Episode 129 — Jason Martin — id Software’s Character Lead


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Episode 129 — Jason Martin — id Software’s Character Lead

Hey, everyone!

This is Allan McKay. Welcome to Episode 129! I’m speaking with Jason Martin, the Creature Lead with id Software on Doom. He has also worked for Blur Studio. I’m really excited for this Episode to be coming out. We actually recorded it a while back. We talk about his background and a lot of insight on his workflow and projects. I’m excited to get this Episode out!

Let’s dive in!



I. [-1:17:09] If you haven’t signed up for IAMAG Master Class in Paris (March 16th – 18th, 2018), there is still time to do that: http://www.iamag.co/features/iamag-master-classes-18/

I’m going to be speaking there alongside some really talented people. Goro Fujita will be doing a talkl, as well as Maggie Oh who is at ILMxLab, Chris Costa the Head Modeler for ILM. Facebook is sponsoring the event. There will be a lot of great speakers there this year!

II. [-[1:15:27] One of the biggest problems we face as artists is figuring out how much we’re worth. Typically, we go on job interviews; and when asked what we charge, we either shoot ourselves in the foot by saying we charge less than we’re worth and getting the gig — but indirectly leaving tens of thousands of dollars accumulatively over time, on the table; rather than actually asking what we should be charging. At the same time you don’t want to alienate your employer by asking for too much and leaving yourself out in the cold.

I’ve put together a website. Check it out: www.VFXRates.com! This is a chance for you to put in your level of experience, your discipline, your location — and it will give you an accurate idea what you and everyone else in your discipline should be charging. This is something I’m going to continue to build and flush out over time.

The key thing is, I don’t want to just showcase how much you should be worth — I want to hand you the tools to grow beyond that and learn:

– to negotiate better,

– to ask for the right amount of money in the right way

– lots of other additional tools!

The information is FREE! Check it out: www.VFXRates.com! Put in your information and you will get instantly notified with how much you should be charging per hour, as a VFX Artist.



Jason Martin is a Senior Creature Lead at id Software. Prior to that, he has worked at Blur Studio. Over the course of his decade long career, Jason has worked on projects like Doom, Warhammer Online, Bioshock 2, Wolverine, Resident Evil and many others.

Born to parents who were animators and CG artists, Jason got introduced to the arts early on. After college, however, he joined the U.S. Air Force. After leaving the military, he pursued his studies at the Vancouver Film School. With that training and freelance experience, he was able to join Blur Studio where he went from being a freelancer to a Lead Character Artist.

In this Episode, Jason talks about his experience and discipline, the importance of leadership, the hard and soft skills that get you hired — and how to stand out in the industry as a VFX artist.


Jason Martin’s Website: http://www.believerdeceiver.com

Jason Martin’s Profile on Art Station: https://www.artstation.com/believerdeceiver

Jason Martin on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jason-martin-9719805/

Jason Martin on IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm8902534/?ref_=ttawd_awd_10


[-[1:14:05] Allan: Thanks again for doing this! Do you mind giving a quick introduction?

Jason: Yeah, yeah, my name is Jason Martin. I’m the Lead Character Artist over at id Software. I’ve been here since 2011. Previously, I worked for Blur Studio.

[-[1:13:48] Allan: Thanks, man! Just going back to the very beginning, every artist has his or her journey. It’s very unique but at the same time there is a lot of commonalities. How did you get started in art? Did you always gravitate toward that?

Jason: I actually have a pretty unique story, to be honest with you. Both of my parents are artists. My mother is an Illustrator and my father is a traditional Animator and converted to CG. I actually had every outlet in the world to exceed in art, as a kid. We had an Oxberry Animation Camera in our house. Nobody knows what that is but it’s an old-school animation camera. We had to build an extension to our house just to house it. At the time, the house cost less than the camera. This is in the early 80s. I did art as a kid but I rebelled against it. I was too busy listening to pop-rock and skateboarding. I do remember in the 90s, I was going to college and my dad came home (it must’ve been 1995-96) and it was 3DS Studio, before it was Max. I remember dad gave me a tutorial to build a table. I remember trying this stuff and I could care less about this. He even tried taking me to see the first CGI machines. I remember sitting through the demo. There were pastries in the background, that’s all I could think about. It just seemed too technical back then, I just wasn’t connecting to it. I wasn’t motivated.

[-[1:11:30] Allan: I feel that’s a critical thing. When someone has been doing it for a long time, you could ask them about all the steps. And they could do that but it’s not going to resonate if you haven’t gone through those paths and failures. You have to have this discovery on your own and figure out why you gravitate toward it. You could be given this fun career, but if you don’t connect to it, it’s not going to work.

Jason: Totally! I don’t know any people in this industry who stumbled into it. It’s blood, sweat and tears. I was afforded all of these opportunities, but I was just screwing around with it. I’m from Maryland. I wanted to get away so military caught my eye. I joined the Air Force. And years later, in the late 90s, I started getting into CG a bit, scratching the surface. Then I started going to college and I started taking it seriously. My dad still busts my balls about it, “Imagine if you would’ve gotten into this when I was giving it to you.” I had so many outlets! This is back in the day when 3DS was still new on PC. I had a lot of opportunities that I’ve dismissed or took for granted.

[-1:09:32] Allan: That’s pretty cool! I wanted to ask you about the Air Force and then switching to visual effects. Which is exactly like my fiance Christina because she had a lot of resistance from her parents (allanmckay.com/99) because “art isn’t career”. There were both in the military and she was going to do weapons tech. Then I saw an interview with you where you talked about this and realized, “Oh, mother fucker! It’s the other way around!” Your parents were ultra supportive. You mentioned that your dad installed 3DS Dos. You have to find your path. The one thing I think about when I look back is wish I had more of a childhood. I started in ’95 as well. I think you appreciate that time when you have it. What was your experience in the Air Force? Did you have any experience that you took into your career later?

Jason: Absolutely! I don’t regret the military. It’s the best thing I’d done back then in my life! I had a ton of jobs when I was a kid but I didn’t have any discipline for them. I was being a kid, you know! I liked the idea of moving. I didn’t want to be stuck in my town and this was a fast way to get out. Once I was in, I actually really liked it. I was in the weapons troops: I worked on M15, M16, ammunition, anything that was on the aircraft — I maintain. So the experiences I gained were:

– A strong work ethic;

– A lot of structure.

I was in the military for 10 years. It wasn’t supposed to be that long. My separation date was December 20, 2001. We all know what happened in September 2001, so it put stop-loss on me and I couldn’t leave or get out. If 9/11 didn’t happen, my life would’ve been so different. At that time, I had a really good tattoo apprenticeship lined up and it was a really good opportunity. But because I couldn’t leave or get out, it fell through. So I didn’t know what to do. The military came down and told me to decide if I was going to get out in 2 weeks — and they didn’t give me any warning! They offered to send me anywhere in the U.S. and give me a nice re-enlistment bonus for 4 more year. So I started thinking about it. The cool thing was if I didn’t like the base they sent me to, I could get out. I had nothing to lose.

I tried to go to Nellis Air Force Base which is right outside of Las Vegas. It didn’t have any training commitments. I went there and hunkered down and did my college, and got serious about CG. But all along the way of being the military, I was taking these courses — they teach you how to manage and stuff — and thought I would never use any of this stuff in the real world. But I didn’t dismiss it, so I paid attention. When I got out, I realized that even in this industry people were people and they behaved in the same way. So I learned a lot of leadership skills, which I see a lot lack in this industry. People don’t teach that stuff, and some people may be more natural at it. I learned how to be a leader, put your guys first and be a team player. That’s the big thing!

[-[1:03:33] Allan: You did take a lot of the formal training on how to be a leader. You mention that it’s missing in the industry. Typically, video games tries to fight the whole corporate feel of structure. Everyone grows within a natural hierarchy and we don’t have any leadership training.

Jason: I think it’s a balance. It’s not the “my way or the highway” sort of thing. My observation it’s more about observation of working with people and less about controlling them. I’m a Lead here [at id Software] so I’m in charge of my team. It’s more about: 

– Letting the best idea win,

– Having an open door policy,

– Supporting your guys;

– Putting your guys before yourself.

If you do that, the ship will run itself. I took some of the stuff from the Air Force and merged into my career here in a less demanding way. It’s truly more about observation. That’s what I do. I watch my guys and see their natural strengths rise. I really like doing art. I only have a 4-man team here. I’m more of a point man.

[-[1:01:31] Allan: I think that’s so cool! You went on to a VFX school in Vancouver after [the Air Force]. What were you doing there? 

Jason: I went to a normal 3D animation program in Las Vegas and I learned some stuff, but it was just a crash course. My work out of there was okay and I had some job opportunities. [Vancouver Film School] one of my best decisions! At the time — in 2005 — VFS was pretty hot, leaps and bounds ahead of other schools. It was amazing!I’d done as much as I could but my work wasn’t at the same level. I pulled the trigger on Vancouver and I’m so glad I did that. I got out of VFS [where] I busted my ass as much as I could. I’d done some freelance stuff in between, some website stuff, nothing major. I remember my dream at the time was to work at Blur. It’s pretty funny how it all worked out. Through a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but it all worked out. I got an opportunity to freelance at Blur, but I didn’t care [that it was freelance]. Tim Miller emails you and says, “You want to come freelance here for 6 month?” — what are you going to do? I got freaked about that!

I sent my stuff to Blur just to see if they would reach other. I was at a party on a Friday night and I got an email from Tim Miller. WHAT?! They had some freelance stuff for Warhammer cinematic and the 3D Simpsons Ride at Universal. My parents had a family vacation set up, and I asked Tim if I could start a week later. Tim got back to me saying, “That’s a bummer! It’s not going to work out.” I thought, “I’m not going to blow this over a family vacation” so I sent an email back but he must’ve left for the day. I had to wait and suffer for 2 days, thinking: Did I just screw it up over a week’s vacation?! But Tim did respond on Monday. It all worked out.

[-[57:17] Allan: I remember the first time ILM contacted me in 2005. It was Saturday morning and I was still drunk from the night before. I got the call from Lori Beck and the only word I could drag out of myself was “Noooooo.” I emailed her back hours later and apologized. You have these moments of complete regret. I talk about my fiance a bit. When she is looking for work, with instant messaging, she can see they’ve read the message. All that shit that goes through your head!

Jason: You just put yourself through that mental anguish. It’s the worst!

[-[55:39] Allan: What was it like when you finally went over there? Was it what you expected?

Jason: Oh, man! It was crazy. I worked my ass off at school so I was made for Blur. But when I went in there, they gave me this ridiculous prop for Warhammer. They told me I had two days to make this: one day model, one day texture. I remember thinking, “Well, I’m going to be fired! I’m not even going to make it through the first week.” I busted my ass and got it done in 5 days. They did realize they underbid it. The really cool thing was I would’ve been fucked if it weren’t for the guys who were around me! That was the best thing about that place: Everyone was willing to show you stuff and there was never any attitude. I loved that Tim protected that place in that way. Bullshit doesn’t exist there! It was like being thrown in the deep end.

[-[53:50] Allan: You’re going to either sink or swim. Every project you have that feeling and you need to raise the bar. But that’s good, it pushes you! I was in Vancouver around 2009-2010. I was working for a game studio. We just published a game and I acted out for a week, to see if anyone would notice I wasn’t doing any work. So it’s good to have somebody pushing you. It’s going to make you feel challenged.

Jason: Plus, I was also new and there was such an infinite amount of talent in that building, I felt like I was as big as a speck of dust. I was at Blur for 5 years, plus some freelance time. I was just a sponge. I shut up and paid attention as much as possible. In the first couple of years, it was a bootcamp.

[-[52:05] Allan: What was your favorite and most challenging project there / or character?

Jason: Oh, man! There were a couple. The coolest one must’ve been Darth Vader for the Force Unleashed cinematic, just because it’s Star Wars. It wasn’t the most challenging, but it was a cool moment. Another nerdy moment I had when I did the Joker for Batman: Arkham City. Mark Hamill, he just laughed but still it was pretty cool [to work] with his voice. Challenge wise, I had to do this massive dragon for Dragon Age. The shot list kept changing. I had to build this massive asset, it was just impossible. It was a nightmare. It came out pretty well! With every model I’ve ever done, I plan it; but without fail, the parts I think would be hard turn out to be easy and the easy parts throw me for a loop. Every time, there is some challenge. I still get plenty of stuff that kicks my ass. I’m always learning.

[-[49:37] Allan: Absolutely! That’s the number one rule for me when bidding projects: Shit’s going wrong, let’s tack on 3 more days. How did id Software came to be?

Jason: Actually, that’s pretty cool. I loved Blur! Blur always had different eras. I think of Blur in the old building still. But I would’ve stayed there as long as I could but I had a child. I also saw the writing on the wall. When we used to do characters at Blur, we used to redo them from scratch or build them all the way up. Towards 2008-ish, we started getting assets from AAA game studios that were awesome, from ZBrush. When I started seeing that, I felt that games would not be as far away from the stuff I was making at Blur. This was a good time to change ground! Jeremy Cook and Tim Willits were here, the beginning Blur guys! I never thought I’d move to Dallas, but then Jeremy got a hold of me. I came out here for an interview and I was sold (because of the housing prices and because of what I could provide for my family). But leaving Blur was hard. I still have so much love for that studio! I love that they’re still around and still going, and they’re surviving and transitioning; and the success of their films. But it was hard to leave.

[-[46:40] Allan: It’s gone through so many cycles, it’s true! So, when you came to id, was it straight for the original Doom project?

Jason: Yeah. When I came here to work with Jeremy, there were two teams: There was Rage and Doom, and we were going to start a new project (which I can’t speak about). I was working for Marty Stratton and Jeremy was the Art Director. It was a small group of us, maybe 20 people. But then id came into a weird phase. There is always problem with rapid growths. The studio went through through a fast growth. There was some turmoil, some people left.

It worked out though. It gave us time to focus on what we wanted to do and rebuild the studio into what it is now, with fresh eyes and a perspective. We started rebuilding the studio and it became the genesis of what Doom 2016 is: new ways, new tech. Somehow we pulled it off. It was sprinkled with some good decision. It sped up my transition into the gaming industry too. Games and film have different sets of challenges, but anybody, in my opinion, can do both especially nowadays. It’s just about learning a specific set of skills.

[-[43:29] Allan: That’s awesome! Were you a big fan of the original Doom?

Jason: Yeah. I mean I have to pinch myself every once in a while. I remember playing Doom in ’94. It was right after high school. My friend’s dad just got it. It was like nothing like I’ve seen before. If you were to tell me I would be reimagining some of those monsters and demons, it’s pretty crazy to even fathom! I never been out of Maryland at that time. So I was really stoked! I’m glad we went back to the original roots of Doom. I like all versions of it, but I’m glad we went back to the roots as close as possible.

[-[41:43] Allan: It’s the nostalgia as well. A lot of people who talk about Star Wars and Jurassic Park, whichever one got them [into VFX]. I had a 286 so I couldn’t play Doom. I started replacing the GameOn on Wolfenstein which would run for Doom. Bit by bit, I was obsessing about it enough. I got ripped off! I sold all my artwork and hustle to get the 386. I was in denial: It kept saying 286 on the screen and I kept saying, “No! It’s a 386.” Until I installed Doom. If Doom says I have 286, then I believe Doom

Jason: My friend had a 386. I remember that thing had an 80 MB hard drive. I remember saying, “How are we ever going to fill this up!”

[-[40:05] Allan: I had 20 Meg and I had to uninstall shit every time! Here I am now, with terabytes all in boxes. It’s insane! It’s also insane to see how rapidly things changed in the last 20-30 year. Game cinematics back in the day, if a video game looked like that today, you’d puke. 

Jason: It’s so crazy how your mind remembers those things! You remember them so differently than they actually look!

[-[39:18] Allan: Yeah, don’t look at Warcraft 2 again, man! It’ll ruin your childhood memories.

Jason: Exactly! Even the original Starcraft cinematics. If you look at Starcraft 3 in comparison to Starcraft 2, there is a massive, massive leap.

[-[38:46] Allan: Warcraft 3 was the pinnacle of what you could do with CG. The Max, Maya. Check out Warcraft 3. Check out the Final Fantasy which was of the same time. Warcraft 3 looked even more beautiful than that!

Jason: That still looks pretty good. If you go Starcraft 2, it was just bananas. I agree how it’s so dated.

[-[37:50] Allan: Being a fan of Doom, did you feel a big weight on your shoulders to not fuck it up?

Jason: Yeah, absolutely! It’s tough! Sometimes, it does get to you a little bit. We had so many reiterations, I was seeing cross-eyed sometimes: I didn’t know if it looked good anymore. It was so important to nail that. Reimagining that: How do you keep it nostalgic? You couldn’t please everyone. We had to pick a route and stick to it. It was definitely challenging! We did remodeled a lot. Demons and weapons are the stars of Doom. It’s worth the effort. Anyone who loves net modeling, I don’t know a better studio to work for! That’s why I loved working on this stuff!

[-[36:09] Allan: I was saying to Hugo [Martin], Doom was the one thing I was obsessed with. I would buy any Doom creature maquette that was around, just for a bit of inspiration or something to look at on my desk.

Jason: I thought it was a cool way to think about it: Do we want this as a maquette sitting on our desk. It became like a bullet point while we were designing. It has to to feel that way, and it has to feel like from that era. Would you want to have this sitting on your desk as a gateway.

[-[35:07] Allan: Typically, when you start out on a character, how do you start and how do you finish it?

Jason: We’re more of a traditional house. We do a lot of thumbnails, throw out a lot of ideas and ideations. I have a really strong character team. All my guys are really great at taking the ideas and filling in the blanks. With some monsters, we went through iterations. For others, we’ll bust out a proxy and look at it really quick. And then we would move onto the proportional things and get it solidified for a rig. We usually bust stuff out in ZBrush really quickly. Then it give the animators time to play around and see how things look like. With proper planning, we aren’t expecting for the character to grow a third arm, or something like that. Sometimes, proxy will inform some things, we come up some moderations [if] something isn’t working.

We have Ben Durkin, who was a rigger at Blur, who started with us in January of 2017. I have a great working history with him, we’ve worked together at Blur. Once we get through the proxy stage, we continue along the high poly, we go into ZBrush for poly modeling. I’m more on the polygon kick right now because of the control aspect of things. Then we take it the rest of the way. Everything is pretty straight forward. Nothing has changed in the pipeline. I love the [Substance Painter] so far. There are some things that aggravate me about it, but that’s true for any software. It’s weird not getting the PSD’s. Something feels wrong about that.

[-[32:22] Allan: What tools do you typically use these days? I know you Modo was a go-to one.

Jason: Moto is a big one. ZBrush is my main one I go-to. I cut my teeth on Max but use it for rendering. I do need to streamline my whole modeling pipeline. I might be shifting to Maya or Moto. I’ll probably switch to Modo. We have a lot of people who still use it. I just have to find the time to get up on the new software. I actually look forward to it. Even in polygon modeling, I use super simple things, I don’t need much. But I could improve some things. Modo, probably… I can’t make up my mind.

[-[30:19] Allan: Let’s talk about more of the passion side of things? What was your favorite character in the original Doom before you had any developmental experience there?

Jason: Oh, man, that’s tough! Hell Knights are pretty rad! Design wise, it’s probably Cacodemon.

[-[29:36] Allan: Just the way he dies is pretty cool.

Jason: The sounds of demons! Cacodemon probably jumps out at me the most.

[-[29:21] Allan: I like the transitions to the new character. Every character went through cosmetic changes. With the Cacodemon, you know it’s a fucking Cacodemon. I want to kill it and see if it dies the same way too. What about working on characters, which one was your favorite to develop?

Jason: Oh, man, that’s tough! I mean I’ve got to say it’s probably the Doom Marines. Or, the Revenant just because he is so bizarre! What I was saying earlier was when it comes to Doom, you can do anything, with some limitation. It’s about disturbing the line of campiness and then taking it back just enough.

[-[28:12] Allan: Did you get to work with some of the original id team?

Jason: I did. Some of the guys have left. I worked with Kevin Cloud a lot. He’s great! I didn’t get to work with [John] Carmack, but he’s the type of guy who doesn’t like small talk. He keeps to himself. So I always kept my distance but he was always involved in different stuff here, with Oculus and VR. One day I came to work and looked behind the character team and John Carmack has set up his desk behind us. We’re all like playing around. It went from everyone talking to everyone working quietly for a week. He offered to jump in wherever he would see a problem.

He started talking one day and it took out of the room. Before PBR, we were looking at different states of conversion. At this point, we couldn’t afford to do the full rewrite kind of a deal. What could we do to make our specular behavior better without that kind of power? I got to work with John, just trying to get our specular stuff right. He’d make some changes I didn’t really agree weird, for the art reason. I decided to just talk to the guy. Once I shared that, he said, “It totally makes sense! We should do this.” There was a weird curve to it, basically. PBR is a lot more straight forward these days. It was cool to work with him for a little bit! He is a gaming legend!

[-[24:44] Allan: How do you feel the place has changed since you’ve been there?

Jason: Actually a lot, culture wise. It’s going to happen anywhere you jam three teams together. It was traditionally pretty small. Things started getting lost in the weeds. We shifted back to one team. I watched the studio to go from a tense environment (and there was some bad press back then, I’m not going to lie about it.) What we did was hunker down, let people go and slowly rebuilt and rehired. We hired people with right personalities and growth. When people left, others pushed themselves and we saw so much talent we didn’t know we had. We hired slowly, no rapidly. I watched this growth from uncertainty, to shipping Doom and watching the success of it. I watched go from a bad spot to a cocoon phase — and out emerged a beautiful butterfly. It’s really cool! I’m really happy with the team here! I’m glad I stuck it out. It was definitely rough in the early days. I was new to games and I liked the area. It’s been really cool to watch this place become what it’s become.

[-[22:40] Allan: Talking more about leadership, also the soft skills and the hard skills. Do you want to describe that a little more?

Jason: Yeah. It comes down to the interaction with the team: Are you a dick? We want you to be passionate but we want to be able to work with everyone else and be part of the team. It’s less “I” — and more “we”. Can an intern come up to you with an idea and you pass it along as theirs? I understand that fear. But if you let everyone shine, they’ll take care of you.

– Can you along with the team?

– Can you keep your head on straight?

– Can you communicate?

– Can you solve problems?

– Can you not become the cancer / don’t become negative?

If you see a problem here, we don’t have a massive team. You have to realize where you can jump in and fix things. In order to do that, you have to understand everyone’s position and get along with everyone.

Soft skills is a big thing: attitude, passion and how you relate to people. It’s what you said, “Are you a dick?” I’m willing to work with a kid who shows promise than with someone who is amazing but has a reputation as difficult to work with. That’s the last thing I want! Every once in a while I run into someone I respect as an artist — but then I hear some stories that they’re an asshole. It still bums me out. We don’t want to work with dicks!

[-[18:38] Allan: I think there are some misconceptions with managers. They’ll hire someone knowing the person is hard to work with. They aren’t thinking the big picture. Are you going to bring in a poisonous entity into your work environment.

Jason: I’d rather spend time developing new talent. We’re willing to take a chance. So much of it just the attitude. I’m in interview panels for positions I know nothing about. I just want to know who you are. Your portfolio tells me everything. But how you are as a person is everything!

– Modesty goes a long way.

– So does passion.

– And don’t be a dick!

[-[17:11] Allan: Have you found common mistakes or red flags from interviewing a lot of artists? 

Jason: To anybody listening: Don’t go on a job interview and talk shit about where you currently work. It’s the most common thing I see happen. There a way to do this. More often than not, people are looking for a job because they may not be happy where they work. A smart way to answer that is, “We had these challenges and I worked around them in an X, Y, Z ways.” You’d be surprised how many people complain, call their boss an idiot. I’ve seen that a lot, throw their management under the bus. Don’t do that!

[-[15:47] Allan: I’ve seen the reverse of that where I go in for an interview and the management is shit talking about their team. To me, it’s a massive red flag. Do I want to end up on your radar? It goes both ways. You think you sound cool or don’t even realize you’re doing it. I did a talk about that recently. It’s not a good habit to have.

Jason: I have to agree with that. Talking shit should just be off the table. Plus, it’s so incestuous. I’ve seen people burn many bridges.

[-[13:59] Allan: For those wanting to break into the industry, do you have any advice on how to stand out? Especially with creature design being such a saturated industry and everyone being really talented? 

Jason: I have to say it’s much harder now. Just looking at Art Station, there are so many images, how are you going to get noticed? Back when I started, you got a lot of visibility by doing a CG Talk. Art Station is like ADD of art images right now. I joke about this right now: Being a Character Artist in North America, there are more jobs in the NFL. That being said, if you’re good, you have passion and drive — if you really, really want something — you can achieve it. I don’t have an instance where someone would work their asses off — and nothing happens. I get it [if people give up].

To stand out right now, if you want to work for the one studio, I would do a character in that studio’s style. I wouldn’t do the whole thing. Then you’re catering to one place. You want to go for wanting to get a job. Do some characters for that studio. If you want to a Creature Artist, there are jobs for that but you’re going to limit yourself. You can probably still get a job.

– Have range in your portfolio.

– You still have to know the original 3D package. You can’t just know ZBrush.

– Focus on the company you want to work for.

Quality of art is everything. I’m willing to teach people the technical stuff. Talent and the soft skills is what I focus on.

[-[09:29] Allan: Finally, if people want to find out more about you, where can they find more information?

Jason: You can find me on my website: http://www.believerdeceiver.com. Also, on Art Station. That’s pretty much it!

[-[09:00] Allan: Awesome! Thanks again for doing this!

Jason: Thanks for having me! This has been really cool. Thank you!


I hope you enjoyed this Episode. Thank you again, Jason, for taking the time to chat! I would love to do a panel of people from id Software down the line. I’m hoping to land an interview with John Romero, one of the original Founders of id Software. That’s still in the works.


I. [-[08:09] I’ve talked about ice bath therapy a lot in the past. One of the reasons I moved to Portland was because I wanted to build it. Cold therapy is like nothing else!

II. [-[06:58] Coming up: an interview with a VFX Sup at Scanline. Scanline is responsible for most of the big Hollywood movies. We got really in depth talking about my students going off to work at Scanline, so that’s really cool! My whole goal with the Live Action Series was to make you irresistible to being hired and to learn integrate live action into CG.

III. [-[05:20] I also have an Episode with Bobby Chiu, the founder of Schoolism; as well as Thierry Lafontaine, an instructor there.

IV. [-[04:20] I just did a Podcast with a traditional animator from the 80s. He was a visionary and knew he needed to adapt. He’s done it for 30 years!

V. [-[03:41] This coming month, I’m launching my new Website! 90% of what I do is give out free information and content. I’m really excited about this site and all the content I’m going to publish there, for your training and career.

VI. [-[02:11] I’m also launching my YouTube channel. It will go hand in hand with this Podcast — which I’m looking to rebrand.

VII. [-[01:15] I’m going to San Diego and Paris in the next few weeks. It’s busy right now. This is all a chance to serve you with more information.


I will be back next week. If you would like to sign up for my Insider List, go to allanmckay.com/inside/. Please leave a review on iTunes.

Rock on!



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