Robert Berrier is a 3D game artist who has worked on some of the models from March of War. He kindly accepted to take part in our interview series to share some of his knowledge.
Could you introduce yourself to our readers: Who are you and where are you from?
Hi, I’m Robert Berrier and I currently live in Utrecht, the Netherlands. 28 years old and have been learning and creating 3D art since I left school in 2006.
Can you tell us about what aspects of 3D you specialize in?
The last few years I have mostly focused on real time game art. I like doing environment, props and hard surface modeling. I guess you can say everything expect characters. Even though I have made a few character, it is still something where I can and should expand my knowledge. Before that I did 3D renders for architecture visualizations, 2D games and for video compositing.
How did you first get started in 3D? What attracted you to it as a career?
I first got into contact with 3D at school. I was accepted into Graphisch Lyceum Rotterdam and they gave classes for 3D Studio Max. Within just a few of those I was addicted to 3D and started doing a lot of exploring at home, learning the package and what 3D really is.
Do you have any academic training or are you self-taught?
As mentioned above, it all started at Graphisch Lyceum Rotterdam where I got a degree for their Games & Animation course. It was a 4 year plan that mostly taught you the basics of art. Not only in games but also print, DTP, multimedia, traditional art, etc. After that I followed a 2 year course at QANTM College in Amsterdam. This was a more specialized course for game art.
Of course as many others I have learned the most from home. Self teaching just seems a requirement, especially here in the Netherlands where there aren’t that many good game school.
Do you currently have a job in industry?
I have been working at ISOTX for about one and a half year. But as of right now I am looking into a new challenge.
How did you come across Sketchfab and why did you join us?
Not really sure how I learned about Sketchfab. It’s quite popular so at some point it just catches up to all 3D artist. I really like the ease of it and that you can embed your work to other websites. I had just created some models at ISOTX that I wanted to showcase on my portfolio. And Sketchfab gave me the ability to do that without spending a lot of time.
Tell us a little bit about your creative process and how you go about starting a project?
I find shape, color and style very important so I always do a lot of research before I start on anything. Collecting reference, doing small sketches on paper and simple tests in 3D. Just to figure out what direction I want to go to. After that I do a more detailed 3D block out. Just throwing together some basics shapes to see how it looks when you pan around it. From there I slowly build everything up to the quality that is needed for the finished piece.
Where do you get your inspiration from when working on a game like March of War?
The great thing about March of War is that at its core it is a World War 2 game. Of course it has some crazy tanks and creatures. But you can still find a Sherman tank in there. If you do some good research on the internet or in books you can find some really cool stuff about that time. How things were made and how each nation had their own ideas about what makes something good or bad.
We also had some great concept artists there. Michal Kus and Bang Phan. They had an extreme amount of research and reference. Together with them and the rest of the team we were able to create some awesome art.
Of all your pieces currently on Sketchfab, which one was the hardest to make and why?
That would be the Alliance War zeppelin. This was because it was my first task I got at ISOTX. Just fresh in the team, still learning all the people and the work environment. It was also the first time I had to use Maya, sometimes I didn’t even know how to do the most simple actions. So you can image it was quite a challenge for me. Of course that’s how you learn the fastest.
As a 3D designer what do you think of 3D scanning?
I have never worked with a 3D scanner. But from what I have seen so far it still needs more time to develop. Mostly its resolution seems low. Though I can image that in a few years it should be a great tool that can be used for many applications. Together with the 3D printer we should see a massive growth in the 3D world.
Do you have any hobbies that allow you to get away from the computer screen?
Yeah definitely. I really like cycling, especially in the summer, going out and enjoying the surroundings. Or going for a longer ride or faster speed to train myself. I like the challenge and feel like you accomplished something after a hard fight.
What is a normal day like for you?
I try to go to the gym in the morning to get at least some exercise each day. Then after a quick shower and some breakfast I arrive at work at around 10 and continue on the model I was tasked with. Since most 3D work takes a few days I can just put on some music and model the entire day.
From time to time I have a standup or someone needs my help. And of course I show my progress to the art director or concept artist to get some input.
Are you active in any other communities?
Not really that much. I follow some of the more popular art websites. But never really post on their forums. I mostly look at what other people have created. There is some really awesome work out there. And especially if they added a breakdown on how they made it you can really learn a lot from it.
What would be your advice to someone wanting to work in the game industry, any tips ?
There is a lot of competition in this industry. So if you choose to go for this route, make sure you go all the way. That means that you will need to do a lot of learning. Not only in school but also at home. These days there are a lot of good tutorials online that you can use so I suggest you look into that.
Also, when looking at some of the really high level art pieces, don’t be discouraged on how good they are and how bad you are. But rather think that someday you can also do that. Look up and learn from them. Just make sure you do things step by step. Don’t start with a really epic high poly scene with characters. But start with something small and easy to manage. Tackle one challenge at a time. And make sure that you finish each piece you started on.
Thanks again to Robert for taking part in our interview series. There will be more featured artists from the community and 3D industry over the coming weeks, stay tuned in the meantime be sure to check out Robert’s Sketchfab profile, personal page and March of War’s website.
Want more interviews ? Check out our entire series here.