Leo Haslam is a London-based creature and character designer, sculpting his creations in ZBrush and rendering them in KeyShot. Inspired when he was young by the best movies of all time, he has turned his passion into some of the most unique creature concepts we’ve seen. Here Leo tells us more about how he uses KeyShot in his workflow to create his stunning concept visuals.
Leo Haslam / Creature & Character Design
Modeling software used: ZBrush
What sparked your interest in creature and character design?
I’ve been a fan of sci-fi and monster movies ever since I was a kid. I think I had seen Robocop by the time I was six years old. I grew up with two older brothers, so I was always being exposed to movies that I probably shouldn’t have been watching at that age but I’m glad I was because it definitely shaped my design tastes. I’d say my biggest influence growing up was definitely HR Giger and the Alien movies.
What was the turning point in your career? or highlights or your career?
Last year I was invited to give a lecture at IFCC in Croatia. IFCC is an awesome festival mainly geared around digital art in the entertainment industry. It was a great opportunity to meet fellow artists and make contacts in the games and film industry. I left the festival feeling inspired and with a renewed enthusiasm for concept design. Since then I have gone on to work on some cool projects, the highlight being some character designs for one of Neill Blomkamp’s Oats Studios shorts.
What is your primary 3D modeling software?
ZBrush. It was the first 3D software I used and it’s still my weapon of choice today. I always enjoyed sculpting while I was growing up and when I discovered ZBrush it just felt like a natural and intuitive transition into working digitally.
Where in the process do you use KeyShot?
Once I have everything sculpted and posed, I send the ZBrush project over to KeyShot via the ZBrush to KeyShot Bridge. Once in KeyShot, I set up a bunch of materials, camera angles and render passes and then move to Photoshop for polishing up and refining things.
What makes KeyShot an important tool to have?
KeyShot is, hands down, the easiest rendering software to use. When you add to that the fact that it renders great quality images in real-time, it becomes an indispensable tool to have.
What advice would you give to someone interested in doing what you do?
Just do what you love and keep doing it. If you love to make environment art then just focus on doing that. Don’t waste time trying to get good at something you don’t enjoy because if you get good at something you don’t enjoy you’ll end up working on things you don’t enjoy. Just focus on what you love and dedicate yourself to it.
Some of Leo’s amazing sculpts, taken from ZBrush to KeyShot, printed on his Ultimaker 2 3D printer then painted up.
Read more about his 3D printed work here