Contact and About

Contact

You are welcome to contact me through any of these means:
Email: jeroen at jeroenbackx dot com
Skype: jmjbackx
Phone: +31 (0) 6 289 414 59

About Jeroen Backx

Hello there and a sincere thank you for taking an interest in my background! I’m super-thrilled about having you here! I shall provide a brief insight into who I am and what makes me tick. This page used to be a very terse list of bullet points but I feel like this did not actually offer a deeper understanding into ‘he who is me’. I hope I can do a better job by writing a short history in hopes you might get to know me a little better. In case you do like terse summations, I will refer you to my Curriculum Vitae.

I was born in the summer of 1981 in an unremarkable city in the south of the Netherlands and was raised by loving parents, somewhat poor but I was never wanting. Yes, I’m starting all the way at the beginning but even so, let us focus on what’s really important…fantasy and videogames!

For as long as I can remember I have always had a passion for drawing and escaping into fantasy. Whether consuming or creating, a deep appreciation of the fantastical has always been a part of my life.
My escapism lead me to burrow down into Saturday-morning cartoons, comics (the weekly issue of Donald Duck comics), toys, movies, fantasy novels (re-reading the Lord of the Rings mostly) and video games starting with the Atari 2600 and later a Sega Megadrive. This affinity for creative distraction came at the price of being a good student. As a kid in school I would always be drawing or otherwise have my head in the proverbial clouds, paying sparse attention to what was taught and earning myself a reputation of daydreamer which often times resulted in concerned teachers contacting my parents. Of course, looking back, these ‘concerning’ signs were the first steps onto my chosen path as a digital artist. This wasn’t a straight ‘A-to-B’ path however.

I wish I could say I discovered art at a young age and developed it until the current day. Were that the case then I should hope to be a far greater artist than I am. Unfortunately there was quite a long time in my youth where I lost the drive to be a creator. During my early teenage years I would much rather make friends and hang around with them, playing outside or with toys and video-games. I would still read books and comics but my creative side took a back-seat for some years. This did help me to eventually pay closer attention during school and during this time I developed an interest in personal computers. My parents bought our first PC and I decided to study computer technology and programming in hopes of combining my interest in PC’s and video-games and perhaps one day write video-game code. The study unfortunately didn’t offer much in programming knowledge (unless you count “Pascal” to be a good modern coding language, i did not), which in hindsight should have been more apparent. Instead, I was instructed on how to properly configure networks and hardware, which is useful if you want to become an IT professional but as someone looking to create video-games I found it all rather tedious. It was because of this that I once again picked up my old habit of doodling during class and also started using graphical software for the first time in a serious way. Boredom can be a powerful motivator as it turns out.

Using early versions of Photoshop, Cinema4d and 3d Studio Max opened up a whole new world of wonderful things to learn. By now I was in my early twenties and I had finally found something I truly enjoyed learning. Exploring and experimenting with creative software became a passion. The dull side of this otherwise shiny coin meant that while I quickly familiarized myself with many software packages, even dabbling in music trackers, I never really created or finished something worthwhile. Merely learning and tinkering was sufficient. I do not entirely regret this approach as I’m now rather well practiced at targeting and solving issues and learning new software.

By now I had graduated as an IT professional but it did not feel fulfilling as a starting-off point for my career. We did not have many video-game related studies during the early Y2K’s and so I went to study Multimedia design, surely this would fulfil my desire to “use cool software and make awesome stuff”! Well, sort of. The study definitely became a platform for me to create things I liked and keep learning creative software. The nature of the study was so broad however that I found it challenging to truly find my niche. We learned to create websites, films, physical multimedia installations, logo designs, commercial campaigns, and much much more, anything that could be classified as multimedia. It was an interesting experience and we touched on many different disciplines. Despite this broad orientation I kept feeling an attraction to video-games and CGI art and I noticed I enjoyed most the times I experimented with 3d software.

From there the ball truly started rolling, 3d modeling became a hobby and I took every opportunity to do so. We had a single course of 3d modeling at school, which I took and enjoyed and I participated in a minor in game design and another in time-based arts where I attempted to employ as much of my new-found passion as possible. The experience and work I was able to show resulted in a number of 3d related freelance jobs and an finally an internship at Playlogic Game factory.

There started my career as a 3d artist. I profoundly enjoyed working with capable and professional people, learning from each other and pushing each others limits. There is something truly fundamentally enjoyable about working at the fringes of your capabilities and noticing improvement on a daily basis while working towards a common goal with colleagues. Working on video-games seemed like the most fun I ever had.

My internship turned into a part-time contract and a full-time contract after I had graduated my study, which was quite liberating for me. During my second year at Playlogic I voiced some frustration over content-related issues I ran into and so I offered to take on more responsibilities which were granted to me. This resulted in me growing into a managerial role and spending less and less time on actual modeling. There was quite a significant time where my average day consisted out of briefings, meetings, reviews, planning, updating spreadsheets and perhaps a spot of 3d modeling or texturing at the end of the day if there wasn’t another meeting. I ended up coordinating and managing a team of six 3d artists and also coordinated all content related communication with an outsourcing studio.

There was never a time where I learned as fast and as much as I did during those days. It was a weird balance of frustration over the not getting to make as much 3d art as I would like, but also a lot of gratification over playing a significant role in a big video-game project. I never aspired to have any sort of management role and I made plenty mistakes as I had no prior experience with these tasks but I always took responsibility and tried to fix anything I could and even started learning to delegate where possible. I once heard the expression that good leadership prerequisites a healthy reluctance and I don’t know whether that applied to me but I was certainly relieved when I got to hand in some of my managerial duties, opening up more time to do artwork. This came to be because of an internal restructuring within the studio after the game was released. During this time we worked on downloadable content for our game and prototypes for a new game. This was terrific fun as we took a more hands-on approach in smaller teams with less strict management. It resulted in better game content created at a faster pace. Unfortunately the results never got to see the light of day, the company was in heavy weather and the ship ended up sinking.

Halfway 2010 I found myself without a job and I decided to become a freelance 3d artist. I began doing some smaller freelance jobs and filled in the rest of my time by developing my own 3d skills. I was finally able to take the time to truly learn 3d sculpting with software packages such as Mudbox and Zbrush. I then joined a small team of indie developers working on the game Darkout, which was recently approved through “Greenlight”, Steam’s crowd-curation system. I then started dividing my time between that and working on some significant freelance jobs such as Bioshock Infinite, Kinect Starwars and other yet unreleased or unannounced titles.

During these past few years I have been very productive and learned much about 3d modeling and sculpting and artistry in general. I now consider myself to be a rather good 3d artist and an above average general artist with still much to learn but I am quite confident I can be a valuable addition to any game development team.

Working on Darkout and these freelance jobs has been fun and gratifying and it allowed me to pay the rent but I have reached a point where I would truly like to work within a team of game developers again. Working from home has it’s perks and I’m motivated and disciplined enough to elude slack so that’s no concern but I do miss having awesome people around me and pushing each other towards that common goal. So I hope the next chapter in my story will read like something along those lines.

So far goes the tale of how I became a 3d artist and why I am currently looking to engage in new challenges. Thank you so very much for making it all the way to this open ended conclusion of my story. Regardless of where I will end up, I strive to keep growing as an artist and to keep contributing to fun and original projects!

In case I have persuaded you to consider me as a worthy contributor to your project (freelance or contractual), then please do not hesitate to contact me, I would love to hear from you!

Contact: jeroen at jeroenbackx dot com

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Greetings, dear visitor!

I'm Jeroen, a 3d modeler and videogame artist from the Netherlands. I enjoy playing games but I looove to help create them. I'm pretty good at texturing, illustrating, concepting, working with game-engines, particle systems, physics simulations, rigging, skinning, animating and lots more but I'm most in my element when 3d modeling!

I'm available for freelance work too!
contact: jeroen [at] jeroenbackx.com