For today's interview, we have our former Escape Studios' student Kevin Nelly, who is currently working as an Environment Artist at Codemasters.
Who or what inspired you to get into 3D art?
I drew a lot growing up and in my Fine Art Bachelors degree I used 3D software whenever I could although the stuff I did was really crude. A lot of my career before Escape had been trying to blag myself into 3D related work (VR,AR,Graphic Design) but without the foundation or proper credits it wasn’t much use. I always wanted to be able to flesh out my sketches and turn them into 3D spaces since playing games as a kid. So I suppose really it was the N64 Zelda games and Final Fantasy X that really made me want to get into games art and that inspiration still stays with me.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I am working on F1 2019 in the new Codemaster Birmingham Studio. In my own time I'm finishing a couple of personal projects that I've been working on. A concept based environment piece by an awesome artist called Joon Ahn and a prop project inspired by First Nation/Native American masks. Something that I'd wanted to do for a long time but hadn’t had the proper skills.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The best part is getting into the flow of environment modelling and learning about other areas of development such as lighting and researching possible new workflows. "Worst parts" are the jobby bits of the job; bug fixing, file management as usually you just want to do the creative bits. But it’s a fairly pleasant "worst" part of the job and it’s all part of being a professional.
How your typical workflow looks like and which tools and software do you prefer to use?
At home I've decided to step away from Max/Maya and try to do all modelling in Zbrush. Zbrush is a bit more relaxing to spend time in because you're not worrying about performance when doing high-polys. Also I found a big choking point in my personal work is moving from one software to the next, going back and forth to make minor tweaks and getting sucked into a repetivie energy sink. Removing 3DS Max/Maya from the equation helps do away with this bad habit. After initial modelling I chuck my work into Substance Painter and then light in Unreal.
What key piece of advice would you offer to a 3D artist aspiring to work in the games industry?
Patience and commitment is needed. Keep working each week on side projects (my new artstation work was done bit by bit on my lunch break over a month), take a professional approach (consult with recruiters, don’t call yourself a creative ninja and have a sensible CV) and be patient. It took me 9 months after graduation until I got my first games job at Codemasters.
What's your favourite game and why?
Nostalgic favourite is FFX for visuals. But my new love is God of War. It puts every other game to shame.
Finally, what do you like to do in your spare time (if you have any)?
My spare time has been working on my personal projects and travelling to see friends. I’m also currently learning World Machine. Oh and playing Sekiro!
I would like to thank Kevin for answering the questions and as usual don't forget to check out his work at: