Interview with 3D artist Tyler Gibbons

Hi everyone! We continue a series of short interviews with the best artists from Hum3D competitions.

Tyler Gibbons, the winner of the 3D Weapon Render Competition, will answer on five questions and give us a look behind the scenes of his winning entry.

Evening Forgetfulness

– Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Tyler Gibbons, and I’ve been working as a 3D modeling and texturing artist for about 8 years. I started working as an environment artist in game development and then moved on to motion graphics and 3D animation direction for stage performance and other entertainment. Now I run my own small business where I create 3D models and animated graphics videos for clients.

– Where did you find the inspiration for your latest entry?

I’ve entered into multiple competitions at Hum3D, but my most successful was “Evening Forgetfulness,” where we see a toy gun left out in the yard as the sun sets. I was inspired by the design of Nerf guns, so I went out and bought one to see if I could model it. But I wanted to show it off in a cool way, like how it would really be used. Of course, kids forget their toys outside all the time, so I decided to make a very peaceful image of something friendly and non-violent, which I felt was a relaxing contrast from the kind of images a weapon competition would generally attract.

– Could you please show us any additional images from the work process with a short description.

Sure! I’ve attached a few images from the Making Of “Evening Forgetfulness.” The first one shows the finished model with all the parts colored to show how many pieces it took to model everything. (If I was building it now, I would have split it into even more pieces to keep the models more simple).

Making Of Evening Forgetfulness

The next image shows the crude sketch I made to lay out how I wanted the composition to flow, and to note some of the colors and where the most basic things would be laid out in the final render.

Evening Forgetfulness sketch

Lastly, there’s a picture showing the entire scene and how the tree shadows were all just faked from cylinders and leaf texture cards.

Evening Forgetfulness entire scene

– Please tell us your five short tips for creating realistic renders?

  1. 1) Tell a story! It gets old seeing “cool” things in the center of a picture with nothing more to say. Sure, you’re proud of the gun you just modeled, and it does look cool. But put it somewhere, make it part of a story, and do something to it that makes your viewer imagine more going on. It doesn’t even have to make sense: your gun sitting in the dust in the corner of an old ammo box with a tape label that says “THROW AWAY” ignites way more curiosity and imagination in your viewer than a render that just shows off your impressive texture work.

  2. 2) Use Big, medium, and small shapes. Have big areas with very little detail to let your artwork breathe, and then focus on just a few little areas with lots of details! There are tons of online resources available for ideas on different ways to do this well and improve your renderings.

  3. 3) Use reference! Only rely on your imagination for the very initial planning of the artwork. After that, pull all your details from reference photos and really try to stay away from trusting your “creativity!” Whenever I start to create details from my imagination, I’m actually just making things up that are lazy or don’t make sense in the real world. (But also cherish the times when you can just forget about it and create everything from imagination–art isn’t always about realism.)

  4. 4) Start lighting with a simple HDRI reflection image (I usually map it as glow/self-illumination onto a giant sphere around my entire scene), then start with a skylight and a single light source with some Area size to soften the shadows. It’s not hard with today’s rendering engines to get a good result very quickly!

  5. 5) When texturing, use reflections and glossiness/roughness maps. Using PBR texturing programs like Quixel and Substance can get you ten times as far in a fraction of the time.

– Could you please share more of your works? Which one is your favorite and why?

Oh, this is exciting! I competed in another competition at Hum3D where we created our favorite video game characters. I spent months and almost a hundred hours making one of my favorite pieces of art. I was really pumped and I was confident I might have a chance at winning the competition, so I was totally crushed when it didn’t even get included as an honorable mention. I think it may have been disqualified because I didn’t post my Work-in-Progress, but I just wanted people to see my artwork. So now’s my chance! It was an image of Captain Falcon called Next Race: Mute City.

Next Race: Mute City

It’s my favorite not only because it’s been one of the projects I’ve had the most time to dive into, but also because I had the chance to just geek out and swim around for a while in all the old nostalgia and ideas from all the F-Zero games I played growing up, and I pulled design elements from the comic strip in the F-Zero manual for SNES and also from pieces of F-Zero X and GX, which are still some of my favorite video games of all time.

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