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Pierrick Picaut: freelance 3D artist interview

Blender specialist Pierrick Picaut discusses the workflow behind his "Cliff Tower" gallery entry, creating tutorials for his site and 3dtotal, and plans for the future...

Blender specialist Pierrick Picaut discusses the workflow behind his "Cliff Tower" gallery entry, creating tutorials for his site and 3dtotal, and plans for the future...

3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Pierrick Picaut: I'm a 34 years old 3D artist. I dived into a freelance career nearly 3 years ago and I'm super happy with it. I used to work in printing commercial products as a production manager, so I was mostly a technical guy, but I got my hands on 3D five or six years ago, and I got totally addicted. I now work on my own on many different kinds of projects (visualization, medical videos, 360 videos, design and so on) and as a Blender foundation certified trainer, I publish courses and create one on one training.

The Bird – time-lapse sculpt and character creation

The Bird – time-lapse sculpt and character creation

3dt: Where did you find the inspiration for your latest gallery entry? What's the story behind its creation?
PP: I was looking for something to prepare a course for beginners, but that also included the whole pipeline for cinematic 3D production. I did want to make some stylized environments inspired by my friend Sergio Raposo. So I took some time to look on the web to find the perfect concept done by Corentin Chevanne and asked him if I could use it. He kindly accepted and I turned it into 3D entirely in Blender.

The Cliff Tower – my latest Blender tutorial output

The Cliff Tower – my latest Blender tutorial output

Outer Rim fleet – this artwork of an indie game features as Blender's official splash screen

Outer Rim fleet – this artwork of an indie game features as Blender's official splash screen

3dt: What software and plug-ins did you use to create this image? Did you face any difficulties, and how did you overcome them?
PP: I used Blender along with the following plug-ins: Node Wrangler for fast shader managing, and F2 for fast retopology. That's about it. I didn't face many technical difficulties as the workflow was familiar to me. The main difficulty was not to mess with such a great concept, and not to create a stiff composition. After that it was all about organization.

An old concept I refreshed a few years ago

An old concept I refreshed a few years ago

3dt: Do you normally use this software in your workflow? What other software and plug-ins do you favor?
PP: I have a big Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop background so I still use them quite often. Indeed, Photoshop is very important in my workflow for texture editing and compositing. I use Blender ninety-percent of the time, but I am training in and using ZBrush more and more, and I've also tested and used Substance Designer. I also use After Effects a lot, of and Audition. Finally, I use Camtasia Studio for tutorial recording.

I also use other Blender addons: GoB, which is a GoZ side addon. It works fine and helps you save a lot of time, even if it is still not as optimized for other software. I've also used Retopoflow from the CGcookie crew, which is great and allows fast retopology too.

The Goat Sorcerer – personal project for fun

The Goat Sorcerer – personal project for fun

3dt: Are there any particular techniques that you use often? Or do you like to experiment?
PP: I have quite a classical workflow with sketch sculpting, retopo, detail sculpting and all the baking and textures creations... But I do have to experiment as Blender evolves very fast, as there are so many things you can do. You have to find shortcuts in the pipeline when working for clients to reach deadlines with a good result. On the other hand, when creating courses, I generally work on things I'm comfortable with, but try to find something unexpected, a technique that may make working more efficient. Publishing tutorials is one of the things that really helps me push my level higher each time.

The Throne – personal project and the largest piece of work I've ever done

The Throne – personal project and the largest piece of work I've ever done

3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
PP: I'd like to open a studio at some point, and be able to work on commercials or games. I love Blur Studio's work. This is the kind of job I'd like to get into. I won't refuse any BLIZZARD proposition.

3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?
PP: I'd like to master ZBrush as it is so powerful to both sketch and make highly detailed productions. I also believe that the future of CGI is in real-time things, so I'm lately trying to learn a little more of the Substance suite, and I'm currently working on a new tutorial to create in-game or cinematic game character. I believe I will have to learn Unity or Unreal Engine as soon as possible!

My first attempt at a realistic and likeness portrait based on an Underworld movie character

My first attempt at a realistic and likeness portrait based on an Underworld movie character

3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
PP: I love CG, so, even if I haven't got a professional contract I will just wander on the web and find something motivating to do in 3D. I also follow what's new and hot in CG and see if I can apply it with my skills... The Goat Sorcerer, the Vampire portrait and the Bird were just "for fun” projects, and this is mostly where you test your skills and improve... if it comes out great, I put it in my portfolio.

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
PP: I like Max Puliero a lot because he is one of these artists that gets the best out of Blender, using subjects that I love. I'm also quite impressed with Hossein Diba because of his incredible technique, featured so often on 3dtotal. I also love stylized CG and cartoonish characters. I'm a big big big BLIZZARD fan. When I was a child, I used to draw all the Warcraft Orcs and Humans, and still do today: I'm in love with their style.

3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
PP: I've been working on 360° videos lately for customers that might be published, but my big project recently is a tutorial creating a stylized warrior based on Dean Holdeen work (also one of my favorite artists).

Ember Demon – one of the characters from The Throne, a short movie project

Ember Demon – one of the characters from The Throne, a short movie project

Related links

Check out Pierrick Picaut's personal site
Take a look at Pierrick's work and tutorials on 3dtotal
Grab a copy of ZBrush Characters & Creatures

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