Meet the Speaker: Josh Lynch

Meet the Speaker: Josh Lynch
December 10, 2018 CG Futures

MEET THE SPEAKER: JOSH LYNCH

Described as one of the most talented Substance Designer users out there, Josh is a senior environment artist with nearly a decade of experience in the video game industry. He has worked at some of the world’s leading studios including Monolith Productions, Red Storm Entertainment, Infinity Ward, and Sony Santa Monica. He is a skilled environment and prop artist, and now works in a material specialist role.

Q: You’ve worked on several Call of Duty, what is it like working on such a major IP? How do you stay fresh and creative within the confines of an established franchise?

A: It was incredibly exciting to work on such a major IP with a passionate fan base! When I was growing up I played a lot of Call of Duty, so to have a chance to contribute to the IP in any way was a truly humbling experience. Staying fresh and creative wasn’t as much of a challenge as one would think. Sure, there is the expectation of the “Call of Duty” experience, but each franchise and release bring something a little different. The Directors and Leads are all trying to create a fresh experience each time, and that passion finds its way down to the artists and designers on the floor. I find a lot of joy in getting concept art and reference sheets, and then getting to work with Level Designers to create a quality map.

Q: You’ve worked on a lot of 3rd Person action games (Definace/Shadow of War/Division 2)- what draws you to that style of game?

A: As much as I love shooters- and I really do love shooters, there is something about the 3rd Person camera in video games. Whether it’s an adventure game or a shooter, seeing the character actually sitting in the world allows the gamer to appreciate the experience that much more. In my opinion, it creates for a lot of great moments with reveals and camera positioning to create iconic moments for the viewer. Having the camera pulled back a bit is a plus, because you can go a little bit chunkier on the details.

 

Q: What games or mediums are you inspired by?

A: I find a lot of inspiration from TV shows, films, art books, and photography. Lately I have been more drawn to art books and photography for inspiration. I try to keep my collection with me at work and turn to them when I am needing a creative boost. There is something about finding a photograph that stops you in your tracks, and then starting to build out a story in your mind around it. Those are really cool moments!

Q: Are there go-to tools or resources for artists and creatives you’d recommend?

A: Outside of your typical modeling and game engine mentions like Maya/Modo/3DS Max or Unreal Engine 4/Unity tools like Marvelous Designer, Substance Designer/Painter, and ZBrush/3D Coat are all solid for 3D Art. I also like to use Marmoset Toolbag for baking textures and showcasing my work for my portfolio.
From a material/texture point of view, I frequent sites like Textures.com, Friendly Shade, and MegaScans as they are excellent resources and points of inspiration. I also like PhotoBash and Google Images.

Q: Tell us about the mentor collective? What inspired you to give back with Career Coaching?

A: “The Mentor Collective” is a group of AAA Developers from varying backgrounds and disciplines offering Mentorships to artists and designers of all experience levels and backgrounds. The things that inspire me to give back are sharing knowledge, helping people grow and reach their goals, and building relationships with people from around the world. A couple of years ago in the spring of 2016 I had put out some video tutorials on Gumroad that were well received by the community. Sharing knowledge that way felt really good, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was lacking, and that was a personal connection to the artists. I wanted to emulate the teaching and sharing environment that happens in the studio, while providing a custom-tailored learning experience for artists all over the world. Over the course of the next two years, I offered PBR Material Mentorships and started to grow a Discord community which has been very rewarding. After getting frequent questions from the community about other mentorships, I knew I wanted to grow this experience to something more than PBR Materials, so I reached out to other artists I knew who wanted to do Mentorships, and we decided to launch “The Mentor Collective“.

Q: What do you consider your key moments and influences over the years to be?

A: There are a few key moments in my career that stand out, the first of which was shipping the first game I worked on, 2XL Supercross on the App Store. It was great at the time because it was one of the first quality games you could download, and it was featured on Apple’s TV commercials- pretty surreal experience! Additionally, contributing to established/storied IPs such as Call of Duty and Lord of The Rings has been incredible. In the end, I think the biggest moments for me have been traveling and presenting at conferences or mentoring artists and watching them grow.
I am also incredibly thankful for the friendships I have made over the years. People who took the time to look out for, befriend, and mentor me have been instrumental in my career, and I am beyond thankful for those relationships. It’s been a wild ride and I am very proud of it all!

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