Vincent Gault is not only a talented artist, but has a great sense of humor. Here he is eating "angrily" a cricket candy!
Novedge: Tell us about yourself and what you do.
Vincent Gault: Hey, my name is Vincent Gault, I am (now) an Art Technical Director and (sometimes) a game designer at UBISOFT. I was lucky enough to start my career at UBISOFT Montreal five years ago, and I have now been part of the Barcelona studio team for one year.
Basically, my job is to make sure that the artists I work with can unleash their talent, within the reality of real-time constrains. Thus, it is a collaboration with the art team to define what we want to achieve, and how we can do it.
Novedge: Ubisoft is known for working with new technologies. How do you find inspiration and stay ahead of the curve?
Vincent Gault: There are two aspects to this. From a technical point of view, we indeed have to stay up to date with the evolution of different technologies, and how it can be relevant for us, or if it can fit with actual hardware capabilities. Artwise, it's easy to find an infinite amount of inspiration nowadays. I am trying not to focus only on videogames or CG art : photography, classic art,movies, sculpture, etc… There so much to look at ! Of course the other games, and all the indie game community, are a great source of inspiration as well.
Novedge: What is a recent project that you worked on?
Vincent Gault: With the engineering team, I mostly use 3ds Max, ZBrush and Photoshop. They are really powerful and well known softwares. 3ds Max is used at lot at UBISOFT. I like the fact that the scripting language is really powerful, and that it allows me to build interesting tools for the artists. While I don't consider myself as a good artist, I just love ZBrush and I do some scripting in it as well: this software has no limit, except the imagination of the artists. I am lucky enough to be in close contact with the Pixologic team, as I was one of the tech beta tester of the 4th version.
Novedge: How many people do you usually coordinate? What are the rewards and challenges of leading a team?
Vincent Gault: I don't directly lead people, but rather, the tech side of their job. It can vary from 3 to 10 people. I think the reward comes from the mutual respect you can build with a team: in order for people to follow my guidelines, and sometimes to accept making some concessions on their work, they have to trust me and to be sure that if I ask for these concessions, it's because the result will be better in the end. There is no real leadership, without a relationship based on mutual trust and respect.
Novedge: What innovations do you see in your field?
Vincent Gault: A lot! Optimizing the production pipeline, so the artist can focus on art rather than anything else is the final goal. Also, real time lighting and rendering, will be one field that will greatly improve in the coming years.
Novedge: What would you say to young people who want to work in the video game industry?
Vincent Gault: Be passionate about what you do, but stay open to any kind of art. Mastering your art is more important than the tools you are using. Go on the net and look at the best artists you can find. Train a lot, post your work online to receive feedback: it can be hard sometimes, but it's one of the best way to improve. Don't put only Orcs and Space Marines in your portfolio ;-) Show that you have your own style, but also that you are able to adapt to different kinds of art directions. Participate in a small game project: it may be one of the best and most relevant experiences for your portfolio. Between the indie and mobile market, it's now easier than never.
You can read Vincent's writing on his blog, in French, or follow him on Twitter and Google+.