So Greg, you worked on designing O2 Eddy. What were the key aspects Eddy represented?
Eddy simply represented ideas, which is why I tried to give him an organic form.
What personality traits did the design of Eddy have to communicate, and how did you achieve this?
Eddy’s personality had to be friendly, he had to be cute, small and attractive. To make something cute the easiest way is to use a smooth shapes like circles, something that could not hurt you, for example a triangle or cube can be a lot more aggressive then a smooth shape. I started very simply with a spear with two legs and two arms. The idea of the bulb came a bit later – at the beginning we won the project with the simple, round Eddy.
How has the progression in CGI technology changed character design?
Technology has had a huge effect on character design and now I think we are heading for something more and more simple. For example the short animation ‘Between Bears’ by Eran Hilleli, the bear is a very simple design, and the animation has won many awards, which may be an indication as to the direction character design is heading. Disney characters are another great example, they have some of the best character designers in the world. If you look back to some of their older character designs, they are a lot more complicated, and now with the progression of CGI, have become a lot more simple.
Who do you look to for inspiration?
My favourite character designers are Ronald Searle and Nicolas Marlet. Marlet works for Dreamworks, he is responsible for designing characters like Kunfu Panda, and numerous characters from the film How to Train Your Dragon.
And your favourite character?
Luffy from One Piece, created by Eiichiro Oda, has to be my favourite character. More for his personality then actual design.
Have you always been passionate about 3D modeling?
No! I didn’t get on with modeling 3D when I first started studying it, I preferred working in 2D, but one day something just clicked and I started thinking in 3D and became very passionate about it. I wanted to do everything in 3D. I became very interested especially since I started learning about the human anatomy more seriously. It’s much easier to work in 3D now because of the tools available compared to what we had five years ago. Now it’s more instinctive rather then technical thanks to new software. These days you can take a simple sphere and manipulate it however you like – if you know how to draw, are able to visualize in 3D and have the knowledge, you will be able to translate that into 3D modeling. You no longer have a technical barrier. It saves a lot of time, too: now you can make a face in about 40 minutes rather then five hours like it was before.
You’ve been with SB for a year now: what have been your top three projects so far?
My top three projects are O2 Eddy, Bank of Ireland and Marlboro Fresh. O2 Eddy because designing Eddy was a lot of fun, starting with 2D sketches and then bringing him to life in 3D was a very enjoyable process. Working on the Bank of Ireland project was an incredible learning experience that presented a lot of challenges, like matching the 3D model back to the original photography. Marlboro Fresh is a project that I worked on last year, again it was a challenge: it was 100% CGI and the composition went through a dramatic change at the last moment. It was challenging because up to then I’d been working on character design only, most of my work was very organic. But this had to be clean, crisp and very science fiction. We started working with the concept of freezing. We created machinery that was injecting ice into the product, to create a cool fresh feeling. We used automobiles, spaceships and robots as a reference during this project.