Train2Game News Student creates Tie Fighter


Train2Game student 3D models what could be the next Star Wars Tie Fighter

Michael Bird working with US creative Michael Stribling to realise concepts of Star Wars spacecraft

Freelancer and Train2Game graduate Michael Bird is working with US based Creative to create incredible Star Wars 3D spacecraft.  The latest project created is a 3D Tie-Fighter based on the US Designer’s concept of what could be the next Tie Interceptor.

Michael found the original design’s creator on LinkedIn, before contacting him to get permission to develop his concept. Michael added in detail and has made the design game ready.

Michael is a Train2Game graduate who had a positive experience on the course; he’s worked with student studio Derp Studios and is now doing some freelance work.

Michael Bird, Freelance Animator and Designer:  ‘The project that I have just finished was a realised version on the Tie-Fighter from Star Wars films. That honour of the original concept goes to a man called Michael Stribling from the San Francisco Bay Area. I happened upon his concept art on LinkedIn and asked if could maybe build it in 3D and I was lucky enough to get a yes.’

‘I loved the concept and I saw it as a challenge to see if I could build it following someone else’s concept work but using my ideas as to the amount of detail, poly counts and texturing that would make it look like the concept but also to make it efficient for a game engine.’
‘I wouldn’t say spacecraft are a speciality even though I have two in my portfolio, I really want to specialise in asset/prop and environment work but it does show that I can do hard surface work. In truth if someone asks me to build something or if I ask if I can build it then I’ll try it no matter what it is. Every piece is a challenge that I relish.’

‘I am a big Star Wars fan. Always have been and always will be I grew up with Star Wars I think I saw the first film when I was about 9 or 10 and they have been a part of my life ever since to the point that know it word for word.’

‘In regards to the new film, I’m in two minds with it to tell you the truth I think I need to watch it again. It looks beautiful the way they have gone back to the old way of creating the beings that populate the Star Wars world instead of all CGI gives it a more realistic look. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this story goes.’

‘I think the reason Star Wars is so inspiring could be because the underlining story is about good vs evil, Black vs white, that’s something everyone can connect to in their life. Just the thought of having the Force powers or flying the ships it something that I would say everyone would want to do and have in their lifetime at least once.’

‘On the whole I would say the Train2Game experience has been positive, without the guidance that they offer I would never have been able to complete the course the way I did. There were time when I just couldn’t get my head around the lessons but they are always positive with their help they don’t tell you the answers they lead you onto the right path until you figure it out yourself. I would recommend the courses to anyone who is interested in getting into the industry.’

‘I finished the Art & Animation course in 2014, since then I work for a while at Derp Studios a micro online studio that helped me better my skills doing all sorts of 3D art for them, character creation and animation asset/prop creation as well as environment work. I left last year and since then I have been working for myself creating personal work and a bit of freelance when asked.’

‘I always have other ideas that I want to work on. I see my next project as an old graveyard with a small church with mist creeping between the headstone and trees all light in moonlight. I am at the concept stage at the moment but as I create I post WIP screen shot onto my website.’

‘Because the design was for my own personal pleasure it will go onto my website for the world to see
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Train2Game News Student looking to swap the broom for the paintbrush


Michael Bird is a supervisor at an industrial cleaning firm but his dream is to ditch the cleaning and move into creating art in videogames

Since finishing the Art and Animation course with Train2Game Michael – who is 41 and lives in Kettering – has been on the hunt for a job in games but not had any luck so far. He firmly believes that given the first chance at a studio, he could develop into a great asset for any company.

Michael is from a family of artists, his father is a traditional artist and his mother is a colourist. Michael trained in sculpture and art before moving into video games.

He had a really positive experience with Train2Game and now wants to go professional. He’s now contributing to student studios and also created his own website to show off his work.

‘My name is Michael Bird I am an Artist, Animator. I have spent the last five years or so dedicating my creativeness to the gaming world with the dream of one day being able to work within a gaming studio and help make the games that are yet to come.’

‘I finished my Train2Game course in May last year. I would say that the overall experience with Train2Game was good; they always tried their best to help me with any issues or problem that I may have had. They wouldn’t tell me how to do it instead they would guide me in the right direction so you would end up learning what I needed to know myself, in truth I saw this as a better way to find the solution to whatever it was that I needed help with.’

‘I got into gaming art as a sort of natural progression to being a traditional artist as in using pencil, paints and clay. All my life I have been playing video games, from the modern masterpieces of today right the way back to the originals like Pong and Pac-Man, and everything in-between. It has always plagued my mind as to how it was done; those images that you see on the screen that excite the eye and make you want to play more. How do they do it, how I would love to find out and maybe see if I could do the same. It wasn’t until I got the flyer from Train2Game that I saw my chance to follow the dream of learning how to make what I had seen on the screen. So the opportunity that was presented was taken and I ran with it to a new horizon that has beckoned me for so long.’
‘Working with sculpture,  I think that it has helped me immensely as most of the time with gaming art you have to think in three dimensions as you would do when you sculpt. You get to understand movement, structure and how something should look from all sides. It’s like a 360 degree canvas where every point has to look right from every angle. So really what I create within a computer is just a digital version of what I would create in clay.’

‘To create something out of nothing never gets old to me be it stills or animation, they are both as exciting as each other. If a had to choose then it would have to be stills. More to the point of the environment and the props that populate it is it internal or external. . To create a beautiful game you need to create a beautiful environment to play that game in. You could create the best most iconic character in the world with the most stunning and realistic animation ever but if the gaming environment they live in isn’t believable then it will never work.’

‘Both my parents are artists in their own right. My father is a traditional artist where as my mother is more of a colourist. At first they thought I wasn’t serious but as time progressed they began to see that this was something that I craved with every ounce of my being. Sometimes they would say I should get a proper boring job and forget my dream but it never deterred me from this path to my true calling.’
‘I would love to say that my art is my job but unfortunately that is not the case yet. Despite the constant application for art positions within the gaming industry I have so far been unsuccessful in my efforts. All I want and need is that one person to take that chance on me. In the meantime bills have to be paid so I am a supervisor for an industrial cleaning company, but when I’m not working there I’m always creating pieces for my website it’s there to showcase my work for any potential employers.’
‘The last piece that I have only just finished was a Private Detective’s Office set in the style of 30’s America. It was more a case of being able to show that can create an interior set piece and fill it with relevant props and create the right mood with the lighting and textures. Since then I have two projects that will be starting on, one will be a Deep Forest Ruins scene and the other will be a Derelict Lighthouse. I haven’t decided which one I will start first so you will just have to wait and see by checking out the Work in Progress on my website.’
‘I think that Train2Game has taught me apart from the skills that I will need to fulfil my dreams, something that I will never stop learning as you can never know everything. Also I would say that they taught me to never give up no matter how hard and stressful it can get, there’s always a way to figure something out and make it better than you thought which in turn makes you better at what you do.’

‘What can I offer a professional studio? That is a difficult question as I could just put the usual things like my skills, my passion for gaming and so forth. In truth all I can offer is myself and what I have learnt from my life experience. How I see the world around me, how I have played so many games in my lifetime that they have all influenced the way I create my art, I have seen how the industry has grown and developed over the years to give me the foundation that has helped me to the stage that I am now. I have followed the way gaming itself has changed with the technology and it has made me realise that I can create anything and everything that I ever thought possible within a game as well as some that I could never have dreamed of. Just to have that power at my fingertips fills me with excitement and a driven determination to be the best gaming artist I can be. That’s what I can offer a professional studio, sounds a bit cheesy I know but it’s the best way I can describe it.’ 

‘In truth there is no one studio that I would like to work for or with, for me it’s all about creating beautiful game art, be it for a mobile, handheld or a AAA title. When I’m playing a game all I can think about is I really want to be the guy who build that, the guy who will spend hour after hour to get it looking and acting right so it fit the game. I often study the screen to figure out how they did it and see how I would go about creating it.’
‘I would say that my long term aims are to keep creating more and more stunning work, to learn new skills and improve what I already have, To maybe end up being a senior artist within a studio, that would be nice but for a start I just want to get my foot through the door and then see where it takes me. I will never stop doing what I love doing at the end of the day I’m an artist and the desire to create, build, sculpt, paint and draw will only die when I do. Being a videogame artist is where I see myself and I will do everything I possibly can to get there.’

Found out more about Michael’s work at

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Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio interviews Michael Bird

Michael BirdTrain2Game radio interviewed Michael Bird last week. Michael has very nearly finished the Train2Game Art & Animation course. He tells about how he grew up and became the artist he is today with help from his parents. He also has a valuable bit of advice for all students!

You can listen to the interview with Michael here:

Or read the transcript below:

Hello my name is Michael Bird, I live in Kettering which is in Northamptonshire and the course I’m doing is the Art & Animation course.

Hi Michael, how you doing?

Hi, Mark, I’m all right thank you.


Excellent, So what’s your story? What are the past experiences that have shaped your life?

Well I’ve always been an artist. I was never taught how to be an artist, I inherited it from my parents. When they discovered I could draw from drawing on walls and stuff, they pushed me to do it and I’ve exhibited my work throughout my life, when I was at school and times after that. I have always had it as a passion and I’ve always played Video Games from the day the first Video Games came out like Pong and Pacman that we could play at home. Since then it’s been two passions, parallel with each other and this came along and I’ve had a chance to combine the two. Hopefully I can prosper doing them both!


So where as most people were told off for drawing on walls, you were encouraged!?

Yeah, yeah, basically yeah! Well you know, I wasn’t encouraged to draw all over the walls but they felt he has obviously got something, let’s give him some paper and pencil and let him just scribble. They guided me where I needed to be guided and yeah! I’m just blessed with being able to do it without being taught how to do it.


So are your parents quite good artists as well then I assume?

Yeah yeah, my Dad’s had art sold all over the world, commissions sold all over the world. My Mum is more of a colourist. She’s excellent with colour and I’ve picked it up off both of them. They’ve had all their work exhibited everywhere so yeah, it’s all good!


You said you’d exhibited some of your work somewhere, where have you exhibited your work?

My work has been exhibited locally around the Northamptonshire area. It’s been in the local press, this is going back to when I was about twelve, I think I had my first exhibition. I say, it got in the news because it was very different to everyone else. I was very fantasy art then, swords and dungeons and dragons and all that stuff and since then since I’ve done continuous exhibitions people have come up to me and say “I’d like to know if you can do this for me” and it’s commission pieces. Most of my work is actually all around my house.


To display to all the people who come in and see you I guess?

Yes! I do have comments like “What’s that?” or “Who did that?” and I say “Well I did!”. They then just stand there or sit there and stare at it and usually they come up and say “Oh. Can you do something for me then?”.


That’s got to feel nice when people come up and say that to you?

Yeah! They go through “well what inspired you to do that piece?” I say it’s just in my head so I do it! They say “What does it mean” well what do you think it means? Because what it means to me is different to what it means to them. When you do a picture or a piece of art it’s what a person thinks when they look at it.


So where are you in the course now?

I’ve just completed assignment 42, so I’m right near the very end. I’ve got one more portfolio piece to do and then I’ve got one more lesson and then I think it’s on to do a demo reel.


So that’s got to feel pretty exciting hasn’t it?

Yeah! I’ve gone through the waves and the troughs to do the course. You get so far and then you’re brain can’t take it any more and you wonder, can I really carry on with this course? Or you’ll have big failures and you think well I’ve got to carry on! What’s the point in doing it if you get half way through and can’t be doing it any more?


So you said you had a bit of trouble going through with the course, so what made you say you will keep going with everything, what made you push through?

Determination. Just the will to get it done! If you do it and you fail, you may as well not even have tried. You do get these bad points and you have to carry on. You do have these bad bits, you just pick yourself up and start again.


Well that’s perfect! Thank you very much for your time today Michael.

It’s a pleasure. Thank you very much for letting me do it!


It’s my pleasure, I will talk to you soon.

OK, thank you very much!