Meet The Artist :: Katon Callaway

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  01 January 2014
Meet The Artist :: Katon Callaway



Hi -

We'd like to welcome our second artist for 2014, Katon Callaway. Feel free to ask Katon questions in this thread, or you can register here to talk to him live in our free live web session on Wednesday 29th Jan at 8pm PST (LA time). Please note that places in this session are limited to 100, so we'd appreciate you only signing up if you're going to attend.


Santa Monica Studio Lead Character Artist Katon Callaway has been working as a character artist and modeller for almost 9 years. After he graduated from Pikes Peak Community College (with his associates in arts) in Colorado Springs, Katon worked as an intern in an animation studio where he realized he could combine his two loves; art and video games.








Working in the video game industry since 2004, Katon has had the opportunity to work on many games, including God of War III, and most recently God of War Ascension. *Through out the God Of War Acsension production, Katon played an elemental part in taking the franchise to the next level. His involvement in the project from preproduction to final allowed Katon to experience first hand the rapid advancement of new technology and helped set the benchmark and standard for all characters in the game. His mentoring of artists to raise the production standard is clearly seen by the end product.









Katon believes in continuous improvement and learning and continues to hone his skills outside of work by taking Sculpting and Drawing at studios around LA. He's also been generous in sharing his knowledge over the years, and he's currently teaching his second CGWorkshop with CGSociety, Advanced VideoGame Character Creation , which starts on Feb 3rd.





Katon is currently hard at work as a Lead Character Artist inside Sony Santa Monica on their next unannounced project. Maybe if you log into the live web session on 26th Jan, you might convince him to give you a hint about what it is? Who knows!

Please make him feel welcome by asking him as many questions as you like.
 
  01 January 2014
His works are outstanding and being a fan of God of War from since it came out, all i can ask is what's it like being a designer for blockbuster games like it and what advice would he give to up and coming artist trying to break into the industry?
 
  01 January 2014
Do you have any advice for someone just starting out?
Love your work.
 
  01 January 2014
Hey Guys, thanks for getting on here!
So first off, having worked on a series like God of War has been a major privilege. I remember thinking that it would be amazing to be able to work on the series, and when it happened I could not believe it. So for me, it has been an honor for sure, and something I tried to not ever take lightly. The series has a very high standard for art, and many times I was so nervous working on characters, because not only was it God of War, but you wanted to do an excellent job. So working on the series was for sure a dream come true.

As for advice, I think the main thing is to just be patient and work hard on your portfolio. Portfolio is king in this industry. So concentrate on whatever discipline it is you want to do, don't try and be a jack of all trades. Most jobs are specific, for example: I make only characters, there are people that rig them, and other that animate. That is pretty much the norm, so don't feel like you have to do it all.
Also don't hide behind the tech, work on your art skills. Take figure drawing and sculpting, and always work on your technique. It is easy to try and hide behind tech and tools, but really the art fundamentals are the most important.

Let me know what other questions you have! I am more than happy to answer them!

Katon
__________________
Cgworkshops Course: Videogame Character Creation
https://www.facebook.com/ArtOfKaton
 
  01 January 2014
Hi Katon,

Thanks a lot for responding and giving the advice i more than likely think most trying to get into the industry needed to hear from someone with years of experience! I have a portfolio (not 1st and foremost game concept arts) but it's filled with graphical arts surrounding such a field. I'd like to return to school soon to major in 1 of the many Game designing fields even though i'm aware that studying Game design in universities, they tend to teach you a wide array of subjects even though you mentioned the idea of being specific! In the industry although they look for specifics in each area, isn't it not still a really good thing for you when your an artist who is rather flexible in that sure you might be solid as a concept artist but what if your just as good at animating or rigging & modelling or programming, couldn't that allow you to move around easily to new positions when certain occasions call for it? (E.g would be like designer Cory Barlog for instance, he was an Animator on the 1st God of War but was given the Director's chair for the second game).
 
  01 January 2014
So the idea of jumping around from different types of rolls isn't always the easiest. However this is usually the case at larger studios, smaller studios it can be more useful to be a jack of all trades. In cases like Cory Barlog, he specifically was heavily involved in game design because he was an animator on a game where combat design and game design are so closely intertwined to animation. So he naturally fell into the roll, with a talented guy like him, who is a great leader that can happen. But to switch disciplines can happen, but isn't totally common. So I would say just do what you really enjoy, if you enjoy art and programming I would say go for it, but large studios look for more specific aspects.

I hope this makes sense to you. Let me know if that clears anything up!
__________________
Cgworkshops Course: Videogame Character Creation
https://www.facebook.com/ArtOfKaton
 
  01 January 2014
Cool

Aha, i see, well i can understand that aspect, thanks for the insight and explanation! I would ask more questions but i don't want to be the only curious guy in the room asking questions non-stop so i'll leave it at that. Once again, thanks for the advice and explanations, i'll keep them in mind, keep rocking and doing what you do, i look forward to seeing what future marvels you guys will launch upon the entertainment game world in the coming years!
 
  01 January 2014
Hi, Katon!

It's already been asked - what advice would he give to up and coming artist trying to break into the industry. But what if this artist lives on the other side of Earth? For me (hi from Russia ) it is very complicated, because we don't have major game projects or proper education to start career. What your advice on this - is there any chances to became part of project like GoW?

P.S. sorry for mistakes in text if there is any)
love your work! GoW:A characters looks awesome!
 
  01 January 2014
No worries, feel free to ask whatever you like.

Katon

Originally Posted by Venom-V: Aha, i see, well i can understand that aspect, thanks for the insight and explanation! I would ask more questions but i don't want to be the only curious guy in the room asking questions non-stop so i'll leave it at that. Once again, thanks for the advice and explanations, i'll keep them in mind, keep rocking and doing what you do, i look forward to seeing what future marvels you guys will launch upon the entertainment game world in the coming years!
__________________
Cgworkshops Course: Videogame Character Creation
https://www.facebook.com/ArtOfKaton
 
  01 January 2014
Question

Okay, there was something i was curious about, based on your long term experience in the industry, would you say it's really necessary for one to have a high top university degree in Game designing in order to make it big within the industry or the person who holds just the outstanding portfolio could advance onward to the top? I'm asking as i eventually want to return back to school to study game design (very expensive subject) but i'm wondering if having say a Masters degree in 1 of the designing fields makes a big difference payscale-wise as oppose to somebody without such a fancy paper but who has the skills needed as shown by proof in a really good looking portfolio of works!
 
  01 January 2014
Hey there!
Coming from another country to work in the states is tough. And isnt getting any easier, but it isnt impossible. And also you have studios in europe. But really what you need to work on is your portfolio, there is a ton of help online these days and classes that can teach you a whole lot. If you can find local school for art classes like figure drawing sign up for those.
As you build a portfolio, try to get an online presence, by just being involved online and posting your work to get noticed. If the work stands out then studios will want to hire you. Just keep your eye out for opportunities, try and find anything in russia you can, or work on a portfolio and start applying places, you never know!

Originally Posted by boombadabum: Hi, Katon!

It's already been asked - what advice would he give to up and coming artist trying to break into the industry. But what if this artist lives on the other side of Earth? For me (hi from Russia ) it is very complicated, because we don't have major game projects or proper education to start career. What your advice on this - is there any chances to became part of project like GoW?

P.S. sorry for mistakes in text if there is any)
love your work! GoW:A characters looks awesome!
__________________
Cgworkshops Course: Videogame Character Creation
https://www.facebook.com/ArtOfKaton
 
  01 January 2014
I could see a degree only mattering in programming and management. As far as artist go, I dont think it really matters at all. It can help if you went to a school that is known, but what matters most is your portfolio. I only have an associates, and went to a community college in colorado that had nothing to do with games. But I was able to work on my portfolio on my own and ended up finding a small local studio that took me in, however I wasnt paid, but they let me help out and learn.

So no I dont think you need a degree if you are going into the art side, but then again it could depend on what you mean by game design. Gameplay designers come from all sorts of different backgrounds.

Katon

Originally Posted by Venom-V: Okay, there was something i was curious about, based on your long term experience in the industry, would you say it's really necessary for one to have a high top university degree in Game designing in order to make it big within the industry or the person who holds just the outstanding portfolio could advance onward to the top? I'm asking as i eventually want to return back to school to study game design (very expensive subject) but i'm wondering if having say a Masters degree in 1 of the designing fields makes a big difference payscale-wise as oppose to somebody without such a fancy paper but who has the skills needed as shown by proof in a really good looking portfolio of works!
__________________
Cgworkshops Course: Videogame Character Creation
https://www.facebook.com/ArtOfKaton
 
  01 January 2014
Katon Callaway Live Meet-The-Artist webinar recording

If you missed the chance to talk to Katon live, here's the recording. Enjoy.

 
  01 January 2014
Cool

Interesting aspect to note that is on the degree side, i'll keep it in mind as i'm practically in the same boat with an Associates with a major in Art, thanks! I'm more of a guy on the art side of things like yourself, it's just that i don't have certain programs you guys would use to design your characters and what have you in order to expand my portfolio. I'm pretty good at drawing and using graphics programs like Photoshop (glance my small gallery here --> http://venom-v13.deviantart.com/gallery/ ) but i'd like to add more works like those that utilize the programs you guys use directly like Maya, Z-Brush, 3D Max Studios and what not. I've had a chance at Max and Maya before but never had personal copies of them for myself in order to really push the boundaries in what i could do but i suppose i can change that. Like someone mentioned earlier, i too am an outsider not from the U.S (hello from Belize out here in the Caribbean Central American area) and i'm aware also of how hard it is for those coming from outside in but i have a friend who studied with me and is from here originally as well who is over in the U.S now working on games and i say if he can accomplish that goal then so can i! On that Art site link given earlier i've also had a chance to run into 2 of your fellow God of War designing colleagues, 1 named Andy Park and the other going by nickname Izzy (i believe you know these guys well)!
 
  02 February 2014
Greetings, Katon!!! I have certainly been inspired in my personal sculpting by the God Of War franchise and your character work in specific, and your portfolio website is one of those I visit often to check for new stuff.

I would like to ask about this character for the class - is there anything specific that inspied you for this concept, is there any particular idea you started with, anything you sketched on paper, or it did you just start pulling the clay and it happened in the end?
 
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