Post #12 - Get to Know the Team - Erin Caswell

Hi all-

This week we are going to begin our new series - Get to Know the Team - Broom Cupboard style! Each segment will focus on a different member of Broom Cupboard Studios. To kick off, we'll be getting to know Erin. Erin is a 25 year old artist from Seattle. She specializes in 3D modeling but also does some fantastic 2D art for the team. Below, read her interview detailing about her background, schooling, and more. 

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To start off with, I'd love to know when you started becoming interested in the arts?

I was raised on animation; Disney, Warner Brothers, Dreamworks, Pixar, you name it. I have been interested in the arts since before I can remember, but it wasn’t until James Cameron’s Avatar came out and I stumbled upon an art book for it in Barnes & Noble that I realized creating these animated worlds was an actual career. 

" Chameleon House" -  modeled in Maya, shaded and rendered with Arnold

"Chameleon House" - modeled in Maya, shaded and rendered with Arnold

What was the first thing that you remember modeling? What about that part of the pipeline inspired you?

The first thing I modeled was a boat, at the University of Washington. It was extremely rudimentary and simple. Once I moved on to more complicated pieces like faces and bodies, I was blown away by the unbelievable power an artist has to create something out of nothing. I think the most inspiring thing about modeling is getting to take the incredible 2D concept art created by people more talented than me and trying to do it justice in 3D. I’m also a fairly detail oriented person, and there’s something about mesh and topology puzzles that’s super fun for me. 

I’d love to hear about your time at animschool. What did you like and not like about the school and who was your greatest inspiration while you were there? 

Animschool was an incredibly valuable experience. The thing I loved most was meeting the inspiring instructors, and getting the opportunity to interact with them and absorb as much of their knowledge as I could. All the teachers were amazing, but I’d have to say Juan Pablo Chen and Brien Hindman were both such talented, nice people. Even in their positions, they were both eager to learn new things and encouraged the sharing of knowledge between students. One of the things I disliked about the school was the larger than ideal class sizes. The larger the class, the less individual critique time you received, and classes would drag on for 4 or 5 hours sometimes so the instructors could get to everyone. This does, however, shed light on the instructors’ dedication to giving every student an equal amount of critique, even if class went far overtime. 

" Miguel" -  modeled in Zbrush, retopo in Maya, lit and rendered in Zbrush

"Miguel" - modeled in Zbrush, retopo in Maya, lit and rendered in Zbrush

Outside of animschool, you also worked for the University of Washington. What was that experience like? 

I worked for the Animation Capstone at UW for a total of 4 years, 1 as a TA and 3 as a staff member. Working at the capstone provided a unique opportunity for me to work with incoming students while simultaneously growing and advancing my own skills. I started there as a student in 2013, and then moved into TA and staff positions, giving me a lot of insight into how a program like that is run, from many perspectives. I was given the opportunity to contribute in various capacities to most areas of the 3D filmmaking pipeline including story, concept art and character design, 3D modeling, layout, lighting, rendering, and editing. I learned a lot during my time there, and worked with many incredible people.

You’re working for Broom Cupboard Studios at the moment – what is your favorite thing that you’ve done so far there and why?

The best thing about Broom Cupboard is that it’s full of awesome artists that are also awesome people, so anything we do is just friggin really fun. If I had to choose, I’d probably say creating pixel art for our next game has been a really fun learning experience for me. It’s something I’ve never done before, and it presents a lot of unique challenges.

"Mother and Child"  - Collaborative project. Little girl character model by Erin Caswell (modeled in Zbrush and Maya) all other 3D work by Amanda Cook, concept by Jason Kim.

"Mother and Child" - Collaborative project. Little girl character model by Erin Caswell (modeled in Zbrush and Maya) all other 3D work by Amanda Cook, concept by Jason Kim.

Broom Cupboard is a yearlong endeavor. Where do you see yourself after that has finished?

I would love to be working at a cool studio in Seattle! Working with cool people!

If you could work anywhere in the industry, where would you like to work and why? 

Pixar or Disney have always been the long term goal for me because of the quality of their work and the effect their movies had on me a child (and let’s be real, as an adult), but honestly as long as I’m working somewhere making fun things with fun people, that’s what matters most to me.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do? 

I enjoy a good hike, and a good beer post-hike. I’m always trying to find time to expand my movie knowledge library. I love reading and jigsaw puzzles. I spend time with my friends and family whenever I can. 

" Sun"  - Modeled, lit and rendered in Maya, Concept by Laia Lopez

"Sun" - Modeled, lit and rendered in Maya, Concept by Laia Lopez

Where can people find you, follow you, and generally take in all of the awesome that is you? 

Here are all of my socials, prepare to be fully underwhelmed:

Instagram: erinc3d

Website: https://erincaswell.weebly.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/erin-caswell/