The Substance Art of Yarrid Henrard
Yarrid, thanks for taking the time for this interview! First things first: could you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I'm currently living in Stockholm, but was born and raised in Belgium. Before coming to Sweden I lived in Vancouver, where I did my studies to get into this exciting industry. When I'm not at Avalanche Studios, I love to work on my own projects to keep getting better at what I love to do. Besides spending my time behind the screen, I enjoy getting outside and breathe in the world around me.
When I was a kid, my parents and grandparents always kept me on the creative path, building imaginary spaceships, teaching me instruments or letting me go to art school, where I could let my imagination run wild. With my dad, I would build scale models of jets and Gundams as well as tinker in his workshop. I ended up getting a bachelor's degree in programming but found my way back to the arts and ended up where I am now.
How did you discover the Allegorithmic tools?
I discovered just how powerful Substance Painter could be for my pipeline while I was studying at Think Tank Training Centre in Vancouver. Back then I was mostly using Photoshop to texture my first demo reel piece called Nomad. Starting with Nivanh, I decided to teach myself Substance Painter and get into PBR.
Tell us more about your project, Nivanh.
Nivanh is the project that changed everything for me. It got me many wonderful opportunities, made me learn everything I couldn't do up to then, and was a project of tears and love. It's a game model which incorporates a good amount of different materials ranging from hard-surface to cloth. On this project I had an amazing artist/friend, Joachim Eko Sjöberg, helping me out. (Keep an eye out for his demo reel, which is coming soon!)
Nivanh was my homage to Nivanh Chanthara, hence the name, who is also the creator of the beautiful concept on which my model is based. His concepts, just as many others, are a constant inspiration. I find myself constantly roaming sites like Artstation and Pinterest as well as reading books and listening to music to get my creativity and inspiration flowing. Sometimes it's as simple as running into that one perfect concept that I just have to recreate in 3D while sometimes I find myself trying to create something that resembles the feeling I get while listening to a certain song.
How did Substance integrate into your workflow on this project?
Substance Painter was just a lifesaver on this project. Without it, I would never have been able to get this model so easily to the quality I got with Substance Painter's powerful materials and toolset. It's so easy for artists to iterate, play around with values and create variations of textures in the blink of an eye. All this makes it a priceless tool in my daily workflow.
"Instead of searching the Internet for the perfect texture I can now just get some references from the material that I would like to recreate and start messing around with all the different materials and masks provided till I get the result I am happy with. All this while saving a huge amount of time and instantly previewing my textures in realtime."
Tell us more about what your typical workflow looks like.
I start off making a block-out in ZBrush, using Maya for basic hard-surface pieces and refining everything to a finished high-poly in ZBrush. I mainly use Maya for retopo and UVs but sometimes other programs sneak in. Once all this is done I get my textures using Substance Painter and end up in Marmoset for my final presentation. Minor tweaks such as constrast and hues will be fixed with Photoshop.
How did Substance change your approach to texturing?
Instead of searching the Internet for the perfect texture I can now just get some references up from the material that I would like to recreate and start messing around with all the different material and masks provided until I get a result I'm happy with. All this while saving a huge amount of time and instantly previewing my textures in realtime.
What was your biggest challenge and how did you address it?
I honestly did not encounter any obstacles while using Substance Painter. That is the beauty of the program, it is such a versatile program that allows you to do anything on the fly while being extremely user-friendly and easy to learn.
Do you have any tips and tricks to share or just some things you particularly like doing with Substance?
Don't be afraid to start playing around with all the sliders in your masks and materials, whenever I do this I create happy accidents that end up being the coolest thing in my textures.
What are your next projects?
Right now I'm working on a project that brings me back to the genre that I love most while giving me a chance to again broaden my skillset. I'm working on a realtime female fantasy character which I want to bring to a level of detail that I haven't reached before. This one is mostly based on a feeling that I got listening to some music while browsing some dark-fantasy art. It also gave me the chance to study the female forms more and use the wonderful textures from TexturingXYZ. I used these, in combination with Substance Painter, to paint the maps onto my model and bombard it with the necessary details. Currently still a work in progress with hair that will be replaced by cards in the final model.
Lastly, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the entire Allegorithmic team for creating such amazing tools as well as giving me all these mind-blowing opportunities during the last months! Thank you so much & keep on rocking!