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Dimitri Néron: concept artist interview

Dimitri Néron

Concept Artist

Experienced concept artist Dimitri Néron offers some sage advice for artists while sharing work from his portfolio and the workflows that work for him…

Dimitri's website

Adam

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

Dimitri

I am a concept artist with 5 years of experience. I started my career at Frima Studio Quebec, and then I moved to Montreal to work at Digital Dimension and Meduzart, where I worked on various cinematics for AAA titles. I stayed there for a year before I was recruited by Ready at Dawn, located in L.A. During these 18 months under the Californian sun, I had the pleasure of working with great artists on Lone Echo. At the end of the project, I went to work at Gearbox in Quebec City, where I currently live with my wife and my son.

Adam

Tell us about your art: Your style, themes, genre, and some of the favorite projects you have worked on.

Dimitri

I love everything! I’m doing painting as well as 3D, and I love designing characters, environments, vehicles, props, and so on. For every project, I experiment with new approaches, even if I know that it is not the fastest way to get to the end result. Doing that helps me stay up to date and ever so creative, so I’m ready for all the new workflows out there.

In terms of style, I kind of like it all! I don’t feel like I prefer a particular style. I want to be versatile and do realistic mechs on one day, and then stylized work the next day. I still don’t think I am quite there yet though: I will have to keep having fun exploring! In regards to my favorite type of projects, I like those where we have time to explore different avenues, where we can try to find the perfect concept by exploring different possibilities.

Adam

Can you describe your typical workflow, and the software/hardware you normally use when creating your artwork?

Dimitri

Like I said previously, I touch on or know many different software, such as Photoshop, Sketchbook Pro, Modo, 3D-Coat, ZBrush, Fusion 360, Moi3d, Keyshot, and so on. But I mostly use Photoshop, Modo, 3D-Coat, and Fusion. What is important to know is that every one of those can be better than the other, depending on the situation and needs. You don’t need to be afraid to mix them up!

As a quick example, if I am asked to develop a small or mid-sized prop or detail kit, I will use Fusion or 3D-Coat, and I will pick between them considering the time frame: 3D-Coat is fast, but very raw (which I love); Fusion takes a bit more time but, man! Those transition forms and gritty details are sweet!

If I am asked to do a bigger prop, human scale, or bigger, where the silhouette is very important, like a vehicle, spacecraft, or building, I will use a combination of Modo and Photoshop. You may wonder why Modo and not 3D-Coat or Fusion. It’s just that usually, the bigger props can be made with simple geometry like cubes, cylinders, or spheres, while Modo makes it very easy to create a nice silhouette by moving, pulling, and distorting these basic shapes. But at the end of the day just use what makes you happy with the results and what gets the job done.

Adam

What inspires you?

Dimitri

Oh boy! Go have a peek at my Pinterest! A lot are secret boards though... wink wink! I consume so many visuals from all over: fashion (my wife is a fashion designer), traditional painting, product design, concept art, movies, documentaries, and so on. Another great place of inspiration is your surroundings: when you learn to paint, you also become better at observing, so just take a short break and process all the information around you, wherever you are. I just love creating, so I do it as much as possible. I don’t think too much about my portfolio, I just try to learn more every day and in doing so I improve my portfolio.

When you learn to paint, you also become better at observing, so just take a short break and process all the information around you, wherever you are. I just love creating, so I do it as much as possible. I don’t think too much about my portfolio, I just try to learn more every day and in doing so I improve my portfolio

Adam

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

Dimitri

It’s a very hard question. I think every artist has something to say or put on the table. I would say that I’m more inclined to appreciate traditional painters, built on the fact that the subject or the techniques are just mind blowing. All the thought that goes into one of those master pieces! Those artists could spend months and make thousands of drawings to solve one particular challenge! To create these paintings, each and every single brush stroke was well thought through. We have so much to learn from them!

Adam

What can we expect to see from you next?

Dimitri

I will keep doing my best to evolve toward my goal to become a great artist. I hope I will be able to work in different industries, such as films, architecture, industrial design, fine art, and meet some great artists.