can you describe your inspiration behind the design and how you went about creating such a complex character? Cedric: I didn’t really know what to do when I started creating that character. I created a sphere in ZBrush and let my hands do the work. It was very bad but I just needed somewhere start. I usually ask my wife if she likes my characters or not. If the answer is yes, I keep going. I was probably influenced by my job at the time (James Cameron’s Avatar, the game) and by some Manga I was reading, Gunnm: Last Order and Full Metal Alchemist. Before polishing, I looked for some pictures on the internet for references; the incredible Fausto de Martini, Vitaly Bulgarov and Damien Canderle were the main ones. I’m a huge fan of their work! Then the ZBrush and 3ds Max tools and functions helped me to finish up the rest.
3DTotal: You mention looking at reference pictures with regards to polishing your designs. Can you elaborate on this and explain what it is you look for? Cedric: Actually, I used to study patterns, details, colors, overall shape and how everything works, if it’s logical, if it can move and how it moves… It’s the same when you open the front of your car to see the engine, you look at pipes, bolts, liquids, connections, etc., and you try to create the same kind of things but on a character to give him life and make him move.
3DTotal: I understand that you use Silo as part of your 3D pipeline. This is perhaps unfamiliar to some of our readers and certainly not one of the more common choices. Can you explain why you chose this particular package and the advantages it has over others? Cedric: Actually, I didn’t know Silo before my experience at Ninja Theory in Cambridge. From my first day there, my Art Director pushed me to use it. And finally I took the step... not because he always harassed me, but really because it’s a wonderful modeling package [Laughs]! It’s very simple, clean and powerful. There are few functions, a simple interface and it’s efficient. You can get a very detailed character in a short time.