View Full Version : Meet the Artist: Mayan Escalante (Electronic Arts)

05 May 2005, 02:45 AM

Mayan Escalante
Character Artist, Electronic Arts

Mayan Escalante is a Character Artist at Electronic Arts, Los Angeles. His project credits include Medal of Honor: Spearhead, Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, Medal of Honor: European Assault, as well as contributing art to titles such as Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault and Goldeneye 2.

Mayan has always been interested in art and the possibility of working in the entertainment industry. He studied architecture at Long Beach City College before attending and graduating from the Art Center College of Design with a BA in Illustration. While at Art Center he studied illustration and found that world wasn’t for him. At the end of his schooling he returned to his love for entertainment design and concentrated all his efforts into becoming a concept artist.

After graduation he went directly to work for Electronic Arts Los Angeles where he is currently a character artist. He has contributed concept art and 3D assets for numerous projects including several games in the popular Medal of Honor series. His work has also appeared in galleries and print. Mayan has taught at USC and is currently an instructor at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects where he teaches character modeling for games.

Three Gnomon Workshop game modeling DVDs by Mayan will be released May 11th.

Related Links
Mayan Escalante (
The Gnomon Workshop (
Mayan Escalante – The Gnomon Workshop Profile (

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05 May 2005, 03:48 AM
What is the difference between Illustration and Industrial Design?

I'm of the mind to take industrial design at Cal State University Long Beach.

I believe it'll teach me presentation and working with others just as Art Center would, but won't cost $100,000.

I think industrial design would be more advantagous for game design.

Eeesh. Just got an email reply from Michael Kammermeyer, an Industrial Design Instructor from Cal State University Long little theory seems to be flushed down the tubes.

The industrial design program at CSULB is probably not the best for you. We do not have an entertainment industry component nor a strong illustration focus. Our program is more attuned to engineering product development rather than art.

The best programs that coincide with your interests will be at professional art schools such as Art Center and Art Academy.

This currently what I've done.


05 May 2005, 08:44 AM
Hie Mayan....

I just wanna tell ya MOH gives me a nice memories everytime i think of it....visually, sound and gameplay.....

I just wanna say....great job.:thumbsup:

05 May 2005, 05:56 PM
Hi there, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. I am considering attending the Gnomon School. Have you worked with or hired many graduates from this school? Pretty solid skills from these people?

Also, how do you feel about doing work for the next-gen consoles? In the past it seems you need to choose what type of 3D artist you wanna be, Games or Film. Do you see this gap being narrowed alot due to the level of detail expected from NextGen gfx?

One last quick one, more an EA question than for you personally, do you work with alot of concept designers in-house there at EA? Or do you bring in contractors for a few weeks to do designs from you?

Thanks again!

-Jason Hall

05 May 2005, 06:49 PM

Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk with us! I'm afraid I've never played any of the Medal of Honor series, but I've heard only good things so it's great to have one of the designers here.

Firstly, what's it like working at EA these days? I've heard it's a pretty tight ship, and I'm just curious to hear how your experience there has been.

Secondly, the opening post here says you not only did concept art but also contributes some of the 3d elements. What kinds of elements were they? All characters, like the ones on the sample images, or other stuff also?

Finally, what's your typical approach to modeling? Do you use the box-modeling method, or patching polys together, or what? And what passes for a good poly-count in a character these days?

05 May 2005, 07:26 PM
Hi Mayan,

1. Could you describe your modeling workflow game specific. From start to end?

2. For someone who wants to jump into 3d modeling and excell. What would you suggest and advise where to start and what to model? Start modeling humans from the start? or start simple? if so what?Any tips and advice. Game specific as well.

3. What would you recommend focusing on in terms of future modeling; where do you see the advances taking place?

4. How much of reference do you use?

Thank you and take care.

05 May 2005, 09:16 PM
Hi all,
I just want to thank everybody for taking the time to view this thread and I will try to get to everyones posts. I'm enjoying some time off right now so I will be posting replies every evening. This is an amazing industry to be involved in and I look forward to answering your questions.

Thanks again,

05 May 2005, 11:18 PM
Hi Mayan, just want to say that ur work in medal of honor is incredible. I've played all series of that game! its the best war game ever!:thumbsup:
i have a few question though:
1.r u specialized in character creation or u also create the environment. modeling , teksturing,etc
2. my hobby is to draw and painting an illustration about war and military, do you think theres good job field for people like me? should i change to modeling /animation or i just focused on increasing my illustration quality.:shrug:
3. Im going into game industry, could you give recomendation, the best way to apply or get attention from the big company, because i think big company usually already have telented people working for them,

thank you for your time, and please keep making medal of honor or at least a game with the same quality,thanks!:applause: :bounce:

05 May 2005, 12:36 AM
Hey Mayan! Thank you for taking the time to respond to our questions!

What's the most rewarding part of your job?

Do you feel limited creatively by the gaming technology? Like having to make lo-res models, etc?

Would you say one needs to be good at every aspect of game design to crack into the industry, even if he/she only wants to do vehicle design or character design, for example?

Thanks! :thumbsup:

05 May 2005, 07:23 AM
Hey Mayan,

how's it like working for EA? haha, j/k. Hey, stop on by and say hi one of these days. I'm on the 2nd floor (the LOTR team), from wedsdays to fridays. Are you working with Patrick G?

I do have a question though. Since you also do 3D modeling, do you find sometimes you restrict your artwork / design because you already know ahead of time about your technology limitations (ie: the engine can only handle 1500poly characters, or it can't do 4 legged creatures, etc). I usually try to tell my clients to not give me any technical details, so i can draw and design whatever i want. Once i get the designs out of my head, then we can start to "step down" the design to match the technology. But in your case, you are so close to the 3D side of things; how do you work around that, and do you use this to your advantage (ie: saving time by not drawing things which the engine can not handle).



05 May 2005, 07:44 AM
those medal of honor are certainly sweet, but I'm not into that style of games!
what kind of games are you planning to do in the future, besides shooters? what sort of games do you palay at your free time? or maybe you don't play them at all :sad: !

...FengZ here as well, a bit wierd... ha-ha...

05 May 2005, 09:07 AM
It depends on who you talk to and what your goals are. The lines between all art forms are pretty fuzzy these days. Industrial design, Illustration, gallery art, digital art are all blended together in one way or another. The important thing is to know what your goals are and put yourself in an enviorment that promotes that. Industrial design at CSULB can mean something different than what it does at Art Center. As far as any career in entertainment design I really feel that equal importance should be givin to both industrial design and illustration. ID teaches you rapid visualization while illustration gives you a strong traditional foundation. I agree that a $100k is steep for anyone but there is definately validation for the quality of training you get. Despite the price tag, going to Art Center has beeen good to me. Also check out places like Gnomon, the Figure Art Academy, CSU Fullerton, etc. There are a lot of choices nowadays. Personal drive has a lot to do with it as well. No matter where you go you have to be willing to dedicate the time.


Gnomon is a great school with a lot of talent from both the students and instructors. It seems like most of the students go into film.

There is definately alot of crossover between games and film but they are still seperate beasts. Although next-gen consoles are coming it is still too early to see how much can be squeezed out of them. Both feilds present different challenges. What makes games fun for me is how we solve those challenges.

I don't mean this as a vague answer but it really depends on the project and the team. So the answer to both is yes.

There are alot of positives to working for EA despite anything you may have heard. No matter where you choose to work there are always going to be issues.

Right now I am primarily a 3d character artist. There is crossover whenever another team might need assistance so I have contributed to other disciplines but my main focus is characters. I have been in the unique position to contribute both concept art and game assets on the projects I have worked on.

I use both methods for modeling depending on what I'm sculpting. Usually more complex forms like the head I will model in seperate pieces. I cover both techniques in my Gnomon videos.

Poly counts are dependent on the needs of the game and the restrictions of the hardware. They can be drastically different if there are 2 charatcers on screen or 50. 3,000-5,000 tris is a safe target to shoot for.

Short answer, it depends on what I'm modeling. Long answer, I worked really hard on the videos for the Gnomon Workshop to give you an idea of my typical workflow is.

I definately suggest modeling the human form and familarizing yourself with the muscle forms and how they work. Regardless if your character has clothing, or armor, or isn't even human there is still a basic understanding how things work and deform that needs to be learned. Most importantly keep your topology clean and evenly spaced. Your eye should be able to flow around the model.

Mileage is key with anything. The more you do the more you learn and are able to built a mental library. With that you can adapt to whatever direction tech takes you.

I use tons of reference. Alot of my time is spent on research. Mostly from books and photos.


I am involved in the entire character pipeline including concept, modeling, texturing, etc.

I don't recommend focusing on one theme allthough many artists have been sucessfull doing so. Diversity will make you more valueble.

It really depends on what you want to do. Once you decide that than focus on becoming the best in that area. It becomes more difficult when you split your focus between so many disciplines.

My best advice on getting noticed it to make sure your work speaks for itself. Even if you have connections this is true.

Being apart of the art community. Modeling, painting, sketching, teaching, talking to people on forums. Like I said in my first post this is an amazing industry to be involverd in.

I don't feel limited creatively at all by technology. Problem solving is one of the funnest parts of the job. Some amazing things can be done with low res models, it just means that you have to step up your skills. You can have the highest poly counts you want but if they don't look good they don't look good. Game play has a lot to do with it as well. I heard a quote once about fog. You can have the most amazing fog in a game but if the gameplay sucks, what's the point? Art and design should compliment each other.

It's good to have a basic knowledge of other disciplines but I do recommend focusing on what you enjoy the most. Most companies look to fill specific roles.

I hope I was able to answer some of your questions.

I'm tired now.

05 May 2005, 09:14 AM
hi mayan,

i have just one complex question:
what is your experience with working on characters from scratch to the final texture (excluded rigging and animation)?
-are the steps often divided trough different specialists - concept-, 3d- and texture artist
-how often rests the power of a character in only one hand (one artists for the whole character)?
-is it wise to let one guy design the characters and others to make his ideas in 3d?
-are there differences in the approach by creating main/ important characters and just normal figures?

what is the commonly used procedure and what do you think is the best way to create fresh and believable characters?
which of these procedures are better for quick results and which of them for higher quality work?

thank you for your answer

05 May 2005, 10:25 AM
Hi there mayan,

First of all great work, I used to work for EA in the QA dept, and you guys always corrected the graphical glitches we got, a quick question:

For the past 2 years I have been training in 3D, but I seem to remember you guys used only Max for your 3D artists, Is this still the same, as i've been mainly concentrating on Maya recently.

Also, how do you think it would hold up in an interview at EA, having worked for them previously in a different department, as I would love to come back, but obviously in the Art dept. Would it be in my advantage?

Again great work, and keep it up.

Dan Mist.

05 May 2005, 01:08 PM
Hi, Mayan! Thanks for taking the time to Q&A with us!
One trivial question: What is for you the best game character ever (model/animation/acting), and do you draw inspiration from it?
Another one: There seems to be a shift of industry jobs from 3ds max to Maya. "Adapt or die" or "Stick with what you're good at"?

05 May 2005, 04:02 PM
What project that you have worked on have you found most intresting, and why?
Whats the ups and downs for you by working for EA?

- Řystein Sollesnes

05 May 2005, 04:52 PM
1. what game project would you like the most to work on in the future ?

2. How about a non game project ?

3. Do you have personal projects outside work or do you just relax
and do non- art related stuff on your free time ?

05 May 2005, 05:05 PM
Hi, Mayan! This is way cool! Thanks for taking the time to answer questions, greatly appreciated. :) :) :) Timing is excellent! :) In my midst of learning Maya, your DVD's are coming out next week!! SWEEET!!!. :)

I've been using a book by Antony Ward "Game Character Development with Maya" So far so good. Looking forward to seeing your videos which would be a great add on to my learning. :)

Okay, my questions:

1:You studied illustration at Art Center, yet you know Maya. How did you go about learning to use Maya. Part-time courses, or going on forums and reading books?

2: When is your site gonna be online???? :)

3: DVD subjects??? 3 Dvd's what are they going to be on? I'm at the Gnomon site and I see Head modeling, what else are the dvd's going to cover. I'm guessing Modeling the Figure, and texturing???

4: How long are the dvd's going to be?


Ismail Matovu Wamala (

05 May 2005, 05:39 PM
Hi Mayan

gotta say your work are phenomenon, way cool, I got few questions

EA is one of the best Game companies in the world, so how difficult is it to get in?
I wanna go for a degree called "Computer Game Art", do you have any suggestions about degrees also do you think if its worth it
How long does it take you to create a 2D character either in 2D or 3D
How does it feel to be working in a big team
Do you know any Backstage clips that I can watch, doesn't have to be in EA
finally, whats your favourite 3D Package and if ou know, whats EA's favourite 3D Software
Thanks :thumbsup:

05 May 2005, 08:54 PM
Mayan, thanks for giving us this opportunity to pick your talented brain!

There's an EA studio just near where I live and I was thinking of sending them a concept art portfolio. What are some things YOU would like to see if you were hiring?

Do you think 2D artists can thrive in the gaming industry without knowing 3D apps?

What activities or excercises do you recommend to keep your ideas fresh and original?

When will you have content up on your site? Dude, I wanna see da goods!

Thanks for your time...


05 May 2005, 10:17 PM
dear Mayan,

I'm ashamed to tell you I havn't played the MOH game you worked on altough I did see the models you worked on, good stuff ;).

Now for my question, it's actually quite simple, I was wondering since in the industry apps like max and maya are being used, does the company you work for actually care what app you use to get to the final product? Or could you just use whatever you want to use in order to get a model done (lets say a freeware app) and later import it into max/maya or whatever program is used to do the final touches, animating etc. ie all the things that cant be done with the freeware app.

I know this may sound really weird but it just seems hard to imagine that they would allow you to use something free while the companies spend loads of money buying professional applications to be used, when you don't actually "use" em.

Keep up the talent :thumbsup:

05 May 2005, 10:59 PM
Hey Mayan, few more questions.

What software do you use?
Which one is used on the gnomon dvd?

Thank you

05 May 2005, 11:22 PM
Hey there Mayan,

Just a couple of questions:

1. From talking to other artists in the games industry, it seems to be the case that many 3D artists are hired based on the work in their 2D protfolio. While I can certainly see the value for any 3D artist to also be good at 2D, and while it's been my experience that people who can draw generally make better 3D artists than those who don't, to what extent are traditional skills a factor in whether or not a 3D artist will get hired? Is an exceptional 3D artist going to get turned away if they can't draw?

2. What rough percentage of influence do designers, concept artists, and modellers, in turn, have on the final look of a game? For example: are modellers simply seen as translators for transferring art assets from 2D concepts to 3D, or are they allowed to alter the design for artistic reasons (rather than just to make models work in-game)?

3. I'm just finishing university here in the UK doing a games art related degree, and I expect that the first job i'll be getting will be 'paying my dues', so that I can get some experience and move on to a higher profile developer. Specifically many of the higher profile developers that I have in mind are based in the US, so I was wondering if you have any advice on making the transition from UK to US? Do any developers hire without face to face interviews if the work is good enough? Have any of the artists you work with made that transition and how difficult was it for them?

4. Just reitterating what other people are saying: what are the areas artists should focus on, in your opinion, in order prepare for the next-gen hardware? Are the majority of developers switching to Maya as is rumoured? Is learning programs like zbrush going to be beneficial?

Many thanks. :)

05 May 2005, 11:25 PM
Hey, whats happening Mayan!
To all those looking on, I took a class taught by Mayan last year at USC, (are you still teaching there, or just up at Gnomon now?). Very helpful, great for game modeling. I'm sure the Gnomon DVD's are worth the buy. Sorry, I don't really have a question for you Mayan, just popping my head in and saying hello since I saw your name on the thread. Talk to you later man,


05 May 2005, 12:26 AM
Hello Mayan, my name is Andre Kling david, im a game artist in Brazil, i had a teacher who was an animator at EA in redwood. Its great to have you answering our questions.
1 - Do you take your time to look at game contest at forums, like the unoficial one here at cgtalk and the ones in polycount and cgchat? Do you know any other working professional who do it?
2 - How many models do you have to make in a daily bases? Is it true that you only have to do your job, and them you can get out, like if you are very fast you can work only 5 to 6 hours daily?
3 - What do you think will hapen with the industry in the near future, since EA is bying lots of companies and some very good ones are going out of buisness, do you believe in a "cold down" of the market?
4 - And last one, how can i send you my work for critique? Do you critique only the modelling, or all the character. like texture, and design?
Ok i apologize my english for im out of the US for 2 years now, and besides forums i actually dont use my english at all, so sorry.
Andre Kling David

05 May 2005, 01:08 AM
hello, i have a question. im trying to get into the game industry. i feel that im pretty good at the modeling part of stuff, but textureing is where i die. do you do all the textures yourself, or does someone else do them? is being able to texture reasonably well a must-have?

thanks for your time!

05 May 2005, 07:23 AM
Wow! You guys don't mess around.

Thanks for checking out the thread. I should be back at the studio next week. I'll definately swing by.

I do find myself restricting the design based on what I know the limitations are. It can be both a good and bad thing. I do believe that the approach you take is a sound way of doing things. If you focus on the restrictions you can lose some good stuff that comes from the exploration process. The design phase really shouldn't have any restrictions. It should be the task of the modeler to figure out what can or can't be done while staying true to the design. When working with so many creative people someones bound to come up with a solution. On the other side I do use it to my advantage by being able to adjsut an idea to work rather than eliminate it.

I'm open do doing any game that has a good execution plan behind it.

Linear button mashers. I like playing games I don't have to think too hard about but designed well enough to keep you engaged.

I am involved in every step of the pipeline at some point including rigging. I mostly, concept, model and texture though.

Depends on the studio.

Quite often.

There is definately a symbiotic relationship between concept and modeling. Unless the art direction doesn't alow deviation, it is always exciting to see how a modeler interperets the design while staying true to the idea. sometimes the modeler can bring out an element the designer may not have noticed. 2d doesn't always translate 1 to 1 with 3d.

Absolutely. Poly counts, texture resolution, binding, etc. can all be effected.

Not sure I understand the question. Sorry.


Max and Maya are both used for different areas of production. I work in Maya 99% of the time. Software should always be second to skill. All of these programs could be replaced next year. Many artists switch with little trouble.

I believe it's common for that to happen. Best of luck to you.

I draw inspiration from way to many sources. Listing them would take days!

Like I replied to liquidminduk, software should always be second to skill. All of these programs could be replaced next year. Some artist are die hard about the program they use and that's fine too. If you acan build a solid foundation in one program switching should be relitively painless. I'm going to steal the quote from AZTglory's post:
The tool doesnt make a good artist.
If you gave me Leonardos pencil, I still wouldnt be able to paint Mona Lisa.

Working on Medal of Honor has been a lot of fun. I've had the privilage to see private collections of WWII goods, shoot some wicked weapons, and blow stuff up!

All ups man, all ups. Every studio has it's issues and EA has had a lot of press lately about them. Focusing on the negative kills creativity.

Everyone is asking some great questions. I'm not going to be able to get to all of them but I will try my best. My apologies to those I may not get to. Since a lot of the questions have similar answers I will try to adress some of the more common ones tommorow.

05 May 2005, 08:10 AM
Hmm...just incidently found out something at the First page of Mayan Banner had this soldier face impression is quite similar to Leonard's avatar(Master Yoda)... hee...

One question though:
1. Do u haf any revolution concept for Games style in the future? Something like Metal Gear solid which is Watching Movie while joining the game. Are we goin to stuck at the level of games theory of "Shoot em' UP!" forever? I like Games wif various ending story. I think this was the last impressive idea i found from Blade Runner.

I really impressed in what u guys did for MEdal of honour.. Very amazing sound effects, wisely key control movement, smooth game story, of cuz finally the marvelous gfx. Sometimes i haf to hold my breath for some action. This games is not for heart-weaken gamer!!

05 May 2005, 10:01 AM
My questions are coming from 10 years of digital/traditional experience and 5 years 3d realtime game experience as a character/concept/texture artist.

Being 30, and married with a 2yr son I would like to know how other companies both big and small are treating the older generation of digital artist and what the future entails for them.

My concern is will the older and more experienced artists be replaced by a cheaper workforce of young and ambitious talent? Having to support a family prevents us from putting in the mandatory overtime(and commonly not compensated) expected in the game industry which in turn makes it harder to bid for wage increases.

Could you see yourself doing the same job when your 50....earning the same wage as the 20 year old sitting next to you?

05 May 2005, 12:13 PM
is 2d skill is compulsary for 3d modeling guy?

THanX in advance!

05 May 2005, 01:13 PM
Does being able to draw or conceptualize work benefit you in 3D Modeling?

I keep encountering people that can't or don't like drawing in the game industry that model or I'm wondering if I'm wasting my time learning form by illustration?

But with normal mapping and Zbrush and Claytools coming around, somehow I feel you can't push aside traditional skills.

05 May 2005, 02:37 PM
Hey Mayan. Might as well throw in my questions.

I'm hesitant at approaching this question, at the risk of sounding offensive. But have you been getting sick of working on Medal of Honor titles at all? I mean, don't get me wrong, they pack some very impressive visuals, and are a blast to play, but it feels like it's getting to the rehash stage. This might not affect the artists behind it much, I'm just curious if the work for these titles has been continually refreshing for you, or if it has become tedious. Again, not trying to be offensive and damn EA or anything, just curious about how "fresh" the work has been for you.

Having limited experience with creating models for games and realtime environments, I'm not too clear on how the difficulty and workload for creating game models would compare to high-poly modeling for films and whatnot. In one sense, as you are working with far fewer polygons, one might expect the work to be easier. But of course, in dealing with such a small number of polys, you would have to be much more careful in your placement of polys, and how you lay out your geometry, whereas in high-poly modeling you don't need to worry about all of that quite as much. How would you say that they compare? And on that same note, is this changing much for you now that normal mapping is starting to become commonplace (so there may be a need to build an initial high-poly model to get the normal maps to transfer to a low-poly model)? (Is Zbrush in your pipeline?)

It has often been said that one should never get a job based around their hobbies. And for a lot of us, games have been our biggest hobby. Some of us practically live in video games. With you currently working in game development, can you stand to play games much on the side? Or do you just get sick of seeing games? I'm sure that you're work is different enough from the games themselves that it wouldn't drive you away from games in your spare time as bad as being one of the testers might, but you never know...

05 May 2005, 07:31 PM
Hey Mayan,

thanks for taking your time to answer questions~

One questions I have is,, How much time do they give you at EA to complete one character?
from modeling to texture?


05 May 2005, 08:10 AM
I'd like to do some more sci-fi related stuff ala Doom3, HL2.

I try to keep my self fresh by doing side projects not necessarily related to games. I've done illustration, gallery stuff, comics, t-shirt design, trade work, anything really. It's fun for me.

When I do have free time I pretty much spend it with my family. I also try to surf or skate as much as possible. It's important to step away from work when you can.

I got into the industry on a 2d portfolio. I have been fortunate to learn maya from some very talented people I have worked with (thanks Matt, Ken, Justin, Eoin, etc.). Forums and books have been a big part as well. The main thing that has helped me is the traditional skills. The best way to get your feet wet is to jump in head first.

Very soon.

Right now head modeling, body and gear, and UV's. I hope to do a texturing one soon.
all three should be here:
The length of each should be available when they are released. They're a couple hours each.

Timing has a lot to do with it. Most importantly good work in a well presented format.

I wouldn't focus on the title of the course. Do the classes fit what you want to achieve?

It really depends on the character and the circumstances. It could literally range from 3 days to 3 weeks.

I've been on large and small. Each has there ups and downs. Communication is the biggest difference.

Try the game review sites like gamespot and gamespy. Alot of good stuf has been on G4 lately.

For me Maya. EA varies.

That's a long list. In short, strong anatomy, design, value, color, composition. Only show your best work. Don't put filler. One bad peice can bring down a portfolio.


Seeing work from other artists, not just games, keeps me motivated.

Very soon.

There's alot of games I haven't played either.

I have seen that done but the final product does have to go through the preffered app. Most companies have propriety tools that you would miss out on. Also stuff doesn't always import cleanly so you have to be aware of that.


Strong 2D skills definately help. In my personal opinion I think more emphasis should be placed on traditional skills. Like I've said previously, 3D apps are just a medium to translate those skills to. That being said everyone has there strengths. I know plenty of artist that do phenominal 3D work that don't do much 2D at all. I don't think it plays a factor in hiring. If the works good it's good.

Every artist plays a big part in the final look. With so many people working on the art it's hard not to impart your own twist to things. I think doing so makes things turn out better.

He's probably going to hate me for this but Eoin Colgan would be a good person to ask.

Every developer uses different apps. I think Z brush is going to play a huge role in next gen.

Thanks Eric, I'm just at Gnomon now. Nice to here from you.

I've never typed so much in my life.
See you tommorow.

05 May 2005, 08:40 AM
thanks mayan

The Game Art Degree has : games animation, drawing, character animation, intermediate and advanced 3D modelling, texturing and lighting. and things are modelled with 3D Max, I kinda like it, but what I fear is that I discover a better course after I start this course but I'll dig some more info

however, do you get the games you work on free from EA? :) j/k... but do you?


05 May 2005, 08:20 PM
I'd like to do some more sci-fi related stuff ala Doom3, HL2.

I try to keep my self fresh by doing side projects not necessarily related to games. I've done illustration, gallery stuff, comics, t-shirt design, trade work, anything really. It's fun for me.

When I do have free time I pretty much spend it with my family. I also try to surf or skate as much as possible. It's important to step away from work when you can.

good to hear u got varied and fun hobbies, i hope u get the
time for all that ... about the sci-fi related stuff , i got another question:
how did you like the Fallout series ?

05 May 2005, 02:06 AM
hi mayan, great work btw, its nice how you are able to do concept as well, its one thing character modelers/artists dont touch much of in production, usually.

I also work for ea's art department (new employee)
a few questions came to mind regarding low and high poly modeling:

1-do you ever model hipoly? and if so does it help you to understand modeling and form alot better than if you were to just stick to lowpoly? ive heard that its more valuable for someone in production to be able to recreate a model at any level of detail or downres if they have to, so create say 1 film quality model and represent it decently for a game engine.

2-Since everything is moving to highrer resolution meshes and much more hyper realistic looking characters . did you ever have any difficulty adapting your skillset to a different workflow? for example now we are expected to use more zbrush..

i myself do mostly highpoly work so modeling in lowpoly there are things to keep in mind that i didnt really think about before like you said keeping your lines (edgeloops) evenly spaced.

05 May 2005, 06:26 AM
I try to look at the forums as much as possible. So do alot of people I work with. It's inspiring to see what other people are creating. It's also interensting to see how people solve things.

It's not really a daily thing. It really depends on the circumstances. On avereage I'd say about 1 to 2 weeks. That includes modeling, UV's, texturing, and binding.

Where ever that place is sign me up.

That would be a shame. Let's hope not.

The best thing to do would be to post some work in this forum.

I'm responsible for every part of the pipeline, including texturing. I think it's extremely paramont to have those skills in games. Every part of the pipeline effects another in some way. If you have a good idea of how you are going to texture something it can effect how you model it or lay out the UV's. The same goes for binding. This ultimately saves a lot of time in the long run.

I'm not feeling so hot right know. I'll knock out some more tommorow.


05 May 2005, 07:34 AM
i'm a chinese student,i love you work very much,but i have no professional training chance in this field, i study by myself.
i am very wonder what excerise you do when you in school?
thanks very much.
forgive my poor english.

05 May 2005, 02:42 PM
Hi Mayan,

Love your work ! .. I'm interested in purchasing your DVDs but wanted to know how much do you think i would be able to follow them in recreating the same models in Max. I've been using max for a year and a bit now but afraid how difficult it would be to follow a person doing things in Maya, having no experience in the package myself.


05 May 2005, 11:33 PM
Hi Mayan-

I definitely plan on checking out your Gnomon DVDs, sounds like you really put a lot of hard work into them-

I'm not sure if you will go over this in the DVDs but have you began using displacement and normal mapping in games using Zbrush? What are good resources you have found in learning this new way of creating detail and implementing it into animation and games? What do you think of the Unreal3 engine and the new LoD coming up??

Thanks for taking to time during your break to answer questions!

05 May 2005, 08:12 AM
Sorry about the limited responses last night. I think I got food poisoning yesterday. Knocked me out until this afternoon. Bad stuff.

I don't really have any input into the games we make, but yeah, I do have ideas of things I'd like to make. As far as games being more of a crossover between games and film I'm not a big fan. I play games to play games, not watch them. The whole point of playing games to me is to feel apart of the world your playing in. Whenever there are cut scenes or cinematics you're taken out of the game. Don't get me wrong they definately have there place as long as they add to the experience without totally leaving you out of the mix. I just finished God of War and I think they pulled this off well. Everyone likes the reward of a nice cinematic after finishing a long level. There is definately a balance. I'm a fan of "shoot em' games" with linear game play and there is definately a large market for people like me that don't have a lot of time to play games. The challenge is to make these games engaging and fun to play.

Thanks. I'm a big fan of the sound design as well. One of the funnest parts of the project was being able to fire a lot of the weapons myself.

Wow, heavy question. I really didn't think 30 was old. Maybe because it's coming up for me. Most of the people I work with are around the same age. Alot have families and such. Those I work with have always been supportive and understanding when I've needed to take time off for my family. I think the big issue industry wide is the balance between work time and family time. This is definately not a 9-5 industry. There has to be some changes or not only will we lose the experienced artist but we will also turn away new talent.

I hope not. But I also don't think the new guy should be undercompensated either. Compensation should match the artist talent and contribution.

I don't think it's absolutely necessary but it doesn't hurt. What is important is a strong understanding of the basics. Anatomy, form, composition, value, etc. There are plenty of artist that can't draw but produce amazing work in other meidums.

Absoletely. Modeling is also a benefit to my drawing as well. Being able to see and solve things in 3D helps me understand things better in 2D.

See my response to ynvamsi above. I don't think it's a waste of time at all. It will make you a stronger 3D artist though. The thing to be carefull of is getting distracted. For example if you want to be a character modeler study more life drawing and painting rather than editorial illustration.

There's still some great questions from you all that I want to get to so I will continue to respond to everyone that has posted this week.

05 May 2005, 10:43 AM
Hi Mayan - I'm really looking forward to your low poly Gnomon titles. I see they've slipped to May 16th - is that a fabrication hick-up?

05 May 2005, 09:04 AM
I think there is a breaking point of repitition for any franchise game. It's no easy task to keep things fresh. I willl be working on some non MOH stuff at EA soon. Unfortunately that's all I can say. As the far as the character art is concerned we have definately made some huge leaps in the quality of the characters with each new title. It may not seem apparent to the consumer but underneath any repitition the game may have I'm proud of the work I've done so far. I will be posting some of it soon both here and on my website once the game is released so keep an out for it.

Dealing with the restrictions of the hardware while trying to create everything the character needs is the biggest challenge. Yes, you are right about needing to be much more deliberate in how you arrange your topology. I also feel that low poly modeling is an important step in creating high poly models. The foundation that you build upon should be the most important step. If you can create clean topology at the lower level the details should fall into place. This is something I see overlooked alot in newer artists that go straight into high poly modeling. We're experimenting with Zbrush as part of the pipeline now but it is still necessary to generate a clean low poly model to apply your maps to. The good thing is is that the poly counts for the low poly will be higher in next gen.

I still love games. I wouldn't consider myself as a hardcore gamer but I do try to play as much as time permits. I aslo enjoy having a life outside of creating art and work. I have a physical list of games I want to play before there completely outdated. There was a lot of good stuff that came out this year both mainstream and independent.

It really depends on the complexity of the character. A safe average would be 1-2 weeks, although I've seen complete characters done in 3 days!

Sounds cool. Remember to focus on the traditional skills as well. the grass is always going to be greener on the other side. Make the most out of wherever you decide to go.

Yes, a certain amount of free games is one of the perks. We also have a store on site where we get a discount.

I never played them. A friend at work makes reference to them quite often. Maybe one day I'll get a chance.

I'm geting more into high poly recently. I still think it is important to have a solid low poly model to generate the high poly from. I find it is easier to understand form when you are not distracted by the details. One of the things you learn in figure drawing is to block in the major shapes and the gesture first. When you can do this efficiently the rest should fall into place. I just read recently in one of the posts that refers to Stahlberg's female model before the smooth is only 3500 polys. if you have seen any of his low res stuff it holds up on it's own.

I replied to similar questions about this and I really feel it's just another tool. Adapting is a lot less scary then it sounds.

Absolutely amazing work by the way. What's with you VFS guys being so good? I have to put up with another one at work every day.

I was in the illustration program at Art Center. I spent most of my time drawing and painting.

All the tools I use in maya have a similar counterpart in Max. A lot of the focus in the video is on technique and theory relevant to games. I think just seeing someones workflow is valuable no matter what program you use. I try to cover as many different elements as possible so you can see how different techniques can be applied.

I don't cover Zbrush in these. There are definately some other great DVD's through ( that you might find helpfull on Zbrush.

I think the stuff there doing with the Unreal engine is amazing. It is really a promising direction for games.

I'm not sure why, sorry.

Must rest now.

05 May 2005, 09:17 AM
I want to thank every one that posted this week. You all asked some excellent questions and I hope I was able to adress them well enough. This has been a great experience.

See you around the forums.

05 May 2005, 09:20 AM
thanks for your input on this mayan, speaking of adapting im now learning maya (having been a xsi user for so long).
glad you like my work, i work in the vancouver studio btw so no putting up with me hehe, cheers

05 May 2005, 02:29 AM
thank you Mayan!
get some clean food next time..take care man!

Wish to see Hyper-realistic game experience from EA company!

05 May 2005, 10:02 AM
Hi everyone,

Last chance to ask your questions before we close this Q&A session!



05 May 2005, 10:46 AM
Hello again, Mayan!
I've done some pretty basic actionscripting, but I'm thinking of getting more into programming (with C++). Do you think programming is a good perk to have if you're an artist, or is it completely pointless?:shrug:
Thanks again for the Q&A, it has been very informative!

05 May 2005, 12:16 PM
Hi Mayan ,

Thanks for the reply ! . Do you think their will be a need for games animators in the near future, with so many studios using motion capture ?

Apart from learning a 3d program do you think its a good idea to work with mod tools out their ?

Do you ever see yourself doing a texturing dvd in the near future ?

05 May 2005, 04:36 PM
Hello, Mayan!

Truth to be, my first thought when I saw this topic was "OH NO, not MoH again >_>;;" My brother plays it ALL the time, haha. He's a huge fan ^_^;;

I have no questions for you, just to tell you that I love your work. It's splendid :)

Keep on rockin' ;)

~ Donna

05 May 2005, 08:54 AM
I personally don't know any artists that do both. It seems like a pretty extreme crossover to me. If art is what you want to do I would stick with that.

I hope so. I don't do any animation myself but I know how much time and effort that goes into it. I feel there is a subtlety with key frame animation that you can't get with mocap. Mocap still feels quirky and unnatural to me. I know this probably doesn't make sense. Theoretically it should be the other way around. I think I just have a lot of respect for traditional animation and puppeteering that I would hate to see it dissapear.

Any time you can familiarize yourself with a production tool is helpfull.

I hope to continue the series with one, yes.

Don't worry the series isn't ending any time soon.
Thanks for the praise!

I think that might be it? Thanks again everybody for posting some great questions!

05 May 2005, 09:55 AM
Thanks for taking the time for the Q&A, Mayan. I'll be keeping an eye out for your work in the galleries. ;)

05 May 2005, 03:47 AM
That's it guys. Thanks for a great Q&A session Mayan! All the best.