This Saturday at QuakeCon (and streaming live at Twitch.TV/Bethesda), id Software’s art director, Hugo Martin, will be speaking about his career in games and films. If you’re not familiar with his work, you need only visit a movie theater and check out (the totally awesome) Pacific Rim. For the film, Martin was part of director Guillermo Del Toro’s core concept team.
While in Texas, we had a chance to catch up with Hugo. Read the interview below…
How did you get started as an artist (include brief history of career highlights)?
I studied Illustration at Pratt Institute and Transportation Design at Art Center College of Design.
I started my career as a pose to pose animator and storyboard artist at MTV animation in NYC, but my first true concept job came after that when I worked in the IP development department at Wizards of the Coast. I went on to work at Naughty Dog as a concept artist on Jak X Team Racing and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, and then on to Blur Studios doing concept work on a variety of film, commercial, game and animation Projects.
After Blur I decided to go freelance. For 3 1/2 years I worked as a contract concept artist out of my studio and on-site whenever possible — primarily doing design work on films and games — the most notable from that period being of course PACIFIC RIM :).
What was your principle role on Pacific Rim?
I had the privilege and honor of being a part of Guillermo’s core concept team. My primary focus was on the design of the Jaegers, and from there I moved on to key frame illustration and then prop designs. I also had the chance to work on the Blade head Kaiju you see fighting Striker Eureka in the film.
Now that the movie’s out, how do you feel about the final product?
I think it’s one of the most imaginative and bold films I’ve seen since The Empire Strikes Back. It’s just full of jaw dropping visuals and the overall story I found to be truly inspiring. Of course I’m a little biased;). From a personal standpoint it was thrilling to see the concepts you worked on walking around on an IMAX screen in 3D.
What was it about id Software that made you want to apply for the art director position?
I felt like there was an opportunity here like no other, this is a company with an incredible history of making groundbreaking products that really set new standards in the industry in so many ways.
The team leaders here are all people whom I have a great time collaborating with and I have a lot of faith in, we inspire each other every day and the progress we make gets me excited to come in the next day and get back to it. I also fell in love with Dallas when I came to visit — it’s a great place to raise a family. To have the best of both worlds for me in terms of a project that I’m proud to work on and a great quality of life for my wife and kids, I couldn’t ask for more and I jumped at the opportunity to work here.
For aspiring artists that want to crack into the entertainment industry, what’s the best piece of advice you can give?
Go to school, get a solid foundation in the fundamentals of your craft, work hard and love what you do. If you’re passionate about the work you are creating, you’re going to be very successful in this business. It really is a privilege to do what we do, making games and having fun. I feel very lucky.
Any Carmack stories to share?
Nothing good yet, I did sit in on one of the lectures he gave our artists on the principals of light, and I realized 5 minutes in that what everyone says about him is true… he is a genius;)
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m so happy to be a part of Quake Con this year and I am INCREDIBLY excited about the project we are working on here at id. We have great things in store for the fans of id and gamers everywhere!