He may have started with stick figures, but today the creative talents of Colby MacPhail have evolved to include 3D printing and modeling that’s used to train Canadian Military personnel.
“I love all forms of art, and I’ve had a passion to create my own since I was a child,” says Colby on why he decided to pursue Applied Media & Communication Arts and then Game Development at NSCC. “3D modeling and sculpting quickly became my passion and I knew I wanted to get into the industry.”
Colby says upon graduation, his main focus was gaining experience. “I saw myself getting into the industry and making the next big game or CGI for movies. I just needed a chance to show what I had learned.”
Colby’s passion soon became a vocation when he secured an internship with the Department of National Defence’s Army Learning Support Centre Tactics Centre (ALSC).
“The ALSC has one of the most advanced 3D print capabilities in Canada,” says Dan Daigle, an ALSC courseware development officer and Colby’s manager. “Colby has been heavily involved in modeling and 3D printing. These models are used in training areas to assist soldiers in learning and understanding various equipment, terrains or other training components.”
Excelling in his field
In June 2015, DND Command formally recognized Colby for his contribution to the ALSC team and he was named intern of the year. The honour resulted in Colby being offered a second year position at the centre in addition to the role of mentor for incoming interns.
“Colby has been a constant professional and has demonstrated a high level of commitment to the work,” says Dan. “The skills that Colby has learned over these past two years will serve him very well in industry—his efforts have made him a leading expert in 3D print technology.”
Colby says his internship is helping him reach a lifelong goal: to work as a lead 3D artist for one of the film or gaming studios that have served as an inspiration to his education and career. “I consider myself a nerd or a geek because of my love for comic books and all things fantasy related—including videogames. Working at the ALSC brings me a step closer to working for companies like Bethesda, Naughty Dog, Weta Digital or Blur. I’m grateful for the experience.”
With his background in helping to train Canadian Military personnel, and the time he spends perfecting his craft outside of work, Colby is confident he has the skills needed to create the realistic characters these studios are looking for.