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Damarcus Holbrook was a Conceptual artist for Valve.
As a boy, Damarcus Holbrook remembers staying awake for an entire night, mesmerized as he watched his older brother Duane manipulate three-dimensional images on a computer screen. He recalls him asking, "Hey, Marc, wouldn't it be cool if you could make your art move?" That one simple question helped Holbrook realize his professional aspirations - to pursue the highly competitive industries of games and film.
"People kept telling me that it was really difficult to break into the entertainment industry," said Holbrook. "But I kept trying and was blessed with being at the right place at the right time. Talent is important but it's more important to make yourself stand out."
Holbrook works as a 3D environment modeler and concept artist at 38 Studios, a startup game development team in Boston founded by Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling. Under the artistic vision of Todd McFarlane (known for his creative contributions to Spawn, illustrating Spiderman comics and developing a line of McFarlane Toys action figures) and celebrated author R.A. Salvatore (creator of fantasy character Drizzt Do'Urden), the first title to be released by the company will be an MMO, a multi-massive online game. It is scheduled for release in 2010.
"Like other online games, players will be able to work through their own story lines but will run into several other players along the way," explained Holbrook. "But this game is going to be amazing; we just can't release any of the details yet."
Although 38 Studios is still relatively new, Holbrook has found its relaxed environment and team-focused atmosphere to be a refreshing change from the larger studios on the West Coast.
"It's more like a family here," said Holbrook. "I can voice my opinion and people listen. True, there are a lot of talented artists working out in California, but there are a lot working here too. It pushes me to work harder. Having the opportunity to work with industry legends like Todd (McFarlane) has had the greatest influence on my approach."
Prior to working at 38 Studios, Holbrook worked on popular games Sony's Dark Kingdom, From Russia with Love (James Bond) and Half Life 2, as well as created art assets for the film "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" and models of three-dimensional environments and characters (known as "tank soldiers") its action scenes.
Much of Holbrook's concept art was featured in Half Life 2: Raising the Bar. His dark, foreboding work reveals a prime source of his inspiration - nightmares. As a child, Holbrook often experienced horrific dreams. To help him deal with them, Holbrook's mother told him to draw the nightmares and then, together, they would rip up the images.
Many years later, Holbrook's art teacher, Mrs. Burrell, at Detroit's Martin Luther King High School recognized his talent and encouraged him to apply at CCS because of their reputable transportation design and animation programs.
"I can't imagine how different my life would be if I wouldn't have taken her advice," said Holbrook.
Holbrook has worked hard to establish himself, yet he attributes much of his success to the knowledge and skills he needed to break into the film and game industries and the motivation and encouragement he received from special mentors at CCS.
"Sylvia Austermiller recognized my talents and gave me the push I needed to make it through my liberal arts courses," said Holbrook. "At the time I was learning 3D animation, the technology was very cutting edge. It was difficult to find an instructor anywhere who knew this stuff. I was fortunate to learn a great deal from my classmate Linden Vennard and be taken under the wings of experienced CCS instructors Larry Larson and Dennis Summers. They taught me a great deal about the industry and what I had to look forward to.
"Thanks to the encouragement I received from Sylvia and other mentors at CCS, support from home and prayers to God every night, I made it. My family has been the biggest inspiration to me. Regardless of how much I've achieved, they keep me striving to do more."
- Half-Life 2 (2004)
- Counter-Strike: Source (2004)
- Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom (2006)