One of the biggest challenges for video game artists is breaking into the industry. Like many graduating art students, Michael Lomibao was eager to begin a career in the competitive field. He quickly learned that you need more than a good reel to get a company’s attention.
“You're so excited and maybe overly confident when you get your portfolio or reel together and think you're just gonna get into a studio just like that if you apply to as many places as you can think of,” said Lomibao. “Since LA is such a melting pot for artists, and people in general, you shouldn't be disappointed if you get many rejections at first. You learn that everyone does and you just have to be persistent and confident in your ability. Sounds cheesy, but it's true.”
Today Lomibao is a senior environment artist at Treyarch, owned by Activision. While working at Treyarch, Lomibao has worked on art for environments in Spiderman 3 and vehicles for James Bond: Quantum of Solace. He is currently working on a yet-to-be announced title.
“I am grateful for the fact that I get to make games for a living,” Lomibao said. “My biggest accomplishment is being able to create art, whether it's 2D or 3D, as a full-time job.”
As an environment artist, Lomibao creates game assets, which includes everything from building props, such as weapons, vehicles, foliage or furniture, to creating textures for floors, walls, terrain or skies. He uses the 3D software, Maya, to make the models and then textures them using Photoshop.
“CCS prepared me by teaching the fundamentals of a traditional artist,” explained Lomibao. “Drawing, color and composition were the most important skills that I learned from my instructors. They are still very important to me and I am still developing them to this day. Even though we have all these new tools, like Maya, 3D Studio Max, Photoshop and ZBrush, in this day and age, they are still just that, tools.”
Lomibao began his career as a concept artist for a small game developer called Prolific. He designed the props, characters and environments used in Obee, a game created for the Nintendo 64. Then he moved on to another studio in Santa Monica called Black Ops Entertainment, where he worked as a user interface artist on Terminator 3, X-Files and Fugitive Hunter. Eventually, he was hired by another studio, Genuine Games in Woodland Hills, as a 3D artist for 50 Cent: Bulletproof.
Activision hired Lomibao as an interface artist on True Crime: New York City for one of their developers, Luxoflux in Santa Monica. After that game, he transferred to Treyarch, Activision’s other Santa Monica development studio.
“My long-term goal is to become a lead artist, and eventually art director or creative director,” said Lomibao. “Eventually it’d be nice to start my own studio, and then sell it off to a publisher like Activision.”
Outside of work, Lomibao does illustration. For the past three years he has been part of the “I-am-8-Bit" show in Los Angeles.
“It's LA's biggest art show that's dedicated to all the old school video games like Pac-Man, Mario Bros, Q-Bert, Pitfall and many many more,” he said. Visit http://www.iam8bit.net/ for more information.
- Graphic Design
- Treyarch (Santa Monica, California)
- Senior Environment Artist