The creature and character concepts from Andrew “Boog” Faithfull are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. From alien hunters and space raiders to elves and otherworldly oddities, he uses KeyShot to capture and captivate with these incredible creature and character designs. Here, we talk with Andrew to learn more about his work and how he uses KeyShot in his process.
What sparked your interest in concept art and sculpting?
I always had a massive interest in making the imagined, real. Watching the original Star Wars movies and sneaking in to watch Jaws and Blade Runner cemented that love for me. I have always been fascinated by other worlds that artists created and the creatures and characters in them. So, I simply wanted to do it myself. With the gaming industry, as well as film, I had the chance to do this. Fortunately, due mostly to technology, there was a better chance of working in the industry as a designer. I had a very normal job and, as soon as I realized people were making a living with concept art, I knew I had to get into it. I spent a long time working solely in 2D and, when ZBrush became available, switched to 3D and haven’t looked back. It allowed me to sculpt what was in my head and it just clicked. A few years of hard work later and jobs started to come in.
What was the turning point in your career?
Without question, my first major job in the industry was the turning point. I went from doing very small jobs for companies to working on a AAA project in the space of a week. It was a steep learning curve but one that got me up to speed with how things worked very quickly. I think, looking back, that I probably wasn’t quite ready at the time but when the chance is offered you have to grab it. A highlight is one of my current projects. I am Lead Creature Designer for a film in production. It’s going to be a really great film and I work daily with producers and the director to develop the creature. It has shown me another side to how the industry works when not just creating art.
What is unique about your approach to a project/design?
I work completely in 3D now which allows me to iterate very quickly with ZBrush and KeyShot then check the design with my client. I focus a lot on shapes whilst designing and like to think I come up with original designs — I’ve always had a pretty ‘out-there’ imagination and hope this has helped with the projects I’ve worked on and the ones that are to come.
What is your primary 3D modeling software?
As a concept artist and creature/character designer, I predominantly use ZBrush for everything. It’s so flexible and allows me to design on the go. With the help of KeyShot and Photoshop, I can literally come up with the original designs I am after. If designing the model for the whole pipeline, I usually bring it into Maya to make it more efficient and clean it up. But really, ZBrush does it all.
Where in the process do you use KeyShot?
I use KeyShot throughout the whole process of my designs. After the initial idea and rough block out, I quickly switch across to KeyShot using the bridge from ZBrush and then set up a basic lighting environment to see how it looks. From there, I can see how the design is going to develop and if changes are needed to the basic build before I go in for details. It is also useful for showing a lit model to clients that shows a bit more form due to the lighting. I then regularly go back and forth from ZBrush to KeyShot to develop my design until the final image gets the full lighting treatment to develop the shot before moving into Photoshop.
What makes KeyShot an important tool to have?
The speed in which I can set up a testing environment in KeyShot is really beneficial; it allows me to test models and get a feel for them before diving in and committing to the design. It works in harmony with ZBrush and together I can quickly visualize my ideas.
KeyShot allows me to develop a library of differently configured materials, set them up fast, and use them across my designs. When I am ready to finish the image, I can set up a very high-quality render. With the new KeyShot GPU renderer, there is very little wait for the renders to come through and I can quickly make changes to the design and send it off to clients for a quick approval.
What advice would you give to someone interested in doing what you do?
Stay as focused as possible and listen to people who have been there before you and are working in the industry. When starting out, I found most of the top-level artists would help as much as possible, giving you advice and positive ways forward. Listen to them. They know more than you do and take in everything they say but do so in your own style. There are also many cheap tutorials out there from the masters and they are worth their weight in gold for someone who wants to get into the industry. Finally, work hard!! If you put in the time and really work, you will get to where you want to be. It may not be straight away, but you have to go through the hard times to get to the good!!
See more at afconcepts.co.uk