the time he was at university he began to work with Evolve Software,
an internet based game development company that began life by
creating the Quake deathmatch mod, Pain Keep, and then went on
to create the commercial (though, unofficial) Quake 2 mission
pack, Zaero, and also an official mission pack for the
groundbreaking action-strategy game, Battlezone.
on a range of tasks for Zaero originally, such as textures,
skins, and monster concept art, but found it increasingly difficult
to work on Zaero while also trying to keep up with the
continually growing requirements of his schooling. "What's
mine in the final product is actually quite little. Just a couple
monster designs and a few textures."
A fan pic of Elexis from Ritual Entertainment's
work for Evolve was cut completely when, at the end of his university
course, another opportunity presented itself: a fulltime position
at Valve Entertainment. Valve had loved the work he had done for
Half-Life and had subsequently offered him fulltime work,
an offer that didn't need to be asked twice, especially considering
the incredible (and well deserved) public response that Half-Life
has been working at Valve now for 9 months, tasked with creating
"promotional artwork, logo treatments and things like that"
for their near-complete (and highly anticipated) multiplayer game,
Team Fortress 2.
having a real great time here; it's laid back, the people are
friendly, and the kitchen is always stocked."
differences he's found between magazine artwork and game artwork;
approach is different in that, for [magazine] covers, there is
a specific subject matter that needs to be shown, and most of
the time there was a pretty clear idea in the magazine art directors
mind what he want. In game design, there is more freedom to create
things that you think would look cool (with the art direction
Dhabih's first experiment with a new painting
continues to create big, adventurous images, for both commercial
(magazine) uses and just for the fun of it. Just recently, one
of his oldest fan-pictures, an alien from Half-Life no
less, was touched up and used for the cover of Game Developer
Magazine, creating some sort of strangely unnatural cycle in the
way his professional career has stemmed from what was originally
a hobby, and then looped back on its self.
web site, http://www.sijun.com
has been a big draw card over the several years he's had it running,
due originally to the artwork, tutorials and the short lived CelebMorf
series (Warning: seriously
freaky stuff!). But more recently the hits have been mounting
up for the message boards he's been running for a few months,
particularly the one devoted to digital art that draws a crowd
of digital artists from all walks of life (at last count it had
more than 240 registered users).
to digital art recently went through a major rethink (a TechniqueMorf?);
gone are the days of beginning an image with an outline, and in
comes an approach based around shapes and forms;
used to start with line drawings colored in flatly, and then I
shaded each individual area [..] this way had a more cartoony
feel to it. Now I treat the screen as a canvas, like oil painting;
putting in large shapes of color and light and then going through
to better define shapes."
started this new way soon after starting at Valve after I ran
across Craig Mullins' site."
Mullins strikes again (remind me to get him onto a cover sometime!).
projects for Dhabih at Valve Software are currently under wraps
but with the huge success of Half-Life it wouldn't take a genius
to hope that a sequel will figure into it somewhere. And the future
of his art?
is something that I've just recently started thinking about. The
dust has kind of settled from all my excitement of getting a new
job and graduating from school, and so I'm looking into new ways
for me to improve my art, and also see what I can do with it in
a non-work related form."
Rowan "Sumaleth" Crawford is loonygames' Supervising