VLEK is a salted workshopper. He started making his first skins before the times of Steam Workshop! It was in Team Fortress 2, not in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, that his first skin appeared.
His skins are closely related to the game’s lore. Previously, he created the gorgeous AWP Wildfire skin, and now the game features the Galil AR Connexion by him as well.
CS.MONEY here to present a series of interviews with the creators of the best skins ever! We’ll start with the true heroes whose works entered the Fracture Case.
– Tell us a little about yourself.
– My name is Vladislav. I’ve been part of the Workshop since 2010. That year, there was yet no official workshop that you can see today. It was created a year later, in 2011, and it only included one game — Team Fortress 2! Back in 2010, however, there was only a special site where you could upload archives with models and textures. I got my first SELF-MADE (a copy of the item with green edging, its name was THIS ITEM WAS CREATED BY ME) with TF2. I was on cloud nine because Team Fortress was my favorite game. I couldn’t get enough of it. And I wanted to make the game better by creating new HATS! That’s how I became a workshopper!
By the way, in CS, they give you a green-edged key instead of an item.
– Congratulations on Connexion entering the game.
– This skin was your collaboration with hexeth, right? Whose idea was it?
– Yes, we developed this skin with hexeth. He contacted me (for which I’m infinitely grateful), telling me all about the upcoming CS-20 update, how this was an anniversary case and we totally needed to get featured 🙂
I started rummaging through the game’s history and eventually found a Heavy Phoenix pic. I liked this fella. Made a skin concept based on the design of this Heavy Phoenix, a few sketches, showed them to hexeth. He really dug this idea, and we started working on the actual collection. The first item was the machine gun, for which I prepared the art details: alpha, paint patches, Phoenix logo, and other small things, and hexeth did the rest of the work. Well, the stuff was cool and everything. You give it your own evaluation, but we were truly delighted. After that, we took two guns each and started making them, each on his own, sharing feedback with each other in the process of development.
hexeth made: m-249, Sawed-off, Mac-10
I made: Galil ar, Tec-9
– What does collaboration between several creators look like in general?
– Quite simple, you just agree on who does what and you do it. In our case, I made the promo, an art concept, but it didn’t mean it was the final version. Things can change in development. We discussed each option, tweaking them along the way. That’s why the final versions of the skins are different from the concepts. Yeah, and hexeth made some unbelievably awesome material for the guns, making them feel so real.
– How did you start making skins?
– It was hexeth who suggested I make skins 🙂 Huge thanks to him once again! My first sticker for CS was the rooster. There were really some high hopes for this sticker, but it didn’t succeed 🙂
– Do I need the skills of a professional designer to make skins?
– Let me put it this way: you can totally make skins without knowing anything at all about design, but more often than not, the result will leave much to be desired. If, on the other hand, you have an art education or a good general command of design, the chances of success will be higher!
– How do ideas for skins emerge generally and where does the creation process begin?
– It’s hard to tell. Sometimes it dawns on you. Sometimes you have to dig stuff up and look for something for a really long time, like with Connexion. Most of the time, the idea is born rather quickly. Then again, refining it and winnowing out all unnecessary things is a long process.
– Do you remember your first skin? How long did it take you to create it?
– My first skin was Danger Zone P-90 — I love this skin 🙂 And I like this game mode too. When did I create it? Dunno. I can’t even remember a vague period. I suppose it took a long time, this was my first skin after all 🙂
– Why make skins at all? Is it profitable or do you do it for your own pleasure?
– You can totally make skins for yourself, and it sure js profitable in case the skin’s been accepted.
– How do you like Fracture Case? Any notable works besides your own skins?
– It’s not for me to judge the Case — I’m not much of a devoted player, really, and I don’t follow the CS ongoings in general. Of course, there are cool works: Apel, 2minds — these guys definitely earned their place in the Case.
– Tell us about the AWP | WildFire skin. How did you come up with the idea of such a design?
– WildFire is an operation that was once featured in CS. I decided to use the fire dragon that’s on the logo. It was also interesting to execute it in a different style, to make it look like a reference to the operation but not like a plagiarized original logo. After some toying around with the AWP design, I placed the dragon and began polishing.
You know, I could’ve made the thing look cooler. But I’m not that skillful as an artist, apparently 🙂 Did the best I could, posted it — the deadline was hard on me too.
– And if we take all the skins, not just Fracture Case, can you name a few of the best? From your perspective.
– There are many good skins. I couldn’t list all of them, but some I’d name are:
Scavenger, Pipe Down, Light Rail, Uncharted, BOMB, High Roller, Goo, Phantom, The Empress, Exposure, Grip, Toy Soldier, Reboot, Imprint, Ventilator, Directive, Triarch… I’m getting carried away 😀 I certainly can’t name all of them.
– If you could change Dragon Lore the way you like, what would you change in it?
– Why change it? Valve made a skin, people like it. You don’t have to change anything, it’s better to create something new and different.
– Where do you draw your inspiration from? What are your favorite books and movies?
– Hard to tell. I haven’t really given it much thought. Inspiration comes in the work process. As to books and movies … I haven’t watched anything for so long, let alone reading 🙂
– Do you play CS? If you do, tell us what your favorite weapon is. And your favorite skins.
– I do play CS, but once in a blue moon, really. I like playing the first rounds with the Berettas 🙂 But I like using almost everything, really. I am all for diversity.
– So if you play CS, the question is: do you use your own skins?
– I don’t have my own skins, not yet. But it’s cooler to play with your own skins, and I intend to buy some of them soon 🙂
– What about the maps? Any favorites?
– Anubis, Militia, and Agency are really cool maps. That’s what comes to my mind first.
– Do you follow the CS:GO competitions? Do you have favorite teams?
– No, I don’t… Do ya’ll hate me now all of a sudden? XD Once I came across a Major, though, and it was really something to watch. I couldn’t stop watching it 🙂
– Any plans for the future?
– I’m really looking forward to traveling after the pandemic 🙂
And a lot of other yet untapped ideas that are still waiting for their time.
– Any guidance you can give to those who are only thinking about creating their first skin?
– To achieve something, you need to work really hard. I’m sure you’ll face difficulties and make mistakes at first, but it will only serve to make you better eventually. It doesn’t just apply to skins, it applies to life in general 🙂 Skins, stickers, merch, a Dota set — all of these take up a long time.
And by the way. Thanks to hexeth once again 🙂 If it weren’t for him, who knows when I would start creating skins.