One of my favorite hard surface artists has definitely got to be David Lesperance of Valve Software. (Formerly Blizzard and 343 Industries)
Over the years he’s worked on numerous major titles such as Halo 4, World of Warcraft, and Diablo 3. The level of detail found in his mechanical and environment art is pretty staggering, and is a great example for artists everywhere and I would definitely
recommend checking out some of his personal work here: http://david-lesperance.squarespace.com/
Detail is clearly king here, and there’s no shortage of it, especially with mechanical shapes, the more detail it has then the more functional and realistic its going to look; And with demands always increasing in the game industry, it is important to be able to capture that sort of precision and detail in all your models, because in today’s highly competative industry, you really can not have “too much” detail.
To the experienced mechanical artist you can see thought has been given to the layout of mechanical parts such as the pistons, weapon mounts and of course the setup of the legs. This is something that you REALLY need to take note of as an artist in order to achieve a believable look even with such a fantastic subject.
A lot of David Lesperance’s work is also a great example of kit-bashing, which is extremely important for environmental and mechanical art. Kit-bashing is the process of creating a library of model parts that you can re-use over and over in different combinations of postition, scale and rotation to produce different content.
Being able to rapidly produce content by re-using objects in a new way each time is critical for reducing production times, and at the same time maintaining quality; something both indie developers and AAA studios alike need you to master.
David’s attention to detail in his tutorials really does show how to maintain quality while working quickly and Blue himself recommends them to all!
David has done a lot of great and informative tutorials, some of which can be found at the links below. I would highly recommend checking them out if you are interested in learning the processes that well known professionals use in the industry to rapidly create assets. David does a great job of highlighting everything from start to finish, and while these tutorials may mostly for advanced artists, who are already used to general 3D modeling/texturing techniques, a lot of them such as his fantastic Floor Lookdev Tutorial (on gumroad for just $4!) is something that I think anyone with the basic ability to use Photoshop and Autodesk 3ds Max (or their app of choice) would enjoy and learn from.
They may not typically be a step by step tutorial a lot of the time however if you dedicate yourself to learning then learn you will – and better to learn from someone with raw talent I think we would all agree!
Environment (World of Warcraft / Blizzard Entertainment) – Artist : David Lesperance.
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