Team Focus – Jackskullcrack May 18 - TheFeelTrain

Back at it again with another look into the developers of Installation 01. This week, we've got an interview with the model and texture boy, Jackskullcrack. You may have seen his structure in the map Obelisk that we like to show off so frequently.

Q: Who are you and what’s your role at Installation 01?

A: Hello my name is Matthew Lake... just kidding. Really though my name is Jack and I’m one of the best looking 3D Artists on the team.

Q: I hear you designed a certain map that’s been shown off a lot recently. Is this information true?

A: Yes, the map you’re referring to is Obelisk. I modeled and textured the main structure. Austin and I also chiseled out the rocks that are placed throughout the map.

Q: What got you started in 3D modeling?

A: My Dad started teaching me how to 3D Model when I was about five. He was using Softimage XSI at the time. I tinkered with XSI making simple objects to animate over the next 8 years. At thirteen my Dad told me to switch to Maya and learn from every source I could find. Especially if I wanted a future in the games industry. I’m seventeen now.

Q: If my math is right, that would mean you’ve been doing this for about 4 years. How has your ability changed over the years? Have you learned a lot in your time?

A: Yep, that’s correct and I’ve loved every bit of it… well almost every bit. Oh I’ve learned so much, I remember the first thing I tried to model was a T-Rex (Jurassic Park’s one of the biggest reasons why I got into this kind of stuff) and let’s just say it didn’t look anything close to a T-Rex. It looked more like something you’d see in Minecraft or Roblox. But I’ve gained so much information over the years and modeled a ton of different stuff, ranging from vehicles to weapons to plants to tocks etc... Also let’s not forget about texturing. I remember when I first got into texturing and I tried making PBR textures in Photoshop, oh God please never try making PBR textures in Photoshop it’s a damn nightmare. I thought about quitting texturing, but then I found out about Substance Painter and it was almost like magic.

Q: I’ve done a lot of magic dust myself. What’s so great about this so-called Substance Painter?

A: Man, where do I start. Well it’s one of, if not the best, piece of texturing software money can buy. It’s so easy to pick up and learn, I love using it. It feels so fluent. It’s never deconstructing my workflow. It has the texture bakers built right into the software, so you’ll never have to open another program for baking your texture maps then jump back to another program for texturing.

Q: It seems you also do texture work in addition to modeling. What’s the workflow for this kind of thing look like here at Installation 01?

A: Good question. Well we use a standard PBR texture workflow. Some of us use our own personal workflow that works for us. I start out with the with the low poly model, then bake my normal map, AO, curvature, and sometimes ID or position maps from the high poly. Then I move on to texturing the model and making it look fab-u-lous. After the texturing process is complete I export out the texture maps and the rest is history.

Q: When did you join Installation 01? Did you apply or did Bean find you selling your models on the streets for mere shekels? Was there some kind of interview process?

A: I met Bean in a dark alley in Shanghai. I’ll save that story for later. Lol.

In all seriousness, I heard about I01 one night browsing Halo Youtube videos. I found this video about Halo fan games, so I clicked on it, and it was the I01 CE3 video so I dug a little deeper and found out they had a Twitter, I was looking through and found a tweet about how they were looking for 3D artists. I messaged Bean and the rest is history.

Q: Using only one measly sentence, describe what it's like to work on Installation 01.

A: Pure bliss!

Q: Do you have any advice for someone looking to get into the world of models and textures?

A: Yes. One thing I would tell an ambitious newcomer is, make sure you’re picking the right software. Although free software is accessible and can get you started quickly, it’s better to use industry standards so you won’t have to retrain later.

I have to admit I started out on Blender, but you need to start learning the right software so you’re not wasting your time. I would recommend learning either Maya or 3DS-Max for modeling and the Substance Suite for texturing. These are industry standards used by Dice, Naughty Dog, Insomniac, EA, 343, and the list goes on and on.

Q: Would you recommend going to school and shooting for a degree for this kind of stuff? Or is it better to learn on your own?

A: Well me personally, I’m self-taught and I don’t plan on getting a degree. If you really have the drive and passion to get into this industry, you can definitely do it without a degree. Most studios look for talent. Just because you have a degree doesn’t mean anything, you have to have talent, and talent comes from learning and working hard (but that’s not always the case sometimes there’s just people that are born with talent). My Dad didn't have a degree and was hired because of the merit of his work.

A big thanks to Jack for taking time out of his modeling schedule to answer some questions. Next week we'll have yet another Team Focus article on lead 2D artist, Derek Huether.

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