Meet the Artist :: Andree Wallin

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  10 October 2013
Meet the Artist :: Andree Wallin

Andree Wallin is a concept artist, art director and producer working mainly within the world of concept art and marketing art for TV commercials and films. His latest work includes some amazing visuals for Oblivion, Godzilla, and Pinocchio. He is currently in production on Star Wars Episode 7. He's worked on HALO 4 TVC, Wasteland 2 and the game cinematics for Elders Scrolls Online.

Click thru HERE to see some of his work on Oblivion.

Andree Wallin's clients include Universal, Warner Bros., Disney, Digital Domain, Method, MPC, Blur, Legendary Pictures etc. As you can imagine he is pretty busy, but we are very pleased to have Andree Wallin as our guest in the latest CGSociety Meet the Artist thread. Please make him welcome.
Fmr Editor and features writer, CGSociety; Global Artist Liaison, Ballistic Publishing. Freelance writer, media consultant & digital producer.
  10 October 2013
core concept skills and knowledge

greetings Andree
Thank you for giving us access to a little part of your brain in this very generous sharing exercice.
I think i don't really need to congratulate you on your work, at your level of talent, skills and experience you must know your up there with the best.

I'll proceed with a question:
If you would have to pick five essentials elements a concept art should have or take in consideration, regardless of final product style or medium what would they be ?


  10 October 2013
Top notch epic pieces worth of silver screen. My concern however is movies nowadays despite looking the best ever, the plot are very very mediocre n predictable. Hope that will change tho!
Wacom practice

  10 October 2013
Hi Andree,

I'm a big fan of your work, really!

My question is, how did you start on working on big projects ? What I mean is, how did you manage to work on Oblivion ? how did you break in ?

  10 October 2013
obwohl ich diese arbeiten noch nicht kannte, kam es mir vor sie schon gesehen zu haben.

vor allem find ich den raumfahrer super süsz der seinen ??KRAN?? steuert.

  10 October 2013
Hey Andree,

So awesome to have you here. You are a huge inspiration to me. I had a few questions I would like to ask you.

Based on what elements do you choose your compositions for your artworks and how do you come up with them? Your lightings are always amazing, how is it like your thought process when it comes to lighting and in your opinion what is the key factor in achieving a perfect-looking lighting?

Thank you and keep rocking!
  10 October 2013
Welcome Andree!

Stellar work, really flawless and so inspiring! You get your vision through in a great way, I wish I had some of those painting skills. It would be really interesting to see a breakdown on how one of the featured images are created. Painting backlit isn't the easiest thing

Anyway, love your work!!

//M Lugnegård
Mikael Lugnegård
  10 October 2013
Andree! Huge fan of your work, you're probably the artist I look most up to just due to the fact that you've made such huge success of your career and your art is really incredible despite of you not seemingly having a long art education behind you. Now I have a couple of questions, I hope it's not too many but here they are:

I was wondering about your education art-wise. I know you took some 3D a few years back, was it just one course or did you study it more extensively? Can you tell the name of the school? Was it all really 3D-focused or did it also include more art-related things like digital painting, color theory and so on, or are you mostly a self-taught digital painter?

If you're mostly a self-taught digital painter, how did you get to your level, and how long did it take? Did you do tons of studies over the course of a few years, did you just take photos and tried to copy them or did you look at the work of other artists and copied them, or did you use other methods for improving?

When you were working on Oblivion, were you working on the project in-house or were you freelancing from Sweden, or both? Do you generally work by freelancing?

Kind of a personal question but I can't help but wonder with you working on these high-profile films, how much do you get paid by these big film studios? Ballpark figures?

And lastly, did you meet any of the Oblivion film stars? Tom Cruise?
  10 October 2013
Hey guys, thanks for the warm welcome!

I will get back to you with answers shortly.

Until then -
  11 November 2013
Thanks for those kind words!

Five essential elements, hm that's a tough one. From a technical standpoint I'd say that the composition and the values are the two most important ones. If you have a really solid composition and good values you can basically use any technique and any color palette and it'll still look good. However, from a broader, more general standpoint I'd say that subject matter and story telling are the most important elements to concept art. There are so many great artists out there the only way you are gonna stand out is to do something interesting and unique, to try and tell a story. You don't have to be the most technically proficient artist to make really good art, you know? I know thats only four but I'm all about quality over quantity

While that's all very subjective I do agree with you. Making movies is a very expensive undertaking for the studios and they want to stick with stories that have proven successful in the past, which is the reason for so many movies being very formulaic.

Thanks! Oblivion was originally meant to be a graphic novel, so I was brought on as an illustrator back in 2009. An art director at the publishing company had seen my work on deviantart, showed it to the director and they both thought my style would work nicely with the world they wanted to create for Oblivion. After one year they sold the movie rights to Disney and that's when I was asked to stop working on the book and continue with preproduction on the movie. The rest is history!

Didn't understand a word of that but thanks I guess

Honestly I don't really think about what I'm doing when I'm painting. I quickly learned about the rule of thirds ( ) when I started out and that's been very useful to me, but generally I just go with whatever "feels" right to me. Sometimes a perfect composition might not work with the type of lighting you have in mind, so it is important to sketch and block stuff out before going into detail with your art. Make sure your composition is easy to read and that you've incorporated your main light source(s) early on and then just take it from there. Also, don't forget to flip your image as you go along. That's how you find errors in your comps, as it should be easy to read even while mirrored.

Thanks Mikael Unfortunately I don't have any steps saved on any of the featured images, as they were done pretty quickly in one "session". I know a few people have been asking for walkthroughs though, so will try to do one later on.

That's very kind of you, thanks!

It was a two year program that I quit after the first year and it focused mainly on 3D, even though they had a few 2D / animation / art classes as well. Nothing major or in-depth though, more basic stuff, one or two life drawing sessions, learning photoshop etc. When it comes to concept art I'm 99% self taught.
The school is called Nackademin and the program Digital Graphics (in Stockholm, Sweden).

I never did many photo studies, but I would look at guys like Dylan Cole and John Liberto and try to figure out what made their art so special (for example, how they set up their compositions and how they handled lighting). I can't really put a number on how many years it took me since it's been a very gradual process (I've been painting and drawing ever since I was a kid), but from the moment I actually quit my normal day job to when I started working as a concept artist took me one year.

I mostly work from my home in Sweden, but I did spend two months working with the Oblivion art department in Louisiana, and for SW I'm working on-site here in London.

I can't really go into my rate in public, as can be a sensitive subject and it sometimes differs from one project to another, but as a concept artist in the film industry you do make a nice living. The hours are long and it can be very stressful though, so there's a reason you make more as a freelancer than working inhouse.

Haha I never met Tom Cruise, no. I left for Sweden before he came around to the art department unfortunately.

Last edited by AndreeWallin : 11 November 2013 at 08:59 PM.
  11 November 2013
Hi Andree

Not sure if I am to late for a response but here goes.

Do you use any 3d in your process or would it be more for assets. So if you could roughly say how much is 3d and how much is painted or is it all painted or is some 3d base with a lot of paint over?

I know it would be hard to really say but a rough estimate would be great or use one of your images as an example

But really great environments you have!
  11 November 2013
Originally Posted by cnever: Hi Andree

Not sure if I am to late for a response but here goes.

Do you use any 3d in your process or would it be more for assets. So if you could roughly say how much is 3d and how much is painted or is it all painted or is some 3d base with a lot of paint over?

I know it would be hard to really say but a rough estimate would be great or use one of your images as an example

But really great environments you have!

I do sometimes use 3D plates, mostly for client work as I'm often handed 3D material for the scenes I'm working on. For my personal work I rarely use any 3D though, mostly due to laziness! I just cheat the 3D effect by hand, using lasso tool and distorting photo textures. I don't have access to any personal pieces at the moment unfortunately, but check my facebook/twitter for any future walk-throughs!
  11 November 2013
Thumbs up

Hi Andree!

Big fan here! congratulations for your work, it really stands apart from other matte painters and concept artists work, and that's really valuable.

As a fellow matte painter (many levels below you) and aspiring concept artist, I have a couple of questions.

1.- Congratulations for your work in Oblivion. It amazes me all that journey from working on a comic book to designing such a big blockbuster movie. How long was the full 'journey'? Did you get tired/bored along the way?

2.- I guess all Soho will be working on Star Wars eventually but: in which studio are you working on? are you in pre or production?

3.- I'm quite tired of production work, really.. All the rush and good feelings you have when working on the concept of something is vanished when having to work on the final piece. The final rendering is boring and uninteresting (specially with matte paintings) once the essentials of the image are stablished. What are your feelings about this?

4.- Do you use a lot of brushes or just a few good and familiar ones?

5.- I feel my main drawback is that I'm quite conservative and restrained. When they ask you for something quite specific (as in SW I guess), how much do you put of your 'own stuff'? How do you go from "something like this will work and will be approved" to "I will push this a little more, this shape or composition will work better..". I'm always afraid of overdo or exaggerate.

6.- There's *so much* concept art work out there.. When doing concept art, how do you fight to be original and fresh? what are your inspirations? do you do a lot of visual research, or prefer to start from scratch?

Sorry if they are a bit stupid or abstract questions. Anyway, thanks and keep up the good work!

__________________ - My portfolio
  11 November 2013
Hi Diego

thank you for the nice compliment!

1- I definitely got sick and tired of it at times, but that's every project for me. You have your ups and your downs but in the end it's so satisfying to see everything come together. Oblivion was definitely one of the best projects I've ever worked on though, mainly because of the amazing people I got to meet and also continue working with.

2- Haha I would imagine so. I'm in pre though, so not in central London

3- This is of course all subjective to what your personal preferences are, but I agree with you. I definitely prefer to work in preproduction where you get to be a bit more creative. But some people prefer post work and I can totally see the pros and cons to both sides.

4- I have a small selection of brushes that I use the most, but sometimes I'll experiment with new brushes just to mix it up. I use Levente Peterfy's brushset, the same set I stole from him about 5 years ago now. (He's actually released it publicly on deviantart many times iirc)

5- Tough question, it totally depends on what kind of image I'm doing, wether it's something with specific notes from the director or if it's something we're exploring different versions of in a very early phase. Sometimes I get to try crazy things which is a lot of fun, and sometimes it's basically just painting over a 3D plate that I've been handed. But that's the fun part about being in pre, you never know what you're gonna be working on next.

6- Well, as you know it's very hard to be original at this point. You just have to come up with variations of stuff you've seen already and try to make it work. Good storytelling will make any subject matter/genre interesting though, and it might set you apart from the plethora of digital art that's out there.
  11 November 2013
Thank you! great answers

Quote: Oblivion was definitely one of the best projects I've ever worked on though, mainly because of the amazing people I got to meet and also continue working with.

I always say that in the long run you don't remember or miss the projects or companies you worked for, but the people you met.
__________________ - My portfolio
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