How Olubunmi John Designed Arch Vogue's Cover
We love showcasing talented designers to the KB3D community, so to help us introduce our new Arch Vogue kit, we asked Nigerian concept artist Olubunmi John to create the cover art you see above. Today, we’re fortunate enough to have Olubunmi join us to share some insights about his process.
KitBash3D: Before we get into how you created the cover, can you tell us how you got started in this industry?
Olubunmi: I started off drawing comic book strips as a kid in secondary school, and as I grew older my interest started shifting. At some point I dabbled a little bit in 3D and then I started practicing visual development for animation. Before I knew it, I shifted to concept art. (During this time, I always collected images from films, not knowing that's what I would really love to pursue). When I first saw the works of Dylan Cole and Steve Messing in early 2017, everything changed. I saw a shot that Cole did in Conan the Barbarian and knew immediately: this is what I want to do!
I have been practicing ever since, discovering more artists in the field, and freelancing for different clients from all over the world – focusing on concept art. I landed my first big opportunity earlier this year as a designer on a major show (which I am a fan of LOL), but unfortunately I can’t talk about it at the moment (NDA). I’m also still looking forward to more opportunities as a matte painter/environment generalist on cinematics and films.
My most memorable experience was taking feedback on that gig I landed early this year. It was surreal getting notes from a well-known artist I have looked up to since I started learning matte painting.
KitBash3D: Your hard work has paid off, and it's good to hear that your work is well received by the artists you look up to. And we’re glad it’s led you to us! Can you walk us through the process of creating the cover art for the Arch Vogue Kit?
Olubunmi: In the case of Arch Vogue, when I saw the kit, I knew exactly what I wanted to paint... a city by the sea. I started researching beautiful cities by the sea and gathered a boatload of images. I am really grateful to Darren Butler (KitBash3D’s Head of 3D) who suggested great references like Vancouver, which became my major reference for this project. I did two sketches suggesting layout, composition, and elements in the scene. Having lots of references, in my opinion, will save you a ton of headache when painting an image. After I had my references and composition sketch, I started to block my scene in 3D.
KitBash3D: What is the story or emotion you wanted to convey with this piece?
Olubunmi: Most of my inspiration is from the city of Vancouver! Everything looks orderly and well-structured and you can’t see any slums around, and the Arch Vogue kit just has the perfect buildings to recreate this scenario.
KitBash3D: Vancouver is a beautiful city. When they see the cover art, we hope Vancouverites are proud! (Fun fact, one of our staff is from Vancouver and he thanks Olubunmi and Darren for the Van City shout out!)
Olubunmi: After I did a rough 3D block to sketch over in Photoshop to share my composition idea with Darren, he fell in love with it immediately.
I started modeling the city base and added more buildings from the kit and adjusted the maps to have more detail. FYI, I have been a fan of Darren for a while, so I was really interested in having his input in this image. I asked him lots of questions and most of his suggestions helped shape the image!
I tried a different light scenario just to see something that could work better...
There was not much time to explore more then, so I went with the daylight and began to add details like trees, boats, and vehicles to bring the city to life.
After that, I rendered out important AOVs (volume fog emission, specular, puzzle mattes, etc.) using Redshift so as to have full control over each element in Photoshop, where I put it all together for the final render.
KitBash3D: It came out great! Before we go, why do you make art?
Olubunmi: I get my inspiration from films and cinematics – mostly films! I pay serious attention to film environments, especially establishment shots. I am from Nigeria and it's so hard to even get people to look at your work in the industry from here.There were lots of moments when I felt I would never have a chance because of my location. This made me doubt if being a matte painter can even be possible, but things have changed recently, and I am grateful for every big artist that gave me advice and encouraged me. Those guys are the reason I am still doing matte painting.
And don’t let me forget to mention… Lord Of The Rings is the number one reason I’m doing all this. I watch it over and over again, and I get back to work!
I love the art of filmmaking, and I am interested in directing short films in the future (I am a sucker for anthologies), so doing this is also preparing me for that big plan.You know, like Gareth Edwards and many more VFX artists that have made the jump.
KitBash3D: Thank you, Olubunmi, for taking the time to give us a glimpse in the life of a concept artist like yourself. Is there anything else you would like to mention to our community?
Olubunmi: I would love to mention artists that inspire me: Dylan Cole, Steven Messing, Steven Cormann, Sava Zivkovic, Darren Butler, Evan Butler, Nick Hiatt, Fausto de Martini, Mike Johnson, Anthony Efthekari, Masashi Imagawa, Micheal Breymann, and many more… And my homeboys in Nigeria who are killing it! John Zino, Segun Samson, Harrison Tombra, Godwin Akpan, and Ifesinachi.
About Olubunmi John
Olubunmi is a freelance concept designer residing in Lagos, Nigeria. He creates concept designs for animation and games. Please check out more of his work on Artstation and Instagram, and feel free to add him as a friend on Facebook.