Grant Abbitt is a Blender triple threat: a YouTuber, a freelance artist, and a teacher. Grant's YouTube channel focuses on Blender videos and is well-known for his hand-painted workflows.
Grant, how long has it been since you first opened Blender?
Probably around 22 years. Although I have been using it on and off during this time period.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I would say it’s very eclectic.
I try to have a go at everything -- so hard surface, organic, sculpted, hand painted… I think mainly, though, I prefer a combination of sculpting and hand-painted workflow.
Do you make a living with Blender, or do you do anything else for work as well?
I suppose I have 3 hats to my job description: a YouTuber, 3d freelancer, and teacher.
I teach at a local College “Suffolk One” and do a lot of freelance work and then fit in some YouTube videos every so often.
All of these use Blender -- so, yes, it is the main contributor to my income!
What do you think is the biggest pitfall for new users trying to learn Blender ?
Getting over-ambitious with their ideas.
It takes a long time to produce the models we are so used to seeing in films and in games. But it can get very demotivating to fail in making these.
It's much better to work with low poly objects when starting out and build from there.
Are you a right or left click selector?
Left-click all the way!
I think when you are teaching newcomers to the program, especially young people who may have less patience, right-click can be just another hurdle in an already tough learning process.
You have a knack for hand-painted game art. Did certain games inspire you to create in this style?
I get my inspiration from all sources and really enjoy trying to achieve a stylized look.
It’s difficult to pinpoint which games had the main influence as they all borrow from each other.
I do think the World of Warcraft style and Blizzard was a big influence for me.
But, of course, there are lots of amazing artists out there who have really inspired me.
What's your favorite feature in Blender 2.8? And the least favorite?
The new sculpting features are very exciting -- and Eevee, of course!
Such huge jumps in Blender evolution are really amazing to see.
I think we need a little more in terms of texturing and baking to match up to something like Substance Painter. Also, the texture painting tools still need some work in places.
You use both Photoshop and Krita for texturing. In which situations would you choose one over the other?
Ideally, Iwould use Krita all the time.
That's mainly because it’s free and the more people use it, the more support it getss. I love that free software enables everybody to be an artist -- not just those who can afford it.
Unfortunately, I end up using Photoshop because that’s what I have to use when teaching, so I feel like I have to keep that skill alive to be able to teach it well.
Are there any other tools you like to use alongside Blender?
Actually -- not really!
My YouTube channel is focused on Blender, so I try and do most things in there. I do use Unity every now and again and I also use Premier for editing my videos.
I've used After Effects for compositing, because I do feel that Blender still has a long way to go in this area. Especially when it comes to simplicity and quick results.
Is there an area of computer graphics that you find particularly challenging?
Yes -- all of it!
I’ve been doing this for a fair few years but still find the process very challenging...and also very rewarding.
It never really gets dull.
I still have so much to learn. And even though some see me as an expert in things like hand-painting, I know I have a very long way to go.
And finally...where do you see the future of Blender?
I really see a massive future for Blender.
If we look at the growth in downloads, it's had a very big jump and the development of the programme from Blender 2.8 onwards has been extremely important and an excellent move in the right direction.
The developers are looking at the rest of the industry and trying to become more “inline” and compatible.
That means more studios will be moving to Blender, which will, in turn, bring more beginners in as they see it more within industry.
The development is so focused on improving and innovating, it's just amazing!