Here comes another episode of CS.MONEY Blog’s series of interviews with Recoil Case skincreators.
This issue is dedicated to Eschaton, the author of UMP-45 Roadblock. Self-taught and modest, today’s interview hero talks about emotions after his case debut, oversleeping the release, how he got into the skinmaker community, sources of inspiration, education and skills, shares favorite skins, and much more!
UMP-45 and The Advice
Let’s start with today’s leading role: UMP-45 | Roadblock. Tell us how you decided to create it, where did the idea come from, and all that.
When I was just starting to make skins, I made a simple one for the P250, there was no animation, but even then, I realized that it was rather boring in this form, and I thought about how I could make such a design more interesting. By the way, I also made this skin for other guns, such as FAMAS and MP7, but later I deleted them because, over time, I realized that the design on them looks pretty bad, and they have no chance of getting into the game.
In February 2021, I was browsing the Workshop and saw an exciting “animated” skin made by Madara. Of course, I immediately became interested in how to achieve such an effect, and I began to experiment. In the process, I remembered my old Roadblock and realized that it would be a great idea to animate the arrows on it. To get the animation effect to look good in the game, I had to spend quite a lot of time on the selected colors for the normal map because initially, during the in-game tests, it did not look all the way I wanted.
As a result, I made this P250:
The UMP-45 skin has a rather funny story since I did not plan to make it. When I posted the P250, Blazer advised me to implement this design on the UMP, and indeed, after looking at it and imagining how it would look, I immediately knew this was it. After all, this design ideally suited UMP in all aspects: both in shape and size. This time there were no problems with setting up the normal map, I already knew what I needed from the P250 experience, and after three or four days, I uploaded it to the workshop.
I have been told many times that this is my best skin. Therefore, I am very glad that Valve took it. <Laughs>
You made it over a year ago, and only now it got accepted. Why now?
It’s impossible to say for sure here, but it seems to me that the developers noticed my UMP even when I first posted it and simply put it in the long box. And looking at the general skins that end up in cases, it’s a common thing. In the end, only what is noticed and accepted is important—but how and why, we will not know.
This is your first accepted skin, right? Tell about your emotions when you saw that you were included in the list of participants.
I had no words. For the first couple of hours, I just sat and looked at the green tick in my workshop and could not believe it, I thought that I was still sleeping.
I didn’t expect that they could take me because I haven’t uploaded skins to the workshop for half a year already. And in general, it turned out funny: I waited for all the previous cases and caught them at the moment of the announcement, but this one, the only one I got into, I overslept.
Honestly, I still can’t believe my skin is in the game. <Laughs>
Graffiti and style
You have a lot of graffiti-styled skins. Why? Is it your unique design style or do you just like graffiti?
Right away, I draw quite badly, don’t even have a graphics tablet, and I’m not really into drawing full-fledged art. I prefer to work on materials, and design, and if I want to see art on my skin, I will gladly contact artists I know with an offer to work together.
By the way, these graffiti-like skins are my good friend’s, st3p4nn, and I have a lot of collaborations with him. In general, I like graffiti skins, for example, the new M249 | Downtown is just a great one.
On self, education, and money
Tell about yourself. Where are you from? How did you start making skins? Is it related to your main job, or are you just enjoying your hobby?
I am 20 years old, I live in Russia. I have been doing skins for about two years, since the summer of 2020.
At the end of high school, I started getting into 3D a bit, and it just so happened that around this time, I came across an interview with Hexeth. And I think not the only one who came to the Workshop precisely because of him. Somehow it all attracted me: to make skins for my favorite game, to gain experience in 3D and design, and, if I’m lucky, to be able to make good money.
In general, since childhood, I have dreamed of creating games. But it always seemed to me too complicated and incomprehensible, I thought I wouldn’t make it. And when you start doing it seriously, you understand that it is not so difficult if you devote enough time to it.
Do you have an education related to 3D modeling or design?
No. I didn’t take any courses, nothing. And before the skins, I didn’t do anything like that. I started making skins with almost zero knowledge and no experience in 3D and design and slowly figured everything out by trial and error.
Do you make skins for yourself, to get famous, or as a way to make money?
Both for myself and as a way to earn.
I like to make skins. Sometimes I forget and just sit there for 10-12 hours crafting. And looking at the final product, realizing that you made it all from scratch, is a great pleasure.
Well, as it turned out, the feeling when your skin is accepted into the game cannot be compared with anything.
As for earnings, I will not hide, I started making skins just for the sake of making money. I think it’s no secret to anyone that you can make a lot on skins. But it quickly grew into my favorite pastime, a hobby, let’s say. For me, this is a kind of opportunity to live for my pleasure and do what I like and not what I have to.
Inspiration and self-expression
When creating skins, what inspires you as a person of art?
It can be anything. I am mainly inspired by games, I found a lot of references in Deus Ex, Half-life 2, Cyberpunk 2077, and Destiny 2. But other skinmakers also inspire me a lot, for example, de puiseau, Apel, Graff.
When I see their outstanding work and how much attention they pay to details, it immediately gives me the motivation to work even more.
What is more important: self-expression or guessing what the public wants? Why?
Self-expression, definitely. In general, I don’t think about the audience, to be honest. Moreover, the developers collect cases in such a way that it always has both skins that everyone wants and skins that no one wants. So, I think the most important thing is to make original and interesting skins that you will like first, and not try to guess what someone wants there.
Many Workshop newbies have this problem: they look at already accepted popular skins, at accepted authors, and try to copy them without bringing anything new to their skins. They think that if someone got accepted, Valve would accept them too. But in recent years, the developers have been interested in original and bold ideas that have not yet been implemented before.
Aren’t you afraid that your creations will be covered with stickers?
No, absolutely not. Stickers are, first of all, a way to make something unique, your out-of-ordinary skin, it is also a kind of self-expression.
Comparison of skinmaking for Rust and CS:GO
You also have skins in Rust. Could you please compare working with Rust and with CS?
Skins in Rust are more of gaining experience for me than anything serious. In general, skins are a little easier to make in Rust because of PBR, and in the game, everything looks the way you want, naturally. And in CS, there’s no PBR, only fongs, and you have to compile all the normal maps into one to get natural-looking materials like metal. For me personally, it is not a problem, and not all skins need this realism so much. Look at Printstream: it works great and looks cool without any materials. In CS, let’s say the idea and design are more important than cool materials and extended textures. But this does not mean that you should not make realistic skins; they are also accepted, and there are quite a few.
Well, perhaps the main difference is the process itself. CS devs take seventeen skins every four to five months, and these cases bring money for many years after that, while Rust takes eight skins every week, but they only make money for that one week, and then they disappear from the store. To some extent, making skins in CS investing, because if your skins get into the game, you will have a secured and decent passive income for at least a few years in advance. While in Rust, you get a significant but one-time payment for each skin. Another difference is that in CS, we get a certain percentage of key sales, that is, all the skincreators in one case have the same income, no matter the quality. And in Rust, your income directly depends on the sales of your particular skin.
Skinmaker community friendly (mostly)
Are you friends with other skinmakers?
Oh sure. We communicate a lot, we have chats and groups on Telegram, VK, Discord servers. In general, the skinmaker community is friendly, and everyone is on good terms with everyone. Of course, there are some conflicts, but it all passes quickly. And newcomers are well received. Usually. <Laughs>
If you want to get into making skins, I would strongly advise looking for friends in the Workshop to join various chats on this topic. So you can get feedback on your skin, understand your mistakes, and find like-minded people with whom you can do a couple of collaborations.
So I can safely say that most skinmakers are great guys, and you can have a great time with them.
On AWP Royal Crusader and other skins
Which of your skins would you most like to see in the game?
Well, until recently, I would boldly say UMP Roadblock, but since it’s already in the game, it’s probably P250 Roadblock, P2000 Wandering Eyes, MP5-SD APEX, or AWP Royal Crusader.
I like your AWP Royal Crusader. Do you think it will make it into the game? Can you tell about its design?
Speaking of AWP, I highly doubt this skin will make it into the game. It seems to me that it does not fit into the game a bit, although it is difficult for me to objectively talk about this because I am always very pessimistic about my skins, I always think that something is wrong with them.
But the developers like to surprise lately, so anything is possible. <Laughs>
This skin lay unfinished for a very long time, more than two months. Initially, as planned, it was a gray military skin, something like a tank gun. And it stayed that way for a long time. To be honest, I didn’t know how to finish the design and decided to experiment with colors out of boredom, so I re-made the skin almost entirely, and came up with this combination of colors because it seemed to me the most optimal. Yes, and CS has no AWP in such colors yet. Perhaps in the future, I will try to adapt it better and play a little with the design, maybe something will come of it, I don’t know.
Looking at my Workshop, I understand that I have very few skins that could get into the game. Therefore, I will not deny it: I was just incredibly lucky that at least something from my modest set attracted the developers.
Which was the hardest skin to do?
To be honest, there were no complex skins. The AWP Royal Crusader took the longest to make, but there I simply had no idea how to complete the design, so I was constantly dropping it until I figured out how to revive it. Basically, I make skins in a couple of days, or a week, for example, I made UMP-45 Roadblock in three or four days. But a lot depends on the type of skin. For example, developing a design completely from scratch can take a couple of weeks. And transferring an already finished design to another weapon is much easier and usually takes a couple of days or a week max. Putting things into the long box is quite common for me, I have dozens of unfinished designs that I do not plan to finish, at least not yet.
Which skins from other creators that got into the game do you consider one of the best and why?
Let me name a few skins:
AK47 | Legion of Anubis by Apel
I love this AK, interesting theme, very well made, good balance, not too bright, not too dull, my favorite colors. Top-1 among AKs for me.
SSG 08 | Death Strike by Graff
Excellent colors, balance, design, everything is top-notch, great skin.
MP9 | Starlight Protector by TheDanidem
In general, the same reasons as with the previous skins: a very good balance of colors and well-designed design.
What thematic case would you like to see in CS:GO? A la Dreams&Nightmears, but new.
I think it would be cool to see some cyberpunk case or something like that. Very cool style is little represented among the skins accepted into the game. But in general, I would be glad to see any thematic case in the game because it will be something unusual and interesting in any scenario.
For example, the Dreams & Nightmares Case, despite a couple of dubious skins, turned out to be quite interesting and unusual in general, and brought a couple of very cool skins to the game that I would gladly take into my inventory: M4A1-S | Night Terror & MAC-10 | Ensnared.
I hope that the next thematic case, if there is one, of course, will be able to pleasantly surprise everyone.
By the way, we have a few more interviews with other Recoil Case skin makers, including the aforementioned Hexeth and a couple of other cool guys:
- Acid Art Combo: P250 Visions by Australian duo Chrissparra and Cimota
- Incredible stories from the author of the Printstream series, JTPZN, including nightmares, a PC case and Nirvana!
- Oldschool skin creator Hexeth talks about Valve’s marketing, money, fears, and skins!
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