Interview with Alex Patel

Published on 05/20/2019

Alex Patel is a Freelance CG Artist from Swansea, United Kingdom with 3 years of industry experience. He likes to work with Houdini and Unreal Engine.

What led you into the CGI/2D? Tell us your story.

I saw some concept art pictures by a random google search and i really wanted to be able to paint stuff like that. After trying it out i realized that i loved making art and could probably do it full time. I guess the creative urge had been brewing for a while, as a kid i was always drawing abstract doodles (badly) and writing stories.

And that started the journey… and I keep growing, and learning new things constantly, its great to see how far i have come, but there is much further to go…

Where do you go to get inspired? What/Who inspires you?

Dreaming about the Future is a huge source of inspiration for me. The challenges, we face as a species are larger than ever, but also the potential benefits exceed pretty much the rest of human history. Visualizing some of these potential futures gives a lot of ideas to expand on.

Nature is also a massive source of inspiration. Almost Anything that we do as human beings is almost an incomplete replica of something already achieved in nature… I find that just a brief walk in nature can give pages and pages of new ideas.

Architecture is a great place for inspiration, the different forms, and how they generate these ideas gives a lot of room for thought.

Books, of all types, fiction / non fiction are a huge source of ideas. Even the most innocuous, throwaway line can be the spark to a new piece or even a whole IP.

There is so much great art on Artstation these days, its a never-ending source of inspiration.

You know what, really you can be inspired by absolutely anything, its what you want your message to be and how it fits with the inspiration at hand.

In terms of people; Anybody who tries to make the world a better place is my main source of inspiration.

How does a typical working day look like?

Starts with coffee and check emails, and then i just go head first into whatever project / job I am working on. In terms of subject matter, there is a huge variety of different ideas and themes we get to cover in this job which is an awesome bonus.

What does your workplace look like?

Not Right. I swear i will fix it up one day.

How do you stay motivated in this industry?

Motivation for me comes from that drive to communicate / share to the whole world, ideas, dreams, emotions…. Not just across space, but through time. If i ever feel burnt out, i take a short break, and the spark comes back.

Knowing why you make art in the first place and reminding yourself from time to time can be helpful to not lose your way.

What is your passion beside CGI/2D?

I’m a big fan of learning, reading. Theres always something new to discover, and thats the best part about existing. (any topic, i try to learn more about it.)

Architecture is a big passion of mine, seeing all the different experiments in the built landscape and the way we live. How we frame the environment and how it effects our lives.

Science & Technology is also a huge interest, and its also getting to be a much bigger feature in everybody’s lives. Neuroscience in particular is a big interest, and recently ive been interested in AI & Machine Learning / Neural Networks. We are seeing this stuff pop up in the Entertainment industry so its great to know what they are talking about.

I like to exercise & keep healthy. And love traveling to new places, everywhere theres more stories to be made. I’m aiming to travel to every country on Earth before i’m done.

Also Music is a huge thing for me, love listening to it, and attempting (Badly…lol) to create it.

Recently I’ve been getting into writing. which is fun. its a lot like making art. But without the visual feedback (or at least the visual feedback is generated in your mind).

How do you keep your portfolio up to date? Any tips?

Most important thing is always to give your 100%. Don’t give up when its starts to get hard, keep fighting and the solution will come to you. That and always try and push the limits of your capabilities.

What Software do you use to create your artwork?

In general, I use:

Substance Designer & Painter
Houdini
Artomatix & Photogrammetry software
UE4 & Unity Game Engines
3D Modelling packages
Terrain creation Packages (Gaea)
Speedtree
Photoshop (ofc!)
Pureref (for organizing references)

What Software do you want to learn in future? And why?

Id like to dig deeper into Houdini, the program is very powerful.

Blender is looking really promising cant wait to see what they implement next.

Which books would you recommend to the read?

Children of Time – Adrian Tchaiovosky. It’s an Awesome read (if you like sci-fi).
Wheel Of Time Series – Robert Jordan (best Fantasy series ever, and the inspiration behind Game of Thrones). Its also the longest book series ever written, so if you manage to read all the books you have a claim to fame.
The Expanse Series – James SA Corey
Musicophillia – Oliver Sacks (a book about music and the neuroscience behind it)

What music do you listen to while working?

I really like Ambient Music because it fits whatever mood you are in and doesn’t distract you a whole lot. For the same reason i love cinematic and film OST’s. Also Electronica, DnB, Psytrance, any Dance music really.

Stelladrone is a really fantastic artist, who goes great with sci-fi scenes. Its like being transported to another dimension. And he releases all his music for free on youtube check it out 😉

Access to Arasaka has some of the most interesting music i’ve heard in a while.

Any advice for new Artists?

Don’t Forget who you are.

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