Q & A with Tim Bergholz
3D Concept Art presents a Q & A with Tim Bergholz, a very talented artist specializing in hard-surface such weapons. He has been around for about thirteen (13) years working in the entertainment industry. He has worked with companies like Crytek, Ubisoft Toronto, and Digital Extremes.
He is currently working at Digital Extremes on several high profile projects, creating both high-end weapons and props for cinematic game trailers and tripple AAA games. He has worked on titles like Crysis 1-3, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Far Cry 4, and several projects still in development.
With pleasure, 3dconceptart presents Tim Bergholz.
| 3D Concept Art: Tell us about you and how did you become interested in 3D modeling, digital sculpting, and to work in the entertainment industry??
| Tim Bergholz: → As someone who grew up with C64, Amiga, Gameboys and early PC’s I’ve been hooked to video games since an early age. It has not been until I started making some simple texture mods when counterstrike came out that I got more serious about it. Doing these has certainly opened that 3D art world to me. It fascinated me to see the changes I make in Photoshop to an existing texture and see it appear in the game.
That was the aha moment for me and I got deep into modding back then around 2004-2006. Eventually, my texturing work was seen by a company that wanted to hire me but since my 3D skills were lacking, they told me to go learn 3D first. 2 years after that, I was lucky to get a job at Crytek and that’s how my career as a 3D Artist got started. Now 13 years later I find myself lucky to be in a position where I can also teach 3D to people through my ChamferZone tutorials.
| 3CA: From your experience, have you ever faced that limitation in software that made you want to switch or combine different software for your work?
| T.B: → I’ve been mostly working with 3dsMax throughout my career and I always struggled to learn ZBrush because I was so deep into the hard-surface modeling and never felt the need to learn it. In 2017 I found myself all of a sudden working on Warframe (the game I worked on before called The Amazing Eternals got canceled) for which it was essential to use ZBrush for the weapons. This was when I had to learn it and it certainly opened that door to me where I can see how combining different software such as 3DS max for the blockout and doing the high-poly detailing in ZBrush is a great combination that otherwise you could never realize.
At the moment I am learning Blender and it’s very refreshing to learn and compare it to 3dsMax. My next tutorials are going to be focusing on Blender too and I think it will not take long till Blender will also be widely accepted in bigger studios. So far it might still be a bit limited to Indie studios that can’t afford the licenses for Autodesk products but with all the donations from bigger studios such as EPIC and Ubisoft, I think the bigger companies sure want Blender to succeed as well.
| 3CA: Where do you get inspiration from and who are your role models?
| T.B: → I follow a lot of inspirational people on Artstation and other social media platforms. Watching movies, playing new video games is also a constant source of inspiration. I love science fiction movies and as a weapons artist, I always like to see what designs they got in there. Walking around in real life I often think about how objects would look like as a 3D model. It helps to visualize the topology of everyday objects as you walk around and think about how they could be made more interesting in 3D.
| 3CA: What are the most problematic part when creating weapons from your experience as a senior weapons artist?
| T.B: → I can not think of any problems there. Ultimately, it’s a job where when you get concepts you do them. Maybe sometimes that also means you don’t think it looks that exciting but that doesn’t matter. A job is a job and every new task is a new challenge and requires its approach. That’s also what makes this job still interesting for me after 13 years. It doesn’t get dull for me and there are always new workflows that might be worth trying out. Sometimes it’s small things but they can add up so for me it’s about finding the best approach to simplify the overall process.
For example, on Warframe I would run the Zremesher operation on my high-poly and then clean up that Zremeshed version in 3dsMax or Blender to get my low-poly. I find that more straightforward than having to do the whole retopo by hand and from scratch. Recently 3ds Max came out with a Remesher plugin that also seems to have very good results. It’s great seeing the software evolve and making the artist’s job easier. It feels like it was just yesterday when we were still doing all our texturing in Photoshop and now we have awesome software such as Substance Painter that increases the speed and quality dramatically to get textures done.
| 3CA: Any good advice for artists and students who want to get into the business as a 3D Artist in fields like games, cinematics, commercials, and feature films
| T.B: → It’s all about the quality of your portfolio content and what matters the most here is to put quality over quantity.
As a student who is looking to fill a junior or intern role it’s not expected of you to have tons of artwork to show for so the goal should be to make the few pieces you have on it as good and professional and optimized looking as it can be. Show wireframes, show your textures at the end. Also, show that you can work with engines (simply put your object into UE4 and make it look good there).
Also, don’t try to shoehorn in a ton of different things. Often, I see people putting concepts, characters, weapons, and the environment in there. A recruiter is not interested in a jack of all trades so it’s better to put your focus on something that you feel strongly about. The normal route in my opinion to specialize in environments, prop, hard-surface modeling early on because the demand, in general, is very strong there. Don’t hold back of course if you feel strongly about a different field (for example characters), then do this but make the samples you have in your folio count. In general, it’s wise to look at what companies need the most, and worlds always need a ton of artists to be filled with art. You can always change your career to something else later on once you are in the company.
3D Concept Art Community thanks Tim Bergholz for sharing his know-how. Don’t try to shoehorn in a ton of different things, show wireframes, and textures at the end.
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