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Darko Mitev: senior character artist interview

Darko Mitev

Senior Character Modeler

3D generalist for Brown Bag Films, Darko Mitev, shares his latest work inspired by the idea of school kids gaining superhero powers, and takes us through his process…

3dtotal

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?

Darko

My name is Darko Mitev. I am a 3D generalist from Macedonia. I started my career in Macedonia doing VFX and commercial work. Then I moved to TV show animation and feature film animation industries, and I am currently living and working in Dublin, Ireland, as a senior character artist for Brown Bag Films.

3dtotal

What was the workflow behind your latest gallery image? Where did the idea come from?

Darko

My latest image titled Chloe was part of a series of images I did when I asked myself the question: what if every day school kids suddenly got powers? How would they cope with that? Are they going to be scared, excited? How would that manifest in their physical appearance and character?

Chloe, in particular, has got a super charged brain. She is the smartest kid (or human for that manner) on the planet. And, because of her love for gadgets and technology, she (and I) was inspired by Iron Heart from the comics, and she decided to build herself a suit that she would use for a totally different purpose than a normal superhero would. She joined the Mars expedition and decided to go live there trying to find out if life is possible on Mars, and to help build the technology and infrastructure for humans to one day have a plan B in case our planet can’t sustain us anymore. The suit is based on nano-technology and would form around her as she needs it to support the harsh Martian environment.  She understood that being a hero doesn’t just mean saving the day, but saving humanity itself, one invention at a time.

3dtotal

What challenges did the image present? Did you learn something new?

Darko

These series of images where created for me to improve my design skills in 3D, as well as to push my 3D character creation skills in general. Chloe in particular was very challenging, because she didn’t have any super power to show off with. She is just smart. So, her suit was the main thing that would tell the story about her. I had many, many iterations, with different suits, and different types of fabrics and armor pieces. I didn’t want her to look like Iron Heart, because her role is very different. The whole process took me about a month and a half, and although it was a great challenge, it was worth it in the end, because she is my favorite character of the series.

3dtotal

Do you use any other software, either for work or personal projects?

Darko

I am constantly on the lookout for new software, and recently I started adopting Clarisse IFX and Substance Designer in my workflow. There are a few others on my bucket list that I haven’t had the time to play around with yet, like Substance Alchemist, The Megascans library of props and textures, and Phoenix FD for doing some effects. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by people who know FX to a very high level, and they help me out from time to time in my environment projects, but I would like to be able to do it myself as well.

woodwork workshop sculpting a beast with chisels

3dtotal

How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?

Darko

I have a simple rule that I follow to always stay motivated and never get bored doing personal work. I always try to do the opposite of what I am doing at work. Meaning, if I am doing characters at work, I try to do environments at home. If I do stylized work in my day job, I go for more realistic work at home. That being said, I do like to change things around from time to time, and include character and environment work in one piece. For me, the most important thing is for my work to tell a story. So, I adapt my workflow and subject matter in order to tell that story in the best way possible.

3dtotal

Are you a member of any social media groups? Any favorite hashtags you check on a daily basis?

Darko

Like most artists nowadays, I am part of some of the bigger Facebook groups such as Ten Thousand Hours, CG Character Arts, CG Environment Artist, 3D Modeling and Animation Group, and so on. I also like to follow environment photographers and explorer’s pages such as Rebecca Bathory Photography, and @abandoned_nordic on Instagram.

3dtotal

What are your artistic ambitions?

Darko

My main artistic ambition is to be a better artist tomorrow than I am today. Currently, I am exploring more realistic and cinematic styles for characters, creatures, and environments. There are many stories that I like to tell in this style and it’s a nice contrast with the stylized work I am doing at my day job.

3dtotal

Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?

Darko

From the traditional artists, I really admire Leonardo Da Vinci and his unprecedented mastery. Moreover, his unsatisfied curiosity to discover how things work is something I can strongly relate to. From the digital artists, I really like the works of David Lesperance, Mickael Riciotti, and Dylan Ekren.

futuristic back alley with camera drone

3dtotal

What can we expect to see from you next?

Darko

As I mentioned before, I am focusing on realistic work. At the moment, I am trying to develop an environment piece that will be an animation of an experimental prison facility, where they do experiments on inmates. The style I set for it is retro futurism, and it will have a dramatic feel and slight horror twist.

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