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Environment Artist Boy Sichterman from Cloud Imperium Games.

At today’s blog entry, we have an interview with Boy Sichterman, an environment Artist currently working at Cloud Imperium Gamesa for the highly anticipated Star Citizen game.

Who or What Inspired you to get into 3d art?

Ever since I was little I was in love with military hardware. My dad being a Marine probably played a big role in this. I was always building guns and vehicles with Legos as a kid and my schoolbooks were cluttered with little drawings. When I was around 16 years old, an art teacher at school hooked me up with the trail version of Maya. I started creating silly videos in After Effects where I mix 3d with video camera footage. Then I found out there was a visual arts school in my hometown and everything took off from there.

What are you working on at the moment?

Besides my full time job as environment artist on Star Citizen, I am currently creating a spaceship based off a horse shoe crab in Fusion 360. I have always been fascinated by insects, and combining it with hard surface design is something I have been wanting to try for a while now. Since I do environment art for my fulltime job, I always like to focus more on concepting in my spare time.

What are the best and worst parts of your job?

The best part of being an environment artist is the diversity. You are taking on a bit of everything. For example; blocking out environments, creating props, setting up levels, doing base lighting, set dressing and concepting. Personally, I love it most when I have limited concept art support. That means I can fill in the gaps and have fun designing myself as well.
The worst part of my job goes hand in hand with the best part, which is that sometimes you must do things you might not like as much, like bug fixing or optimization. But it’s a part of the job and honestly, it’s not even that bad. It can be a nice opportunity to give your creative part of your brain some rest

How your typical workflow looks like and which tools and software do you prefer to use?

For work I use 3DS max as my main modelling package. For Star Citizen we use a custom normal based workflow (midpoly workflow), which means we don’t bake any highpolys. For additional details on top we make use of decals. This combined with some proper trimsheets and some good parallax occlusion mapping gets really powerful. I love this workflow as it allows you to create assets extremely fast compared to the traditional highpoly/lowpoly workflow.
For my personal projects I focus mainly on concept design. I rely heavily on fusion for the modeling. The parametric/nurbs approach allows me to focus fully on design without worrying about topology. For rendering I use the Octane standalone which I mainly like for its simplicity, good quality GPU based rendering and clean viewport. Everything is contained in the same window, so I don’t need to fiddle around with separate windows. I would say this gets me 60% of the final image, and the other 40% comes from post processing in Photoshop.

What piece of advice would you offer to 3d artists trying to work in the game industry?

Try to stand out with your portfolio, and choose unique projects. Don’t just make the 100th ak47 or fire hydrant because its going to be hard to stand out against the masses. Also always be actively involved in the community, and always look for feedback. I always believe you can learn the most from each other.

Whats your favorite game, and why?

It’s a hard draw between either Half Life 2, or the latest God of War. I think I will pick Half life 2, because it wins on the Nostalgic front. But both games have amazing stories that really pull you into the game, and I think the environments are very well build with a lot of variety and incentive to explore every nook and cranny.

Finally, what do you like to do in your spare time?

If I am not working on a personal project, I love to play games, watch movies, or meet with friends. Also I am pretty addicted to Bouldering lately, and I just got a mountain bike to explore nature around Frankfurt.

Thank you so much Boy for the interview, as well Cloud Imperium Games.

For more about Boy’s art, head to:

https://www.artstation.com/boysichterman

And to learn more about Cloud Imperium Games:

https://cloudimperiumgames.com/

Games Art Tutor for the MA at Escape Studios. I have been teaching new creative talent for the past 10+ years, working worldwide at places including Alpha Channel and the University of Hertfordshire. I've also wrote numerous published books about Unreal Engine including; UDK Basics, Level Design and Documentation and UDK Games scenarios integration as well creating game assets for the next generation consoles such as the racing game ‘Pacer’.

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