3DVIA Featured Artist – Klaus Lyngeled

Klaus Lyngeled has graciously given us some time from his phenomenally busy schedule to be our Featured Artist! Be prepared to be amazed by both his artwork and his accomplishments:

In his own words:

I have worked in the game and animation industry for more than 13 years. For a while I worked in the U.S. for some well known companies, such as Shiny Entertainment where I developed games with David Perry. Today I run my own studio called Zoink Games, where we work on a wide range of projects. I have painted a comic book for James Patterson,  we animated Nike commercials, a Sean Kingston music video and lately we are working on a Wii plush toy-controlled game called Wiiwaa.

Q1: How did you first become interested in 3D art?

I started out doing pixel art on Amigas. When we switched to PCs and higher resolution screens, we decided to maybe try building our latest 2D pinball game in 3D. I tried Lightwave. I kinda hated it then: it was so slow to work with and we didn’t have that many fast computers so I had to work nights to get access to the fastest computer in the studio.  I am not sure 3D art still is my specialty, although I have worked with 3D programs for 13 years. :)

I prefer creating the concepts, but to control a project properly it’s very good to know how everything works.  I like real-time 3D art since it’s fast to work with and you usually see what it will look like directly in the 3D window.  Anything that can be updated instantly and adjusted instantly is so much easier to get better looking.  Like painting, you paint and it instantly changes.  I hate waiting for some image to be calculated and rendered.

Q2: What types of 3D art do you do?

Since I run a small studio which does both games and animation (like commercials) I pretty much work with both real-time 3D and pre-rendered art.

Q3: What is the primary purpose of your 3D art?

It’s a tool to express something that can’t be expressed with a single image.  I guess it’s a type of realism. An image  created with 3D objects creates a pseudo realistic feeling to it. Something that is really hard to do with just a painting, unless you are a great painter which I’m not. And then this can easily be animated. So it’s also a tool to get something animated.

Q4: 2D game art versus 3D game art?

I think 3D always engages the player a lot more; humans do see real life in 3D. But that extra dimension can be a real pain for game play, just look at Billions. For many people the challenge of navigating in 3D is really big.

Q5: What part of 3D art do you find most rewarding?

Shapes and volumes are great. To see a great character come to life in 3 dimensions from its previous 2d concept art is almost magic. Especially with game code and animations. Seeing how it suddenly reacts, animates and seems alive.

Q6: How does story telling play a role in your 3D art?

I don’t think 3D really enhances the storytelling that much more than a normal 2D image. But it’s sometimes just an easier tool. Instead of having to draw each frame by hand, you just let the computer do the in-betweens.

Q7: What additional software do you use to create your 3D art?

We use 3ds Max, 3DVIA Virtools, 3DVIA Studio and Zbrush.

Q8: How much 3D art time do you have in a week?

Today not so much since I must oversee and coordinate the projects and draw all the concept art. Maybe 2-4 hours.

Q9: What are your tips for staying focused on a large project?

It’s easy to get caught in little details of a 3D project. Try to imagine what a final screenshot will look like, work a lot with concept art and paint on top of your 3D models in Photoshop. See the screenshot as the final product, don’t pay attention to the tiny bump maps on the characters nose, nobody is going to notice that if the coloring of the full image looks bad. Work from outside in. Like big broad strokes with a paintbrush.

Q10: Do you do 3D art at home on personal projects?

No, not at the moment. I do paint and draw all the time, but nothing in 3D.

Q11: What are your thoughts on how 3D art can help young people as they learn about the world?

Hah! I have no idea. Funny question. does not compute. :)

Q12: What are your thoughts on the value of 3D art to help us all learn about the world?

Maybe they should read a book instead…or watch the news?

Q13: Do you think 3D art is different in different parts of the world? How?

I think 3D is perceived the same in every human wherever they live; but art is, of course, culturally influenced. So art done in 3D is probably different depending on were it comes from. But then some topics are universal. I really don’t think about this much. :)

Q14: Just for fun, what is your favorite game?  Movie?  Comic book?

Favorite game: MDK, Monkey Island and Another World.
Favorite comic: I like Doug TenNapel stuff.
Favorite movie: that’s a hard question. Maybe  “The Big Lebowski”.

Q15: What is your favorite subject other than 3D art?

Game design and story.

Q16: What are you working on next? Can you tell/show us anything about your next big project?

I just finished a children’s book which I hope to get published. Zoink is working on WiiWaa, our plush toy game, www.wiiwaaworld.com, which we hope to get out this year and are looking for investors for.

Thank you!

It’s hard to follow Klaus’ wealth of work and words with anything more than a humble thank you! :)

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9 Responses »

  1. I had the pleasure of meeting Klaus at GDC 2010.
    An Amazing guy: an expert 3D Modeler, creative artist, and game developer…and very “down to earth”. I look forward to seeing what you create next Klaus!

  2. Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL work. Klaus, thank you for sharing with us. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next. Don, nice job with the write-up ;)

  3. Hey Klaus, thanks for the killer interview + work! Really beautiful, inspiring stuff. But as an artist-game designer, it sounds like you could think more about what interactivity can do for art; being able to control and interact with your character is far more “life-breathing” than static animation.

    You say to ‘read a book or watch the news’, that 3D isn’t a valuable tool for helping us understand the world; but don’t undercut the power of 3D and interactivity to communicate an idea, be it abstract (‘read a book’ — the *gameplay* of Braid made me think much deeper about the themes and meaning than any text could have) or real-world (imagine being able to interact with a virtual location, scene, and people as the method for news delivery instead of (on top of) text, pics, videos)

    Look at the work your partner 3DVIA here’s doing — helping normal people use 3D tools to create experiences from abstract games to practical simulations, and figuring out how to blur some of the distinction, both with technology and also getting people into the mentality of using visuals and ***interactivity*** to communicate.

    So maybe this is a good time to say I love your game?! I played at GDC (on the 6 monitors…), I was really impressed!
    (And maybe that’s why I want to see you thinking more about the significance of this medium!)


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