Videogames and 3D Creation: How the “Elder Scrolls: Skyrim” Charted Vincent Sun’s Career
It’s interesting to note that a lot 3D artists derive inspiration and motivation in their craft from videogames. And is it any surprise as the videogame industry is not only booming, but also comes up with the most creative and innovative concepts in Pop Culture. Indeed, as opposed to what the older generations say, videogames are not intellectually bereft. And nobody knows this more than Mr. Vincent Sun. Mr. Sun, a Character Artist of 3 years and a Content Creator of 8 years, found inspiration in the mod creation of “Elder Scrolls: Skyrim”. From there, his passion for the craft grew, exceeding his interest for Business Management. Mr. Sun went on to finish his creative studies on Simon Fraser University and the CG Master Academy.
Now, looking at Mr. Sun’s works online fills us with the strong notion that he had made the right choice. So let’s get to know Mr. Vincent Sun and see how what makes 3D artists like him and how he continues to thrive in the digital arts industry.
Xeno Creatives (XC): We understand that with just about any craft, passion takes precedence. In your case, how did it start becoming a passion? Would we be right in assuming that you consider it a “calling” as a lot of your contemporaries do?
Vincent Sun (VS): My passion in becoming a 3D artist dates back to the days of the “Elder Scrolls: Skyrim”. When I was playing the game, I stumbled upon a group of people who were part of the mod creation team. Since I knew nothing about 3D stuff at the time, I was naturally fascinated by the mods and extensions they created for Skyrim. Watching 3D artists building characters and props step by step felt magical to me. It didn’t take long before I started messing around with 3D software and eventually became part of that creative team. I was a business student while I became more and more attached to 3D content creation; by the time I graduated from school, my interest in becoming a 3D artist had already outgrown my interest in the business field.
XC: Was there ever an art piece (digital or otherwise) or artist who served as a catalyst for your involvement in the craft? When did you get involved fully in the 3D industry?
VS: I was really impressed by UE4’s digital human project when it was introduced in 2016. Back then I was dedicated to work on Bethesda’s Creation Engine. The level of realism UE4 was able to achieve was such an eye-opener. It inspired me to turn my focus towards photorealistic character creation and expand my study to other gaming engines such as UE4 and Unity.
XC: Now that you’re an active part of the industry, would you say you have pegged a solid place in it?
VS: I probably wouldn’t say so. The gaming industry is a constantly-evolving environment. The bar keeps getting raised by new software features and new works posted by other artists and studios. You have to always put yourself in learning mode and be willing to incorporate new elements into your familiar workflow. More often than not, doing so disrupts your familiar workflow and renders hundreds of hours of your experience obsolete. Also, your next creation process becomes unfamiliar and painful. It’s like sailing against the wind. If you are standing still, you will soon fall behind.
XC: How does your day look like in production?
VS: I like to put on some music or podcast in the background to help me focus on the task in hand. I always plan things ahead so at the beginning of each day I have a good idea what I need to focus on.
XC: It’s such a delight to see your works online. Among your works, do you have favorite pieces? If so, what would these be and why? Also, what would you consider your biggest or most exciting project to date?
VS: My favourite work has always been the ones that are not yet published. While I’m certainly proud of everything I have published so far, there are tons of unfinished projects that I will be very excited to present once completed. Some of them are from yet published games that I’ve been part of. I’m also working with a few talented artists on a bigger project based on Ben Erdt’s concept art. The scale of the project is much bigger and will take at least a few more months to finish.
XC: If you were to market yourself what would you highlight as your edge?
VS: I would market myself as a photorealistic digital character artist. I have a refined workflow for sculpting, texturing, and hair creation. I am also quite experienced with cutting-edge technologies such as ray-traced shader setup and strand-based real-time hair.
XC: If you weren’t a 3D artist today, what would you be working as?
VS: If I didn’t get into the 3D field, I would probably be working in a local financial institute, calculating mortgage and pension eight hours a day for the next 30 years of my life. I am glad I found an alternative to that life.
XC: What is your message to other artists especially in these trying times?
VS: I learned over the years that there is no shortcut when it comes to creating highly-detailed, photorealistic 3D artworks. One thing I took from great artists like Adam Skutt and Ben Erdt is that while they are certainly extremely experienced, a lot of their successes come from being able to focus and spend a huge chunk of time perfecting every aspect of their creations. A lot of time and attention are spent on fine details which are hard to spot but crucial when it comes to bringing a character alive. It’s not uncommon for new artists to only spend a fraction of the production time on these aspects and become frustrated when they are not able to achieve the level of quality they wanted. While skills and experience are no doubt essential, time and devotion are equally responsible for the creation of amazing artworks.