The Substance Art of Eric Kim
Who are you?
Where are you based?
Hi Eric, could you introduce yourself to the community? What is your background and what are your specialties?
I'm a 3D artist working in the game industry. Based on my portfolio, I would describe myself as a 3D character artist. I started doing traditional art at a very young age and as I got older, I branched off into digital art. My career started in Japan as a 3D artist, where I worked for Koei Tecmo Games for six years. There are a lot of console game companies in Japan, so I got experience in PBR texturing in the earlier days of its existence. Recently, I moved to Toronto.
Artistically speaking, sculpting in ZBrush is one of my specialties. In my spare time, I keep practicing on ZBrush sculpting. ZBrushing is one of my hobbies, and I strive to improve my skills by learning from other professional ZBrush artists via YouTube or CG books. I also have a lot of knowledge about human anatomy. So I would love to make human or hard surface characters with ZBrush.
You entry for The Journey Art Challenge on ArtStation has won an honourable mention. How would you describe your work?
I wanted to create a portfolio that people want to see. Design elements like helmets with goggles, scarves, and ragged cloak material is already a common style. But a robot wearing a leather motorcycle jacket is something I haven't seen very much. Moreover, leather and metal are excellent materials for expressing through PBR texturing, so choosing a robot rider seemed natural. I'm very interested in the expression of metal weathering. Too much weathering makes a sharp metal dull, so I used weathering on the lower part of the body.
What was your biggest challenge and how did you address it?
Going back to the ArtStation challenge, I got a very late start, as I decided to participate only 4 weeks before the deadline. I was not sure that I could complete it on time, so I managed my work time with my other projects. Time management skills are one of the most important things for this job. I made a rule and tracked my time using a stop watch. There was no email and no answered messages during this time so that I could focus on work.
Do you have any tips and tricks to share or just some things you particularly like doing with Substance?
As I said above, I prefer the way using a curvature map. If the low model has a clean curvature map, the texturing speed can be faster.
Here is a very useful tip: I sometimes use a ZBrush plug-in called Dynamesh Master by Joseph Drust and Nick Miller. Even if I don't have a high-res model for making normal map, it's okay. It's a particularly matched workflow for hard surfaces in 3ds Max. Here's how to use it:
Set up "smoothing group" at low poly model in 3ds Max.
Add "Turbosmooth" to your low poly model.
Import that model in Zbrush, and use the plug-in "Dynamesh Master"
Use the Zbrush data for making normal maps and curvature maps as a high-res Model.
It's an irregular way to make a normal map, but it's very fast if you just need a curvature map for texturing.You can download the plug-in here.
What are your next projects?
Professionally, I'm making several characters for some confidential VR content. Personally I'm doing some collaboration artwork with my artist friends. I also make these things with Allegorithmic's tools. Substance Painter's latest update was truly excellent. A UDIM import function of Substance Painter would be very useful for that workflow.