The best things happen by chance. Jay Forth's story fits this very well.
Having started out in a sales environment, Jay's creative spirit soon became interested in the way video games were made. After toying around with a few editors with pre-made assets, Jay quickly realised he had to create his own models and textures for his games to look different. That was the beginning of a much creative journey, one that started changing Jay's life over 10 years ago.
Jason now specialises in a range of different design disciplines, from 3D modelling to texturing and motion graphics. In this Member Spotlight, we are learning more about Jay and his unique, "edgy/photo-realistic" creative style.
How did you get into the industry?
I was interested in how video games worked and happened across an old piece of software called FPSC (First Person Shooter Creator); which allowed me to create my own First Person games with no coding experience. This software came with some pre-made assets to use which was great at first, but I quickly learnt; in order for my games to look different, I will need to create my own art assets. That is where my journey began.
At first, I was changing parts of model textures, next, I was creating my own textures from scratch, then I started to make my own models with my own textures. From there, I wanted to show my creations off to the world, so I needed to learn how to edit video, which lead me down the path of needing to learn motion graphics in order to up my video game. After that, I needed to get my game online, so I had to learn website design and development! Everything has stemmed from me wanting to know how video games worked!
Where are you based now and who do you work for?
I am based in Preston, Lancashire in the UK and I run my own design agency, working for myself and my awesome clients.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
I would more than likely be in a sales job on the phone, selling direct to customers, as that’s what I did before my love for design kicked off.
Can you explain your creative process?
My process is much like other people's. I gather resources and as much inspiration as possible, before starting. Then, I go to the block out stage and make sure all the elements that I am creating will be a good composition. After that, I start to finesse the block into more finely tuned assets, while keeping the silhouette as good as I can. Then I move onto the finer details such as text, screws, greebles etc. After I am happy with all the assets, I will move onto creating the materials for each piece. Once happy with those, I refine the lighting in the scene and start firing off test renders, changing things as I go until I arrive at something I am happy with.
How would you describe your style?
My style is on the edgy/ dark photo-realistic side. I like to keep things looing as real as possible, while putting them in unrealistic poses or positions. The juxtaposition makes for a striking image.
Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
Wow, there are quite a few. I am amazed by Beeples determination to create a new piece everyday and they are usually quite detailed. I’m not a huge fan of all the works as some are just a bit too obscure for me. Andrew Price is obviously a legend for all the work he does with the Blender community. There is an artist called Rowena Frenzel https://www.instagram.com/rowcat/ and she is a truly amazing creature artist!
If you had to pick one ideal client/employer, who would that be and why?
I would love to work with some tech companies, like Razer, Zotac, Alienware and other gaming brands, as I love creating art for their products, if I had to choose one, it would more than likely be D-Brand as I would be able to work with a wide range of products and their customer service is something of a marvel!
How has technology affected the way you work?
Technology has a huge impact on how I work! I started out on a normal office-centric laptop, watching it struggle every time I moved anything. Everytime I upgrade, I find myself learning more as I am no longer fighting against the limitations of my hardware, but instead, fighting against the limitations of my ability, which in turn forces me to grow.
What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?
Like many artists, I struggle sometimes to find inspiration and I have my down days. I guess, the thing that gets me most motivated is the work that I do. If I am on a ‘normal’, ‘run-of-the-mill’ project that doesn’t challenge me, I think to myself, how can I make this more exciting? I obviously have to stick within the client’s brief - which is the challenge – and this forces me to learn something new.
What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?
The piece of work I am most proud of was singlehandedly creating, developing and releasing my own video game on multiple platforms. Most artists have work they are proud of and can show people, but it’s not very often we can show our friends and family the work we have created and they can then interact with it in their own way. Watching my kids play my game was such a proud moment of mine.
How do you recharge away from the office?
I don’t leave the office, I simply turn off my creative software, fire up a game and jump online with some friends. I also choose to become increasing more annoyed while walking around a field carrying sticks…..some people call this golf.
What is one tip for other aspiring creatives looking for work?
Lots of tips come to mind, but when you are first starting out and looking for clients, they will want to see something that you have created. At this point, you more than likely, haven’t had a great deal of previous clients, so won’t have much to show them. This is where, you choose a product or topic that you enjoy, make up a fake company and create a whole heap of assets for them, as though they were a real client. This will help pad out your portfolio until you have some real client work to replace it.
What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?
I would make it industry standard that artists were treated like all other professions, whereas, they are paid fairly, on time and not bartered with on price. I don’t argue or haggle with the guy that fixes my car and I pay as soon as he is finished. Why is the design world different?!
Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?
Websites that I like to browse for inspiration would be Reddit and Instagram. I have always told people, unfollow all these influencers and start following more artists and your outlook on life will change dramatically. There are some amazingly talented people in this world that share their works for free on social media.
Books are not something I tend to read often (I know I should), but I am subscribed to 3D World magazine and it’s always been a dream of mine to have some of my work featured in there one day!
Resources, I would say Gleb Alexandrov on youtube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVA3cYOgsTN4hs3v7pjne7w is a great place to start for slightly beyond beginner tutorials.