Dennis Batol, a Senior Character Artist at All Pixels, gets the Streamline Spotlight to talk about his portfolio, video games experience, and role as a mentor.
Can you introduce yourself and your role at All Pixels?
I’m Dennis Batol, a Senior Character Artist. I’ve been with Streamline since March 2016. Some of the projects I worked on include Marvel VS Capcom: Infinite, Street Fighter V, Torchlight III, and Little Nightmares II.
Can you briefly explain what a Senior Character Artist does? What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
The core of my role is to spearhead projects and figure out how to make the work easier for the team. I coordinate with Project Managers and our Art Director to make sure we meet project quality standards and deadlines whether I’m working with midlevel artists or juniors. This includes assigning the right people to the right roles, training and guiding the artists, and making sure our workflow is efficient and up to date.
What was the most memorable title you have worked on and why?
This will sound cheesy but all projects I worked on in Streamline have some awesome memories and stories behind them. Some titles were dear to me even before I could imagine making a career in games. I played Street Fighter II in the arcades growing up then later the original Marvel Vs Capcom then at the height of my arcade addiction, Street Fighter III: Third Strike. I had fun with the original Torchlight too when it came out.
Some projects required distinct looks and technical standards that we couldn’t deviate much from like Street Fighter V while on other projects, we had more artistic input and freedom such as Little Nightmares II and Torchlight III.
It’s not all fun and games though. Some weeks it felt like cruising but on the other side of these same projects, issues came up and the whole team just had to sort it out. These projects pushed me as a person and as an artist to my limits several times, but I think it’s just a cycle we have to go through in order to keep improving. I learned a ton from them and I keep learning but most precious for me other than the experience are the friends I made along the way. Also, when the projects finally get released, we see our work and how fans react to them which makes me feel like a very proud father. I remember yelling “Stop killing me, I’m your dad!” whenever the Hunter and the Bullies from Little Nightmares II killed me in-game. I also did other monsters in that game but I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t played it yet.
What is the most rewarding part of the job of being a senior artist, and why?
Imparting my knowledge and experience to younger artists. I hope they find the same joy I found in 3D. Also, looking forward can be daunting when you see awesome works by artists you look up to and realize how much more work and learning your need to do to get there. Teaching younger artists however makes you look back and realize how far you’ve traveled since you first began learning.
What is your least favorite part of the job of being a senior artist, and why?
Paperwork. Writing documentation, reports, reviews. Anything not directly involving 3D.
What keeps you going despite the challenges?
I just love 3D. It’s the media where I can truly express and push myself creatively.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to be part of the All Pixels team?
Learning fundamentals of art should be the primary foundation of your skillset, not knowledge of the software. 3D programs are awesome and they help speed up the creative process but they won’t do your job for you. To be a successful character artist, you have to learn and keep learning anatomy, shapes, and forms, drapery and clothing, lights, and colors.
For more information on our character art visit our case studies.