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   Character Artist: Josh 'Ghost_Rider' Singh
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This month, we had the chance to speak to Josh "Ghost_Rider" Singh ( Portfolio ) who many of you already know from our community! Although he's an excellent artist, he really stands out with his absolutely great personality. Always positive, Josh provides pointers to beginners and has recently helped judge in our Crate Contest. Whoever his work colleagues are, they should consider themselves lucky to have him! Without further due, let's get down to the good stuff...


Game-Artist.Net - How did you first become involved in Game Art and what elements played a large role in making this career choice?

Well around 2001, I was just married and had a baby on the way. I had no Idea what I wanted to do as a career, I only knew I wanted to make art. I was going to a small tech school, learning graphic design. They were teaching photoshop , illustrator, and quark xpress. I thought graphic design would be fun, until I landed my first gig. I was making menu's for mom and pop restaurants, junk mail ads and little league rosters, not my idea of art. But it paid the bills and I was alright with it. Until I got laid off, and the company folded. But some good did come of it, I was introduced to the Maya personal learning edition, and eventually 3ds Max 4.

During my down time after the layoff, my wife was at work and I was at home playing "Metal Gear Solid" and I remember thinking "Who makes this stuff?, There has to be some sort of videogame artist who makes these awesome characters and environments!" well I went to the library and searched "video game artists". I came across sites like "polycount" "Cgchat" "CgTalk" and "Conceptart.org". My mind was blown away. I wanted to rub shoulders with these guys, wanted to do what they did.

So, I started reading tutorials, books anything I could get my hands on to help me build my first demo reel.

Those were hard times. I would work at a used car lot nine hours a day, then go home and work on 3d for 5 hours a night. My wife was very supportive and knew it was something I wanted.

A few months later I had something I felt I could show ( I look back now on it and cringe!) and found all the game studios in the Salt Lake area. I was knocking on doors like a noob, trying to get my demo to the art leads and art directors.

Well two months passed after that, and a little indie company called "Wahoo Studios" gave me a call. They had just got a contract for some little budget games on the ps1 and ps2 and wanted to know If I wanted to come on board. I quit my job that day and officially got my foot in the door of the game industry. The rest is on my resume :)


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Game-Artist.Net -
You've recently moved from Howard Stringer's Sony Empire to a fresh LLC jump started by Red Sox Pitcher Curt Schilling called Green Monster Games located outside of Boston. Can you tell us about the move and what motivated you to join the small guy (off the field that is :) )?

Well, just let me say Sony Online Entertainment treated me very well. We parted on very good terms. I just couldn't resist the opportunity to work with some of my old friends from Ironlore, in a new start-up, with one of my art heroes on the project Todd Mcfarlane.

There is something to be said about the small studio atmosphere. I love the camaraderie and passion that emerges while working on a single project. Everybody there loves videogames, and we all speak the same language so to speak. It's really a great time going in to work.


Game-Artist.Net - Becoming an expert as Character Artist involves an incredible amount of work. It's paid off for you, most recently attaining 2nd place in Blizzard's challenge with "Taurk"! With so many steps involved in creating characters, what fundamental advice would you give an artist leaning in this direction?

My fundamental advice would be, be humble and teachable. Never think you know more than someone just because your mom and friends said you could always draw good. Keep your eyes on forums like Game-Artist.net, to learn the newest techniques and to ask questions from artist you admire. Constantly enter the monthly Competitions, as well as crank out personal work. Keep tons of reference! digest other styles and incorporate what you love about other artists styles into your own.


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Game-Artist.Net - A Game-Artist.Net classic, what do you feel is the most underrated tool within 3ds Max?

The teapot primitive in max.

No but seriously, the renderer in max is awesome, for game art anyways. Here's a tip: in the renderer filter options, switch it from the default "Area" to "Catmul Rom" it will make all your renders crisper and sharper. Oh yeah and never render on a black background change it to a dark or light grey. My personal fave is R:42 G:42 B:42


Game-Artist.Net - When you stepped into the Industry with your first job, what was the one thing that almost changed overnight in regards to your workflow?

The one thing that changed over night was my attention to U.V. maps. It was seriously one of the hardest things to wrap my mind around when first starting out. Once I got into a production environment I really had to pay attention to texel density as well as u.v. seam control. U.V's are really an art in it self. Uv mapping became instantly easier with a little plug in I found called "UV help" it's free and you can find it at: http://www.microcan.nl


Game-Artist.Net - When we asked Gary "Mindrot" Newman what his favorite game character ever made was? He replied with Heather from Silent Hill, what's your pick ?

I think the one game character that really has influenced my style, or at least I love to draw, is "Rau" from the "Mark of Kri" I love the don-bluth style to all the art in that game. Ask any of my art buddies and they'll say my stuff tends to gravitate towards "Tribal" type motifs. But really I like Polynesian and Native American themes in my characters. Plus Rau is a Bad Ass.


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At this point we'd like to thank Josh for this interview! If you want to learn anything from Josh, just look at the amount of work he puts out, model for model, texture for texture, he is developing and improving everyday, true artist!





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