Just a few years back, video games started earning recognition for their role in the synergistic appeal of popular films—but not much more than other subsidiary products such as t-shirts and action figures. Over time games have taken on a life of their own, sometimes creating more buzz than the films they represent.
Kevin Chin has contributed to several video games based on the major blockbuster films and most-watched television shows, including “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow (LOJS)” and “Sopranos: Road to Respect.”
“With each project, I gradually learned more and more about not only the game industry but the ‘movie’ game industry and its limited production time, which can sometimes be challenging,” said Chin. “My position is very hands on with the concept art done for all of the games, from characters and environments to storyboarding cutscenes and scripting cinematic camera angles. I am in the thick of it as they say!”
As a concept artist, Chin creates the artwork that 3-D artists use to model their ingame assets and determine the right normal mapping (a texturing technique) and specularity effect (the shine of materials on objects). He begins his design process by first considering the composition and shape of the characters since, he said, this is what captures the eye first.
Chin’s latest game, “Fun Park,” releases for the Nintendo Wii and DS systems in October 2008. He describes it as a role-playing game of sorts within the concept of a carnival theme park.
“It’s the first original intellectual property I've worked on at 7 Studios, and I'm quite fond of how it is turning out,” explained Chin. “Working on an original game is definitely a fulfilling experience since almost everything needed to be designed. There's also another game that I'm working on that should be announced relatively soon— so be on the look out for that too!”
The artist’s journey into the video game/entertainment industry began toward the end of his junior year in the illustration program.
“I discovered the entertainment industry was an available job field for my skills and interests,” Chin said. “I had befriended a few talented upper classmates determined to break into the entertainment industry and followed suit.
“We knew we would need to expand our knowledge and skills in areas outside of traditional illustration, so we took additional courses in industrial design and animation. My classmates, along with instructors such as Mike Mikos, Dave Chow, and Ben Ridgway, gave me invaluable advice and insight on what to expect in the industry.
“Alumni Marc Gabbana and Jay Shuster, both working in Hollywood as film concept artists, also made return visits to give presentations of their work. Learning from their experiences really helped guide those of us pursuing this profession.”
When Chin is not busy designing artwork for 7 Studios, he freelances as a concept illustrator. He has created images for the "World of Warcraft Collectible Card Game" by Upper Deck and Fantasy Flight Games. He often posts his personal art on digital art forums conceptart.org and cgtalk.
Recently, Chin’s work was accepted for publication in Ballistic Publishing’s “Exotique 3: The World’s Most Beautiful CG Characters,” scheduled for release in fall/winter 2007.
- Graduation Year: 2004
- Major: Illustration
- Employer: 7 Studios
- Title: Concept Artist
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