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leigh
05-31-2005, 02:38 AM
http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/nicolas_bouvier/header.jpg

Nicolas Bouvier (AKA Sparth)
Concept Designer and Illustrator
Ubisoft

Sparth has been an active artistic director and concept designer in the gaming industry since 1996. Born in France, he now lives in Montreal, Canada, where he has been working for Ubisoft since 2003.

Having had the privilege of travelling extensively at an early age to such places as far afield as the USA, Singapore, China, France and Europe, he was influenced greatly by the various cultures, and he enjoyed observing people and making notes of all these tiny details of life that he was witnessing. The varied influences are largely responsible for his multiple creative passions, which range from space, to buildings, to robotics and beyond. After several years abroad, Sparth returned to France in 1987 to begin his studies.

There are no limits to his creativity when it comes to translating forms and concepts.
One of his greatest passion remains contemporary architecture, of which he applies principles in his own art, with an experimental and original approach. He also harbours a fascination for modern skyscrapers, although he admits that he wouldn't be able to live too high above the ground himself.

After graduating from the ENSAD (Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs),
he began working for Darkworks studio, the French gaming company responsible for such titles as "Alone In The Dark 4" and "Cold Fear". He was particularly heavily involved in the former title, for which he began creating initial material in 1998. Working as the sole designer initially, he later invited additional illustrators (Bengal and Benjamin Carre) to join the project as the production pace increased.

The game was finally released in 2001. The three years of production paid off as it turned out to be a major success as a pre-rendered game for this period, selling 1.4 million copies. Within Darkworks, Sparth then contributed to the development of several game projects ("Lost Mantis", "Time crisis") with large companies like Capcom and Namco, and in the beginning of 2003, started the pre-production of “Cold Fear“, a survival horror genre title later produced by Ubisoft, in March 2005.

In 2003, en route to Canada, Sparth decided to leave Darkworks while working on the production of “Cold Fear“, and joined Ubisoft in Montreal.
He was assigned the task of exploring new directions and atmospheres for the new “Prince of Persia - Warrior Within“ title, working both on the environment and on the Prince's new look. a very challenging year.

During the last four years, Sparth has also been having a enjoying a career illustrating book covers. His images have been actively chosen by publishers to adorn the covers of authors such as Jack Vance, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, Roger Zelazny, and Robert Silverberg.

When he is not working, he finds time to relax with his wife Lorene and his two sons Arthur and Leopold.

Related links:
www.sparth.com


http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/nicolas_bouvier/1.jpg

http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/nicolas_bouvier/2.jpg

http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/nicolas_bouvier/3.jpg

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slugo3
05-31-2005, 03:05 AM
I wasn't familiar with your work but I'm an instant fan :thumbsup:

cg219
05-31-2005, 03:07 AM
Wow, I love this new section. I learn about someone new every week. Glad to have you here.

1. Why did you want to become a Concept Atist?

2. Do you find yourself doing any work with indie groups nowadays?

3. Were you ever part of a Indie group?

4. How is it in the Ubi Soft Studio?

5. Where do you get your inspiration from?

6. Is your work completely digital or do you also use pencil and paper?

7. Would you agree to help out a small indie game group?

Thanks for joining and answering our questions. Much luck in the future.

chien
05-31-2005, 03:14 AM
hi !

I'm Tham Chien Yih, a 20 year old malaysian, just noticed your artwork in cgtalk, have to say that I was immediately captivated by it.

so, you're from France I hear? awfully rich country.

1.what's life like working for Ubisoft as a concept artist and illustrator ? how was it like developing prince of persia?

2.from your illustrations, you seem to have this influence with the sci-fi and fantasy realm, correct me If I'm wrong, I often judge artwork to soon.

3. How long have you been working in the games industry? have you played other roles like 3d artist or 3d character animator?

4. What sort of art mediums do you work with? do you like working with photoshop and corel painter? I'm kinda into photoshop mroe than illustrator, but I am new to painter.

5. Heard that you've done visual communication before, is graphic designing : book cover illustrations still one of your favourite careers?

6. This might seem abit ambitious but, do you plan to own your gaming or animation studio someday?

Thank you for your time :-) !

carbonmatter
05-31-2005, 04:21 AM
Hey Sparth

Got to see you at the concept art workshops in Austin last year (what a sweatbox - but boy was it worth it!) and really enjoyed it.

Out of curiosity, when you're doing concept art on a game, is most of your input at the onset, or do you find you are continually refining and adding material as the game progresses? At what point are you 'finished' the concept work, and then what do you do?

Also, what was your experience in film work like - worth pursuing for you?

Thanks for sharing with the community, it's much appreciated!

Dan Wheaton

Neeno
05-31-2005, 04:36 AM
your work is ucompromisingly unbelievable and fantastic.. you have great skill ...

A few questions from me..

1. as you went from country to country and were influenced by all different cultures does that affect your work as in, when you are creating art do you add different ideas you have recieved from cultures to produce the image in your mind? If so what steps do you take?

2. were you always interested and good at being a concept artist , because many people ahve this skill as a natural skill, my question is did you develop it or was it natural for you? if it wasnt natural please explain how you developed your great skill?

3. What software do you prefer and if you were to create your own software to help artists out there to achieve there goal what software would you create and what would it be used for?

Thankyou for taking out your time to answer our questions.. Im sure your time is valuable seeing the great work you produce it's fantastic and very helpful and unselfish of you.. Very kind.. cheers!

twoheaded
05-31-2005, 04:39 AM
Sparth, Im a big fan of your prince of persia 2 concept art. Great moods on some of the castle paintings.
As a student artist, I would really like to hear some recommendation on good practices to increase concept painting/drawing skills.
As Tiger woods' Father said "practice alone does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect."

Thanks again,
Felix

digital-bobert
05-31-2005, 05:19 AM
Hi Sparth,

Like everyone else, I have to say that I love your paintings. Just great!
My question is have you ever had an agent? and why or why not?

Bobby

ynvamsi
05-31-2005, 06:04 AM
I just visited your website, great work .I love it

neofg
05-31-2005, 07:14 AM
Have a nice day Nicolas,
Say that I (read:we)love your works is obvious...
What I ask to myself, when I start a project, and I must to sketch an idea is...How Can I obtain the level of design that I see in images like yours...
I love the building's design, and spaceships... They remember me the last spectacular Star Wars(Mytical Lucas). They are dusty, with a lot of lines, full of particulars...
It's just your mental priviledge,a sort of...genius, or there's a secret for learning to paint,sculpt, in this way? I haven't schools of design...I have only passion...
Get us your secret if it exist... :shrug:
GOOD ART MAN!

ffourier
05-31-2005, 07:52 AM
Hi nicolas, sorry for my post but it is easiest for me to ask my questions in french.
1- Tout d'abord je tiens à te féliciter pour tes travaux, qui sont vraiment de toute beauté. J'aime beaucoup ton style et ton univers graphique.
2- Je vois que tu as étudié ENSAD. Je voudrais savoir comment s'est déroulé cette formation et ce qu'elle t'as apporté. En es-tu satisfait ?
3- Je remarque également que, une fois de plus, un Francais s'expatrie à l'étranger pour travailler, et en particulier au canada. Je pense aussi en disant ca a Pascal Blanché, lui aussi chez ubisoft. Est-ce si difficile de trouver un emploi stable en France ou plutot, à l'inverse, est-ce si facile d'en trouver un au canada, ou meme dans d'autres pays ?
4- Pour le moment j'ai un niveau relativement correct en dessin mais je pêche un peu au niveau du dessin. Et je souhaite donc m'améliorer le plus possible. Que pourrais-tu me conseiller pour apprendre par moi-même ? est-ce un bon point de départ de recopier énormément de dessins pour se créer une sorte de bibliothèque de références ? Ne fais-je pas au fur et a mesure devenir dépendant de ces références à tel point que j'aurai du mal à m'en détacher ? Car pour le moment je suis dans une école de 3D qui est plus axée technique qu'artistique.
Voila je pense avoir fait à peu près le tour. Je crois que tu es tenu de répondre en anglais mais il n'y a pas de soucis je le comprend sans doute mieux que je ne lécrit :)
Merci d'avance et bonne continuation.
a+
Frédéric FOURIER

TheCleaner
05-31-2005, 08:09 AM
Hello
Your work is highly inspirational, from back when I was going for my degree/major in computer games art, to now still, as I persue Architecture.

I am interested to know what kind of formal Architectural studies you undertook. If non, then was it purely out of high interest in your environment, and those you visited, that you were able to produce works such as this (http://www.sparth.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=42&pos=19)? (theres others I highly admire, just an example of your excellent use of architectural disciplines)

Have you ever worked as an architectural concept designer, producing work for the billboards that go next to sites to show what they could look like, its what I'm interested in keeping up while studying Architecture at University. I think I could hold a great advantage if I were able to show clients conceptual art rather than just line plans which they cant make head nor tail of. I would charge for these ofcourse, but what do you think?

Thank you for taking the time to do this, and keep up the good work :thumbsup:

tinitus
05-31-2005, 08:26 AM
wow...fantastic work you've done there!

Where are you getting the ideas of your artwork?!

conundrum
05-31-2005, 08:28 AM
hi, i'm a big fan of your work, especially your brilliant book covers and of course the work you did for PoP 2

1. You seem to only use warm colours in your work, is this just personal preference or is there another reason behind it?

2. Also, your work always has an impressionist quality to it, with very few unnecessary details, because of this, your paintings very rarely seem to be overworked. At times are you conscious of trying to acheive this looseness, or is it something which always comes naturally?

thanks a lot

paperclip
05-31-2005, 09:11 AM
I'll just start off with one question (hey, I have to leave ideas for everyone else...)


What's your attitude towards color and do you use a color 'formula'? Do you reserve certain colors for certain moods- do you have a sort of color 'mood book' or something similar?
I ask because I see certain sets of colors cropping up in your work and t hey always work!

Aside from that, another instant fan here! :thumbsup:

Squibbit
05-31-2005, 09:15 AM
Aside from that, another instant fan here! :thumbsup:

here too , heh .


.

tayete
05-31-2005, 09:25 AM
Sparth, I've been loving your work for a long time. My question is about your palette. You seem to always use the same brownish/reddish hues. Is it because you feel comfortable with it, something impossed from outside for your recent works, your current animic situation?...

micrypt
05-31-2005, 10:20 AM
I've always been a big fan, especially the Prince of Persia art. :buttrock:
You are one of the artists that can be said to have a distinctive style. Your work always has a "this was done by Sparth" feel to it.

Are you ever going to put a tutorials section on your site? And what photoshop tools do you find yourself using the most?

NOOB!
05-31-2005, 10:25 AM
i'll be honest and say this is the first time i've heard of u too,but damn....glad i did hear of u,excellent work.

what programs do u use? painter/photoshop?

how did u go about getting into the industry?

Tranchefeux
05-31-2005, 11:42 AM
Congratulations for your excellent achievements, you is a large
representative of our colors, good continuation. :thumbsup:

bRyaN2003
05-31-2005, 11:47 AM
Sparth is a class act individual...i had the pleasure of hanging with him at the first Concept Art US workshop in Austin Texas...

Even though i knew his real name, I kept calling him Sparth, but it seems Jason and crew did the same thing...which brings me to my question..

How did the nickname Sparth come about? It's catchy as hell...

Sollesnes
05-31-2005, 12:38 PM
Beautiful images.

It seems from the images here at this topic (sorry, this is the first time i've heard of you, but i'll definently remember you) are pretty much science-fiction based.
Have you always been intrested in that, or have you had times when you had other interests?
Of course, people can't paint only one type of images all the time, but many just have breaks, what I mean is long times with painting mostly other types of paintings. :)

As I said, I really love you work.

Best regards, Øystein Sollesnes.

tayete
05-31-2005, 12:46 PM
Ah, another thing I wanted to ask you since some time ago: don't do those Dune worms look too much like David Lynch's ones? Is it some kind of honour to him, just because the editor wanted them that way, or any other cause?

andreasrocha
05-31-2005, 12:51 PM
Nicolas

I have a been a fan of your work for some time. Your unique use of color and the texture you achieve on your canvas is really something. Therefore, I would like to ask you a bit about your technique, because I can't find much info on it.

1. Do you build up you colors on the canvas or do you have a predefined palette which you stay true to?
2. How do you build up your shadows, which seem really rich? Do you use dark saturated colors, or black, and do you start from dark and then build up the detail, or do you continuously darken things until you have the degree of contrast you like?
3. How do you obtain your texture? Only with brushstrokes or do you apply texture layers over your painting?

EDIT: I just checked your website and had most of these questions answered. Thanks for the tutorials.

Thanks

Andi

JohnDes
05-31-2005, 01:33 PM
Just wanted to say I am also a fan of your work...inspiring stuff especially for someone new to digital painting. On that note thanks for contributing to "Illustrations with Photoshop" book. It was very helpful and great to know that awesome artists want to help others start in the right direction.

My question is: Have you ever wanted to translate any of your pieces towards traditional materials (ie watercolour, oils...etc) and if so how difficult would it be to recreate your wonderful blends and look traditionally.

sparth
05-31-2005, 01:54 PM
hello all
glad to be able to give answers to your kind questions
i`ll do my best


cg219: 1. Why did you want to become a Concept Artist?
- i guess it was the only thing that caught my attention at first. not of course the job in itself, but the fact of being creative. i started doing a lot of artistic related stuff at a very early age. that's the way it goes i guess concerning dreamy kids. they like painting and drawing because it remains the best way to express themselves.

2. Do you find yourself doing any work with indie groups nowadays?
- hum not particularly. :D

3. Were you ever part of a Indie group?
- not at all. i like all kinds of music, but i feel more conmfortable when listening electronic and ambient feelings.
4. How is it in the Ubi Soft Studio?
- fine really. lots of talented peeps. we're still growing today. the studio is slowly transforming into a town of its own.

5. Where do you get your inspiration from?
- hard to give a definite and fast answer for this one. i will probably talk about it later on though. on a technical point of view, my inspiration comes from my surrounding world. you just have to open your eyes in order to understand how light, colors and shades work.
i also think my general inspiration comes from my past. the way we think and see things at the present time, all of it comes from the culture and education you've had since youth.
and of course, i have my favorites artists that keep my motivation active. there are many, coming from all kinds of horizons. i'll probably develop this point further on.

6. Is your work completely digital or do you also use pencil and paper?
- i have removed the scanning process and sketches a few years ago. i work digital 100% of the time. but this doesn't mean i am not doing a few sketches aside sometimes.
it is just that i don't scan them, keeping them for other use than digital.
i love working traditionally. digital helps you gain time, and it is a different type of excitment.
besides, i have been working traditionally for years.

7. Would you agree to help out a small indie game group?
- i always keep the doors open. however, i admit not being able to do much more than what i am doing now. schedules are tight.

roguenroll
05-31-2005, 02:02 PM
wow, nice stuff, I really like the rich colors, not sure if you have any interest or inclination, but a few training dvds if your techniques via gnomon, would be a nice extra sideline. I would be a customer.

sparth
05-31-2005, 03:22 PM
chien:

1.what's life like working for Ubisoft as a concept artist and illustrator ? how was it like developing prince of persia?
- i had a great time working on Prince of "persia Warrior Within" really. i started at the beginning of the project, which adds to the pleasure. as it is always more rewarding beginning a full project from the start.

2.from your illustrations, you seem to have this influence with the sci-fi and fantasy realm, correct me If I'm wrong, I often judge artwork to soon.
- i like exploring new atmospheres, entering into themes that i'm not familiar with. but true, i remain fascinated by the sci-fi world and all the ideas connected to it.

3. How long have you been working in the games industry? have you played other roles like 3d artist or 3d character animator?
- i started working in Paris, in a small multimedia company called flammarion multimedia, it was around 96. but the adventure did not last long, mainly because the so called multimedia industry was already going down during that period. later on, i went to Darkworks Studio. i began freelancing at first, and slowly, i started doing more and more stuff, as the company's needs were growing. this is where it all started, for my case. i considerer having started my true artistic career in this company.
and no, i haven't had the chance to work for other fields unfortunately.
i did many 3d experiments ten years ago. was fascinated, but i never showed a thing.
i don't miss not doing 3d though. i work with extremely talented 3d guys all day long, and i would not feel at the right place if i had to do what they do really :D

5. Heard that you've done visual communication before, is graphic designing : book cover illustrations still one of your favourite careers?
- yes you're right. i really feel there are two fields to explore. professional work on one side, working in the industry, giving all i've got in order to participate to big or smaller projects. the only condition is to remain excited, stimulated by the games you're working on.
(but then again, the artist is a pretty lucky dude, because even though sometimes projects can become boring or unchallenging, he can always concentrate on the image itself. it happened in the past. it's a very important fact according to me. for an artist, the finished images can be as important as the whole game. it is not selfishness, more a way to keep going forward and produce good art no matter the projects they're done for).

the second field is far more personal. book covers illustrations are like a one shot mission. you give your best for several hours, during one or two days, sometimes a bit more. true, publishers have sometimes definite ideas of what they want to see on the cover, but most of the time, i remain free of imagining the whole thing. i am lucky enough having publishers asking me for covers because of my style. it's a huge honor, and i do my best in order to give them what they want. it's a pleasure showing all you've got without any constraints.

6. This might seem abit ambitious but, do you plan to own your gaming or animation studio someday?
- i don't really think i'd have much dexterity in managment in order to create such a studio. true i dreamed sometimes about creating a concept studio with close friends. who didn't?
it would allow each artist to remain up to date concerning all the technical aspects of the profession. and keep the communication high between artists. but there are other ways to do it. the web allows everything nowadays. :D

Denart
05-31-2005, 04:27 PM
Hey Sparth, been a fan of your works for...too long! :D

Just wondering, how does it make you feel when people compare your work to Craig Mullins? Or even worse, call you a Craig rip-off?
(which AIN'T true!) ;)

thanks for your time Sparth

sparth
05-31-2005, 06:01 PM
carbonmatter: Got to see you at the concept art workshops in Austin last year (what a sweatbox - but boy was it worth it!) and really enjoyed it.

- hehe true. we did suffer a lot from the heat. i'm glad you had a great time. i did too for so many reasons. i would have liked to do so much more though.

carbonmatter: Out of curiosity, when you're doing concept art on a game, is most of your input at the onset, or do you find you are continually refining and adding material as the game progresses? At what point are you 'finished' the concept work, and then what do you do?

- i like finishing pieces even though we have to sometimes go back and add extra layers and details to scenes. i guess it really depends on the project you're on.
on warrior within, we had no time for second passes. everything had to be done the right way on the first pass. concerning the prince itself, we did take time in order to slowly find new ways of making him more funky and dark. but that's the way it goes when your define main characters. on environments, we had to go straight to the point as fast as we could.
it is not particularly a bad thing too, short productions are indeed intense, but it is worth it in some cases.
during the pre-productions and productions, concept artists often begin working strictly on fast concepts. it is later on during the end of the prod that they tend to do more marketing art and stuff for magazines and the medias. (however their aim is not at all to do what the marketing artists do. they don't act like replacement artists. they just add their vision to the whole marketing process).
still, on warrior within, we had to imagine concepts until the very last minutes of the productions. quite unusual, as most of the time everything happens in the first half of the project.

even more important, concept artists give their best when they are smartly driven. it was the case on POP warrior within. our artistic and creative directors (michael labat and jc guyot) knew what they wanted, and what direction to take for the main look of the game. it helps a lot.

carbonmatter: Also, what was your experience in film work like - worth pursuing for you?

- i haven't done enough in the film industry to build myself a strong opinion on the subject.
in 1998, my friend mathieu lauffray asked me if i was interested to work for christopher gans, who was developing "20000 leagues under the sea" at that time. i worked during a month on the nautilus submarine, pretty fun. but these events are too far back in the days for me, and i couldn't have an opinion from this experience.
i don't know yet if the fact of working for the movie industry is easy to combine with a family life. i guess i'll discover it for myself later on. i'm really opened to any kinds of career circuits from the moment i'm having a fun and balanced life.

thanx dan :D

HellBoy
05-31-2005, 06:20 PM
Hi sparth


2 questions here


Whats a day like in Ubisoft, typical working day, I guess from 9.00am to whatever 5.00pm
How about when deadline approaches?

arkinet
05-31-2005, 07:25 PM
wow, its the 1st time i saw your work and Im an instant fan. I love the bold & fast stroke. I dunno if this was asked already but my question:

1. Do you still do line sketch or just build up your colors and progress on as ideas came in?
2. I dunno if you've been a part of interviewing/evaluating portfolio from applicants, but in your opinion, what images would strike most, sci-fi, epic, characters,... ?
3. Im a beginner in 2D, my M&S entry is my very 1st, though I dabble w/ painting as a hobby, whats your advise portfolio-wise as to what images to put up front(besides it beeing your best, of course) for a beginner like me.

Thanks for your time & more power to you!!

artjunkie
05-31-2005, 08:33 PM
Sparth! I'm a huge fan (been admiring your work on your website for ages) and love your energetic, painterly style. Love your colour choices too! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this Q&A session. You honour us! :applause:

1. What things do you do to excercise your creativity (how do you keep from getting mental creative blocks)?

2. What kinds of things do you suggest an aspiring concept artist show in a portfolio?

3. Do you do research to add all that wonderful detail on your spaceships and buildings, or do you just make it up as you go along? If so, what kind of stuff do you use for reference (especially for the futuristic spaceships).

4. How do you like Canada? :D

Thanks again for you time...

Cheers!

Arctis
05-31-2005, 10:12 PM
hi nicolas,
I would like to ask you a little question (that may interest only a few french dudes ;) ) :
- Did it help you to come from ENSAD, and if yes or no, why ?

I graduated from there 3 year ago, experimenting different medias for 5 years, as they encouraged us, but... It's hard, once finished, to become competitive with guys who seems to have had only one thing in mind : work in the gaming/movie industry. I had to violently kick my ass...

So I think it would be interesting to have your opinion on that school, because of your 9 years career both in France and Canada.

thanx

Pierre

Arctis
05-31-2005, 10:12 PM
Oh, by the way, I really love your Expose entry : "hidden in the desert". That's a pearl.
Bye.

rawgon
05-31-2005, 10:55 PM
Hi sparth, i admire your concept designs and the way you can paint them, i would like to take this chance and ask how do you practice painting, i mean you have an innate ability to draw your designs and at the same getting better at painting and composition, would you suggest a way to practice painting regardless to the subject? i mean somehow i tend to feel that painting its almost an abstract process, is this correct from your experience!?

Thank you sparth

greynite1
05-31-2005, 10:59 PM
Hows it going

I got a question from a Budding Concept artist here. what do you recommend for Practice just basically take and develop whatever comes to your head as your skills allow? How do you recommend concept artists develop there skills to prepare them for Showing there products for potential jobs.

sparth
05-31-2005, 11:08 PM
neeno

first of all, thank you for your kind comment.

1. as you went from country to country and were influenced by all different cultures does that affect your work as in, when you are creating art do you add different ideas you have recieved from cultures to produce the image in your mind? If so what steps do you take?
- i guess it has to do more with a global attitude towards art, rather than anything precise. i would say that we are the result today of all the things we have gathered and lived in your past. education, culture... i am convinced all the things we live are written forever in our brain, even though it is not that easy to determine the amount of influence it has in the creation process. it is just there as a whole.
to put it simple, i suppose it helps being passionate and curious. if i have to concentrate on precise exemples, yes, i'd say that my past will always have an influence on my actual art. in 82, i followed my parents and went to live in singapore. i was ten years old.
you wouldn't believe how much impact these sort of trips and moves can have at that age, especially when the cultural gap is large between your country of birth and your new home. i still remember the malaysian roads, the shape of the fruits available in the small markets, the people and their traditions.... once we did a trip to kuala lumpur. we rented a car and went north west. we arrived at the hotel. i remember that the hotel was a bit lost in the jungle. and then there was this hotel wall ....white ... where all these butterflies had gathered. thousands of large and amazingly colored butterflies all over that wall .... some sort of a meeting point.
- in bali, i still remember the excitement when i grabbed that stone for fun, realizing there was a scorpion beneath it.
- i still remember how much amazed i was landing in honk kong
- i remember the number of soldiers in xian's terracota army .....
and on .... and on ....
i suppose it helps a lot when imagination is stimulated in a kid's mind.
and i will always be thankful towards my parents for this same reason.

2. were you always interested and good at being a concept artist , because many people ahve this skill as a natural skill, my question is did you develop it or was it natural for you? if it wasnt natural please explain how you developed your great skill?
- there has always been something from the start, it's true. but it doesn't mean a thing.
certainly not that you need talent from the start. it would be ridiculous.
you're not really conscious of all these things when you are a kid. you just feel urged to create, probably because you simply find it fun, probably because your parents look very happy when you draw well, so you instinctively do extra efforts in order to please them? i don't know. maybe that initial natural skill is not important. the most important factor is to keep your ears opened to music, your eyes opened to forms ....
today, in order to keep all my ideas and test new concepts, i write everything down in a txt, right on my desktop. now there's no real formula in there. art has nothing to do with definite formulas, and formulas will never be able to describe an abstraction process or an impulsive creative move. however, i write small sentences explaining how i see things, how i feel about an image, how to improve a process etc ....

3. What software do you prefer and if you were to create your own software to help artists out there to achieve there goal what software would you create and what would it be used for?
- i'm a photoshop fan. and have always been. the only thing that lacks is the fact of being able to mix color together. or the fact of being able to paint with more than one color at a time. so many features could be added actually. there are ways to experiment these features, like using the stamp tool though.
also, i really believe that the layering system is a revolution. i wouldn't be as creative if this feature had not been discovered.

blankslatejoe
06-01-2005, 01:22 AM
Hiya sparth, I too saw you demo back in austin... incredible man... simply incredible.

I've always wondered the same thing Byran just asked earlier: Where DID the nickname sparth come from?

Joebount
06-01-2005, 02:53 AM
Hello my friend !

One thing I'd like to know : What are you dreaming of ? (real dreams, not wishes)

Cheers
-Matth:beer:

luness
06-01-2005, 06:42 AM
Hola Sparth.



Thanks so much for the time you’re dedicating for this. It is quite nice that, thanks to CG Talk, we finally have the chance to get some feedback from artists we admire.

I would like to take some lines to explain how passionate I do feel for conceptual design and how big and important has been your work (among the one from other amazing artists) to inspire me and to encourage me to follow my dreams with passion and dedication.

I’m from Venezuela, a country (packed with corruption and unstable political and economical situation) were art and related forms, since as far as I remember have been, by far, less important than beauty pageants, good alcohol (beer and rum) and oil production. I spent my childhood drawing from time to time but not having here a way to explore, study, get inspiration and improve my skills (by means of a animation industry or videogames industry, for example, or even information about what all this is about) made me turned my back to what I enjoyed most and followed a path I wasn’t happy to follow, studying and preparing myself in what the society and the situation around me somehow suggested me to take. Fortunately, like 8yrs ago, I decided to make a big change and do what I felt it was the right thing to do, what my heart and passion told me to do. I stopped studying Business Administration just like that and studied Graphic Design, and just last year I was graduated on Commercial Animation (Cap College, Vancouver), majoring in Character Design. It was just by the end of the program that I saw for the very first time, while checking some websites, what my talent (still unpolished but craving for a chance to show that it has something to offer) is more suited for, or where it has more chance to be developed…at least, that’s what I believe, and what my friends, teachers and colleagues say and encourage me to do.

I still remember like it was yesterday that I saw pieces from your conceptual art and it was something completely new for me. I was speechless, really. Just thinking that something you draw could be used and seen later on in a videogame or a movie just blew my mind. Yes, I was that ignorant about this. Just last year I got the idea what Concept Art is. And now I see movies, videogames, TV shows and are all fascinated with what pre-production is, and I feel that I could give the best of myself in that area. I mean, I’m 30yrs old now, but honestly, it feel like that kid I left behind years ago, the one who wanted to draw all the time, came back claiming for a chance to draw and create again.

Sometimes I do regret that in our country we have never had information that could tells us what concept art is about and how wonderful and beautiful is this industry and yes, how cool is this creative worldwide community that I have discovered. But it’s never too late, so I started to draw again, and I’m here, sending portfolios overseas since last year ( feel free to check the latest one at http://photobucket.com/albums/v486/luness/ ), following my dream, improving my skills everyday to truly gain the opportunity to work in this industry, to do what talented and freaking amazing artist like you do. So thank you so much for been such an inspiration and such a great sneak peek of all what this crazy and creative world is all about. All the blessings and best wishes for you.



So now, I would like to ask you some questions:

-I know and fully understand that videogame and animation companies first look for local talent for employment before considering foreigners, but I’m wondering, Do you have any idea how’s the situation for foreign talent in Canada? US? Is it that hard to get in the industry?

-Could a solid and professional portfolio knock down this sort of been-foreign barrier easier and get me a spot in the group of candidates to consider for the job I’m applying for, or as I think, is could be still harder because of my situation?

-Do you have any quotes, inspirational thoughts, or words of courage to share with the people living the same or similar situation like mine, where it’s a bit harder to take the first step, where there’s a fight to never give up even though when what’s around you or the place where you live makes everything more difficult for you?



Again, thanks a lot Sparth.



Sincerely,

Luis.

PS: sorry for the long note, but this opportunity to share, to say thanks, and to get some feedback is precious, yes sir.

Addiso
06-01-2005, 08:36 AM
Hello, Sparth my name is Attila Szigeti !

I'm always amazed by the forms, you use to build up your compositions, and characters. I can almost see how they develope from dynamic brush strokes to finely detailed pieces.

Your work is always fresh, which I find really hard to pull off, with the warm subtle colors scheme you use. Just incredible!

The other thing I really like is the ingenius use of contrasting/complementary color stripes and dots. The blues and the really saturated oranges and reds. Jaw dropping sence of ballance and dynamic.

1. - Your armour and vehicle designs seem to draw a lot on natural froms, crabs and other insect like. Do you get alot of inspiration from nature ?

2. - Do you work in traditional media besides digital ? If so whats your favourite tool ? (chalk, pastel, oil,...)

3. - Do you use small thumbnails to get composition and tones right, or do you just jump in and overpaint if something is not in the right place ?

4. - I read an interview with you, on another CG site, where you talk about balancing work and family life. Could you give any advice for freelance artist, what to look out for, if they want to remain freelance, but still have a family ?

Great having you here ! :applause:

The Dune covers are the best !!! Frank Herberts vision comes to life. Wish I had a copy of those editions. :thumbsup:

stefgrafx
06-01-2005, 10:01 AM
Je vois beaucoup de questions sur quelle école tu as fait etc... mais le secret su shmilblik c´est le talent, ça ne s´apprend pas, et toi tu en débordes... si tu pouvais nous en donner un chti peu hein ;)

Vincent Walhem
06-01-2005, 10:11 AM
Hi!, I´m a fan of prince of persia 2, mainly because the scenarios and the dark mood of the game.
As a concept designer of the game, I assume that those mood it´s a creation of yours, but ¿have you asked about those specific look? Why in your opinion is so radical the difference of the ambients between POP1 and POP2?

I agree: layering painting it´s one of the best ideas of the mankind :D

metalpiss
06-01-2005, 12:07 PM
Sparth, I always liked the spontaneity in your paintings and the your effect of painting with a big brush.

I have some questions for you:

How do you make such a good contrast? I alwas sucked at making contrast in digital paintings. All my colors are unsaturated and pale. I must adjust the contrast and color balance in photoshop to get it wright, but it's unpleasant. Here's an example (i haven't tweaked contrast or color balance in this one):
http://img238.echo.cx/img238/4134/bigroot9zj.th.jpg (http://img238.echo.cx/my.php?image=bigroot9zj.jpg)

I have that art tutorial of yours, in pdf format, but that only explains illumination & color stuff, wich I mainly knew about. What I was searching for was your brushing technique. Could you share that with us mortals? If it's your professional secret, forget that you read this.

You once made this (http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=866) tutorial, but I can't see any images besides the final image. Do you happen to have the illustrations for the other steps?

thanks for your time

Miyagu
06-01-2005, 01:01 PM
hi sparth,

i just came back from your website... wow! i simply love your work..
and now i go back and have another looooong look.. :)

keep up the amazing work!

sparth
06-01-2005, 01:31 PM
twoheaded: Sparth, Im a big fan of your prince of persia 2 concept art. Great moods on some of the castle paintings.
As a student artist, I would really like to hear some recommendation on good practices to increase concept painting/drawing skills.

- first of all thanx. i really had an extremely pleasant time working on pop warior within. not to mention that i had a great time working with my fellow friends and artists.
some advices:

- i already gave that advice not long ago, but i think it is not a loss of time giving it again: while painting, always make an horizontal flip of your image. it helps training the eye to permanently spot and fix errors in your illustration.
- when working, often analyse the design/forms/architectures you are painting, and permanently ask yourself the question "could the stuff i am painting right now be realistic if i translated it unto real life", "is my actual design realistic compared to real life criterias such as light/color/radiosity?". i think that it is a great issue today in digital painting, as many artists aren't capable yet of building a link between the way light works, and their illustrations.
i am not talking about style nor realistic painting, but more about the way we see things, and how things interact in a scene.
- always focus on the subject of your illustration. not only concerning a strong theme, but also concerning the central area of your image. if nothing happens in the strict middle of your illustration, you will not be able to captivate the viewer. there must always be a focus point that will globally be located smartly in your illustration, enhanced by a logical composition. but once again, there is no rule.
- and yes, as tiger woods, being a concept artists is about going straight to the point. with the fewer steps necessary to reach the aim.

sparth
06-01-2005, 01:34 PM
digital-bobert: nope, never had an agent. and the reason is simple. i started working as an employee quite early. and the freelance stuff i did aside was not important enough in order to take an agent.
if later on, i ever prefer working freelance only, i will of course grab an agent for sure.

sparth
06-01-2005, 02:45 PM
neofg:Say that I (read:we)love your works is obvious...
What I ask to myself, when I start a project, and I must to sketch an idea is...How Can I obtain the level of design that I see in images like yours...

your question was passionate, so i will try to give you a passionate answer.

the question could be asked differently, like: "how can i define all the stuff i have in my head, how am i going to succeed in putting all my thoughs on paper or screen"
being in envy mode can be useful. we're all in "envy mode" when looking at mcaig's or jeffrey jones stuff. it is a stimulation.
now i guess that everythings comes from within ourselves, our culture, our education. my design and my forms are the result of my education and background.

since i was a kid, i grew up with the image of a "building" father. a dad whose job was to take care of constructions companies. it began as a regional adventure, and he finished his career taking care of the millau bridge (image google : millau bridge), as president of his company. for years, i heard about architects, buildings, skyscrapers, constructions status, constructions abroad .... could my design be a mix of all these influences? probably yes. without forgetting about all the rest. studies included.
it is a very complex process to understand. where do our style and forms come from? true we all have our inspirations and favorite artists, but your own curiosity towards your surrounding world will probably be the greatest inspiration ever.

when "return of the jedi" was released in theaters, i lived in singapore. it was in 83.
singapore being the safest country ever, i still remember grabbing a cab with my brother, at ten and nine years old.... to rush to the cinema around orchard road. i still see in my mind that gigantic painted poster in front of the cinema. they used to paint scenes from the movie at the time. dunno if they still do it today.
i went back to the same theater three times in a few weeks ....

"Get us your secret if it exist..."

hmmmm would i tell it if i knew about it? ;) hehe
i think that the best way to achieve goals is to be able to open the right door at the right moment. if you get stuck too long in front of a closed door, find another way in.
yes, it may happen to get stuck in front of the wrong door. for exemple, during my studying years, i got the feeling i was not heading towards the right artistic direction. my motivations were average, and i felt uneasy concerning my own art. i wanted to do comics for a while, without knowing if it was going to fit me. it didn't, i know it now. ... still, i'd love to do comics now, but i've changed a lot.
what i know is that i felt a door opened for me, it was around 2001 or 2002. something happened. several other of these "doors" have opened since.
i rushed into everyone of them, and haven't stopped going straight forward since.

igorsandman
06-01-2005, 04:38 PM
Hello Nicolas,

You're my favourite digital painter so, I asked CGTalk to invite you in these sessions 2 weeks ago in the suggestion thread and here you are. Wow! They're quick :D Seriously I don't think I have anything to do with it, but I'm glad to have you here. I'm so glad that I can't think of any relevant question for now. hehe
I'll ask a practical quetsion until I find better :)

- I've read Ubisoft is about to be sold to another company (at least part of it) or a partnership. (The name of Electronic Arts has been heard.) Maybe you're not the best person to answer that, but do you think it will have an impact on the choices (design, style of games, etc)Ubisoft makes? I love Ubisoft because of the originality of their games and the great designs. They take risks, the dare to try things and I like them for that. Do you think it will change?

That's all for now. I'll be back.
Thanks for your time. You're a real inspiration to me.
Later.
-IS-

sparth
06-01-2005, 09:13 PM
destroyfred:
arctis:

destroyfred:1- Tout d'abord je tiens à te féliciter pour tes travaux, qui sont vraiment de toute beauté. J'aime beaucoup ton style et ton univers graphique.
- TY! :D:D:D

destroyfred: 2- Je vois que tu as étudié ENSAD. Je voudrais savoir comment s'est déroulé cette formation et ce qu'elle t'as apporté. En es-tu satisfait ?
arctis: I would like to ask you a little question (that may interest only a few french dudes ;) ) :- Did it help you to come from ENSAD, and if yes or no, why ?

- to be honest i really had difficult times at first at the ENSAD, but i still can't determine wether it was because of the personality i had at the time, or because of other factors from within the school. both i suppose, but let me develop.
unless the teaching over there has drastically changed, but i felt there was really a sort of "theory" syndrome happening in the school. no practice, no real technical theories, and teachers focused on the revolution of 68. then again, it was in 1990.

but i wouldn't want to consider them responsible for all the stuff i've probably done wrong during those years.
in 1990 i entered into a small preparatory school called "l'atelier de sevres". the training lasted a year, i worked like hell, never stopped, produced hundreds and hundreds of sketches, painting and illustrations. it was a productive year. i worked so much in order to pass the contests: and when the time came, i succeeded both at "olivier de serre" school and the ENSAD on the first year. i just had to chose. and of course, there was no hesitation as all the wise voices around advised me to chose the ENSAD. well it was publicly known that the ENSAD had quite a lot of financial resources anyway.
and when i arrived at the ENSAD, then everything went down. probably because we had been doing so much for the contest, and we were quite astonished to hear people telling you you could relax a bit, and that things were going normally slow.
i think it also comes from the fact that you had to personally do a lot more on your own, nobody was taking you by the hand. a bit like any conventionnal university.

on the positive side: i could be wrong arctis, but you would probably not be what you are today if you had not lived these moments. i am still asking myself the question to be honest.
true, when you arrive on the market, it's a fact that you feel you've got to catch up a lot compared to all the dudes who have been putting their technique up to date with an easier access to the industry. but it doesn't mean you have wasted you time during these years, as i am certain all the things you have learned are somewhere, maybe hidden, within your personality. but it's there somewhere for sure.
see, the fact of being directly confronted to the gaming industry does not allow you to experiment in unknown creative fields. i remember that because of the AII (atelier d'image et d'informatique, at the time ....) around 91 or 92, i was lucky enough being able to test digital media tools for the first time.
look at it the good way: we had more time to focus on non financial works and experiments.
there's a difference between forging yourself an artistic personnality and having the time to do so, and being up to date and competitive in the gaming industry.

still, i probably needed years to realize these facts.
let's consider ourselves lucky ..... :D

destroyfred: 3- Je remarque également que, une fois de plus, un Francais s'expatrie à l'étranger pour travailler, et en particulier au canada. Je pense aussi en disant ca a Pascal Blanché, lui aussi chez ubisoft. Est-ce si difficile de trouver un emploi stable en France ou plutot, à l'inverse, est-ce si facile d'en trouver un au canada, ou meme dans d'autres pays ?
- well, just look around you and you'll realise there not much left for our kind of jobs in paris or france. ther's a reason why so many of us have been migrating to canada. there was an article in "lemonde" not long ago, that stated that the number of positions in the gaming industry in france, had been going down from 5000 five years ago, to 500 today.
i've got to admit that i am quite angry towards france for a lot of reasons, including the fact of refusing the european constitutional treaty for exemple. but when you look at it, it's completely connected to the whole economic situation. french peeps have always been like that... maybe something will be done when we'll have touched the bottom of the pit, if it isn't too late. complaining about the lack of jobs and austerity but not doing a thing about it, and certainly not looking abroad, which is unwise and childish. anyway....

the only thing i know is that the fact of going abroad is always a wise choice. it helps you to see and think different. it helps you to widen your creative horizon.
pascal blanche actually helped me a lot at first in order to prepare my move to ubisoft in 2003. he directed me to the right persons, and i will forever be thankfull towards him for this.

concerning canada, a lot has been hapening in montreal, especially because of ubisoft. (without forgetting all the other small studios as well as all the gaming industry connected to the city). it's a great place out here, much less stress than in paris.
i'm not really an expert concerning the market over here though. all i know is that it's a bit the same than in other countries ... you will have harder times coming here without having a job first.

4- Pour le moment j'ai un niveau relativement correct en dessin mais je pêche un peu au niveau du dessin. Et je souhaite donc m'améliorer le plus possible. Que pourrais-tu me conseiller pour apprendre par moi-même ? est-ce un bon point de départ de recopier énormément de dessins pour se créer une sorte de bibliothèque de références ? Ne fais-je pas au fur et a mesure devenir dépendant de ces références à tel point que j'aurai du mal à m'en détacher ? Car pour le moment je suis dans une école de 3D qui est plus axée technique qu'artistique.
- it really depends how you consider all these references, and to what point you're copying them. it is generally not a bad thing, if it helps you to slowly gain in confidence and technicity. the best advice i could give you is grab a sketch book or two, and go around drawing and sketching what you see. do so, even more if you feel that what you're doing now is too technically oriented.

LordDubu
06-01-2005, 10:14 PM
Hands down, your digital work inspires me more than any other digital artist I've ever seen. I pour over your site from time to time to see what's new there.

I've only recently begun trying to paint digitally (Photoshop 7.0 and Wacom Intuos3) so my skill still needs a lot of development.

I have three questions (please forgive me)...

When I looked over the section of your site devoted to discussing your process, it seems as if you can turn out a piece at breakneck speed. How long does it take you to do a "finished" piece on average?

and...

Your compositions are breathtaking... but the process section of your site gives the impression that you just miraculously pull those amazing compositions from throwing color of varying darkness down onto your canvass. What is your process for coming up with those amazing compositions.

and finally...

What I love most about your art is the impressionism feel to it. It amazes me how much information your pieces communicate despite the broad and often vague brush strokes. Try as hard as I can, I have been unable to create such wonderful implied detail. Can you give a young (well digitally young anyway) painter some tips on how you accomplish this?


Do you really just throw down color and shade and effortlessly throw down patches of color without first sketching out your composition.

Arctis
06-01-2005, 10:37 PM
Thanks Sparth,
The "theorical syndrome" was still present in ENSAD in 2002, be confident about it ! ;)
i agree with you about the need of looking beyond our native country's frontier. I'm not sure about it, but I have sometimes the feeling that in France, gifted people that don't work (but talk a lot) are better considered that guys who are doing the job on time, (and let their work speak for themselves). At the contrary, I have the impression (on english-speaking web forums) that american artists are proud to have worked hard to become what they are : They prize a lot hard work, while in EnSAD (in France ?), for ex, hard work is depised because it means you are laborious.(for them, laborious=heavy mind=non intellectual=crap for masses)
Do you have similar feeling ?

Karthan
06-02-2005, 01:16 AM
Hello, I'm an amateur in the 3D buisness- and heard some nice things about career opportunities at ubi.soft I have some questions::

1). How difficult is it handling people within Ubi.soft?

2). Ahem.. Know anything about Ubi's red headed stepson, Shadowbane?

3). ((Off Topic)) Opinion on Paul Martin?

4). This may have already been asked, but what programs do you use normally? Which ones do you prefer?

Thank you for reading my post, Sparth.

Neeno
06-02-2005, 06:35 AM
just want to thankyou for replying to my questions and comments in great detail.. thanks sparth. see you mate..

hermine
06-02-2005, 09:29 AM
Hi,
Do you like Camenbert cheese?
thanks

igorsandman
06-02-2005, 09:31 AM
Hello Nicolas,

I thought of a few more questions. Here they are:

1) Well this is a novice question. I love how you give texture to your paintings. I read somewhere you scan actual painting and then composite it to your photoshop painting. My question is how do you blend it with the rest? Do you apply it to a new layer then play with the layer mode and oppacity? Or do you use it as a custom brush? How do you do it exactly?

2) Have you ever thought of doing a comic book? I'm sure some french comic book editors would love your style.

3) One of the multiple things that amaze me in your art is the sense of space, the gargantuan feel. How do you achieve that? Composition, attention to details...?

4) You've been doing a lot of book covers lately. Did you offer your services or did they come and ask you to work for them? Also, when you discover a book while wandering in your local library, how important is the cover art to you? (Peronaly, I would buy a rubish if the cover attracts me. It's stupid I know)

5) Something intrigues me in your personnal work (as opposite to your corporate stuff). While beeing very different from each other, all of your paintings seems to be part of the same universe. Your art is very coherent. Is it intentionnal? Don't you soemtimes think of bringing that world to live in another medium like animation (or comic books to loop back to my second question;))

Last) Please, don't forget to tell us about the artists who insipre you. I'm realy interrested :)

Thanks a lot for the time you share with us.
Keep on amazing us.
-IS-

ffourier
06-02-2005, 02:54 PM
thanks very much Nicolas for your help which will be very invaluable for me. All this was very instructive. Good continuation in your professional life and all the remainder :)

kaktuswasser
06-02-2005, 03:52 PM
hey,

first off i'd like to thank you. Like everybody else here I just love your work,
espescially how it looks all lose but still precise.

My first question is: you don't seem to use guidelines or something for your vanishing point in your process pictures on your homepage. How do you do your perspective? Just eyeballing?

Second: Most of your works seem to have a similar pallette. Do you have a fixed pallette or do you remix everything for every picture?

merci et bon soir,
henrik

sparth
06-02-2005, 05:07 PM
thecleaner:I am interested to know what kind of formal Architectural studies you undertook. If non, then was it purely out of high interest in your environment, and those you visited, that you were able to produce works such as this (http://www.sparth.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=42&pos=19)? (theres others I highly admire, just an example of your excellent use of architectural disciplines)

Have you ever worked as an architectural concept designer, producing work for the billboards that go next to sites to show what they could look like, its what I'm interested in keeping up while studying Architecture at University. I think I could hold a great advantage if I were able to show clients conceptual art rather than just line plans which they cant make head nor tail of. I would charge for these ofcourse, but what do you think?

- i never really did any architectural studies. i did however, read a lot and explored a lot concerning this subject. architecture has always been a passion in the background, it has always been there. my parents have always been collecting books at home, thousands of books about everything, huge collections, and all the national geographics since the sixties or so. it sure helps too.

i remember that wim wenders released a pretty long movie in 91, called "jusqu'au bout du monde". and in that movie you had a few views of paris, the movie being supposed to happen in 1997 or so. and wim wenders added a tower in the paris skyline, a tower by jean nouvel which was supposed to be built in 96, but the construction never happened. the name of the tower was "la tour sans fin", but the project was abandoned.
i remember it was a great frustration, as this immense tower was amazing, and it would have been located at "la defense", which is the buisness district in paris, far from any haussmannian architecture.
today i regularly visit two amazing sites on the net, in order to be informed of what's going on concerning skyscrapers and buildings. http://www.skyscraperpage.com/ (http://www.skyscraperpage.com/) and
http://www.emporis.com/en/
both database are amazingly complete.

i think that your initial idea of doing architectural concepts as "virtual tours illustrations" is a great idea. 3d tools helps you a lot too for this matter. you can obtain very realistic and pleasant rendering by having a mix of both 2d and 3d techniques. it fits perfectly for anything related to architecture actually.

sparth
06-02-2005, 05:18 PM
tinitus: wow...fantastic work you've done there!

Where are you getting the ideas of your artwork?!

- from my education and culture.
- from my surrounding world
- from uncommon people and objects
- from my favorite artists and friends
- from the games i play
- from the movies i watch

- for personal concepts, the range is very large. space, anticipation, epic, post apocalyptic,
anything goes.
- in the professional field, the concept artist is here in order to help and emphasize the vision of someone else by sharing his own input.
in this case, the inspiration comes mostly from resources available in the project's database.

sparth
06-02-2005, 05:33 PM
conundrum: 1. You seem to only use warm colours in your work, is this just personal preference or is there another reason behind it?

- something keeps me from using only cold tones for my illustrations.
maybe it comes from the fact that the eye, in many cases, is more attracted by warm tones than colder ones. actually, when working, i happen to catch the same tones very often. like if you were mixing colors together, and that your subconscious would tell you to add the exact same amount of your favorite colors.
now i am satisfied because i have the feeling to have understood several ways of mixing colors together and obtain what i like. but the challenge has just begun, as i wouldn't want to get stuck in the same process for too long. i have entire worlds to explore yet. :D

2. Also, your work always has an impressionist quality to it, with very few unnecessary details, because of this, your paintings very rarely seem to be overworked. At times are you conscious of trying to acheive this looseness, or is it something which always comes naturally?

- i am conscious that if you try by several means, to overdetail a piece, you might ruin it for good.
the trick is to add details if your scene needs them, but without loosing the nervous aspect of the image. a way to do so would be to divide by 9 your illustration, and then consider that each extract is now a new image, that you can improve by adding details. there's a limit to it, as impressionism is about vibration, but it can help doing so in some situations.

there is a simple theory that can also be applied: if you give too much to see to the eyes, in terms of outlines and detailing, you remove all the effort from the viewer. if you keep undefined areas in your paintings, in a way, it would be like asking the viewer to participate to the image, by using his own imagination. it is an important matter that must not be forgotten.

sparth
06-02-2005, 05:47 PM
paperclip:
I'll just start off with one question (hey, I have to leave ideas for everyone else...)
What's your attitude towards color and do you use a color 'formula'? Do you reserve certain colors for certain moods- do you have a sort of color 'mood book' or something similar?
I ask because I see certain sets of colors cropping up in your work and t hey always work!
Aside from that, another instant fan here! :thumbsup:
tayete: Sparth, I've been loving your work for a long time. My question is about your palette. You seem to always use the same brownish/reddish hues. Is it because you feel comfortable with it, something impossed from outside for your recent works, your current animic situation?...


- i probably reserve certain colors for certain moods for sure. i think that when you try to imagine a mood, logical colors connected to that particular mood comes to your mind for sure. spooky/cold tones sunny/orange ... without of course forgetting about the complementary colors.
- 'mood book', no, i'm not going that far. because by doing so you would probably add to much science to something that must first be felt with emotions. adding too much theory will not help you much, it would become a systematic process.
i sure have some sorts of formulas without even realizing it though. but there is not way to repeat the exact same process like a formula.
i do have a private texture bank that i often use in my images. textures that i have created myself containing a big amount of abstract stuff and materials, previously done paintings, and color pannels useful for my images.
finding the right atmosphere for an image is about doing a lot of testings and experimenting. multiple layers + layer properties ... try it, and you'll see that after a while, you'll be able to play with it like if you were playing piano, and you'll have a lot of fun.

fbone
06-02-2005, 06:50 PM
wassup man.
cool stuff. you make wonder if i'll ever get to where you are.
just some small time qtns
1. how long did it take you to do such cool stuff
2. i would wish to enter into the field of CG so wat softwares would advocate i start with
if you ever come to Africa, Kenya. i'll show you around

thanks man

ceresz
06-02-2005, 07:32 PM
Hi Sparth, I have loved your work for awhile you are my hero in the concept artist world and i'm hoping to one be as good as you.
Okay now I only got one question that I think has been asked before but who cares:

Are you thinking of making more tutorias or 'Artistic Process', I hope you will.

I gave a PM on www.conceptart.org about a month ago but i didn't get an answer, maybe
you didn't see it so i'll ask you know.(This Is about the tut thing...)

I was just wondering if you have ever considered a video tut, just a small demo in normal speed and parts or daster spped if you would like that better, if you might think of doing
this someday the use CAMSTASIA STUDIO search for It at google, or follow this link:
http://www.techsmith.com/products/studio/default.asp

Thanks!
-Skurai-

Fahrija
06-02-2005, 08:18 PM
Hi sparth,

It´s allways a pleasure watching your artworks. I very much adore the design. Things look very technical without loosing the overall shape which defines what the objects supposed to be. I love that:thumbsup:

Questions:

-Your images at first view seem to be very detailed but they often contain loose but precise placed brush strokes. I allways try not to zoom in but I must recognize that I often get entangeled into some areas loosing track of the composition. Do you have any hints to prevent getting to much into the details during working on an image?

-will there be a gnomon dvd available of sparth scetching techniques in future?
Why I ask? Because at least I´m just curious to watch a photoshop user painting environments without rotating the canvas for example. :)



best regards

peter cheung
06-03-2005, 01:59 AM
Hi

I am Peter, Do you have a personal website? I want to see more your concept art?

thanks
from Peter

Turboff
06-03-2005, 04:25 AM
Hi Sparth, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. I've just got a quick question about layers. How much layers, for example, did you use for this (http://www.sparth.com/gallery/albums/userpics/psychohistoireenperil.jpg) image? And what is your overall layer strategy? Thanks

Addiso
06-03-2005, 07:24 AM
Hello, Sparth !

I have the feeling you might have missed my post and questions the first time,
so I hope I wont offend you or Leigh if I repost. If you didn't miss the post but only
found the questions irrelevant, then please excuse me for my attempt.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm always amazed by the forms, you use to build up your compositions, and characters. I can almost see how they develope from dynamic brush strokes to finely detailed pieces.

Your work is always fresh, which I find really hard to pull off, with the warm subtle colors scheme you use. Just incredible!

The other thing I really like is the ingenius use of contrasting/complementary color stripes and dots. The blues and the really saturated oranges and reds. Jaw dropping sence of ballance and dynamic.

1. - Your armour and vehicle designs seem to draw a lot on natural froms, crabs and other insect like. Do you get alot of inspiration from nature ?

2. - Do you work in traditional media besides digital ? If so whats your favourite tool ? (chalk, pastel, oil,...)

3. - Do you use small thumbnails to get composition and tones right, or do you just jump in and overpaint if something is not in the right place ?

4. - I read an interview with you, on another CG site, where you talk about balancing work and family life. Could you give any advice for freelance artist, what to look out for, if they want to remain freelance, but still have a family ?

Great having you here ! :applause:

The Dune covers are the best !!! Frank Herberts vision comes to life. Wish I had a copy of those editions. :thumbsup:

g-nome
06-03-2005, 09:10 AM
Hello Sparth.
Amazing work u have done and thaks for all those educative answers.

Maybe i missed this question, but here it is:

Whats the most important things in concept desing?
exmp: is fotoreal paintingskill necessary, or how necessary is paintingskills at all?
(Feng Zhu vs Erik Tiemens..they both are conceptdesingers right...but same time their skills are very different)

Thanks!

neofg
06-03-2005, 10:06 AM
Thanks for "passionate" answer.
I'm happy that I'm not the only that work in "envy mode"...:rolleyes:
I thought that it's wrong, but, as u make me thinking, it's the right way. In fact we use every time an ispiration, from other artists, from nature, from our mind and experiences...It's not wrong if we use our brain.
And I must to use my personal window...
Thank u very much 4 your time, and your experience.
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU...GOOD ART!

http://www.athenaamerica.com/library/public_images/Millau_Bridge_over_Tarn_River_France.jpg
PS. nice work by your father...

Supervlieg
06-03-2005, 10:16 AM
You make great stuff Nicolas. Its hard to pass up the opportunity to get some answers out of you :)

Where do you think you need to grow more? (If at all)

How long did it take you to get a feel for the right colors, and lighting?

Thanks, and keep up the good stuff!

PBlades
06-03-2005, 12:42 PM
Hey Sparth, it's always a treat to see your sps on sijun, keep posting them...

sparth
06-03-2005, 04:51 PM
micrypt: Are you ever going to put a tutorials section on your site? And what photoshop tools do you find yourself using the most?

- i really lack time in order to put more tuts on my site. i'll do my best. :D
within photoshop, i think i pretty much act like a traditional artist. adding layers when i need to complete a new "session". i rarely go backwards. if i do, i try to put an end to it as fast as i can in order to flatten layers and start on a new session.
each layers represents a session, bot at all a defined area or zone, or object. the image is seen as a whole. i never use the selection tool. except maybe in order to move or rotate parts of the image.
concerning the brushes, i really depends, as each brush is obviously having different parameters. generally speaking, my most regular brushes have the shape dynamics/size jitter on pen pressure. i rarely use the dual brush, mainly because the brush runs slower in larger sizes. however, i use the brush preset / texture parameter very often. having always several custom textures preloaded that will add definite effects to my brushes.
for extremely specific brushes (pattern brushes, trees, natural forms etc ...) i put the spacing parameter quite high, between 10 and 25%.
but for all my other regular brushes, i use a low spacing, between 3 and 4%.
i flip my canvas horizontally extremely often too, maybe every minute or so.

sparth
06-03-2005, 04:56 PM
noob!: what programs do u use? painter/photoshop?
- photoshop only

how did u go about getting into the industry?
- things never happen at once, like a snap. it takes time. each year is a new adventure.
i think everything is already summed up in the bio on the first page concerning this matter.

thanx for your kind comment.

sparth
06-03-2005, 05:15 PM
hey bryan! how are you doing.
thanx my friend. i had a great time in texas, it brings up only pleasant souvenirs, apart from the heat :D

sparth comes from sparta, the city, and from spartan, the people. i have nothing to do with greece however. :D
that name describes best the way i feel towards my art: dedicated and hard working.

sparth
06-03-2005, 05:19 PM
AZTglory: It seems from the images here at this topic (sorry, this is the first time i've heard of you, but i'll definently remember you) are pretty much science-fiction based.
Have you always been intrested in that, or have you had times when you had other interests?
Of course, people can't paint only one type of images all the time, but many just have breaks, what I mean is long times with painting mostly other types of paintings. :)

- everything connected to sci-fi and anticipation has an interest for me. i love being able to imagine the future. it is a kid's dream.
i do like, however, switching for other themes, even on longer terms.
i came to canada in order to work on prince of persia, as i wanted to explore other fields as oniric worlds and fantasy.

thanx :D

sparth
06-03-2005, 05:26 PM
tayete: Ah, another thing I wanted to ask you since some time ago: don't do those Dune worms look too much like David Lynch's ones? Is it some kind of honour to him, just because the editor wanted them that way, or any other cause?

the editor told me i was completely free to imagine something that would translate the book best, with elements from my own universe and style.
i kept the same inspiration probably because lynch's visions are the first and only visuals that have been available for quite a long time. i do hope they still have a bit of originality not connected to lynch though. :D:D:D

sparth
06-03-2005, 05:40 PM
andreasrocha, i will answer to these questions even though you may have found some of the answers.


andreasrocha: 1. Do you build up you colors on the canvas or do you have a predefined palette which you stay true to?

- i use a mix of new layers with color tests as well as previously done textures that help me to obtain the right tones ans shades. afterwards. afterwards, it is just a question of fidning the right layer parameters. it takes time, but sometimes you succeed in going straigh to the point.

andreasrocha: -2. How do you build up your shadows, which seem really rich? Do you use dark saturated colors, or black, and do you start from dark and then build up the detail, or do you continuously darken things until you have the degree of contrast you like?

- i start in black and white most of the time. getting the composition right. no need to do two things at once. the coloring process will come afterwards. by dividing the work in two, you become more concentrated on the most important aspects of the illustration.
from the moment composition is done, you can then start working on the colors.
however, there is, once again, no definite rule. sometimes, i just make a simple black and white sketch, and then start color right away.
sometimes i will start color only when i will have added quite an amount of details to the black and while composition.
each process is different, ... the reason will it is still giving you sone fun and excitement.

andreasrocha: 3. How do you obtain your texture? Only with brushstrokes or do you apply texture layers over your painting?

- i do sometimes use photographic texture layers, but not often.
most of the time i try to dig up a custom texture or two in my magic folder, that will fit to the current work. my textures are a mix of everything, i use them because they stimulate my imagination, it is a way to extract logical elements from abstraction.

sparth
06-03-2005, 05:50 PM
johndes: My question is: Have you ever wanted to translate any of your pieces towards traditional materials (ie watercolour, oils...etc) and if so how difficult would it be to recreate your wonderful blends and look traditionally.

-
first of all, helping out is a pleasure, teaching is also a pleasure.
artists have fun exploring techniques and styles, why not share it.
the technique in itself does not represent all the style of an artist, it represents a simple process. you can share emotions, but to a certain point, i am not scared revealing my secrets, you can't share someone's soul, if you see what i mean.

- i think there would be no use trying to do so. there is a huge difference between traditional and digital. the means are not the same. the use is not the same.
besides, having digital art looking like traditional is useless.
i have been working traditionally for years, and today even more than before, i would really put a bigger gap between both worlds. not that i don't like the interaction between both, but the debate and conflicts coming from this opposition is useless.

many thanx :D

Joat
06-03-2005, 07:32 PM
Hello sir!

This was not yet asked, as far as I could see. My question is: On wich size do you usually do your work? Do you scale up during the process (when moving towards detail etc.) or are they big canvases from the start?
Really liked the "process" section of your site. It was highly informative and tought provoking. Like to watch an artist work live, almost. I haven't read about your educational background, but judging by your use of color, I'd quess there is a lot of traditional painting and color theory lurking somewhere. Another hint in that direction would be your use of brushes.
I admire and envy, but envy is in a very positive kind of envy in this case.

sparth
06-03-2005, 09:47 PM
denart: Just wondering, how does it make you feel when people compare your work to Craig Mullins? Or even worse, call you a Craig rip-off?
(which AIN'T true!) ;)

- it never happened :D

Cyanid
06-03-2005, 09:53 PM
I don't really have a question.
Just dropped by to say that your art is really great.
I was blown away by your character-design for prince of persia.

keep posting ^^

sparth
06-03-2005, 09:57 PM
MWarsame: Whats a day like in Ubisoft, typical working day, I guess from 9.00am to whatever 5.00pm

- i don't think you'd be really interested to read about the details.
i spend 90% of my time in front of my screen. for those interested i work on a xeon cpu 3.00 GHz with 1 gigabyte of ram. an wacom intuos 3, 9x12. and two screens, the main screen being a flat widescreen dell with an incredible contrats and sharpen.
the 10% remaining percents are spent in discussions with the artistic director. (i am not an artistic director any more, i switched to concept artist full time, which allows me to escape from hundreds of hours of brainstormings and meetings, and only concentrate on art).
i listen to music 100% of the time.

MWarsame: How about when deadline approaches?

- same as in any other place in the industry. we do extra time if needed. however, concept artists rarely do extended extra times like the 3d guys. as most of the time, everything's is generally finished around the middle of the production.

sparth
06-03-2005, 10:05 PM
arkinet: 1. Do you still do line sketch or just build up your colors and progress on as ideas came in?

- no more line sketch. i paint with a "surface" or "form" philosophy. only digital.

arkinet:2. I dunno if you've been a part of interviewing/evaluating portfolio from applicants, but in your opinion, what images would strike most, sci-fi, epic, characters,... ?

- i have dealed with a lot of portfolios in other companies. and i still give advices on portfolios here in ubisoft. from the moment your images are original and why not brilliant, anything goes. there's no limit to what you can put in a portfolio.
just remember to compose it smartly according to the company it is aimed for. you would not add too many pages of fine arts nudes to comply to a gaming company.

arkinet: 3. Im a beginner in 2D, my M&S entry is my very 1st, though I dabble w/ painting as a hobby, whats your advise portfolio-wise as to what images to put up front(besides it beeing your best, of course) for a beginner like me.

- i couldn't give you any other advice than the one above, except maybe that a portfolio is the result of your best pieces. always remove the ones you don't believe in. strictly keep the best.

sparth
06-03-2005, 10:17 PM
artjunkie: 1. What things do you do to excercise your creativity (how do you keep from getting mental creative blocks)?

- i consider myself lucky not having anymore creative blocks. it did happen a decade ago, but i suppose that the digital tool gave me the freedom i craved for.
i do have frustrations sometimes not doing enough traditionnal stuff. i will try to grab a real pencil asap, if my kids allow me to do so :D:D:D

artjunkie; - 2. What kinds of things do you suggest an aspiring concept artist show in a portfolio?

- show your soul! and just show the best.

artjunkie: 3. Do you do research to add all that wonderful detail on your spaceships and buildings, or do you just make it up as you go along? If so, what kind of stuff do you use for reference (especially for the futuristic spaceships).

- ridley scott / aliens ... artcenter artists ... scott robertson ... bladerunner ... benjamin carre ... bengal ... massiveblack ... starwars ... feng zhu ... sid meid ... sid meid ......
and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

artjunkie: 4. How do you like Canada? :D

- i love canada! montreal is a very fine place. been to quebec city as well as ottawa. i really couldn't say anything really negative about it, except the health system in quebec maybe? hehe
anyway .... i'm having a great time here.

sparth
06-03-2005, 10:23 PM
renderwhite: Hi sparth, i admire your concept designs and the way you can paint them, i would like to take this chance and ask how do you practice painting, i mean you have an innate ability to draw your designs and at the same getting better at painting and composition, would you suggest a way to practice painting regardless to the subject? i mean somehow i tend to feel that painting its almost an abstract process, is this correct from your experience!?

- i think it is a pretty good idea to mess around with a canvas. create forms, be free doing so. and then, if you feel like it, try putting a link between these forms and reality.
i really believe in that abstract process your are talking about. it's a bit like letting your hands do the job and let the brain pick things afterwards. the brain needs to be stimulated by forms, by atmospheres. andrew jones explains that process particularly well. it helps you never been out of concepts and ideas. many artists that i know have been able to find that same technical path without consulting each others. it's amazing.

Denart
06-03-2005, 10:27 PM
woo thanks for the reply sparth!

one mo' thing
what's more important to you? (and you must choose one! none of that, "they're all important" stuff hahaa)

A) The composition/design and flow of a piece
OR
B) The colors of a piece

thanks! :D

madman1352000
06-04-2005, 01:53 AM
Hey Sparth,

I was wondering what another person asked about doing Gnomon dvds or maybe some kind've prints or posters to sell on your site in the future?

Are you working on Prince of Persia 3?(sorry if that was already asked) If so will there be an artbook for that or maybe one that combine art from all 3 games in one book?

On your paintings do you just paint at 72dpi the full time and just uprez to a larger size?

Later!

Nathen

blankslatejoe
06-04-2005, 02:48 AM
.... however, concept artists rarely do extended extra times like the 3d guys. as most of the time, everything's is generally finished around the middle of the production.


Ok... so what music do you listen to lately?

sparth
06-05-2005, 02:25 AM
greynite1: I got a question from a Budding Concept artist here. what do you recommend for Practice just basically take and develop whatever comes to your head as your skills allow? How do you recommend concept artists develop there skills to prepare them for Showing there products for potential jobs.

- if you want to practice without anything commercially related in mind, do whatever you like. choose any subjects that come to your mind. this way you will be able to slowly train your own personality.
- if you need to work on a job related demand, do your best in order to stick to what the client needs. there are many exemples here and there in the concept art world that will provide you with a good approach on where to begin and how to smartly succeed. never forget about diplomacy with a client, it is sometimes as important as the art itself.

- doing both exercices will always help you and give you a proper balance between your creative mind and professional contracts.

sparth
06-05-2005, 02:32 AM
joebount: Hello my friend !
One thing I'd like to know : What are you dreaming of ? (real dreams, not wishes)

-hi mate. what am i dreaming of?
well, despite my efforts, i cannot remember my last dream really.
however, i have always been amazed by dreams in which you try convincing people all around you that you're not in a dream, and that all the events they're actually living are real.
it happens often, and it's frustrating, but incredibly fun!


and ...... congrats for the future wedding ! :D:D:D

sparth
06-05-2005, 02:52 AM
lunes:-I know and fully understand that videogame and animation companies first look for local talent for employment before considering foreigners, but I’m wondering, Do you have any idea how’s the situation for foreign talent in Canada? US? Is it that hard to get in the industry?


- first of all, this is a very nice text, and i am happy to receive your comments.
as you may guess, i will not be able to reply with something long, but i'll do my best.
i really feel your passion, being the way you are is courageous, even more in a country not suited for such jobs or profiles. still, never be discouraged by this fact, as things change, very fast most of the time. and i am convinced your portfolio will allow you to find what you are searching for, one day or another.
- i couldn't really reply precisely to this question. i am in a very particular case, being under contract in canada, but not a resident. the only thing i know is that you've got show extreme talent in order to enter in north america as a concept artist, and later on .... succeed.
it is a tuff world, but afterall, is there really a country where it isn't?
there is quite an amount of companies in canada that could need guys. check out bioware in edmonton, or even people from the west coast. the only condition is to be good, ... simple.

lunes: -Could a solid and professional portfolio knock down this sort of been-foreign barrier easier and get me a spot in the group of candidates to consider for the job I’m applying for, or as I think, is could be still harder because of my situation?

- i am absolutely convinced that the best portfolios can allow their respective artists to be hired by any company on the planet. companies will never have hesitations in bringing top guys. it's a sure fact.

lunes: -Do you have any quotes, inspirational thoughts, or words of courage to share with the people living the same or similar situation like mine, where it’s a bit harder to take the first step, where there’s a fight to never give up even though when what’s around you or the place where you live makes everything more difficult for you?

- i don't think i'd find the right quote for this situation, except for yoda's mythic words: "Do, or do not. There is no try." :D
what i am convinced of is that being a passionate artist will help you realize your dreams. it's already a fantastic chance that few artists can really enjoy.

sparth
06-05-2005, 03:13 AM
addiso: 1. - Your armour and vehicle designs seem to draw a lot on natural froms, crabs and other insect like. Do you get alot of inspiration from nature ?

- i don't think i am intentionally trying to grab my inspiration from nature. but i suppose that once again, that process is probably unconscious.
it is a fact that i feel obsessed by shells and carapace that i retranslate in many ways.

addiso: 2. - Do you work in traditional media besides digital ? If so whats your favourite tool ? (chalk, pastel, oil,...

- i haven't the time to do anything traditional, but when i do, i mainly use a pencil. i sometimes use aquarels though.

addiso: 3. - Do you use small thumbnails to get composition and tones right, or do you just jump in and overpaint if something is not in the right place ?

- i indeed use thunbnails first, exactly for the reasons you explained. i tend to work on small formats first, around 600 or 800 pixels. i then resize the canvas when satisfied with the sketch.
however, if i feel there is something wrong with the composition, and this even if i have already added a lot of details, i will have no hesitations moving entire areas of the image in order to improve it. idealistically, the best approach would be to get everything right in the first ten minutes, but it just doesn't always happen that way unfortunately.
the size of my final pieces will often be around 2500 pixels.

addiso: 4. - I read an interview with you, on another CG site, where you talk about balancing work and family life. Could you give any advice for freelance artist, what to look out for, if they want to remain freelance, but still have a family ?

- there are many way to maintain a good balance between both.
first of all, we artists always have difficulties escaping from our inner worlds. for my personal case, my brain is always producing new concepts, dreaming and escaping from reality.
i did make a lot of efforts in order to divide both worls more distinctively. i force myself not to think about art related stuff when i have a few moments with my family and kids. i ask my brain to remain on earth, and REALLY be there, and not elsewhere.
the other way is to strictly respect your schedule. peeps having kids are always forced to do this anyway, as having kids take so much time, it's crazy! :D
however, there is no way to escape from one fact: no matter the job you have, the birth of a baby will always put your inner world upside down for a while.

thanx addiso :D

sparth
06-05-2005, 03:20 AM
vincent walhem: Hi!, I´m a fan of prince of persia 2, mainly because the scenarios and the dark mood of the game.
As a concept designer of the game, I assume that those mood it´s a creation of yours, but ¿have you asked about those specific look? Why in your opinion is so radical the difference of the ambients between POP1 and POP2?

- the players always expect to see the prince of persia universe evolve. we would have been criticized if we had not done so.
- as for the look of the game, the fact of going into something more dark and gothic was something decided by several people. i have been one of the concept artists working on this project, but there's also michael labat (our artistic director), patrick lambert, and bruno gentile, just to name a few, that have been doing extraordinary materials for the designs.
- it was a way to prepare the prince for the future transformations he'll live, surrounded by a more realistic universe.

luness
06-05-2005, 03:32 AM
Sparth,
I just wanted to say thanks so much for your time and words. Priceless.
I had to translate all that (from english to spanish) to my mom, so then I could explain my joy, haha, but it was worthy.
Please, keep your creative world alive and lots of success in the projects to come.

Sincerely,
L.

Notanymore
06-05-2005, 10:13 AM
Hello Sparth. I'm like your biggest fan!!

I would like to ask you, how old were you when you've started to do art, and when have you reached the profesional level?

Thanks.

ceresz
06-05-2005, 11:48 AM
okay sparth here's a question. it may have been asked.

1. Are you the concept artist in the team that is developing pop III?

kaktuswasser
06-05-2005, 12:51 PM
thanks for answering the questions,

i got another one. Will it soemday be possible to order prints of your works?
I'd love to have a big print of one of your works on my wall.

Darkmatter
06-05-2005, 05:46 PM
Hi Sparth! First thanks for taking the time to do this. I know it takes a good chunk of time to do.

I have a couple questions.

1. How important do you think traditional skills are for getting into the gaming industry.

2. What would you say are the best Gaming educational programs in Ontario? I know there are several in Toronto. Do you know of them? Also if you know of a good one elsewhere in Canada i'd be happy to hear that to.

3. Any ideas how to go about getting an internship? Seems nobody does them anymore. Seems the free work isn't a big pull anymore.

Thanks a lot!

Addiso
06-05-2005, 08:55 PM
I'm really glad to have read your reply, it means a lot to me !

Looking forward to your new pieces ! Keep 'em coming !

sparth
06-05-2005, 11:05 PM
dimmur: How do you make such a good contrast? I alwas sucked at making contrast in digital paintings. All my colors are unsaturated and pale. I must adjust the contrast and color balance in photoshop to get it wright, but it's unpleasant.

- try starting from a white canvas and slowly add darker areas to your composition. it may work better for your own case than starting from a painted background.
however, even though it's a fact that getting the right tones without the help of any adjustments is better than messing around afterwards. but there is not rule really. only the result counts.

dimmur: I have that art tutorial of yours, in pdf format, but that only explains illumination & color stuff, wich I mainly knew about. What I was searching for was your brushing technique. Could you share that with us mortals? If it's your professional secret, forget that you read this.

- i really don't have a lot to hide. i might do dvds in times to come. i need time, but there will probably be a way to put time into this.

dimmur: You once made this (http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=866) tutorial, but I can't see any images besides the final image. Do you happen to have the illustrations for the other steps?

- this tutorial has been published in two books. for this same reason, you will understand that i cannot leave the entire tuts on the web, it would not be fair towards the publisher which deserves the priority concerning this work and explanation.

sparth
06-05-2005, 11:15 PM
igor: - I've read Ubisoft is about to be sold to another company (at least part of it) or a partnership. (The name of Electronic Arts has been heard.) Maybe you're not the best person to answer that, but do you think it will have an impact on the choices (design, style of games, etc)Ubisoft makes? I love Ubisoft because of the originality of their games and the great designs. They take risks, the dare to try things and I like them for that. Do you think it will change?


- first of all, hi igor! i am extremely honored by what you said here. and of course i perfectly remember you and your posts on cafesale.
- even though i am indeed not really in the position of giving you definite answers, i do think ubisoft will keep its originality on the short term. i can't really imagine what could happen in a longer future though, but i will of course be extremely disappointed if ubisoft looses its actual soul as well as its dedication to doing amazing games.
for now there have been no negatives signs of bad directions or events that could alter our work, but mister guillemot himself has been very active in keeping everybody informed since december 2004.

sparth
06-05-2005, 11:24 PM
Lord Dubu: When I looked over the section of your site devoted to discussing your process, it seems as if you can turn out a piece at breakneck speed. How long does it take you to do a "finished" piece on average?

- i probably need a minimum of three hours in order to consider an illustration achieved. however, it can change, mood and dedication can differ a lot from one piece to another.

Lord Dubu: Your compositions are breathtaking... but the process section of your site gives the impression that you just miraculously pull those amazing compositions from throwing color of varying darkness down onto your canvass. What is your process for coming up with those amazing compositions.

- i benefit from the things i've learned in the past. many elements like perspective or composition come naturally now, with just a minimum of concentration. a bit like when you learn alphabet before being able to make sentences.... all the artists will feel this pleasure after a few years of hardwork.

Lord Dubu: What I love most about your art is the impressionism feel to it. It amazes me how much information your pieces communicate despite the broad and often vague brush strokes. Try as hard as I can, I have been unable to create such wonderful implied detail. Can you give a young (well digitally young anyway) painter some tips on how you accomplish this?
- never show all the details at once, leave a door opened to imagination, it will stimulate the viewer who will built the rest of the image to his own taste. the way to do this would take ages to explain. if it is ever explainable.

Do you really just throw down color and shade and effortlessly throw down patches of color without first sketching out your composition.

- no, there is always a minimum of composition before throwing out any colors at all. if you throw everything in your image at the same time, you might end up looking at a marvelous but useless BLOB. :D

sparth
06-05-2005, 11:27 PM
arctis: Thanks Sparth,
The "theorical syndrome" was still present in ENSAD in 2002, be confident about it ! ;)
i agree with you about the need of looking beyond our native country's frontier. I'm not sure about it, but I have sometimes the feeling that in France, gifted people that don't work (but talk a lot) are better considered that guys who are doing the job on time, (and let their work speak for themselves). At the contrary, I have the impression (on english-speaking web forums) that american artists are proud to have worked hard to become what they are : They prize a lot hard work, while in EnSAD (in France ?), for ex, hard work is depised because it means you are laborious.(for them, laborious=heavy mind=non intellectual=crap for masses)
Do you have similar feeling ?

- don't worry too much about this detail. it is mainly a student thing.
in the industry, there is no way to lie on what you can do and not do.
the philosophy is not the same, but you do know which one i prefer and respect the most :D:D:D
intellectual concepts have to be put to the service of the image. not the other way around :D

thanx again arctis

sparth
06-05-2005, 11:34 PM
karthan: 1). How difficult is it handling people within Ubi.soft?

- actually i don't handle anybody at ubisoft. i'm just an illustrator and concept designer.

2). Ahem.. Know anything about Ubi's red headed stepson, Shadowbane?

- apart from the name, i couldn't be of any help concerning this matter :D

3). ((Off Topic)) Opinion on Paul Martin?

- i suppose you're a canadian :D i'd say i feel the way you feel about him! :D:D:D

4). This may have already been asked, but what programs do you use normally? Which ones do you prefer?

- fotoshowpey!

sparth
06-06-2005, 12:04 AM
igor: 1) Well this is a novice question. I love how you give texture to your paintings. I read somewhere you scan actual painting and then composite it to your photoshop painting. My question is how do you blend it with the rest? Do you apply it to a new layer then play with the layer mode and oppacity? Or do you use it as a custom brush? How do you do it exactly?

- all of these above! :D:D:D
it is true that i often use parts or extracts of images previously done. i rarely grab materials that aren't mine. apart from conventional textures, it may have never happened.

igor: 2) Have you ever thought of doing a comic book? I'm sure some french comic book editors would love your style.

- yes i did. actually i had a meeting with delcourt just before leaving for canada. i will probably think about it afterwards. but here is one negative thing about the comic world: it rarely pays! :D

igor: 3) One of the multiple things that amaze me in your art is the sense of space, the gargantuan feel. How do you achieve that? Composition, attention to details...?

- being very precise in the way you add human figures and progressive details is important.
the way to do this is for exemple to repeat similar details on different areas of your image. it adds to the depth.

igor: 4) You've been doing a lot of book covers lately. Did you offer your services or did they come and ask you to work for them? Also, when you discover a book while wandering in your local library, how important is the cover art to you? (Peronaly, I would buy a rubish if the cover attracts me. It's stupid I know)

- i entered into the french book cover industry thanx to benjamin carre. he had already been doing a lot of covers for years, and publishers wanted his style.
- the first covers were done for clients who knew about my works but who had to "wait and see" if it fitted in the book industry. afterwards, i admit that all the covers had been asked to me by publishers who wanted me to show my personality and style.
-same for me! cover art have always had a huge impact on my choices.

igor: 5) Something intrigues me in your personnal work (as opposite to your corporate stuff). While beeing very different from each other, all of your paintings seems to be part of the same universe. Your art is very coherent. Is it intentionnal? Don't you soemtimes think of bringing that world to live in another medium like animation (or comic books to loop back to my second question;))

- who knows! i'd probably be delighted to see my art in other areas than games and books.
- i just hope that coherence will not kill the surprise on a longer term. i will do everything needed in order to still stimulate your feelings as a viewer.

igor: Last) Please, don't forget to tell us about the artists who insipre you. I'm realy interrested :)

there would be too many names to add.
i will just add one: a guy that has been doing amazing stuff, ultrahsu. http://www.iamfrancis.com/

sparth
06-06-2005, 12:08 AM
kaktuswasser: My first question is: you don't seem to use guidelines or something for your vanishing point in your process pictures on your homepage. How do you do your perspective? Just eyeballing?

- i indeed use no guidelines. i am happy being able to concentrate only on the subjects instead of concentrating on perspective.

kaktuswasser: Second: Most of your works seem to have a similar pallette. Do you have a fixed pallette or do you remix everything for every picture?

- i think i already answered to this one. using a bank of personal texture does give the feel of a similar palette i suppose. :D

sparth
06-06-2005, 12:13 AM
fbone: 1. how long did it take you to do such cool stuff

- a lifetime :D and it's far from being over, i'm just 33. :D

fbone: 2. i would wish to enter into the field of CG so wat softwares would advocate i start with

- the ones where you feel the more comfortable. even more important: chose the program according to your own needs and feelings.


fbone: if you ever come to Africa, Kenya. i'll show you around

- extremely happy to hear a voice from africa!
we don't hear you often on the web. time for a change :D

sparth
06-06-2005, 12:17 AM
skurai: Are you thinking of making more tutorias or 'Artistic Process', I hope you will.

- i'll do my best in order to do so.

skurai: I gave a PM on www.conceptart.org (http://www.conceptart.org/) about a month ago but i didn't get an answer, maybe
you didn't see it so i'll ask you know.(This Is about the tut thing...)
I was just wondering if you have ever considered a video tut, just a small demo in normal speed and parts or daster spped if you would like that better, if you might think of doing
this someday the use CAMSTASIA STUDIO search for It at google, or follow this link:
http://www.techsmith.com/products/studio/default.asp

- well, forgive me really for not being able to find the time to reply. if i did so i would get myself in serious troubles with my plannings.
- for now, i have had a few talks with gnomon in order to maybe show stuff if it's worth it. let's not rush things, on the contrary, i'll try to prepare myself to this opportunity, but it takes time. be patient.

sparth
06-06-2005, 12:21 AM
fahrija: -Your images at first view seem to be very detailed but they often contain loose but precise placed brush strokes. I allways try not to zoom in but I must recognize that I often get entangeled into some areas loosing track of the composition. Do you have any hints to prevent getting to much into the details during working on an image?

- remain nervous for every stroke you add to your piece. remain opened to changes if you feel these changes have to happen.
- always analyse you image as a whole. i always work from very far away. i zoom at the very end of the image process, but most of the time, i happen to be "standing" very far from the image. looking it from far away. it allows you to always consider your image as a single entity, without concentrating on particular areas for too long.

fahrija: -will there be a gnomon dvd available of sparth scetching techniques in future?
Why I ask? Because at least I´m just curious to watch a photoshop user painting environments without rotating the canvas for example. :)

- :D

sparth
06-06-2005, 12:26 AM
turboff: Hi Sparth, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. I've just got a quick question about layers. How much layers, for example, did you use for this (http://www.sparth.com/gallery/albums/userpics/psychohistoireenperil.jpg) image? And what is your overall layer strategy? Thanks

- maybe 40 or 50. however, it is very difficult for me to count all the layers, as i often flatten my images and save it with another name. this way i keep aside all the process and all the layers, without having to concentrate on a heavy file. i can't stand have a slow process, i need speed, as much as i can. doing so prevents me from having slow downs.

my layer strategy: always consider, at a very certain moment, that you will never go backwards "into time". hence the numerous flattenings.

sparth
06-06-2005, 01:04 AM
g-nome: Whats the most important things in concept desing?
exmp: is fotoreal paintingskill necessary, or how necessary is paintingskills at all?
(Feng Zhu vs Erik Tiemens..they both are conceptdesingers right...but same time their skills are very different)

- thanx god there is a huge variety and originality among all concept artists. otherwise it would have been an extremely dull world.
- having first a subject and then being able to show as much as you can with your own soul.
couldn't really say more than that.

sparth
06-06-2005, 01:08 AM
supervlieg: Where do you think you need to grow more? (If at all)

- character design and anatomy. i feel i can go farth further in this universe, compared to environments. however, it doesn't mean i will reduce my production in background and enviro design.

supervlieg: - How long did it take you to get a feel for the right colors, and lighting?

- it happened around 2001 - 2002, while working with bengal and benjamin carre. we all discovered a lot of stuff together. especially how to wisely apply color theories to images.
so i'd say four years in all. :D

sparth
06-06-2005, 01:13 AM
joat: This was not yet asked, as far as I could see. My question is: On wich size do you usually do your work? Do you scale up during the process (when moving towards detail etc.) or are they big canvases from the start?
Really liked the "process" section of your site. It was highly informative and tought provoking. Like to watch an artist work live, almost. I haven't read about your educational background, but judging by your use of color, I'd quess there is a lot of traditional painting and color theory lurking somewhere. Another hint in that direction would be your use of brushes.
I admire and envy, but envy is in a very positive kind of envy in this case.

- no big canvas from the start. i always start small, and then resize.
(check out previous answers, i replied already).
- yes i did work traditionally a lot. acrylics, gouache, inks, aquarels ... did a bit of everything. started in 89, and reduced speed around 99. went completely digital afterwards.
- envy can be extremely positive, it stimulates too. always keep envy close to admiration, never transform it into jealousy.

sparth
06-06-2005, 01:16 AM
denart: one mo' thing
what's more important to you? (and you must choose one! none of that, "they're all important" stuff hahaa)

A) The composition/design and flow of a piece
OR
B) The colors of a piece

- the composition and flow of a piece.
color is an accessory thing....... well of course if you mean a piece with a fantastic compo and flow but with the CRAPPIEST color ever, i will have trouble to decide! :D

sparth
06-06-2005, 01:19 AM
madman1352000: Hey Sparth,
I was wondering what another person asked about doing Gnomon dvds or maybe some kind've prints or posters to sell on your site in the future?

- wait and see. :D

madman1352000: Are you working on Prince of Persia 3?(sorry if that was already asked) If so will there be an artbook for that or maybe one that combine art from all 3 games in one book?

- i actually do not work on prince of persia 3. however there are many more concept artists in ubisoft compared to 2003. i am just a part of an whole team.

madman1352000: On your paintings do you just paint at 72dpi the full time and just uprez to a larger size?

- exactly :D

sparth
06-06-2005, 01:25 AM
blankslatejoe: Ok... so what music do you listen to lately?

- ambient (biosphere, loscil, gas, autechre, isan), movie scores (graeme revell, goldsmith, glass, vangelis, zimmer, kilar, nyman), indian music, ethiopian music (mamhoud amhed. aster aweke), comtemporary stuff (glass, wim mertens).........................

:D

sparth
06-06-2005, 01:30 AM
StormrageJunior: I would like to ask you, how old were you when you've started to do art, and when have you reached the profesional level?

- i first started doing painting at 5 years old. i still have these paintings somewhere. i also did stories to go with the images, most of the time i was writing the story of a little pig discovering nature all around him, talking with birds, stuff like that. .... pretty funny stuff!
- i reached a level that i considered professional in 97, while working on "alone in the dark 4".
did a lot of stuff before 97, and i will not reject any of it though.

sparth
06-06-2005, 01:32 AM
skurai: okay sparth here's a question. it may have been asked.
1. Are you the concept artist in the team that is developing pop III?

- nope i'm not :D
the pop3 guys already have a lot extremely talented concept artists, and they don't need me.
my friend david levy (vyle) just arrived at ubisoft by the way.
if you've never seen his work, check out his site, the guy is amazing: http://www.vyle-art.com/

sparth
06-06-2005, 01:33 AM
kaktuswasser: i got another one. Will it soemday be possible to order prints of your works?
I'd love to have a big print of one of your works on my wall.

- i'll try to think about it. if i find an easy way to do so. :D

speveo
06-06-2005, 07:46 AM
Hey Sparth

I have been a fan of yours for a long time. Your designs and colour usage are inspirational. :thumbsup:

I am starting to work at Ubisoft Montreal in July, do you maybe want to meet up for a drink?

Cheers

Steve

kleinluka
06-07-2005, 03:33 AM
Hey Sparth

I have been a fan of yours for a long time. Your designs and colour usage are inspirational. :thumbsup:

I am starting to work at Ubisoft Montreal in July, do you maybe want to meet up for a drink?

Cheers

Steve

count me in too. and andrzej as well (i think youre friends with andrzej arent you?) :P anyways, good work dood.

sparth
06-07-2005, 04:37 AM
Speve-O: sure! just ask for my name somewhere, even though we are around 1200 now!

kleinluka: of course! :D and andrzej is the kindest guy ever, we talk very often.


now before adding my last goodbye to this thread, i wanted to really thank all of you for the interest you have expressed for my work. i haven't been able to write personal thanx to all, but be sure that i was extremely happy being able to answer to all your questions. i hope i will have been able to also share my passion for digital arts and techniques.

"en route pour de nouvelles aventures"

sparth



here's a cover i've just finished. posting it for your viewing pleasure.
http://www.sparth.com/art/stock/cover-continentsperdus/continents-perdus-final-small.jpg

beelow
06-07-2005, 04:56 AM
How can I build great contacts and spread my work around to get a job secured(game studio or production house) when I graduate out of college?

leigh
06-07-2005, 04:57 AM
I'd like to thank Sparth for so generously participating and answering so many questions! :thumbsup: And for sharing your fantastic new painting, too!

This thread will now be closed.