Monday, January 10, 2011

Featured artist: Tyson Murphy


This month I am proud to present you a new featured artist, Tyson Murphy.

First time I saw Tysons works in the 3D Coat forum galleries. I liked his arts immediately. His current style remembered me directly to the art of Blizzard Entertainment and the old cg classics.

This time I've prepared special questions for featured artists and Tyson is the first one who answered my question list. I hope this meets your interests and would be happy if you support me with your feedback. Maybe you have other interesting questions to artists - if so, please drop me a comment and will implement your suggestions in my upcoming interviews.

Enjoy the interview!
Your Chris

The artist
How old are you?
I just turned 25 last week!

Where are you currently living?
I'm currently living in Provo, Utah (USA).  I'm in my last year of the animation program at Brigham Young University.

What are you doing, when you switch your PC off? Do you have other hobbies?
I stay pretty busy with school and freelance work right now, not to mention that I'm married and have a child.  So right now my schedule is pretty full with all that.  But when I get time, I like doing normal things like going to movies, hanging out with friends, etc.

About the work
How did you get the idea to be an digital artist, why digital?
Well about 4 years ago, I was starting college and trying to figure out what I wanted to do.  I was looking into everything from architecture to business.  BYU has a very successful animation program, and it immediately caught my eye.  I doodled since I was really young, but I started thinking it could actually be a career.  Film and Games have both been huge passions for me throughout my entire life, and if I could get the chance to work in that industry, it would be a dream come true.  As far as digital is concerned, I still sketch with pencils and watercolor, but in my opinion it's far easier to learn things like painting and sculpture with a digital medium.

Do you have a special education in arts?
Almost! :)  I should be graduating around April of this year, and then I'll have my Bachelors in Animation from BYU.  BYU's program allows for the students to more or less pick their own career path.  Whether it be technical artists for Pixar, Storyboarding for Dreamworks, or whatever they choose, the school's program is built to accommodate and offer a really well-rounded education.  In my case, my path has been 2d and 3d art for games, for the most part.

I should mention the incredible teachers that we have, here's just a few of them: Ryan Woodward, Sam Nielson, Joe Olson, Dave McClellan and more.

Are you employed or do you work freelance?
I currently am working freelance while I graduate, but am searching for a full-time job!

I recently finished an internship with Blizzard Entertainment on the character team for Diablo 3.  I learned more from my mentors and friends there than I ever thought I could.

Which recent projects were the most important for you?
Well I just recently finished my pre-dominance war entry, so I guess that's probably my most important recent project.  The vast majority of texturing work was done in 3D coat,  which made life really easy :)

Which project was a particular challenge for you?
My most challenging project right now is our senior group film at school.  BYU does very large-format group films, with as many as 40 or 50 people working on a film.  I started concept work on our film, which was a breeze, but it's a whole new ballgame when you need to translate all that art into a good film.  Making an animated film is relatively easy, youtube is packed full of them.  But making a GOOD animated film is extremely difficult, especially with such a large group.

Where do you get your ideas from?
Other artists are my biggest inspiration for ideas.  Whether it's game art, film art, comics, illustration, or whatever.  It's my opinion that if you're trying to be an artist and you're not constantly looking at what others are making, your progress will suffer severely.

Are you working with references or is all your work from imagination?
Usually I'll find reference to work from, however big or small.  I do stuff from my head when I'm messing around, but when I need to buckle down and create a nice finished product, I'll collect a good amount of reference.  Usually it's relevant photos, other artist's work, etc.

What are your plans as an artist for the future?
Well my life plan is to always be learning and pushing myself.  It's really easy to get complacent and stagnate, and I don't want to fall into that trap.

Short term, I'd like to get a full time job!  My current portfolio is tailored towards concept and 3d character art for games.

Which software are you using for your work, and which hardware?
I have a Dell XPS with two monitors, and my trusty intuos 3.  The software I use is photoshop, maya, 3d coat, and zbrush.

Which tool do you like the most and never want to miss?
Well they're all pretty important, but over the last couple of months, 3d coat has increased my hand-painted texturing workflow by 2 or 3 times.  It would be really depressing to go back to painting textures in photoshop alone.

The portfolio
If you are more interested in Tysons work, his blog is located on

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