Q & A with David Lesperance
3D Concept Art presents an Q & A with a very talented artist specializing in Environments and Concept design, David Lesperance. He has been around for about eleven (11) years working in production of short, feature films, and games. For companies like Blizzard Entertainment, 343 Industries, Valve Software, Midway Games and many more. He has worked in over 10 high profile game projects.
He now uses skills and experience to make create concept art and illustrations, both 2d and 3d as a freelancer. He also teaches valuable know-how in different workshops. He has been involved in Cinematic projects like Diablo 3,World of Warcraft Cataclysm and Starcraft cinematics. He has also been involved in high-profile AAA game projects like Mortal Kombat DC, Tony Hawk Ride, StarCraft 2, Halo and many more.
With a pleasure, 3D Concept Art presents David Lesperance.
| 3D Concept Art: Tell us about you and how did you become interested in 3D modeling and to work in the entertainment industry?
| David Lesperance: → I started back when I was in High School. I was lucky enough to get an internship at a local software company in Michigan called SCATE technologies. At the end of high school, I was planning on getting into the Marines. It didn’t end up panning out. I got told by my parents that I needed to go to school or get a job. I loved CG from working at SCATE. So I decided to head to college. From there while I was in college I was lucky enough to work in a few Chicago biased companies.
Towards the end of college, I was contacted by Seth Thompson of Blizzard Cinematics. Working at Blizzard was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my career. I learned and still learn so much from that group. Truly an amazing team.
| 3DCA: You specialize in environments, you have been as well part of Blizzard Cinematics division. Of your experience, What do you feel are the biggest obstacles when trying to create photo-realistic environments?
| D.L: → I think the challenges from a game standpoint are actually making it work in a game. What looks good as a screen shot or render doesn’t mean it will work in a game experience. I think working with a purely pre-rendered space tends to be really hard. If you don’t have a plate to match a scene to its very difficult to get it right. I think capturing the feel of photo realism is the hardest thing. The eye/camera sees so much information in the real world, when you transition that to a purely 3d space, the work, the general volume of assets is challenging.
All of that though doesn’t mean anything if you don’t get the lighting right, which is an art of itself. Especially if you’re trying to something that you don’t have HDRI for. With scenes as well the additional attention that is needed to shading is important. This, of course, deals with lighting again. How the surfaces respond to the light is a very big concern. Metal looking like metal, wood like wood etc. If I had to order it I would say, Shot Framing, Lighting/Atmosphere, Asset creation, and Asset Surfacing.
| 3DCA: Where do you get inspiration from and who are your role models?
| D.L: → From the artist standpoint, I got a large list,
Syd Mead, Bernini, Seth Thompson, Fausto De Martini, Vitaly Bulgarov, Kevin Johnston, Gavriil Afanasyev Klimov, Helder Pinto, Toni Bratincevic, Toni Bratincevic, Gio Nakpil, Paul Pepera, I’m sure I’m missing way more. The nice thing about CGI is there are so much talent and amazing reference.
| 3DCA: When working with environments and concepting those, how do you layout and structure your scenes for making those easier to understand and finding aesthetics needed to the final image?
| D.L: → For Games, its comes down to gameplay. The concepts and environments, all work around gameplay that is king. For Cinematics or Movies, it’s the story. All work around with the concept of ready ability. The best designs are often what is not shown. Areas of rest etc. I tend to work very neutrally in color and tone till I know where I want to lead the viewer or the player. Then using color and contrast I try to drive the viewer or player towards areas of interest. The best concepts do that.
| 3DCA: Any good advice for artists and students who want to get into the business as a 3D Artist in fields like cinematics and environments, also going for a career in the game industry?
| David Lesperance: → Work hard, study, don’t be a dick, and help others. We are all in the boat of learning and trying to pay our bills while doing something we all love. It comes down to hard work and a lot of late nights, I work when I’m off work. All of the artists I know do the same. And remember to live. Get away from the computer and be with friends and family. Be healthy too, the mind doesn’t work well without the body.
3D Concept Art thanks David Lesperance for sharing his wisdom in this interview with information about his way into the industry and much more. As David says, work hard and be healthy.