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Tsubasa Nakai: creative director interview

Tsubasa Nakai

Creative Director

Japanese creative director Tsubasa Nakai enjoys exploring new character ideas, utilizing Maya and ZBrush in his creative workflow. Find out more…

Tsubasa's Profile

Adam

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

Tsubasa

Hello everyone! My name is Tsubasa Nakai. I live in Yokohama, Japan. I have been working in the film, game cinematics, and commercials industry for seventeen years, as well as working on my own projects in my spare time. Now I’m a creative director and I’m always challenging new character styles.

pig, boy, character design, substance painter, character

Merchant

monster, merchant, character design, substance painter, character

Ork

girl, blue eyes, character design, substance painter, character

Princess

girl, close up, character design, substance painter, character

Anna

Adam

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

Tsubasa

Maya, ZBrush, and Substance Painter are my main tools for work. XGen for hair and Arnold for rendering. I spend the most time on the lighting which is a really important phase when making great work. In order to make a beautiful still image, light, shadow, and color are key elements, and Arnold is a great renderer that gives early feedback.

Adam

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

Tsubasa

In the case of making realistic characters, I often use MARI for texturing and Knald for baking. Mari is very easy to project textures to models with many UDIM, and Knald can bake incredibly high quality textures fast, even if the model is too heavy. Depending on the project, choosing the best tools is the shortcut to the goal.

Adam

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

Tsubasa

I think making personal works and sharing them are really important things for improving your skills as an artist, but it is also tough to keep motivated because you don’t have much spare time. One thing I can say for sure is that I enjoy creating the work! I always enjoy making my works and learning CG skills.

I think making personal works and sharing them are really important things for improving your skills as an artist, but it is also tough to keep motivated because you don’t have
much spare time.

Adam

What are your artistic ambitions?

Tsubasa

I would like to ultimately make an animated movie that is not created by Japanese creators, using my characters. For animation movies, characters are the most important elements. In order to making an attractive movie, I will try to design attractive characters who adopt Japanese pop art or comic style.

girl, pink hair, character design, substance painter, character

Denko

girl, blonde, character design, substance painter, character

Femme Fetale

man, realistic, character design, substance painter, character

Man