Creative Assembly’s Patrick Bonsu: “Seeing art I had created be front and centre was incredible. I might still be riding the high of that day.”

Every month, we pick the brain of an up-and-coming talent. This month’s Rising Star is Patrick Bonsu, associate VFX artist at Creative Assembly.

How did you break into games?

While I was studying for my Masters in Game Art at Escape Studios in London, I grew more and more interested in Real Time VFX. I went to a great talk held by senior VFX artist Stephanie Anderson, and principal tech artist Mohrag Taylor, about how they created the VFX for the massive battles in the Total War: Warhammer games, and I was extremely inspired. Shortly before graduating, I noticed they were still hiring for a trainee VFX artist role at Creative Assembly, and as my luck would have it, I got the job when I applied!

What has been your proudest achievement so far?

The first released title I had the pleasure of working on was the DLC Lord Pack ‘Prophet & Warlock’ for Warhammer 2. On the day of its release I watched the trailer as it launched, which features an enormous nuclear explosion that I created, and seeing art that I had created be front and centre was incredible; I think I might still be riding the high of that day.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

The biggest challenge so far is trying to strike a good balance of rest and creating art for myself at home. I think it’s important to keep improving yourself and learning, but equally as important is to make sure you rest, and that you’re not overwhelmed or neglecting other areas of your life.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Ooh, this is hard to narrow down, because honestly there are so many things. I really love getting to see the work of other teams whenever I’m walking from place to place in the studio; at least once a day I’ll see something on a colleagues screen that makes me stop in place and nearly spill my tea!

What’s your biggest ambition in games?

My current long term goal would be to become a lead VFX artist. I really look up to my own lead and the work she does, so the idea of continuing to improve as an artist whilst also facilitating and nurturing the talent and potential of a team is appealing to me.

What advice would you give to aspiring VFX artists?

VFX is no different from any other artistic discipline, in that it’s so important to look at references for the art you create. Even the most alien or fantastical effect you can conjure in your editor can find its origins in the visual cues of real-world phenomena. Someone I worked with was once profoundly inspired by accidentally dropping an orange and watching it slowly roll away from them.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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