New Featured Artist Interview: Peter Minister
Peter Minister admits that he is: “that guy who does dinosaurs,” but this British CG artist is much more than that. Peter has been published in over 40 publications and even has his own IMDb page. This veteran of the special effects world has had to adapt and sculpt himself to the changing environment while bringing along his dinosaurs.
Digital-Tutors: Thanks for taking time to talk with us! Let’s start with what are you are currently working on? Peter Minister: No problem, I feel a little like I’m stuck in a prehistoric rut at the moment, modeling lots of dinosaurs for a couple of projects, one for print and the other for animation. I shouldn’t complain as it was always my ambition to make dinosaurs, so to pay the rent by doing this is a blessing. Digital-Tutors: How did you get started in the industry? Peter Minister: I sort of had to get in the industry. I had no choice really. I spent the best part of 20 years as a special effects model maker making models, props and special effect---lots of full size dinosaurs in glass fiber for museums. Years back I was asked to quote on sculpting maquettes that were to be scanned for a TV program on the BBC. I didn’t get the job and the program turned out to be Walking with Dinosaurs. The work started to thin out after that as CG was the way to go. I became quite disillusioned around that time and actually took a job as a bus driver for a couple of years. That was sort of a sabbatical and it helped me focus my resolve as to what I should be doing. A friend of mine sent me a link to the trial version of Zbrush 2 and I was hooked. I’ve never looked back. Digital-Tutors: Was this something you knew you wanted to do since you were young? Peter Minister: Like lots of people, I was inspired by the work of Ray Harryhousen’s stop motion movies. I spent most of my young life sculpting plasticine dinosaurs on the kitchen table. What I do now is just an extension of what I did as a kid. Digital-Tutors: Why does sculpting appeal to you? Peter Minister: Sculpting in my view is completely different to modeling. I believe sculpting is something someone is blessed with as an ability. It’s a desire to accurately shape form and mass. I don’t think I’ve peaked yet. That’s why I love the digital medium. It lets you develop and grow. Digital-Tutors: What’s the best part of what you do? Peter Minister: The best part is looking at something you put hours of work into and seeing it again the day after and thinking, “did I do that?” Digital-Tutors: What is the most difficult part? Peter Minister: Technical innovations throw me massively as I’m dyslexic and I depend on a good video tutorial to help me take baby steps to learn. It’s something I would think I like to demonstrate in my Digital-Tutors videos. I learned the basics from Digital-Tutors and I still keep on learning from them. Digital-Tutors: In what way has Digital-Tutors affected your career as an artist? Peter Minister: I owe a huge debt of thanks to Digital-Tutors. I forced myself to diligently follow all of the early Zbrush tutorials to completion. Digital-Tutors: What was your favorite project you have worked on? What software did you use? Peter Minister: My favorite project is the one I’m working on right now and rather annoyingly, I can’t mention it yet. It involves dinosaurs, dinosaurs with LOTS of feathers. Digital-Tutors: What has been the most defining moment thus far in your career as a CG artist? Peter Minister: This is a difficult one. I’ve done so many projects through and for other artists and it’s only over the past few years that I have received full credit for my input on a number of dinosaur publications. Digital-Tutors: How do you continue to grow as an artist? Peter Minister: You have to be passionate about what you do. I’m often pigeon holed as that guy who does dinosaurs…and I don’t mind. Do what you do as well as you are able and if possible, keep raising the bar. Digital-Tutors: If you weren’t an artist what would you being doing? Peter Minister: Driving a bus…I was a good bus driver. Digital-Tutors: What advice do you have for young artists trying to get into the industry? Peter Minister: Keep practicing your craft. Don’t ever get disillusioned. You’re trying to get into an industry full of generous and helpful people. Digital-Tutors: Where do you see yourself and your art going next? Peter Minister: I would like to see my art keep going in the direction I’m taking. I’m in a good groove at the moment and it’s been a really good experience to share my techniques and methods on Digital-Tutors. Digital-Tutors: Thanks for your time. Any last things you’d like to share with the world? Peter Minister: Eat less meat To see more of Peter's work check out his resume and portfolio - and learn with Peter in his four Digital-Tutors courses.
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