Team Focus – GeoBirb Aug 11 - GameSyns

"If you build it, they will come" - Unknown

Hey guys! GameSyns here! I know I don’t match the name in the authorship, but it’s because I went into the vault and pulled out this Team Focus from earlier this year that never made it to the printing press. Tosh sat down and spoke with one of our talented 3D Modeler boys to learn more about what goes into creating the assets for Installation 01.

Welcome! Thanks for sitting down with me today. So, for everyone out there who may not know you, could you give us a little idea of who you are, and what you do on Installation 01?

Thanks for inviting me over, Tosh! Most of you know me as GeoBirb on the discord server! I am a 3D modeler on installation 01. As of right now most of my works are currently under wraps, aside from the space birds which I created the base model for, back in the map Obelisk. I currently work on some prop models that hopefully everyone will get to see in the near future...soon. /wink/

At the moment, I am a student pursuing a degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts (Animation). My favorite past time includes playing video games, specifically first-person shooters, creating webcomics which I occasionally post on Instagram and just chatting with the Halo community in general. You guys are an interesting bunch.

They are an odd bunch aren't they? And what do you mean under wraps? You can absolutely tell them about all the barrels you make, that's what all 3D Artists do here, right? Joking aside, back in Obelisk you say? So you've been around for quite some time now. Around when did you join the team, and what made you dedicate your talent to help us out on this project?

Heh. More than just barrels, my friend. The models I made are currently chilling in their incubators, waiting to hatch, including a familiar fan-requested vehicle! Worry not, they will probably show up someday in a nostalgic Halo forge map that we have revealed before.

I joined the team around 2016, right before the release of the Road to CE3 vidoc. So the i01 I saw was in a very premature state, but that was enough to hook my interest! I had a recent history with working on fan projects but wanted to gain more experience working as a team. I didn’t know much about Installation 01, I just loved Halo. I saw a fan-made Halo game on the Unity engine and was sold on that idea. So I applied to be a developer and the rest was history. I considered myself a rookie 3d artist as I started learning about it much later than most of the artists on the team, but I have learned considerably from them and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They have been very helpful and patient.

Initially, I was concerned with the time zone differences as I lived in South East Asia, pretty far apart from the rest of the development team, but that hasn’t been an issue. The team is filled with talented people hard at work on the game every day. I was just as blown away as everyone else after witnessing the CE3 vidoc and the cinematic trailer created by Matt Lake. The game had evolved so much over the years and I could not be happier to be a part of it.

Don't give too much away! But I can't wait to show everyone the amazing work you've done! It still amazes me how much talent we have on this team, yourself included in that Geo. You may have started as a rookie, but you're quite good now. i01 has been a learning experience for all of us here, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

So, 2016 eh? That's far too long my friend, but that brings up the question. How long have you wanted to be a 3D Artist, and is that still your passion? You mentioned earlier that you're attending University for Animation, are you looking to make the jump to that, or pursue both? What does the future hold for our ol' Birb?

Aw shucks, I am just glad to contribute whatever I can to this project! This might sound pretty cringy, but I knew I wanted to do 3D art ever since I watched the Halo 3 vidoc “Et Tu Brute”. I would replay the vidoc over and over again, fantasizing what it was like to be a 3D artist at Bungie, working on a project that pretty much defined my childhood.

Indeed, I am attending University to improve my craft on Animation, but 3D art will be a part of the curriculum, so I guess you can take it as learning both! It’s been three months in my first year of University right now and the journey has not been easy and I have yet to touch upon the 3D side of things. But I am still going for it! It helps to persevere, don’t fluster your feathers over grades, take every step as a learning journey and self-improvement!

That's not cringy at all! Everyone has that one moment where you just knew you wanted to make video games. Plus, that was one of their best vidocs, so at least you have a good one!

That is a fantastic way to look at it, I'm sure you'll get used to it in time. It's always good to challenge your skills and ability. You mention doing Animation as a way for you to learn both, would you say - having previously taught yourself 3D art - that it has helped you in your Animation work thus far? And would you recommend any aspiring Animator to dabble in 3D art in their spare time?

Certainly, it never hurts to learn more! It might even become an invaluable skillset you can add to your resume. It also helps to understand how the models work from a technical standpoint, so you are not just playing around with what has been created. You can create your own models and get a better sense of how topology determine the constraints of its animation quality. It’s definitely not a must to be able to model out 3D art if you aspire solely to be an animator, but it helps!

Absolutely, being able to do the entire process yourself is invaluable to your production. But to expand on that a little, what are some tools you would suggest these aspiring artists and animators use to get started? And what are some sources they can use to get a basic understanding of both fields to see if it's really something they want to do?

A 3D modeling freeware that often comes to mind is Blender. It has a pretty complicated UI, but if you manage to get behind all that, it proves to be really powerful. Some of the best looking models for Installation 01 were made using Blender as well. The 3D art industry juggles between Maya, 3ds Max and Zbrush(for sculpting) as the standard modeling tool. Maya is great for animations and 3ds Max performs better for modeling. Zbrush is excellent for those nitty-gritty details and organic shapes.

Every discipline in 3D art is unique. Animation can be laborious, Rigging can get technical, Texturing is working like a tailor but jumping between software and Modeling requires an understanding of anatomy and topology.

Udemy and Lynda provide a series of courses that can help you get started on modeling on any art-related field, but if you look around, there are plenty of opportunities to learn about various 3D art workflows through Youtube itself. You just gotta know where to find them!

I believe the best way to know if you are cut out for any discipline is to dabble into each of them and find out for yourself. You may not know you like a particular field until you try it and realize you are actually incredibly good in it. On the flip side, at least based on my experience, I have met coursemates who drop out of the course after the first semester, simply because it sounded great in theory, but it did not flow well with them when it came to actually creating works. So get out there and explore! Try out many things and find your passion because only you know what you want to do!

Great advice! There are so many programs out there, with so many different options it can be daunting to know where to start. But it never hurts to try your hand at each of them, one program can click with you, others can completely ruin your experience. As you said, try out many things, and find your passion!

Let's get more focused in on you though, 3D art is such a large field, do you specialize, and work on one type of model (characters, basic objects, scenery, etc) or do you just work on anything that's assigned or interesting to you?

As of right now, I work primarily on scenery and prop objects. But if I see something interesting that needs to be created that hasn’t been worked on yet, I would consider giving it a whirl. The team is pretty organized and flexible in assigning tasks and they would have to be, otherwise, there would be multiple folks working on the same object in their own unique variation.

Of course, I try not to bite off more than I can chew. For instance, if someone is better off at creating a particular style of weapon, it is better off handing it to that person instead, to keep it consistent.

Thanks again to GeoBirb for stopping by to speak with Tosh about his role on the Installation 01 team! It’s amazing what he has produced for the game and we cannot see what he has under wraps right now in future updates! We have a couple more Team Focuses in the works and we can’t wait to introduce many of our other talented team members to you guys!


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