EP 44 – Grant Hillier – Senior Concept Artist – Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Tom Clancy’s The Division, The Age of Decadence…

We’re excited to present Senior Concept Artist Grant Hillier as our special guest for this month’s Syn Studio podcast. Grant is a senior concept artist at Ubisoft where he creates character and environment concepts for various high profile games including Assassin’s Creed 3, Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, The Division and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. A veteran artist with close to 15 years of freelance and industry experience, Grant’s other credits include generating storyboards for the animated TV show Delilah & Julius, creating concept art for video games such as Age of Decadence and F.E.A.R 3, in addition to conducting a workshop with ImagineFX magazine.

“Your taste in design takes time to develop and that comes with research, and looking at stuff, and learning and the experience of noticing things in your own life.”

In This Episode…

Anthony, Stephen, Caity and Grant discuss the historic settings of Syndicate and Black flag, to building a thick skin in the concept art industry, to Grant’s sketchbook and personal art style.

 

Here’s what you’ll learn:

[01:32] – Grant gives us the best Assassin’s Creed games to play and his personal favourite to work on
[02:42] – The story behind the The Gauntlet and the design challenges it created for the Assassin’s Creed team
[05:08] – “No matter how good you get, you’re never too good to do anatomy studies, you’re never too good to do life drawing” – Grant on developing a larger mental vocabulary
[06:47] – Studying the Victorian era in London for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: from Rat Catchers to living conditions and more
[15:14] – How the research on a game’s time period is transformed into strong character designs that reflect the environment’s mood
[17:44] – From the challenges of designing Steampunk art to animated movies like Akira – the group discusses inspirations and techniques
[21:40] – Has technology allowed us to surpass the Old Masters? The group discusses Michelangelo and Da Vinci vs artists today
[24:56] – “When we’re all using the same Google internet search for ‘sci-fi crate’ how do you make a sci-fi crate that’s original?” – Grant on finding your own voice among the masses of Artstation
[30:38] – The group debunks a few pirate myths and discusses the time period in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
[41:53] – Why aren’t videogame to movie adaptations successful? The group discusses the ups and downs of the Assassin’s Creed movie
[44:48] – The group peruses the “Mature Content section” on Grant’s Artstation which features his amazing and risqué sketchbook art
[48:06] – What is Grant’s most questionable Google search that was concept art related?
[50:50] – “The critique on your art is not the critique on you as a person” – Grant explains how to build a thick skin in the art industry
[56:17] – From a small town in Newfoundland, Grant tells us about how he got his start in the industry
[01:11:38] – Art and Fear : Grant explains how to counter artist block and self-doubt
[01:15:42] – Grant recounts a Drink & Draw he went to with Fred Rambaud and Jeff Simpson plus explains why sculpting is a great way to improve your drawing
[01:27:18] – Why VR and AR have potential in the video game industry
[01:29:01] – Grant reveals his biggest pet peeve in the video game industry
[01:42:25] – How to add storytelling into Concept Art? Grant tells us how to develop a painting with a narrative
[01:45:23] – After 10 years of experience working in the game industry, Grant describes his dream project

Links you’ll like…

Grant Hillier:

People:

Misc:

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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