Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Featured artist: Leigh Bamforth


Hello,

my february featured artist article is dedicated to Leigh Bamforth. Leigh is a very talented british artist, who impresses us with great sculpts of monsters and crazy characters.

Enjoy the interview!
Your Chris

The artist
How old are you?
33 years old.

Where are you currently living?
Currently Im based in United Kingdom.

What are you doing, when you switch your PC off? Do you have other hobbies?
Well I spend the majority of my free time with my son (a hair away from 3 yrs old) and partner.
But apart  from that it's movies and games.





About the work
How did you get the idea to be an digital artist, why digital?
Well 4 years ago now I was showing some of my sketches to a work colleage, who's partner was in publishing, One thing lead to another and I ended up putting pieces forward for a series of childrens books. Unfortunately these never materialised into anything. But I decided to explore my artistic nature with a few 2d paint programs of the time, Painter X (still my favourite sketcher), Then I found Z-Brush and seeing the artwork that was being produced just blew me away. From there I was featured in Ballistic Character artist compendium 'Exotique 3' and almost immediately landed a job developing mocap driven facial rigs and character designs.

Do you have a special education in arts?
Not so much, but thats mainly due to my age as this type of work/training just wasnt there when I was in education, Though I always wished for something like it,  so for the most part Im self educated.

Are you employed or do you work freelance?
I'm currently freelancing Modelling and Texturing for Games, with alot of my free time going into my training workshops and website (Scary-Monsters.org). In the current climate Im always looking for something a bit more stable.

Which recent projects were the most important for you?
Recently I was commissioned for some creature designs for Newtek for the LightWave 10 launch. This has probably been my most important and enjoyable project to date, And I worked closely alongside some veteran VFX artist. You can see some of this over at the Newtek Lightwave 10 site, and more is coming in DL content over the next few months.

Which project was a particular challenge for you?
In a previous role I have developed facial transfer systems and character creation tools, I always enjoy the challenge of scripting, and building tools that make life easier.

Where do you get your ideas from?
Hmmm. Depends on what Im charged with coming up with. With nasties I often eat cheese before bedtime :-P, but honestly I can grab ideas from Animals reference and others work. I study anatomy quite closely nowadays, and find biological mechanics very inspiring.

Are you working with references or is all your work from imagination?
Again it depends on what im working on, I have been asked times before to sculpt a likeness, in this case only the best reference will do, but if im charged with a creature or character then alot starts with Imagination, then I back up with similar research and reference.

What are your plans as an artist for the future?
AAA titles and Movies O course. But with Many aspects of what i do becoming more automated I feel driven closer to creatures and monsters (the more imaginary mythical creatures). Im also working on free training worshops from my domain

Which software are you using for your work, and which hardware?
Custom built (though aging) workstation Dual 23" screens and Large Wacom intuous 4, Im also running alot on my vaio Laptop with smaller intuos 4.

As to software, Im still most comfortable and trained in Softmage for animation, But use Lightwave regularly for modelling and rendering. For my sculpting though I own license for both ZBrush and Mudbox, I find myself turning every job using 3D-Coat.

Which tool do you like the most and never want to miss?
Yep I already mentioned 3D-Coat didnt I.

The portfolio
If you are more interested in Leighs work, feel free and visit his website: