This time around I had the pleasure of talking to an old friend of mine, Joseph Hobbs, Lead Prop Artist from Ubisoft, France.
Who or what inspired you to get into 3D art?
For me it was never really a specific person, over the years I’ve met some very inspirational people who have encouraged me to pursue my dreams of working in video games. If I would name some of the people who really helped get my head in the right place it would be Gurel Mehmet, Laurent-Paul Robert and Paschal Mc Guire, when I was younger they helped guide me through the minefield that the artistic and professional life can be. I’ve always had a passion for games, but it took me some time to nail down what aspect of working in games interested me and of course what I was good at.
What are you working on at the moment?
The Division 2
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
Personally I love the challenge of trying to design a prop that meets the requirements for both level art and level design needs, it can be a tough creative challenge, but I find it very satisfying. As for the worst parts, I wouldn’t say there is anything I would consider bad about my job, but I would say that breakdowns in communication can be frustrating to deal with but easily avoided. Strong communication in a team to make sure everyone is on the same page can make sure no time is wasted and everyone is happy.
How your typical workflow looks like and which tools and software do you prefer to use?
I can’t go in to specifics for our project, but my personal workflow at home is pretty standard. For small props I use a standard high to low poly bake process using Substance Painter and ZBrush mostly depending on the prop I want to make. For anything that is too large to bake entirely, I will split it in to components that I can bake and repeat on the prop, and have larger surface areas use tiling textures that I then create shaders for that overlay unique information on top of the tiling texture, or use decals to break up and add details where I need them. Programs I use regularly at home are: Maya, Substance Painter, ZBrush, Headus UV Layout, Marmoset Toolbag.
What key piece of advice would you offer to a 3D artist aspiring to work in the games industry?
Never give up, ever. If this is what you want to do, and you can’t imagine or want to do anything else, then you push forward. Never get lazy, never half-ass any work or how you present it. Do your best, make mistakes and learn from them to improve. You will have days where you doubt yourself or don’t believe any more, push past those days, we all have them and it’s normal. Your job applications will be rejected, you will get professional critique that may be harsh but will be holding you to a standard that you have to meet to get that job. You only need one person to say yes, and you’re there. Getting your foot in the door is hard, but worth it. The work that follows is even harder, but you will be where you want to be and it’s like nothing else in the world.
What's your favourite game and why?
I have played so many games, and many of them stand out to me, but if I were to go with the one that had the largest impact on me at a young age, it would be Final Fantasy 7. This game came out just at the right time. I was 10 years old and heavily in to my video games by that stage. The (at the time) amazing 3D graphics, story, combat system and depth of the game really made me think about games differently. It was around that time I started to dream about making games one day, a dream I didn’t act on until my mid 20’s, but I got there in the end!
What do you like to do in your spare time (if you have any)?
I do actually have spare time amazingly. I go to the gym three times a week, this is important as I spend so much time sitting down. I play games (shocker). I work on personal projects, and generally enjoy the life of living in a town as beautiful as Annecy.
I would like to thank Joe for the interview as well Ubisoft for this interview. Don't forget to check his brilliant work at: