Danny Mac: 3D artist interview
UK-based 3D artist Danny Mac creates tutorial and advice videos on YouTube featuring ZBrush and Blender. Find out more…
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Hi! My name is Danny, a 3D artist based in the UK. My unorthodox approach to the industry has me creating YouTube videos and selling digital products to make a living, and I love it! I do the occasional client work, but I mostly research and develop ideas and techniques and share them with my audience.
Tell us about your art: Your style, themes, genre, and some of the favorite projects you have worked on.
I think I’d struggle to hide that my artwork has been influenced by Disney Animation. I was once possessed by the idea of working for them and I think the level of appeal they capture is unrivalled so I’ve spent a fair time studying their characters. I find myself far more attracted to stylized characters than realistic because there’s a lot more room to play with. I get stick for only sculpting female characters but I think personal work is about working on what you want to, rather than what people tell you to. My favorite project to work on was my most recent, Black Cat Cosplay, because it was my first dive into using Blender which turned out to be an absolute joy to work with!
Can you describe your typical workflow, and the software/hardware you normally use when creating your artwork?
My workflow tends to vary quite a bit from project to project but it’s typically ZBrush heavy. For really quick sculpts I will sculpt, retopo, texture, pose, light and render entirely in ZBrush then comp in Photoshop. Longer pieces are usually much more involved:
- References and inspiration – Pure Ref
- Concept sculpt – ZBrush
- Retopo – 3D Coat
- Rig – Blender
- Texture – Substance Painter & Photoshop (+ textures from Poliigon)
- Pose, Lighting & Rendering – Blender
- Comp – Photoshop
I use a UGEE 2150 tablet on a gas spring mount.
What inspires you?
My biggest source of inspiration is mostly other artists. 3dtotal & Artstation are incessantly topped up with tons of awe-inspiring work. Instagram is also great because you find a nice mix of artwork and photographs to be inspired by. Obviously I get inspired by most of the stuff that comes from Disney Animation but also Dreamworks and Illumination Entertainment too.
Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
Great question! This list could go on and on but some that spring to mind are Giselle Ukardi, Glen Keane, Chrissie Zullo, Carlos Ortega Elizalde, and Luis Gomez Guzman. Each of these artists has a solid sense of how to push shapes, proportions and colors in a way that captures so much appeal. They have all influenced my work in some way.
What can we expect to see from you next?
At the moment I’m working on a series of Video Essays for YouTube about the Semiotics of Stylized Character Design. I’ve loved developing the research on this and I can also feel a passion for video editing emerging in the process! This doesn’t mean I’ve sidelined 3D art of course; I’m mad keen on seeing what the next version of Blender is capable of. We’ll just have to wait and see what comes next!