“I doodled here and there, so I feel like I had some artistic ability, but nothing crazy,” laughed the 26-year-old from Winnipeg, who now aspires to become either a character modeler or an environment artist.
For this month’s edition of How I Made This, Morrow agreed to let the Toronto Film School community have a behind-the-scenes look at his first-ever character, Lizard Man – which started as a project for his Character Modeling class.
“When I started really falling in love with character modeling and sculpting and stuff like that, I began looking at ArtStation a lot,” Morrow said of the portfolio showcase platform for games, film, media and entertainment artists.
“There, I saw a bunch of posts of different characters and I came across a few different reptilian characters and immediately wanted to try and make one of my own.”
Calling the whole process of bringing his Lizard Man to life an “incredibly fun” experience, Morrow said he shocked even himself with how well the finished product came out.
“I definitely surprised myself with how much detail came out on that guy,” he said, noting the entire project probably took him somewhere between 20 and 30 hours over the course of the three-month Character Modeling class.
“I had a lot of fun working in all the different software we learned in that class. I personally thought it was really, really interesting, so I applied a lot of that stuff to it.”
For Morrow, his time at Toronto Film School has opened his eyes to a whole world of career opportunities he never even considered before. A 20-year veteran gamer, Morrow was just six years old when he picked up his first Game Boy and fell in love with Pokémon on the long family car rides out to the lake.
“It’s been basically my entire life since I can remember, but I never really saw making games as an opportunity for a career,” he explained, listing The Witcher 3, Horizon Zero Dawn, Rocket League and Valorant among his favourite games.
Not realizing a video games could be his future, Morrow decided to pursue a four-year degree in Kinesiology from the University of Winnipeg after he graduated from high school.
“But halfway through (my degree), I knew it wasn’t where I wanted to go. I enjoyed the content, but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to for the rest of my life,” he said.
“It was my family and my girlfriend who urged me to look into video games, because they’re obviously my passion.”
That’s when Morrow discovered the Video Game Design & Animation program at Toronto Film School and enrolled right away.
Now in his sixth and final term, he said he hasn’t quite figured out what area he’d like to specialize in just yet, but he’s been enjoying learning about all the different facets of bringing video games to life.
“I’ve flip-flopped a lot. When we did character modeling and modelling, in general, I thought it was awesome – especially once we got into ZBrush with the organic sculpting stuff. That’s when it started really working for me,” he gushed.
“But more recently, I’ve been working on creating the foliage for our capstone game, and that’s led me to environment art. I’m having tons of fun building tiny little worlds now.”
Regardless of where he ends up landing, specialization-wise, Morrow said he’s grateful for all the newfound knowledge he’ll be taking away with him when he graduates from Toronto Film School in a few months – skills he’s hopeful he’ll be able to apply in a job at a small studio where he can continue learning and growing.
“I’ve gotten an incredibly good foundation for a lot of new things. There’s so many different softwares and software packages, that I feel that it would just be impossible to learn everything within the last 18 months otherwise,” he said of his Toronto Film School experience.
“I thought I knew a lot before about how video games are made before, but I definitely know way more now. It’s without a doubt been a valuable experience.”