My first non-art related experience with a computer started while living in Singapore in 1983, when my father bought an IBM PC. It had no hard drive, just two floppy disk drives and a DOS boot disk! I spent endless hours playing Ultima 3 with my brother, which though not really creative, was a lot of fun and was my introduction to computers. I started creating on a computer much later in 1991. I had already spent a year in a preparatory school in order to acquire a more serious traditional background. When I arrived in the Decorative Art school, we started having computer classes. They had several Macintosh systems, and teachers showed us how marvelous the digital world was. I must admit I followed the courses with little interest to begin with. I didn’t do much more than play around, but did become acquainted with Photoshop and the use of a graphics tablet. I kept using traditional tools during my first years in the game industry. I did approx. 80% of my work for ‘Alone in the Dark 4’ (2001) with a regular graphite pencil and paper. Later on, my friend Benjamin Carre encouraged me to really discover how to paint with a computer. He was way ahead of me in this area and was already doing a lot of book covers digitally. I cannot believe how slow and reluctant I was to change my everyday habits and go digital. I think that success in this field can be reached with two formulas: the first is being able to team up with the right people at the right time; and the second is to be passionate. Passion isn’t easy to describe or acquire when it is not there from the start, but there are many ways to train your tastes as well as find your specific fields of interest. Passion is vital as it is the real motivation behind any creative process.
To keep it simple, the only tool I commonly use is Photoshop. I have never been disappointed by the speed of response of the program, so I’m sticking with it for now. Painter is a great tool. I’ve tried it a few times, but that’s the way it goes for artists—you stick with what works for you. Once an artist has mastered a program, it’s hard to break them out of their regular routine and habits. I also have to admit that my schedule has not allowed me to explore all the possibilities of Painter. The other downside is that it would
be hard to switch tools in the middle of a game production.Photoshop is such a great tool, and I find that the possibilities of the brush editor are infinite, and I’m also particularly fond of the layering and blending techniques. I’m convinced that the mixing of 2D and 3D techniques will eventually become the norm for concept artists in the future. I think this will be a combination of 2D artists adopting more 3D tools and 3D artists adopting more 2D tools. The main challenge for current concept artists will be to keep up with the programs and once again escape from our regular habits. The world of creation is moving at a very fast pace so it will not be an easy task.