Currently working as senior character artist for a French games company, Loic appears to be able to turn his hand to 3D, photography and digital painting with ease! Then combining all 3 to create some stunning images. Take a look for yourself...
“I decided to simplify and do a hot chick pic, which was a good idea since all the other characters were, well… weirdos.”
Loic e338 Zimmerman
Hey Loic! Just been whiling away some time checking out an ‘Online Mess – Hot like a Nacho’, and I gotta say, I like it! Here’s the link for all the readers to click and have a look for themselves: www.e338.com, but before they dive out of their PDF reader into the world of Loic... let’s hear what the man himself has to say about a little introduction to his life and online portfolio. Over to you, Loic!
Gosh, that’s a tricky way to introduce people! Okay, let’s go for it - the faster, the better. My name is Loic Zimmermann, aka e338. I’m a 33 year old CG artist, working as a freelancer, although I have had many experiences inside companies. My heart is bouncing between 2D and 3D, and in the end I guess this is of no importance, as what matters is confusing the audience and making them focus on the result. I’ve been working in this field for the last 8 years, prior to which I was a class instructor (my early beginnings), which is something I still do from time to time through workshops (open call). I specialised in characters 5 years ago - my favourite subject, even when I was drawing as a kid (now I just draw like a kid!), but I also enjoy working on some moody landscapes and urban pictures (photos/collage/painting). At the moment (and for quite a while), I’m working as a senior character artist for a French videogame company, called Quantic Dream, on their up-coming project, Heavy Rain on PS3. I find it very interesting, but apart from that I also work on some smaller projects, and, of course, personal activities such as illustrations, clothing, etc... When I don't work, I flush my brain in front of some series, or I go down town and drown in alcohol, which can surprise people who definitely think I'm just a bear living in cave. I’m Jack’s lack of relationships!
Do you find that drawing and painting all day at your job is good for your motivation and inspiration when it comes to doing your personal projects in your own time, or that your work life sucks a lot of the creativity out of you?
Drawing is a minor part of my activity. I do illustrations from time to time for some clients, but most of my days are 3D driven, but your question still works. It can be hard sometimes to spend a day working on the modelling of a face, and work your night on… the modelling of a face! Hahaha. It can be worse when both schedules are fully synchronised and you have to fix UVs at day and the same at night. Now regarding the creativity, I don’t expect this to happen at work. I had big expectations when I was younger, but I no longer do. The financers, the hierarchies in companies… all those guys have their word to say and in the end things end up washed up. This is where personal works become necessary and help me in accepting those frustrations. Nowadays, I even prefer being a simple character artist with no specific creative things to do. For sure, the day I’ll have full control over a look of a film or a game it'll be freaking insane. Any brave volunteer in the room? Anyone?!
Zmen are cool! I especially like Dangerine’s Stance and attitude, Gravito’s shopping bags and Tempest’s nakedness. What were your ideas behind this series, and what did you want to achieve?
The whole series started with a script that a friend (soul mate) wrote for me, called the Z men, and which is supposed to be a comic book in the end. Since I had the opportunity to work on an exhibition last year, I decided to do portraits of the main characters. Bolino (the author) had some precise ideas about them, and I simply took a particular aspect of each to do stills. It’s like the X men transposed into the Twilight Zone, keeping some dumb aspects of their personalities and creating a very realistic world around them, still with superpowers. Wolverine, here called Dangerine, is just a rough, tough Canadian motherf***** with similar powers to original, but definitely a first degree guy. Magneto (Gravito)is obsessed by power and mutant revolution, but has to deal with ordinary life and an idiot crew. Tempest is one hot, black feminist babe who hates the entire world but belongs to the “good guys” and has to deal with it. So, you see, I simply had fun with them. It’s full of personal references. I must say the idea for Tempest was way more harsh, but due to a lack of time preparing the exhibition, I decided to simplify things and do a hot
chick pic, which was a good idea since all the other characters were, well… weirdos.
Well it sounds like it would be a very entertaining comic to read! I noticed a couple of other superhero-based pictures in your portfolio, such as the Dare Devil fan art, and other characters definitely have comic book character traits. What is it you like best about creating this type of character images?
The story written by my friend is really cool. Now it’ll be up to me to make it look good!
Comic books characters? Yeah. It’s a kid thing. Like a lot of us, I was reading and enjoying comic books a lot. Being able to do some cool pictures with such characters is great. And I confess that I smile to the idea of a young fellow watching one of my pictures and thinking he wants to do this for a living. It’s a bit of a cliche, I know.
Yes this shows in a lot of your images. The background textures and graphical elements really work well. What software packages do you prefer to work with? And do you think you are continually developing and evolving your style with these packages?
And the nominees are: Maya, ZBrush and Photoshop. I’d love to use Painter but so far I can't find the courage to test 100K brushes there are in it. Shame on me! I’ve been using Photoshop for 14 years now; my use of it has changed a lot since the beginning. And I think that every year or so, I tend to shift my style a bit, in order not to rely on what could become a bunch of lame tricks. Since last year I’ve been experimenting with silkscreen prints. Because of that I’ve created a new palette of tools, specific brushes, and a brand new style. Technical limitations can be a very good thing: fresh air!
You specialise in characters, but one of your images that really caught my eye is the Devils Workshop. Can you tell us a bit more about this piece? Do you study architecture at all, or favour any particular styles?
This one belongs to a series called “Nuits Americaines”. I started by walking down the streets of my town, taking pictures. At home, I picked up some to do illustrations from. I did the same as mentioned before: noise, texture, collage, etc… Then paint, paint, paint! All the photos were taken during the day, and transposed into night lighting. This is why it’s called Nuits Americaines, like the old cinema trick.
I’m very impressed and would like to try and do some art like this myself! Do you have any tips to the type of photos you need or what areas of the process to concentrate on the most?
Hmmm. You have to take global shots as well as close-ups. You have to pick up many different angles, as this way you can combine them and create strange perspectives. You should avoid a clear sky since it creates sharp shadows. Shadows are easy to create, and boring to remove. Now, for the rest, it’s a matter of style and goals.
I find it hard to determine which elements of many of your images are 3D and which are 2D. Can you tell us a bit more about your techniques and may be a secret or two in achieving such a consistent finish when mixing media, as you do?
The thing is, I’m dead scared with the white page and I don’t like my drawing so much. So I’m using 3D characters as a starting point, and/or photos (background mostly). Then I do touch ups and collages to compose the picture. Then I paste a lot of textures on top because I hate clean images. Then I clean up by over-painting.
Basically, it’s a bit of nonsense, but it works for me. When I was a student, I learned graphic design and types. I was fascinated by David Carson’s works and the principles of intuition. One should react on his work and leave room for accidents to happen and new paths to explore. That’s what I’m doing: I start with an intention, and I end up with… a picture, when I’m lucky. Whatever I do, I use simple tools, organic sources that I do and scan from time to time, and complex layer work.
What can we expect to see from you next, Loic?
I’m planning a crazy animation with the digital double I made for my tattoo project. I think I’ll also work on the design of my other arm (referring to the tattoo again). I’ll make a bunch of new illustrations in collaboration with my silkscreen dude in order to do prints and artworks for exhibitions and also to feed my online shop; more clothing too, and a secret project in this field I cannot mention yet. I'll also probably start a comic book with my fella, Bolino, for the end of 2008 if I can find a time. And... work for a living, of course. Feed the cats; watch my garden grow. Find a wife; have kids? Run as a candidate for the next elections…
Sounds brilliant! We wish you the best of luck with everything, Loic! Just keep on impressing and inspiring us with your crazy ideas and fantastic images and we will be happy.
Thanks to you for this interview and for taking take the time to target your questions. Cheers!
More works at www.e338.com
Autor: Tom Greenway
Source: 3D Creative Issue 28 December
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