Recently we caught up with animation graduate Ben Retter who has been keeping busy creating some amazing things for the game Dota 2, and sharing his art knowledge internationally.
Please tell us a little bit more about yourself, and what you do.
I create items for the game Dota 2 for a living under the name "BrontoThunder" which is a name I shamelessly stole from an 80's cartoon 'Dinosaucers'.At the moment I'm making cosmetic items for Dota 2 and just this week Valve released the custom map tools for Dota 2 so I definitely would be interested in continuing making further mods for Dota 2 in the near future.
How did AIE help you get to where you are today?
I was one of the first batches of people to graduate from AIE Sydney - it was definitely a lot different than I see it is now, it was much smaller back then.
I did the Advanced Diploma of Game Development (Game Art & Animation) and that taught me the basics of 3D art (as I had never touched a program like Maya before). I had been drawing all my life and have always been artistic but the digital 3D space of art was entirely new to me. It gave me the basics of what I use in my work every day and gave me the drive to learn more and improve and better myself.
Do you have any advice for future graduates?
My advice for future graduates would be to never stop working. If you limit yourself to just working within the 9am to 5pm boundaries which the school offers you will fall behind. Every night go home and work. Work every weekend even if it's just a little and even if you don't know what you're working towards.
This is one of the hardest businesses to get into and that's made especially harder by living in Australia where the opportunities may sometimes be challenging so if you're not pushing yourself to stand-out from the crowd then you may not make it. I think only a few (including myself) out of a class of thirty or so are actually currently working making games - and that's because we all lived and breathed videogames and art.
Every day you're not working on your craft someone else is.
You recently attended the International Dota 2 Championships in Seattle, tell us a little bit more about what you did while you were there.
My trip to the International Dota 2 Championships in Seattle was mostly to catch up with my online friends and watch some Dota games live as well. While I was there I delivered an hour long presentation working in Zbrush which was live-streamed on Twitch at the time.