Xeno Creatives Artist Spotlight: Zack Fair

by Joshua Diokno   

With a notable industry experience spanning 13 years, Zack Fair already knows how to seamlessly operate in the 3D creation sector. But as with any other brilliant artist, Mr. Fair knows that being a master of the craft entails constant practice. And looking at his works over at ArtStation, we see evidence that he takes his own advice. In this feature, let’s get to know Mr. Zack Fair and see how he built himself as a formidable artist in the digital creation space.

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?

Zack Fair (ZF): Yes, maintaining passion is crucial in this industry. I make adjustments to my work and pipeline should it be necessary. I also do some small exercises that interest me during breaks to maintain my enthusiasm. After I started creating my own original works, I received recognition and a sense of achievement, which motivated me to try and create more. Sometimes I get a sense that I was born to be in this industry.

XC: What was it that got you interested in 3D art? Did you ever plan on taking it seriously initially?

ZF: Like most artists, I developed a strong interest in cartoons and games when I was young. After entering this industry, I knew that I could make a living from it.

XC: Now that you’re an active part of the industry, would you say you have figured your place in it?

ZF: Finding your own position is not easy. You need to see your starting point and goal clearly. Currently, my goal is to become a sufficiently influential digital sculpture artist, and there is still a long way to go.

XC: What does your pipeline usually look like in a typical production? What are the common challenges a 3D artist like you encounters in a project?

ZF: I first sketch in my free time to sort out what I want to create, afterwards, I do silhouettes in ZBrush. I continuously refine the desired design from large to small and from outside to inside until it becomes clear, and then proceed with details, UV, materials, and rendering.

XC: What would you consider your biggest or most exciting project to date? Could you tell us a little bit about it?

ZF: The project that has had the greatest impact on me so far is participating in a design competition, GGAC about civilization and having to win the top award for it. It not only earned me $25,000 in prize money but also had a positive impact on my work and perspectives.

XC: Your works on ArtStation are true visual treats. The concepts, colors, and the way they were rendered are tremendously vibrant and wholly original. We cannot help but gawk at them. Which among your works are you most proud of and why?

ZF: I would have to say, “Dark Blood of the Planet.” However, to be honest, it is not my most outstanding work because it was originally intended to be a cautionary fable that would cause people to think about the environment, war, and energy and avoid them. Unfortunately, it has become some real events today.

XC: If you were to market yourself, what would you highlight as your edge?

ZF: Compared with other practitioners, I can master more styles and have design capabilities that make it easy for me to understand the intended meaning of design drawings.

XC: How do you think digital art-generating AI technology will impact digital artists and the 3D art industry in the long run? Is it a helpful tool or an insidious threat to the future of your craft?

ZF: The advantage of AI is that it can improve the efficiency of designers to some extent. However, the disadvantage is that it competes with practitioners and is likely to replace human beings. I have recently tried to incorporate AI into my personal creative process, but I have found that AI has its own thoughts and cannot generate the results I want, so I only use it as a reference for inspiration. AI currently has a relatively serious impact on the 2D industry, especially on the employment prospects of beginners. It has discouraged many newcomers from joining the industry, and I am worried about this. In the 3D industry, AI is currently unable to handle certain tasks that require experience and human judgement, such as TOPO and UV. So there is no need to worry in the short term, and in my opinion, as long as we can do things that AI cannot do, we won’t be replaced by AI. I still hope AI can be made to help designers solve problems, rather than kill them.

XC: What is your message for your fellow digital artists and those aspiring to be a part of the industry in these challenging times?

ZF: Pay attention to observing things around you, improve basic training, plan and collect relevant information for what you want to create, and need to calm down for long-term accumulation. Then there will be gains. Rest assured I will work hard together with all of you.

Want to see more of Mr. Zack Fair’s amazing works? Visit his ArtStation account today!

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