Thomas sent us his ToBot image via our Facebook page. And we thought his robot creation, ToBot, was very cute (below).
He really piqued our interest when he sent a follow up image that also featured a very familiar robot designed by 3D World’s Rob Redman alongside ToBot (pictured at the top of this page). We caught up with Connor to find out a little bit more…
3D World: When did you first discover your talent and decide to become a 3D artist?
Connor Thomas: I started to use 3D modeling software whilst studying Interactive media at Bridgend College.
I was learning lots of different software but 3D software was the one that had the real appeal. I was amazed at how diverse it was and how it could be used in so many disciplines within the creative digital industry.
The nature of the course meant that I studied many other areas, for example web design, page layout, typography etc. but I kept finding some way to incorporate 3D.
3D World: Do you remember what your first piece of CG was?
Connor Thomas: My first 3D model was a design challenge set by my tutor on the course I am studying. We had to create a vehicle for an alternative location or reality. My vehicle was essentially a rowing boat minus the oars with the legs of an arachnid robot.
I remember finding it particularly challenging. If I can recall correctly I think I used splines and a loft NURBs to create the hull of the boat and modified primitives for the legs. I remember being happy with it considering it was my first attempt. Looking back and comparing it with my current projects it was awful. But I guess we have got to start somewhere.
3D World: Where do you find inspiration?
Connor Thomas: It sounds cliché, but I can find inspiration from almost anywhere. Since discovering 3D and reading books and tutorials it is apparent that reference material is essential.
It is far too easy to sit in front of a computer and let Google do your research for you.
Whatever the subject matter is, I find it’s really important to immerse myself in the subject.
Sometimes it works the other way around. The little robot I have created came about by me playing around with an old camera and some toys I found in my garage.
Having good knowledge and a clear understanding of what it is I am modeling helps a great deal.
I spend a long time drawing out the idea before I even think about using software. I use traditional drawing materials and techniques (marker pens, animation pencils etc).
3D World: Who or what has influenced your work?
Connor Thomas: Again, possibly an obvious answer but I am truly inspired by all of Pixar’s creations.
It never fails to amaze me at how Pixar get such a great performance out of their models and at the same time appeal to such a broad target audience.
When watching their films you really empathise with characters and want to follow them on their journey.
If I am looking closer to home I can honestly say my classmates.
We all come from different backgrounds and have different interests outside of college but we all share a passion for the subject we are studying. We tend to share information with each other and help each other out with various tasks.
Some people in the class are great with lighting and textures whilst others specialize in modeling. It’s great that we are able to share best practice to maximize our efforts.
We are lucky that we have very knowledgeable and supportive tutors on the course who spend hours answering questions and fixing our mesh when it goes wrong.
3D World: What is your favourite 3D software?
Connor Thomas: I currently use Cinema 4D and ZBrush both of which are very effective in terms of creating professional results.
The C4D interface is very intuitive, though I have found there are fewer tutorials online compared with other modeling software.
Using ZBrush for the first time was difficult. I found the interface completely alien, it was like nothing I had experienced before. However, with some perseverance the results are mind blowing.
Free ZBrush tutorials
1. Discover new tools and techniques as Scott Spencer shows you how to combine organic and hard-surface modelling to create a sci-fi sculpture.
Follow the Sculpt a biomech figure in ZBrush tutorial
3D World: What’s your favourite film?
Connor Thomas: I don’t think I can answer that question, there are so many great examples of CG being broadcast almost on a daily basis.
There is an animation called Jo Jo in the Stars, created in 2004. It is relatively simple in terms of the characters and environment.
Watch Jo Jo in the Stars via YouTube
It contains a clever use of audio and lighting to create a haunting ambience that never fails to evoke an emotional response in me, or the friends I have shared it with.
3D World: What’s the best critique you have received?
Connor Thomas: I recently entered a competition to promote the awareness of Drink Driving.
Most of the other candidates entering the competition used more traditional video production and editing techniques whilst I opted to use Cinema 4D.
Although I didn’t win the competition I was highly commended for my alternative approach to meeting the brief.
As I have only been using the software just over a year I was pleased with feedback I received and hope to build on this for the future.
Thanks to Connor for the interview. All the best with the job search too.
Have you looked at the 3D World global jobs board? Not only does it enable you to apply for CG-related jobs online, it also includes a few nice features to help you land on the job you really want. And – best of all – it is free for jobseekers to register and use!