EP 37 – Brian Sum – Concept Artist – Mass Effect 2 & 3, Dragon Age Origins, Sonic Chronicles, Shadowrun…

This episode of Syn Studio podcast features accomplished concept artist Brian Sum. After graduating from the Vancouver film school, Brian has gone on to work for companies such as Sierra Online, Sugarcoated Studios and Bioware Montreal, where he is now a Senior Concept Artist. His robot and environment designs are both colorful, fresh and detailed and his work has been featured in many publications such as Imagine FX Magazine, 2d Artist Magazine and Digital Art Masters to name a few. In this podcast, we discuss Brian’s tricks, techniques and experiences with working on many different high profile video games like Mass Effect 2 and 3, Dragon Age Origins, Sonic Chronicles and more.

“Back in the days, you would start doing a perspective drawing for an environment but nowadays it’s just quicker to block in a scene in 3D.”

In This Episode…

Anthony, Stephen and Brian discuss robots, science-fiction and recent movies on top of covering Brian’s tricks, techniques and experiences with working on many different high profile video games

Here’s what you’ll learn:
[01:02] The type of music and podcasts that helps Brian get into the zone when he draws
[04:03] Brian’s inspirations including science-fiction shows, artists and Anthony recounts the time he met Syd Mead
[14:14] Art in the industry: the use of 3D and the variety of pieces that are created
[18:36] – From Graphic design, to Film School to where he is now – we discuss the life of Brian
[26:11] – Brian tell us about his first job in the industry and how he was able to transition from animator to Concept Art
[33:02] – The group talks spaceships, Mass Effect and review the new sci-fi movie Arrival
[41:55] – The group discusses other sci-fi works such as Dune and Brian gives us a list of awesome comic book artists to check out!
[46:42] – Ghost in the Shell: some thoughts on the anime vs the american live action
[58:02] – Brian tells us about a day in his life at work, including free breakfast at Bioware
[1:02:50] – What is Bioware’s Mass Effect team like?
[1:05:04] – Drawing tools and what Brian uses to draw his designs as well as some advice for beginner Concept Artists
[1:17:06] – Imagining ZBrush in VR and other ways it could transform the Concept Art workflow
[1:22:17] – How Brian tackles his personal art and how it is influenced by his job art
[1:27:07] – Conventions, Kickstarter, Patreon, social media… The group discusses different options indie artists can profit from their art
[1:36:47] – The final burning question: What is Brian’s favourite Mass Effect character?

Links you’ll like…

Brian Sum:



Even More…

This interview is part of a series of exclusive Concept Art, Illustration, VFX, 3D and Comics Podcasts created by Syn Studio. If you enjoyed this podcast please share it with your friends. And please sign up below for our newsletter to keep informed about all of our great podcasts, interviews, tutorials, articles, videos and other material created for you: the artist.


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