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Model Artist Theo Mills

This week, I present you with an interview with Theo Mills, a Senior Model Artist from Ubisoft Toronto!

Who or what inspired you to get into 3D art?

Since a young age I was always fascinated by visual effects and video game art.
I have a background in practical special effects and was introduced to an early version of Zbrush which started me on learning 3d art.

What are you working on at the moment?

I recently wrapped up work on FarCry 6 and am between projects at the moment.

What are the best and worst parts of your job?

Getting to work on large collaborative projects that a lot of players are excited about. 
While technical limitations are inherent to making sure the end product is playable on a multitude of platforms , it’s always a frustration during production when you can’t push the art as far as you would like.

What does your typical workflow look like and what tools and software do you prefer?

Because of the nature of large open world games , our pipelines are generally based around using material libraries , shared normal sheets and mid-poly modeling. So we generally do not use the more traditional high to low baking workflow unless it’s for hero objects.


As far as software preference , I like using whatever gets the best and most efficient results. Whether that’s Zbrush , Marvelous Designer, Houdini for modeling or the substance suite of software for texturing. Eventually it all goes through 3ds max so it can be imported into our engine.

What key piece of advice would you offer to a 3D artist aspiring to work in the games industry?

I think a solid piece of advice is to always look at the bigger picture.  No matter the project size, personal or professional , always taking a step back to view it as a whole can be helpful. It’s easy to get lost in the details sometimes. This is also a great mantra when it comes to delivering assets on a deadline.


Additionally, always be curious about other facets of game development. This will not only help you become a better artist , but also help when needing to interact with other members of your development team.

What’s your favourite game and why?

As an artist I’ve always been drawn to games that have either a striking art style or that push the boundaries in photo realism.  Such as Breath of the Wild and the Uncharted series. From an everyday standpoint , Warzone and Rocket League are my two go to games.

Finally, what do you like to do in your spare time (if you have any)?

Pre Covid my wife and I loved to travel. Besides that , spending time hiking with our dog and playing board games etc. However since September all of my free time has been spent being a father for the first time to our twin baby boys 🙂

Tks Theo for the talk as well Ubisoft Toronto!

More about Theo’s work:

https://www.artstation.com/theomills

More about Ubisoft Toronto:

https://toronto.ubisoft.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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