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Rory Björkman: 3D generalist interview

Brown Bag Films 3D generalist Rory Björkman specializes in hard-surface modeling and texturing, but has started bringing more organic elements into his work. Find out more…

Artist Profile

Adam

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

Rory

Well, my name is Rory. I work at Brown Bag Films here in Dublin as a 3D generalist, so that means little bits of everything from modeling and texturing, to rigging. It’s good fun here; we have a good working environment. If I’m not at a computer, I enjoy rambling around museums, markets, and looking for what I consider “antiques,” but what others may call junk. While many of the artifacts I find have no material value they have history and an untold story, and are beautiful even in a decayed state. Not to mention they act as excellent reference. Some antique shops are gold mines of inspirational reference. I’d buy a 17th Century dagger over any iPhone any day.

Adam

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

Rory

When starting a new image or character I think of a narrative; what environment, time or world is the subject in, and then I think how this affects their appearance and why. Does its function dictate its design in any way? In this case, the figure is aesthetically inspired by the medieval period, (and a box I found). His crouched stance and spring-loaded legs are because he is a weight-bearing mech. He is one of two who carry a heavy king’s coffin between them. They are also about 20 ft tall. That was my objective for the finished piece anyway.

Adam

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

Rory

One of the challenges this image presented was the ornate detailing. As it is not a texture effect but physical geometry, getting it to fit the shape of the mech required some research. I used a technique of transferring the mesh onto the geometry via the UV editor. I will explain this better in the breakdown steps.

Adam

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

Rory

A lot of my work is hard surface, and I intend to try injecting more soft and organic subject matter into my projects, so I’ve been spending a lot of time in Marvelous Designer and ZBrush.

Adam

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

Rory

Having a full-time job takes up a lot of time for personal stuff, so I try to only engage in projects I know I will finish. If it’s a character with an environment, I will break the project down into mini projects. That way as I complete each asset I can upload them and get feedback. To keep myself motivated I try to pick subjects that have a new element or technical challenge, so I’m always learning and it feels less repetitive.

If it’s a character with an environment, I will break the project down into mini projects. That way as I complete each asset I can upload them and get feedback.

Adam

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

Rory

I don’t spend too much time on social media, but I do frequent some 3D sites like Artstation, and also the new 3dtotal.com site looks lovely so I’ll be checking in there more often! However, I’ve recently set up an Instagram for posting WIPs and checking out other people’s stuff. I always check in on other artists to see what’s out there and to gather inspiration.

Adam

How important is the recognition of your peers?

Rory

There are some artists out there that I really admire and are recognized in their field, so when I post something and get their appreciation it gives me a huge boost. But I deeply value the opinions and feedback from fellow artists like me and up and coming talent. I’m always willing to learn and help equally; I think the 3D community is very much based around this philosophy.

Adam

What are your artistic ambitions?

Rory

I always endeavor to do what I love as much as possible, and luckily for me that’s 3D art. I enjoy my role here in Brown Bag Films and while there is scope to climb the ladder, one of my goals would be to still be in a hands-on creative role.

Adam

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

Rory

Every time I go on 3D art websites I’m blown away by some piece of work from an artist I’ve not seen before, not to mention the usual favorites, so it’s hard to have a singular favorite. However I more often than not find huge inspiration in 2D work, most notably Piotr Jabłoński and Oleg Vdovenko, both of whom have a unique style, but more than that superb narratives and a dark moody aesthetic.

Adam

What can we expect to see from you next?

Rory

Right now I’m exploring forms and shapes of characters while trying to push them into more interesting themes. So I will continue that; only next with more cloth and organic surfaces.

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