Marco Plouffe’s Campus Visit

The date is March 11th, a Monday. While I would normally be feeling the Monday blues of sorts, today was different. I awoke excited because of one thing: Marco Plouffe, a well-established and successful 3D character artist, was coming to talk to us during our 3D character development class in Montreal. After working at THQ for a short time, he was hired at Bioware to work on the Mass Effect game series.

He began his talk by showing off a timeline of a bit of his work from before he went to school till now. It was amazing to see how he improved within a short time span. Marco’s program of choice is Zbrush which is a very hands-on application. Artists use tablets to sculpt models, much like someone would do with clay. Often times, however, Zbrush models are more organic due to the sculpt-type nature of the program. Marco is able to create both softer, organic looking models and hard surface mechanical types, as well. This is a skill that not many artists in the industry have and was one everyone in class was intrigued to learn more about.

After telling us his experiences in and out of the gaming industry, Marco shared some of his knowledge about hard surface modeling with us. He showed us quick steps for creating masterful and clean cut pieces of art within Zbrush. I think the best part was seeing everyone’s faces as he demonstrated his talent and abilities. Marco left us with not only a great impression of his work and methods but with the motivation to keep working hard. We saw in front of us what hard work and dedication can bring and how fulfilling it feels to be a successful game artist. I hope to meet up with Marco sometime in the future to swap stories and perhaps to even learn more of his techniques. As for now, I will be using what I learned from him to expand my own portfolio. To learn more about Marco visit his website at

– Written by Brandon Kovler, Game Art and Animation major, Spring 2013