Artist: Dmitry Parkin
Location: Bellevue, USA
🖼"Sr.Character artist at Sony/Sucker Punch, Co-Founder at Cold Symmetry"
❓Who or what influenced your art style the most at the beginning of your journey?
🗣For as long as I remember myself I've always had a passion for drawing and loved it since childhood as many other kids. Many factors affected my art-style, and it has transformed over time. In my youth, the primary source of inspiration for me was nature: animals and (especially) insects, reptiles, and fish. Later I got to biology books and encyclopedias, and later music. I always loved some unusual music that almost no one listened then (you may say that back in the days, the internet didn't exist for us). Summoning, Burzum, Nine Inch Nails, Metallica. Among all artists, I was incredibly impressed by H.R. Giger. His artworks touched me to the deep, and at that moment, I was dipping into the dark side. Around the same time, I started playing video games. I loved Quake 1, Hexen 2, and Fallout. If we talk about books, I was impressed by Lord of the Rings. Even now, I still love it all, and I'm happy that I had a chance to read and play those at the right time. Another important factor for me was my friends that I was growing and now working with. They all are interesting art people and talking with them is always very productive.
❓How did you start your professional career?
🗣It happened very smoothly, by itself. At school, with my friends, we were very serious about making our own game. It's been going this way for about five years, and to be honest, it was fascinating and exciting. I might say that it was the best education that I could get at that moment. I learned 3D and 2D editors, modeling, and texturing, plus I started to understand games' technicals and limitations. In short, by the time I went to the university, I was already a specialist and believed that I found what I want to do for life. To continue working on my project, I abandoned my education after a couple of months. But quickly, I understood that it's almost impossible to get it done without help. So, I decided to move to Moscow. Found my first job without any problems at the first studio I found, and that was it - I was in game development since then. After that, everything was about changing a job and freelancing.
❓What software and hardware do you use, and why?
🗣It's hard to say about the hardware. I need to check it as I'm a bit far from the computer. But I would definitely say that I'm trying to buy the best and necessary stuff for convenient work. My limit is mostly defined by software. The primary apps that I'm using: Zbrush is for sculpting, Softimage XSI is for modeling, Maya is for UVs, and Substance Painter is for texturing. Photoshop is for everything... This is my standard set of tools for today. All character pipeline is being processed on that. This is the main reason 😀.
❓How do you like to work: as a freelancer, or maybe full-time or part-time?
🗣Clearly, I can say that full-time at my own company, working on my own project would work out the best. This what I started from, and this is where I've been going for all that time. I don't particularly appreciate when everything is being made just for money. It means that I sold out my time and my freedom, which are the most important things that people have. Most of the time, I've been working as a freelancer, about 12 years and never wanted to work at an office. The main reason is freedom. Freelance is difficult sometimes, but there are a lot of pros when you manage your own time.
❓What was your most challenging project, and why?
🗣It is hard to say. Every project at some point becomes challenging and interesting. Working with different teams is always different. You always have to make a maximum effort to reach a good result. Most usually, it is the same process. Technically it is always the same, but for example, sometimes models are more complex and enriched with details, and you need to find the right balance and scale. Also, you have to keep in mind that it can be close to a camera, and obviously, it'll demand more time. You always want to make it good, but usually, the pipeline is predefined. I honestly can't pick which project was the most difficult for me.
❓What was your most significant learning experience, and how does it help you now?
🗣It's honestly hard to pick something. I almost always make characters and creatures for AAA video games, which is always an absolutely new experience. For example, when you research an armor, it is very tough for the first time. It's necessary to understand the basics, the time period, what was the country, and so on. They even made it differently based on the location and the time. In short words, you have to spend some time with history books and read a lot about medieval armor before you start doing anything. For example, the same was for medieval Japan when I worked on Ghost of Tsushima. There are many nuances, and everything counts. Searching for a good visual reference for modeling is crucial. You should know the correct names of parts and details in Japanese if you want to find something proper. Another important thing is material properties. It is crucial when you make clothes. Jeans, skin, cloth, rubber, everything looks different. Folds and surfaces describe it the best. The same applies to metals, rocks, and so on. In short words, every new project gets you a massive chunk of knowledge that you can gain only over time. When you spend a year or two working on a challenging project, you get a significant amount of experience, technologies for achieving goals, and tonnes of lifehacks. I use them all, all the time, and am going to use them further. I will continue improving them to set up and optimize my work tools for even better and efficient work.
❓What is your dream project or art direction that you're starving to try?
🗣The first thing that comes to my mind is The Lord of The Rings. I love the book and the movie very much. It has such a huge visual variety and diapason. I would be happy to work on everything, starting from beautiful elven swords and jewelry to ugly and brutal orcs' tools. Deep atmosphere, environment, and characters, very different, with different mood... Beautiful and scary, brave and evil, yeah, that's a type of art direction that I always loved.
❓Can you tell us about a personal or professional project you are proud of?
🗣Yes, it's Mortal Shell. It counts as both: my personal and professional project at the same time. For us, as for an indie studio, it is an important first step. And as a first project, it came out not bad at all. At "The Game Awards 2020," we were nominated for "Best Debut Game." Also, I would like to mention that the game's art direction is absolutely original and 100% ours like everything else. Producers and publishers didn't touch and didn't affect it. It is absolutely our original game with all pros and cons. I'd say it's absolutely authentic project.
❓Do you have any passion projects you're working on or plan to start?
🗣Yes, but, sorry, I'm not gonna talk about them right now 😀
❓What are you passionate about and do you have any hobbies besides art?
🗣I love traveling and diving. I've always loved it. However, for the last two years, I had to move it to the back. I have too much work that I prioritize, and then that coronavirus screwed up everything. I'm waiting for the right moment to go somewhere to dive. I don't like sitting at one spot, it feels like life got frozen.
❓If you had just one question about anything that you could ask and get an answer, what would it be?
🗣I guess, I don't have this kind of questions 😀