1. What do you do on a typical day?
Tried to workout at least once or twice a week in the morning, I usually walk or ride scooter to work. 8:30-9:00 is when I get to work. Then I usually pick up what I need to get done and what's due on that day. I have usually guests visiting our studio during lunch, meeting them and usually afternoon goes really fast. I go home around 8:00pm and I usually cook for us. (me and Lili) then before I sleep- I watch a movie or documentary downloaded on my computer or apple TV. Also I have to walk out my dogs. Forgot to mention- I usually go grab pints or a bottle of soju with KBBQ at least couple times a week.
2. What’s your favorite part of your job?
Every projects are different and have different client, different deadline. So everything is extremely different and we have very organic way of approaching these assignments. It's hard to predict or plan out the process and it's really rewarding when clients are satisfied with our work. I am a multi-tasking person so I like working on muitiple projects on different phases. Going back and forth between comp sketches and rendering of matte paintings could be one example and it's working well with me and our team.
3. At your job, do you feel you have the freedom that artists need to be the individual they are? Why or why not? (meaning do you get to show your own talents or is conformity involved)
In some extend- again, it really has to do with clients, some clients throw you a sandbox that you can play with, some clients give you 3D screenshots that you just need to dress the scene with specific texture codes. However it is really up to each artists to figure out how to achieve the end results. Not everyone can be good at everything and usually when someone is good at one thing, they have specific visual style that he is known for. As an artist, it's important to be truthful to their own style however it's also important to be flexible so that they can be adapted in a wider range of projects. After all, it's important to have a good balance and willing to learn new things all the time so eventually the person can have experiences in different genres and areas in production. That pays off a long way.
4. If you could work for any company, which company and why?
I have been with Sony over 11 years and I don't think it's going to be easy to develop a similar history of relationship with team members from now on. Not necessarily it's the length of time that I was with Sony, more like what I went through as a young artist during the employment with Sony is something can't be replaced with. Now at my age and time of my career, I rather be available to more teaching opportunities and different projects. That's basically why I started Section Studios (www.sectionstudios.com) with Justin Yun and I think I made a right choice.
5.What has been your favorite project so far and why?
Definitely Final fantasy IX and God of War series. FF IX was almost a dream project for a rookie concept artist. Not even that- I was working with majority with Japanese Square Team on daily basis. It was only 7 years after I left Korea, so I was able to connect with them in psychological and cultural level even though we both didn't understand each others languages. Learned a lot -seeing how organized the franchise was and I felt appreciated from them throughout the project gave me an opportunity to make a transition from a student to a professional worker. God of war -in the other hand was a complete different set up. Small team and it was brand new IP that no one knew of, even ourselves :) So figuring out the game itself put us through extremely challenging creative environment. Building something from ground up- is truly worthwhile and our industry respects that.
6.What do you feel is becoming the future of the gaming world?
We (game developers) are already in the very forthfront of technology in terms of visual presentation and using different peripherals to experiment new interactive experiences. Games will be always used as a demonstration benchmark medium when it comes to next-gen visual. It will be attracting talents from different areas continuously. Writers, fine artists, cinematographers, even established filmmakers will be invited to expand their creative horizon. I think eventually it will provide more examples of collaboration projects and audiences will be challenged by intellectual entertainment experiments whether it's a puzzle game or a sound synch game.
Interviewed by tony diablo pimp d dallavalle