Show Us Your Rig: H1Z1's Lead Character Artist Mat Broome

Mat Broome

Show us your rig

Each week on Show Us Your Rig, we feature the PC game industry's best and brightest as they show us the systems they use to work and play.

Mat Broome, Art Director at SOE and Lead Character Artist on H1Z1, is probably one of the few people who has a really good excuse to cover his desk in models and toys. Like previous Show Us Your Rig participant Chris Avellone, Mat uses the figures to help him work, but he takes it a step further than most. Sporting a mobile lighting rig, he takes reference pictures of different models to help make the lighting as accurate as possible in-game. Mat was kind enough to spare some time and tell us about his setup.

What's in your PC?

My work PC:

  • Motherboard - Intel DX79SI
  • CPU - i7-3820
  • Memory - 32 GB DDR3
  • Video - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780
  • Displays - Wacom 22” HD, Dell Ultra Sharp 30”, Dell 24”

Home PC:

  • Nickname - Beast
  • Keyboard - Razor Black widow mechanical keyboard
  • Motherboard - ASUS Sabertooth X79 LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • CPU - Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4930K CPU @ 3.40GHz (12 CPUs), ~3.4GHz
  • Cooling - CORSAIR Hydro Series H105 Extreme Performance 240mm Liquid CPU Cooler
  • Memory - 32 GB DDR3
  • Video - Dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN, SLI
  • Power Supply - Cooler Master V1200 - Fully Modular
  • Case - Cooler Master HAF X - Full Tower Computer Case with High Airflow Windowed Side Panel
  • Displays - Wacom 22” HD, Dell Ultra Sharp 30”, Dell 24”

Mat Broome - station

The figures around my desk are used as reference for my artwork, both 2D and 3D. I use my cell phone and Agisoft scanning software to create reference images and 3D reference models in my studio. I own over 60 statues and have a lighting rig on a dolly, which helps me create amazing “true form” lighting on the models and provides a visually great setup for painting.

Light behaves differently in “real world” situations, so just looking at a monitor all day isn’t enough and can generate results that are too similar. With staged lights – either with natural light or artificial lighting in the way of LEDs or even white filtered bulbs – you can get amazing results. It’s also cool to stage the lighting and then do a filter on the photo to “tweak” the shadows and diffuse of certain instances. These lighting models can then be pulled into After Effects, Zbrush or Photoshop and used to capture palette or light caps for material work 2D and production.

Mat Broome - Hellboy

I started collecting these figures about 10 years ago when I was searching for better lighting and reference materials for work in illustration and 3D. One year, I decided to look at the San Diego Comic Convention and discovered Sideshow Collectibles. A line of Street Fighter statues caught my eye; I was blown away by the detail in the figures and how well the likeness was done on some of the characters. The statues range from creatures to supernatural to contemporary, and I have a pretty broad range of materials on each one - it works really well.

Mat Broome - Right side

What's the most interesting/unique part of your setup?

Using the 24” HD Cintiq as my main display and using the other windows for all of my tools lets me work really fast in multiple programs. Also, the Titans have been great for doing post-editing and rendering while working in middleware such as Z Brush R6 and Maya 2015LT.

What's always within arm's reach on your desk?

Quad Shot Espresso, with Land of Lakes Cream with the perfect layer of foam made fresh of course.

Mat Broome - Left side

What are you playing right now?

Battlefield 4, PlanetSide 2, Destiny, Halo 1, 2, 3 & Reach, as well as Club Penguin (Don’t judge me, I have a son and daughter.)

What's your favorite game and why?

It’s a split between Battlefield 4 and PlanetSide 2. I play BF4 for the moment-to-moment action and instant gratification. I can hop in and out in an hour and play two rounds. PlanetSide 2 is a challenge on a completely different level – unapologetic and unforgiving, but the thrill of fighting alongside hundreds of soldiers in a battle is just too much to resist. I’m a shooter guy at heart. I only play console with my son, but I’m raising a future MLG Pro, I can promise you that!

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Tom Marks
Tom is PC Gamer’s Associate Editor. He enjoys platformers, puzzles and puzzle-platformers. He also enjoys talking about PC games, which he now no longer does alone. Tune in every Wednesday at 1pm Pacific on to see Tom host The PC Gamer Show.