If you have been paying attention and are a video game character or ZBrush artist, you likely have seen some of Mike’s character work and GDC presentation. If you haven’t,  I will link to it here so you can view his comments on modeling, concepting, and most of all, how he and his team at Certain Affinity prioritize their time by using automation to handle the mundane repetitive tasks. In particular, the use of automation to create textures is shown here as well as one of the many approaches to using ZBrush to create the final game model on the back-end of the process using automated re-mesh and re-topo tools.


One thing among all the cool character art talk was where Mike mentions that he teaches and comes across “curmudgeonly, old b****rd professionals” and contrasts them with “student concept artists who are excited about 3d”.

Obviously, not knowing Mike, and not being familiar with his students, I don’t know exactly to what situations he refers, but in my opinion, it’s not about age, it’s about attitude. I know many older artists who love learning new stuff and are always willing to consider change. What they do share is what I would call a healthy skepticism about some new tools and tend to wait until they are proven in a production environment before drinking the kool-aid.

However, many times they drink the kool-aid just like everyone else, and don’t tend to fall for flash in the pan wares or techniques that do not end up really adding to team productivity. You might call some of them “late adopters.”

I have also met many a young student or artist on their first job who thinks they are a rock-star and don’t want to listen to more experienced mentors, can’t take critique and insist on doing things the way they were taught in school. Many of the secrets are not taught in the schools. These secrets are either too new, or there’s just not enough time to cover many of the details in a school program. Other techniques are team based or proprietary. Like I said, good or bad attitude can exist in the old and young. There is no age for either.

I would love to sit in Mike’s class and learn some of these new software techniques. I would also, agree… let the robots do all the boring work! Send me robots!

What do you think? Leave a comment below.