3DValley Featured 3D Artist of October 2005 – Julian Jeremy Johnson-Mortimer. I have loved his work from the first time I saw it and I especially admire his texturing skills. Besides a great texture artist, Julian is also very talented character modeler and skilled painter. Please read our interview with Julian below to know him and his work a little bit better.
Christa: Can you tell us a bit about yourself: Who are you and what do you do in your daily life?
Julian: Hello there, I’m Julian. I’m 30 year old and from the UK. I’m mostly a modeling and texturing artist, but also do concept design, rigging, animation and some compositing. Mostly focusing on characters/ creature work.
Christa: When did you first notice you had artistic talent?
Julian: Hmmm, I can’t say when I was young that I ever noticed I was particularly good at art. At school I was very average. It was only once I left school I became interested in art. I started teaching myself how to paint and soon people started commenting on my work. That made me realize I might actually be any good.
Christa: Do you have traditional art experience?
Julian: Yes I have a long background in what you might call traditional art. I actually left school when I was 15, with no qualifications what so ever, and probably not much of a future. I had problems at school and my parents did not know what to do with me. It was just one day when I was 15 I was bored and had nothing to do. My sister was painting. So I started painting as well. And from that day I started to get more and more interested in art. I would spend all day every day painting. Mostly focusing on watercolors. I used to really enjoy studying old masters paintings. By the time I was 17 I was making a living selling my pictures in various galleries around where I live. I worked professionally as a watercolour artist for the next 10 years. Until I became interested in CG.
Christa: Which software packages do you use for your artwork?
Julian: I started doing CG by accident really. I was making some simple Flash animations for a website back in 2001 and I happened to see some Flash movies for which someone had used the program called Poser. This interested me and I got hold of the program and made a few Flash animations using it for another website.
At that time someone mentioned the program Maya, a program I had never heard of before. I got hold of the trial version and I found it very very interesting and a great challenge. I was mostly selling my work online back then and decided to take a year off painting to have a go at learning 3D. From then I never really looked back. I taught myself Maya, after about a year I starting getting a few job offers, but did not feel I was good enough to take on professional work. So I continued learning for another year.
I now work professionally for a small company in London. Working on films and TV. Mostly creature work.
Programs I use are Maya, I never really tried another 3D app, and Photoshop, Deep paint, Zbrush, and Shake.
Christa: Can you tell us a bit of the way you work on your art?
Julian: My work mostly involves designing and making creatures. So when asked to make something, I of course start with some concepts. I usually use a mixture of mediums for this. Some times I might do some sketches then scan them in, for painting over in Photoshop. Or might make a quick 3D model for painting over. I usually come up with as many different concepts as I can with in the time. Then just see which ideas they like the most. Once I have a final design I build the base model in Maya, if I have time I would then do high quality paint over. To get a good idea for the textures and what the final version should look like. From then on it depends what type of creature I’m creating to what other programs I would use. If it’s a creature that requires heavy displacement I use Zbrush for detailing and Renderman for the final rendering. For a smoother skinned creature, I might just use Photoshop and Deepaint for textures, and Metal Ray for rendering.
Christa: What and/or who inspires you?
Julian: Artist that has really developed there own style and look to their work I really admire. I also admire technical CGI people as I’m not technical minded at all. So it’s great when working in a team with some good technical people. I can just focus on the creature.
Christa: Do you have a favorite piece of your own artwork and if so, why?
Julian: I’m not sure I have a favorite of I would have to pick one it would have to be the Kreacher character. I made it a few years ago. It was an attempt to make a film res character by myself. I enjoyed making him, but never really had the time to finish him.
Christa: What is your goal as an artist?
Julian: When I started to do 3D, my goal was to get a job at a big studio working on a creature for say the latest Harry Potter film. But after seeing how some of the bigger studios work, and the working conditions, I’m quite happy working for a smaller studio. I don’t get to work on big budget films, but I get to be a lot more involved in the film. I’m usually on set for the filming and sometimes supervise the VFX shots, which makes it more interesting as I’m not always just being stuck behind a PC.
Christa: Besides 3D Valley, which other CG sites do you visit regularly?
Christa: Do you have any tips for the artists who admire your work?
Julian: Not sure there’s anyone that would admire my work But for anyone just starting out, it can seem quite daunting at first and it’s getting more and more competitive. You have to be prepared to work hard. For a creative artist, try and focus on getting your own style and look to your work, so your stand out from the crowd. And Good Luck