Today we had the pleasure to interview Akihiko Yoshida, CyDesignation Director and Art Director. Akihiko Yoshida has worked as a character designer for Granblue Fantasy and Lost Order. We asked him about what kind of atmosphere is prevailing inside the company, but we also talked about his creative philosophy.
Well, we worked with the character design and background design for Cygames Granblue Fantasy. Other notable titles are Rage of Bahamut, Shadowverse, Little Noah... Currently, we are involved in the creation of Lost Order, which is a pretty huge project.
|Hideo Minaba, Ryosuke Aiba, Atsushi Kawasaki and I are the four CyDesignation directors, but we also work as art directors and character designers. Under us, there's Sotaro Hori, who is in charge of Granblue Fantasy background design, and designer Yuya Nagai, who you interviewed in your past DESKWATCH issue. There's also another creator, Ryuji Ohara. We are the representatives of the next generation of creators.|
I was a monster designer, and at the time you wouldn't just pass on your designs to a pixel artist: you had to be the pixel artist. For this reason, I was both a character designer and a pixel artist.
In the next title, Vagrant Story, I was working with both the art design and the machine itself. You know, you end up getting bored when you only draw all the time... After all, I entered this world as a graphic designer - it's only natural that I like working with the in-game screens and such. In Vagrant Story, I supervised the background models, tweaked the polygonal models myself and created and adjusted textures.
I supervised the background models in Final Fantasy XII as well. It was only for a short period of the development period that I was dealing with character design and illustrations.
However, due to technological process, the amount of work increased steadily. When I stopped, it was the age of the PlayStation 3, and I didn't deal with the game machine at all. It was too much work, and if you did anything wrong the whole game could collapse under your own hands. An ex-pixel artist like me couldn't compare with those working in the 3D world back then...
Everyone is always drawing in silent, so the company is often very quiet. However, since it's not a huge company, the atmosphere is always very nice and relaxed. We're on the same floor as Cygames, so sometimes we have the chance to work with other creators. It's a beautiful occasion to get inspiration and find the motivation to work even harder.
When it comes to tablets, you can choose whatever you like. Regular pen tablets, LCD tablets, their size... You can make your screen into a dual-monitor if it's your cup of tea. Some people also have three monitors!
Of course, you can also choose whichever software is most comfortable to you.
Photoshop, Painter, CLIP STUDIO PAINT, SAI... Whatever you like!
There also are some system management experts regarding the maintenance of the equipment, so you don't need to worry about it at all. Since the equipment is always kept in perfect condition, even those who aren't very good with computers can relax and only think about drawing.
Of course, you should be familiar with the basic drawing skills, color theory and so on... But the most important thing for us is to find someone who really enjoys drawing. I personally feel that if you really like doing something, it won't take long before you become a pro.
By the way, I'm the opposite. Rather than drawing, I prefer looking at my favorite works by other artists... And I have a feeling that makes me better, as well.
Also, I used to buy many overseas fashion magazines from secondhand bookstores and use them as a reference for costume design.
We may promote one project with a team formed by veterans, middle-ranked and youngsters, and if some new guy is the best choice for character design, we might leave it up to him or her.
For this reason, we're not only looking for 2D artists. We are ready to welcome 3D artists, programmers and so on - as long as they're suited for our projects. If you're good at one of these things, you should consider applying!
[World Premiere] An exclusive illustration by Akihiko Yoshida!
He drew a 1 hour illustration just for us, and we condensed it into a 10 minutes video!!
The tension was so high that the entire staff almost forgot to breathe to the skillful artist brilliantly working his brush.
The sticky note you can see at the end of the video is by Yuya Nagai, by the way. This workplace looks like a lot of fun indeed.
If you want to try and work together with Yoshida, please fill out the form above!!