From the upcoming Mortal Kombat to Guardians of the Galaxy and Gears of War 4, you will find Jerad Marantz hard at work designing characters and costumes in many of LAs most prestigious studios. Somehow in between he finds time to train some of the next generation of well known up and coming artists! In this interview we touch on some of the questions relating to working in film, games and education.
How has distance between film and games in the past ten years changed?
I would argue that conceptually, film and games have merged. As a concept artist Ive noticed that over the past 10 years the need for film quality design has risen in the game industry. As an artist thats worked in both industries, the jobs have become almost identical in terms of character and creature design.
So you are able to transition easily. What would you say are the major differences?
The major difference is designing around gameplay versus viewer observation.
In video games part of the design process is wrapped around a characters playability and a bad guys attack.
For film, its only slightly different. The audience is not physically participating in the story and so the design process is just about telling the story of that character, where the character has been and what the character has been through. A designer only has to concern themselves with how the design helps tell that story
What advantages are there for you to work in both industries?[/b]
The reason why I like pursuing both film and video games is because in video games I can typically spend more time exploring design options in 2D. Video games commonly allow for that in the pipeline. Its a great opportunity for me to keep up with not only my 2D skills, but also idea generation. It keeps me sharp.
In film, now more than ever, every option has to be rendered out. I will do a lot of my work entirely in 3D so that the client has photorealistic, rendered options to choose from. This means that I am generating less ideas and my 2D skills i.e. drawing and painting gets rusty.
Any advantages you can offer upcoming artists?[/b]
As a concept artist its very important that you know how to draw and paint. No matter how skilled you are in 3D. An artist that draws and paints well can generate a lot more work than a 3D artist.
What game would you design if you had the freedom /topic/genre/ characters?
If I had the opportunity to design any game, I would absolutely design my own. I love being a concept artist, but my goals are set towards developing my own independent properties. I would have the most fun and be the most artistically fulfilled designing my own game based on one of my many IPs
Can you offer some advice on education, portfolio, and time management? How important is it to learn new software for a concept artists?
On continuous education and personal projects
Any artist that is challenging themselves daily, will stay relevant. Becoming resigned, keeps you still and freezes your progress.
On learning new software
Embrace the tools because if you dont, the industry will pass you by easily. The job never settles, you never stop learning, its constant.
There is one constant in film, they want more and they want it faster. These tools, enable that to happen. And to dig your heels in and not embrace the tools is a bit foolish because the industry will pass you by easily.
On Portfolio and Time Management
A portfolio shouldn’t only be filled with finished pieces. You should be able to provide examples of the process to show potential clients what it’s like to develop a piece of concept art with you.
You will not get hired to do a job that you havent proven that you can do. Portfolio is a way to establish your career. Time management is knowing that you have 2 hrs, before the director is going to look at your piece and knowing how to get there. Time affects design choices. Knowing that you can draw something confidently in a certain amount of time, will affect the things that you actually draw. It’s not a career. It’s a lifestyle. Balance is a constant struggle.