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Wang Xiaoyu: CGarfish

THE AREA | Posted 1 December 2008 4:00:00 pm

Software

  1. Autodesk Maya
  2. Autodesk Mudbox

Industry

  1. Games
  2. Film, TV and VFX

Project Links

  1. Autodesk Maya
  2. Autodesk Mudbox

Homepage

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Wang Xiaoyu- Photo

Wang Xiaoyu

Hello, my name is Wang Xiaoyu. I am a game artist from China, born in Nanjing which was the ancient capital of China. While attending Shanghai Jiao Tong University, I worked as an intern at EA Shanghai and that was the start in my professional journey. Currently I work at Perfect World, specializing in character development for an upcoming MMOPRG. In my spare time, I work on building a more solid personal portfolio.

The area avatarThe Area:

Hello Wang Xiaoyu - a warm welcome to the AREA. Can you please give us a bit of background on yourself...such as where are you located and what you currently do?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

Thank you, I’ll do that! I'm a Game Artist, currently developing a large-scale online game in Beijing, China. Last November, I relocated to Beijing from Shanghai and started the development of a game. After a year's worth of effort, we expect to release this game within the first half of 2009. Because the environment production task of this development was of high priority at the beginning, I spent months working on multiple scenes that included palaces, shops, and noted landmarks. On a side note: when comparing futuristic and mechanical scenes, I much prefer architecture in the classical Chinese style. Afterwards I was responsible for creating the characters in the game, for example: olden-day Chinese merchants, officials, warriors, civilians, and then the main characters of the game. They are all within the classical Chinese style which I find very interesting. I like the style of this game a lot and I hope everyone will enjoy the game after its release.

The area avatarThe Area:

How and when did you start doing 3D?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

I started dabbling in 3D around 2003, back then the 3D work we saw were all pretty ugly, but like many 3D enthusiasts, I believed "3D is really beautiful". Afterwards, I furthered my exploration into the 3D world. I was still in university and was very busy with schoolwork, but all I could think about everyday was 3D and couldn't care much about anything else.

The area avatarThe Area:

What are you most passionate about in the field of 3D and why?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

Currently, I'm most interested in modeling and rendering, because these two areas can directly improve the quality of games or videos. Animation is also very important; my next step will be devoting all my energy in improving my animation quality. There is no end to improvements in modeling, rendering, or animation; there's no "the best", only "better". I hope I can do better in all these areas.

The area avatarThe Area:

Prior to the studio you are at now, where did you work?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

I was working at EA Shanghai. Since EA started a studio in Shanghai in 2006, I started working at EA. Before that, I was going to school and working freelance on animation and game projects.

The area avatarThe Area:

While working at EA Shanghai, which game titles did you work on? How long did you stay at EA?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

I join EA in June 2006, and left in November 2007. The projects I participated in were NCAA '08, Tiger Woods '08, Need for Speed 11, Skate, and Godfather 2.

The area avatarThe Area:

Can you describe to us what an average day was like for you at EA?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

EA is a very efficient company, especially EA Shanghai. The amount of work assigned to each person is very precise. I always strived to finish my daily assignment an hour or two before deadline, so I could give myself time to learn some of the more interesting things in other projects, such as Warhammer Online or project planning. At EA, every day is very efficient and fulfilling. Colleagues also like to discuss new technologies or techniques in game production. I really enjoyed the atmosphere there.

The area avatarThe Area:

What area of study did you take in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University - does it help with what you do now?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

I studied Art Design at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. On the surface it didn't seem to help me much, but I believe I was able to improve and excel through studying at the University. Jiao Tong is a top tier university in China, with a strong academic atmosphere. I think it's exactly that kind of academic atmosphere that helped me grow the most.

The area avatarThe Area:

You are currently working at Perfect World, specializing in character development. What is the primary focus of your studio and what are your responsibilities as character artist?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

Our number one goal right now is to complete the game in the designated timeline and garner market recognition. Even though I'm a character artist, I shouldn't be limited to only characters or any one single aspect of the game. We are a complete team, when a problem arises in one area, we all help each other out. The character team can help with scenes, and the environment team can also help with characters and provide some suggestions. Making the game outstanding is the responsibility of all of us.

The area avatarThe Area:

Which application is used at your workplace?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

We're using 3ds Max for the project because it's very convenient -- everyone is familiar with it, and there are several plug-ins that increase our productivity.

The area avatarThe Area:

How long have you been using Maya - what was your first 3D package?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

My first 3D application was 3ds Max. Afterwards I started learning Maya, and I've since been using Maya for over four years. Although the texture system in Maya is a little troublesome, it is interesting and always attempts to help me with realizing everything I want to make.

The area avatarThe Area:

You have developed a very interesting selection of characters in your portfolio work - I especially like "Man in Black". Can you tell us about some of your work?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

Thank you. I've already forgotten how much time these images took to create, but I remember the longest time I spent was over 2 months on "Dark Phoenix", and the shortest time was a week on "Fa Hai". Every piece was done using Maya + mental ray because I was most familiar with this process. If I needed some special effects, I would create it in another software package and composite it in Maya's rendering.

"Beanpod Blooming" and "Police Beauty" were the first ones to be completed in this series; at that time I really enjoyed creating sunny girls.

After that, I also attempted making men and monsters. I wanted the characters in my work to have some subtle emotion; when the audience view them, there could be an exchange, and perhaps even an uplifting of the spirit. When I was making "Man in Black", I wanted to create a series of pig elves; thinking that some of them would be cool, some cute, cruel, or honest. "Man in Black" belongs to the cool group in the bunch – I’ll be making other pig elves in the future. "Fa Hai" was made for a video tutorial, so it was created in a very short time. "Fa Hai" was a monk in the ancient times in China -- a pretentious, cruel, and jealous character. He appears in the book White Snake. I wanted to create his personality according to the book's description.

The area avatarThe Area:

For example, Man in Black - where did you find the inspiration for the features of his face? What is the word on Fa Hai's forehead mean?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

The inspiration for Man in Black came from a combination of pigs and elves. The colour of his eyes is to represent his character: cool, calm, and very professional. His job is a detective; usually people would think pigs are stupid. I had hoped he would appear as a very cool hero.

The word on Fa Hai's head is "極", in Chinese it means "ultimate" or "superior". In the book's description Fa Hai was like an evil demigod; he had tremendous powers, but was pretentious and cruel. This word "極" represents his prowess.

The area avatarThe Area:

Having used Mudbox 1.0 for the first time on "Man in Black", what are your impressions of the software?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

Since the time I tried Mudbox, I liked it very much. When I first heard about the software, I knew Mudbox was going to be a simple software, but I was also worried that its functions wouldn't be powerful enough. I didn’t expect I would like this software very much. But after trying it, I was more satisfied with the work I created with it than others, and it was a breeze to use. Maybe it was because I wasn't that good with Zbrush. In terms of Mudbox 2009, I've never tried, but I have seen it, its functions are powerful, and it runs very fast. I will definitely try it when I have a chance.

The area avatarThe Area:

What do you use for creating hair?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

I used Maya Hair system for the hair. The body hair was done with Maya Fur.

The area avatarThe Area:

All of your models have really nice skin render, can you tell us about the shader network that is used for your characters?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

About skin rendering, I am continuously learning more about it. Initially, I believed that textures were the most important thing. I would spend a lot of energy on drawing realistic textures, and put very little thought into the shader itself. But afterwards, I discovered that I could not create realistic skin this way and that's when I started to focus on shader networks.

Even still, I found that the improvements through shader networks wasn't enough. In the end, I realized the importance of lighting when rendering skin. Smooth skin or rough skin colour are all dependent on good lighting. The relationship between indirect lighting and direct lighting is also important. Indirect light is more important than direct light, because indirect lights are very smooth/soft and can make the characters more realistic. In addition, through the application of a shader network, you can also refine or enhance the details on a model (ie. sharp edges or bumps). In light-facing places I would increase the SSS strength, and in areas not facing the light I would slightly dampen it. Furthermore, rendering indoor-space lighting and outdoor-space is different, so the SSS on a character's skin in outdoor-space can be weaker, whereas the skin's SSS in indoor-space would be stronger. Applying these appropriate settings can help with the final results. I think there is still a way to go between my work and realism, but I hope that in my next work, I can convey a feeling of "existence" to my characters.

The area avatarThe Area:

Is all of this work personal or commercial?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

Yes, these are all my personal work.

The area avatarThe Area:

Overall, where do you find the inspiration for visual direction when designing the look of your characters?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

Essentially I aim for realism, but I always try to incorporate some interesting details that give each character their own story. This goes back to my 'feeling of existence' theme.

The area avatarThe Area:

What is the meaning of your alias "CGarfish"?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

It really doesn't have a meaning, it just has the pronunciations to the parts of my name :)

The area avatarThe Area:

When can we expect to see the next installment of work :)?

The area avatarXiaoyu:

Currently I want to make a teen version of a hero in Warcraft 3. Perhaps when our game is completed in a few months, I will move onto that.

The area avatarThe Area:

Thanks for sharing your work and time with us here on the AREA, we look forward to seeing your next cool character!

The area avatarXiaoyu:

Thank you AREA for giving me this opportunity. I will work harder and I hope I can create even better characters :)

16 Comments

tareq hadeed

Posted on: 2 December 2008 11:37 pm

hello xiaoyu realy you are artist and v.good designer i would like to tell you about your works on dubi you will find brillent future


tranvanthi

Posted on: 3 December 2008 10:50 pm

it's verry cool. I can't image how it realistic is. How long it take you to make the " Beanpod Blooming" picture


paef

Posted on: 4 December 2008 5:11 am

awsome dude


pramodpandit

Posted on: 6 December 2008 12:30 pm

you have creat any tutorial of your work, because i am new in mudboxx.


meenhaj

Posted on: 9 December 2008 1:43 am

great work are you a actual games desginer?
which studio do you work at?
how did u get to wer u are now?


meenhaj

Posted on: 9 December 2008 1:50 am

i wuld appreceate any reply as i am currently in my 2nd yr of my a levels and wish to go onto to gain a degree in computer games design any advise you have for me would be great


Wang Xiaoyu

Posted on: 9 December 2008 7:20 pm

thank you all for replies
Hi meenhaj,thank you,I was working in PerfectWorld in Bejing China,and i can't give you too many advice,because it's all different in different country,so i just suggest improving the modeling and texturing skill is important for game artist,the lighting and rendering can be treated as a hobby,because the modeling and texturing is very very basicly and important for a game artist


FIREWAHL

Posted on: 9 December 2008 9:47 pm

Good morning, fantastic opportunity here to get inspiration.
I write a technical website for the Directors Guild of Canada and part of what I do is to relate my understanding of various design applications to our members. Could I contact you directly to ask you some questions regarding rendering in Maya?
Thank you.


meenhaj

Posted on: 10 December 2008 12:57 am

well id just like to say thnx you for ur advise and quick reply and der one mor question i wanted to ask do you think its hard to find employment in tje computer games industry ?


Longboarder1

Posted on: 23 January 2009 11:48 am

Good stuff.


colmhd

Posted on: 1 April 2009 1:34 pm

Excellent realization of the art form.
Fantastic work!!...(8)


Jon Budfuloski

Posted on: 7 April 2009 12:27 am

Really good work! .


sksahoo

Posted on: 1 May 2009 10:03 pm

Wahooo,
Nice great job done.
what's ur mail id?
sksakoo
india


Wang Xiaoyu

Posted on: 2 May 2009 9:12 am

Hi sksakoo thank you,My email is cigar_fish@hotmail.com


kaz_azzzam

Posted on: 12 March 2010 1:10 pm

nice job


sumanprabhat

Posted on: 27 March 2011 3:34 am

grate job.


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