Today we talk to 5518 Studios, who are behind the Substance Painter Fall release visual – a sci-fi mammoth. They tell us a bit more about their art and how the company was created. You can find a greatly detailed tutorial on the making of the sci-fi mammoth on Substance Academy.
Elvina Antonova: I work as an art production manager at 5518 Studios. Besides that, I’m helping to run marketing, public relations and I go to conferences to meet our partners.
Maxim Miheyenko: I have been in the game industry for over 10 years. I started as a 3D artist and became COO and art manager when we created 5518 Studios with Michael. I work closely with our teams in Russia and in the United States. I also work closely with our clients trying to understand their needs, and I’m working on R&D on topics such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, but also new tools and features we could use in our workflow.
Michael Casalino: Beauty first and age last. I’m the old person in the group and these guys keep me young.
Elvina: But with a young heart!
Michael: I’m CEO of 5518 Studios and I’ve been in the game industry for almost 20 years now. I started working at EA for about 8 years before transitioning to Disney and working on games like “Where’s My Water?”. I’m actually super proud of having worked and created an IP for Disney.
After working a few years there, I joined a small start-up company called Scopely. They were just getting into mobile games and I helped build up that business from a creative standpoint.
Along the way, I met Maxim as a provider for me and my different companies, and we built a strong friendship. One day Max and I looked at each other and thought: “We can do better”, so we created 5518 Studios. There are so many outsourcing companies out there and they do fantastic work, but what makes us different is our background: we know how to make games and have actually rolled up our sleeves making games, so we actually know what it takes to deliver an end product at a certain quality and standard.
What makes us different too is that we find ourselves as strategic partners rather than an outsourcing company. You can pay someone to make something for you but not actually to invest, to be passionate and to drive the creative. We set ourselves as partners and the extension to our partner’s teams in order to really feel like that tight-knit family and invest in it. At the end of the day, it’s about the millions of people who are going to play the games we work on; that’s who we’re making the game for. 5518 Studios started in 2016 so we’re a relatively young company.
Maxim: But we already have over 15 partners, quite a lot. They are all great partners, clients, and friends.
Michael: Yes we work with both large and small companies. With smaller and younger companies, we are not just strategic partners but we also mentor their teams. Because there’s a lot of past trouble that we’ve been down that we don’t want people to go down.
We work on a large spectrum of projects: from mobile to Steam, to console, to PC. Our division is broken off between “casual” and “mid-core”.
The name behind our company is actually a very interesting story. In the beginning, we couldn’t find the right name. But one day, I was booking a ticket for Russia and my daughter came in and she’s like: “Daddy, show me where Russia is”. So I pulled out the map and showed it to her, and she said: “Wow that’s far, how far is it?”. I googled it and it was 5518 miles, from our office in Los Angeles to our office in Saint-Petersburg. And that’s how the name popped up.
What’s nice about it too, and we realized this afterward, is when we started going to conferences and we looked at the brochure and we were like: “Oh my god, we’re the first one on the brochure! That’s right it goes alphabetical and numeric starts first! We’re always going to be first!”.
Concerning our upcoming projects, we’re collaborating with a studio, and it’s the first time we’re going to actually have a revenue share in this product, which will probably be released this summer. So we’re taking a strategic investment of not only having our outsourcing company, but we’re doing a shared business model to actually physically create a game. We’re super excited about having our very first game on the market, it’s just phenomenal.
3D Mammoth made by 5518 Studios Senior 3D Artist Sergey Tyapkin
Maxim: We are currently also working on virtual reality and augmented reality for the new mobile phone generation. We also work on blockchain and bitcoin projects as it could be big for the game industry too. Outsourcing is our foundation – but we always want to be sure to be on the top of the current industry and invest in the future.
We discovered Substance Painter many many months ago because we are always looking for new great tools for our 3D works. Substance Painter really is the next level of texturing tools and high-end software that helps a lot in daily routines. It is our everyday software and a must-have for every 3D artist.
Elvina: I’m super excited to know that people all over the world will see our art when they’ll open or download Substance Painter. So I’m so grateful to the Allegorithmic team for having chosen our art!
Did you like this user story? Be sure to check the complete tutorial on Substance Academy and learn how 5518 Studios textured their sci-fi mammoth with Substance Painter!