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Kyoungsoo Kim: 3D character artist interview

Kai Kyoungsoo Kim

3D Character Artist

Kai Kyoungsoo Kim is a 3D character artist currently working at Blur Studio in Los Angeles, USA. He talks about his latest personal project, creating a cast of characters for a short film…

Kai's Profile

Adam

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

Kai

Hi, my name is Kai KyoungSoo Kim and I am originally from Korea. I’m a 3D character artist and I’m working at Blur studio based in Los Angeles, USA. As a 3D character artist at Blur Studio. I work not only on realistic characters, but also work on stylized and animated characters with tightly packed schedules which means there is no reason to complain about getting bored since I get to work on many different styles of projects. Also, I’m responsible for the entire character including modeling, texturing, shading, and hair.

Adam

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

Kai

The latest personal project I worked on is Ryan. The reason why I made this particular character is because I like Ryan Gosling and I'm a huge fan of the styles from movies such as Elysium, Bright, and District 9. I love the theme of the near-future that merges with contemporary and futuristic lifestyle. Therefore, I can take any resources from real life and combine with anything I picture as futuristic stuff, and find a good balance. Thus, I made this character very much like one of them from the movies.

I especially focused on making the character accessible,  like someone you might see everywhere, but that doesn’t quite exist in real life. Therefore, I put the character in techwear, which is my favorite, and made him look to be less than human. I was responsible for modeling, texturing, shading, hair, and the concept.

Adam

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

Kai

Honestly, I had a lot of fun with this project. It’s always fun to sculpt heads from a scratch without scan data. Also, working on his skin with tattoos and damaged skin was a whole lot of fun since one rarely does this for an ordinary human. In addition, because I designed this character from my imagination, I came up with his background story and designed him based on the story. Also, I tested multiple ways for my character to appear unique, such as skin variations or different hair styling tests.

Adam

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

Kai

I like to use multiple software to make my work process faster and easier. For example, I start with Maya for a basemesh and finish in 3ds Max for keeping a bunch of stacks for revising in the future. For sculpting, I use ZBrush then I use Substance Painter to generate edge mask maps, and I texture in Mari to add details, or I finish in Substance Painter sometimes. Then I bring all the sources into 3ds Max and work on the shading process using V-Ray. Lastly, I use Ornatrix for hair and fur.

Adam

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

Kai

Sure, I have Instagram. I usually check my favorite artists, and to get some fresh perspective instead I search for 3D. I also love contemporary art and it gives me a lot of inspiration. I believe that sometimes it’s better to freshen up my eyes through looking at other art fields like architecture or fine art painting.

Adam

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

Kai

I like many contemporary artists but I would say Takashi Murakami, James Jean, Antony Gormley, Paul McCarthy, and Ando Tadao are my favorite. They’ve inspired my perspective on art hugely, and they are the main reason why I like art.

Adam

What can we expect to see from you next?

Kai

My goal is to create my own squad. Starting with Ryan, I’d like to create more characters like him, to potentially make a short film based on the characters. I already started on a new character and I will keep working on my own style and studying how to make characters more attractive and unique.