James Briscoe and his 3D Process

James Briscoe’s 3D work is always so brilliantly detailed and his textures so lifelike that it can seem like we’re looking at a polaroid of some bizarre character. Its a delightful look into a simpler world that has had so much work put into it. We asked James some questions about his process and he was more than happy to provide us with some insight. 

Q. A lot of your works are in 3D, what is it about that medium that excites you and what is your favourite part of the art making process? 

A. I always get nagged by my kids as they like my 2D drawings and stuff best and they’d like to see more of those but I really enjoy working in 3D. I think I like the fact that you have to be half technician and half artist, especially if you’re creating something that needs to be animated as you’re always thinking ahead as to how it will move etc and have to build it accordingly. I think what I’ve always loved about 3D is when it’s time to press the render button, all the hard work, the modelling, the texturing, the lighting, it’s at that point that it all comes together and hopefully it’s a wow moment. I remember being enthralled by movies such as A Bugs life, Toy Story and Kung Fu Panda, the attention to detail is amazing and there’s always something you can pick up and take away by watching them.

Q. It can require a lot of patience at times, is there anything you do to get you in the zone and keep you focused? 

A. I’m probably like a lot of people and like to work to music but sometimes a whole album can go by and I have to start it again because I haven’t heard any of it I’ve been concentrating so much, or sometimes I’ll listen to the news and interviews on Bloomberg but when I’m working late I quite like to stick on a few movies, the last all nighter I did saw me nearly getting through the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy extended editions 

Q. The portrait of your son is so incredibly life like its almost like staring at a photo. Can you briefly talks us through the process of modelling and texturing him? 

A. I started by taking a couple of photos ( front and side ) for reference and then began creating a low polygon model in Maya. When doing something like this I like to work polygon by polygon and build the face up bit by bit starting with the eyes and nose as it’s a very accurate way to achieve a likeness. Once the low poly version is complete I do all my UV’s and textures in ZBrush before exporting everything back into Maya for rendering and then photoshop for finishing off.

Q. Is there anything you’ve always wanted to illustrate, animate, or create but haven’t had the chance to? 

A. I’m a bit of a kid so I’d have to say a dragon. Wether it’s a downright nasty looking realistic one or something cute and comical, I think it’d be a lot of fun to do. 

Q. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve found yourself working on and where’s the weirdest place you’ve found inspiration? 

A. I’m not too sure how unusual this is but it was certainly one of the most fun, about a year ago we were asked to make up an ad to make something famous for DDB. A lock of hair, a stick, some lint that type of thing. I based my idea around a lock of hair, it’s not very often you get to take something from concept through to execution so it was unusual in that sense. As for inspiration it normally happens when you least expect, you might see someone walking down a street and it’ll trigger something or something someone might say, usually though I find it from reading books or watching films. 

Q. Do you have any words and wisdom or inspiration you want to share with us? 

A. Haha erm…. I’m not very wise but I like this from Kungfu Panda 'Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present' so do what makes you happy

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