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Conversations with Walter Carter

Today we’d like to introduce you to Walter Carter.

Hi Walter, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
At 13, I told my Aunt I wanted to make RPG’s. At 19, I was working at a PC software entertainment company named Microprose in Hunt Valley, MD, testing games… dropped out of CCBC. When I got a full-time job there in the art dept painting airplane cockpits of bombers. Management almost killed me but I damn near lived there and was pretty good for a snot nose so they let it go and let me be/work and get better. MPS bread and butter was flight and combat sim stuff… they dabbled in sports from time to time or pet projects seniors had proved worthy and trusted to make/deliver. It wasn’t the Atari landfill days as MPS main audience was PC circa mid eighty to late 90’s.

At 21, I was working in the MPS art department making prototype 3d football games for Sega Saturn and PC. At 24, I left MPS to work for a division of Disney interactive named OT sports. Oddly enough, during a break from games (code for getting laid off… nod wink.) I went back to school… only to become an adjunct professor for introduction to 3D and animation class. I still didn’t graduate BTW, but I was pretty good at what I did and they couldn’t find anyone else better LOL a true example of the best of the worst maybe? I mean, they did try, but I kept getting really good review marks from the students… these days I still work as an adjunct prof but now at University of Baltimore.

At 26, I worked with a group of great folks from out of DC and Laurel MD to from digital addiction a virtual collectable card game company where we made a trading card game named Sanctum. Nowadays, I look at NFTs and feel like we were 20 years too far ahead, go figure. So much so that electronic Arts paid us a little over 250K to make an MLB baseball card game version of our CCG… it never came to market because they felt there was no market for it… SMH.

After Digital addiction, I went to Electronic Arts and worked in the creative services division for a bit before coming back to Baltimore for good. At 30, I finally settled down at a company titled Breakaway games and had tenure there for 18 years got to work on so much stuff, from pirate ships to medical animations we did it all there, two years ago, Trevor Pryce of the Ravens gave me a call and asked me to come help him make his 3d feature film Kulipari army of frogs. Fwd two years and now we have three shows in production a VR unit and a budding CG / VFX studio in the midst of a rebuilding east Baltimore. We’re looking to make east b-more the east coast version of industrial light and magic. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Hell no, it’s art… extreme highs and crashing lows. Your work is subjective and scrutinized to a level where you’d want to take a shower at times… BUT!! Some love it some hate it… some thrive on it, and some thought I got the gigs because I was black, but that sentiment didn’t last long. I just knew more about 3ds max than most folks did and cultivating relationships is KEY to anyone. We learn and get better and the ride gets better. For Me? I suffer from all sorts of stuff impostor syndrome, an extremely sedimentary lifestyle because you live in front of a PC screen.

At 24, I lost over 100 lbs by running and converting my eating habits. The software is always evolving and when you stop learning, you stop getting gigs I’ve had to reinvent myself twice carer wise and yet its Still in entertainment software. Oddly enough you get rusty and lose/forget techniques and have spells of “bad work” we call this the valley of the suck, but you have to work your way out of it. There is no cheat.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
3d modeling and sculpture with a lean towards science fiction-based characters and worlds. I love robots and mecha. My producers say they put me up because I’m fast and know the ins/outs of tools like 3ds max zbrush and game engines like unreal engine extremely well.

Unreal engine https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/
Zbrush https://www.zbrushcentral.com/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yKGfcp2z3k
3ds max https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OefBo-WZCwk
Maya https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYQ98Q5UmNo

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs or other resources you think our readers should check out?
Bridgman’s guide to anatomy, comic books, Frank Frazetta, Frank Quietly, Geof Darrow art books, a library of art books and other reference files including DVDs and saved PC images from art blogs like concept art, org or Z brush central.

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