SEAN McIl roy

On life at the cut­ting edge of in­die gam­ing art

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Blazing Griffin - Sean joined Blaz­ing Grif­fin in 2014. He pre­vi­ously worked at cre­ative stu­dio Lucky Frame, where he won a Scot­tish Bafta for the game ‘Bad Ho­tel’. www.sean­m­cil­roy.com

What’s your back­ground?

Af­ter study­ing Il­lus­tra­tion and print­mak­ing at art col­lege, I started off in an­i­ma­tion then made the change to il­lus­tra­tion. I got in­volved with games by help­ing out with con­cept art for Abertay Univer­sity stu­dents who needed an artist. I’d con­tact peo­ple who had left ads on the art col­lege no­tice­board, and it spi­ralled from there.

What does your role in­volve?

I work on con­cepts, game tex­tures, graphic de­sign, and re­cently many as­pects of the 3D work re­quired in the stu­dio. I’m con­stantly learn­ing new skills that I can put into prac­tice, while also bring­ing my tra­di­tional art and de­sign ex­pe­ri­ence to the team. A typ­i­cal day might in­volve set­ting up col­li­sion for all the stair­cases in a game level, and in the af­ter­noon help­ing with logo re­brand­ing.

How did you get the job?

Af­ter my pre­vi­ous role at a smaller games com­pany came to an end, I re­ally wanted to con­tinue work­ing in games, and I knew the Blaz­ing Grif­fin guys were re­ally push­ing hard in the Scot­tish games scene. I con­tacted Paul Cana­van in re­gards to fu­ture em­ploy­ment, and as the guys al­ready knew my work and back­ground, they brought me on board al­most in­stantly!

What’s the latest pro­ject you’ve worked on?

Re­cently we’ve been work­ing on The Ship: Re­masted, and I’ve hon­estly learnt more than I ever thought I could. Some of the ar­eas where I feel I’ve de­vel­oped the most in­clude light­ing (both tra­di­tional and dig­i­tal), tex­tures and mod­el­ling.

What process do you fol­low when cre­at­ing game art­work?

We’re all pretty big ad­vo­cates of draw­ing here. Most of my ideas be­gin with a sketch. I al­ways carry a sketch­book and pen­cil case. We also share all of our work and con­cepts round the art team for feed­back. I feel this is an im­por­tant step in de­vel­op­ing work, mov­ing on, and not get­ting too bogged down, by al­ways of­fer­ing each other in­spi­ra­tion and ideas.

What’s the work­ing en­vi­ron­ment re­ally like at Blaz­ing Grif­fin?

Pro­fes­sional, yet fun. We take part in many ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing art class, post work drinks, and play­ing games with each other. Ev­ery­one gets on re­ally well, ev­ery­one is will­ing to help, and most peo­ple here will tell you it’s more of a fam­ily than any­thing else.

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