Interview with Nextgenz, creator of USP-S Monster Mashup

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One of the best pros in skin making, Nextgenz, the author of the Cyrex and Desert Strike series, told us about the secret of his success and the professional intricacies of skinmaking.

– First, we’d like to congratulate you on the release of USP-S Monster Mashup. Incredibly beautiful skin.
– Thanks a lot! You know, it’s just unbelievable what’s happening to me and I’ll never thank enough the community that voted for this skin because it’s thanks to you that the skin is part of the official CS:GO list, but also to the CS:GO team, because, without us, nothing would have been possible. So a big thank you to all players, fans, and people that send me messages! Love you.

– Tell us a little about yourself.
– I am French and live near Paris. I’ve been drawing for the CSGO community in the Workshop since the end of 2013, I have a little more than 400 skins made since I started. You can find my work in the Workshop.
You may have played with other of my skins in CS:GO (Cyrex, Desert Strike, System Lock, Cardiac, Handgun, etc…).

And I’ve been following the CS community since my childhood. It is a dream to see my skin in a game because I have been playing CS:GO since I was a kid! I also tried to share my passion with some videos explaining how to create a skin.

USP-S Monster Mashup

– Tell us about Monster Mashup. How did you come up with the idea of this design?
– I love art, and I’m following a lot of designers in all fields: Video games, paintings, digital or real sculptures, cartoons (comics, manga …)

Kaws

For this skin, I took inspiration from different influences, from my travels, and also from a designer, who is called Kaws and whom I love.

First of all, to make a skin, you have to do a LOT of research. You need to create a “moodboard”. When we have the ideas in place, we make sketches and then we establish the design.

I took part of my inspiration from this for example for the color :

I wanted to make a skin at the beginning as if we were “dissecting” the weapon (what we find in the monster on the skin, on the body) so that you can see the inside of the weapon (future skin, by the way, I’m working on it and it will be available soon). Then, I checked also the trends that mainly graffiti, etc (for example de_overpass, de_train, stickers on skins, and character design…).

KAWS started his career with representations in the urban world/graffiti etc before he started to make sculptures. So I tried to mix the idea and the influence of KAWS with the world of CSGO. We also find the spirit of the famous cross evoking his signature.

To stay in the graffiti theme, I drew a lot of little monsters (by hand that I scanned and vectorized afterward) as a pattern reminding the B point of de_overpass, in the background on USP. The green was chosen voluntarily because there is (I find) not much realization exploiting this idea and this color. I also took inspiration from my travels around the world for the colors.

– What are your favorite skins?
– I can’t say, there are so many! Those who are accepted in the game are now numerous, but then the number of skins that are not yet accepted in the game, it’s just impressive! You don’t realize how the level evolves from day today. There’s a lot of talents in the community, and you can see that the designers are always evolving. We can only thank Valve and the CSGO team for giving us so many ways to create more and more beautiful skins. The pearlescent effect, the normal map, the gunsmith to name a few examples.

Galil-AR Helheim by Nextgenz

– No matter is it your art or maybe there are some other artists’ skins that you like?
– What you need to know is that it’s the idea itself which is very important. Most people don’t realize how much time we spend on the skin but also to be able to find the idea. A lot of skins are not necessarily “beautiful” in the sense of “beautiful”, because the community will not like it or vote for it because it is a weapon not very very popular (see G3SG1, MAG7 etc…). Nevertheless, a good idea could put a highlight on this model and on the design itself.
It is a challenge to try to design every kind of weapon!

UMP45 Dirty Money by Nextgenz

– When did you start making skins?
– I started creating skins on Christmas Eve 2013. I was doing a LAN party with friends, and a friend of mine told me that the CS team is now offering the possibility to create skins… I told myself right away that creating skins on my favorite game was going to be a real pleasure and the perfect mix between two of my passions!

Mac-10 Curse

– Are there any other games except CS that have your skins? What game was first?
– Yes of course, I made a realization on Unturned which was selected, 3 creations on Gun of Icarus, all three were selected as well. But I can’t really detach myself from CS. I have seen that there are some very beautiful creations on Rust, Payday, Killing floor, Dota etc… But I prefer to focus only on CSGO because I really like this game and it is kind of a love story.

– And how did you decide that you want to make a game skin?
– I always like to challenge myself, and I try to improve day by day to go further and further. I now have different ways of creating a skin. At the time I used to vectorize everything on Adobe Fireworks, Illustrator and Photoshop software.
I still use this process on some skins like the USP Monster Mashup for example. Here is an example of vectorisation using Adobe Fireworks:

Skin representing the “Demon” collection


I use 3DCOAT for the non-vectorized “drawing”, Substance Painter to “bake” the textures now and also to create the drawings. I was offered a Huion tablet with a screen one month ago. I’m having a lot of fun drawing with this tool! I hope to satisfy you with my new drawings made with my tablet! I am now learning Marmoset Tool bag 4 for my future renderings 🙂

– What’s the secret of your skin’s success?
– I don’t know lol, all I’m trying to do is have fun while trying to satisfy the CSGO team and the players. But to do this you need to understand the community, what they really want, but also understand what the CSGO team also wants for the game.
I noticed that the community really liked the detailed skins with lots of saturated colors. Unfortunately, not all skins can be like that, you need to do different kinds of designs!

There is a guide proposed by Valve which is very good and very explanatory of the understanding of the different skin rarity.
There is also a free guide offered by Centauri which is simply brilliant and very explicit.

SCAR-20 Cardiac

– Do you play CS?
– I’ve been a big CS player since the WON version, it’s always been my favorite game and it will be forever. When a Valve game comes out, you can be sure that it’s going to be some huge thing! I follow a lot of the news of Valve, their games, and of course CSGO. I don’t have as much time to play as I used to have at the time, so I prefer to devote my time to my passion: drawing and creating skins!

P2000 Handgun

– What is your favourite skin in your inventory?
– I love the AWP Atheris: the colours, the details…, there is very good alchemy and it’s very harmonious. The M4A1S Control Panel is one of my favourites as well. The latest MP5 Condition Zero is really nice and reminds very well the CS game: Condition Zero. Otherwise of course I play with my skins!

M249 | System Lock

Do you play with your own skins?
– Of course! What a pleasure to be able to play with your own skins! By the way, my biggest dreams were to be able to share my creations with the community and to see my skins play, and especially in e-sport! What a pleasure to see professionals gamers making kills with my skins.

AWP | Captain Strike

– Will we see some easter eggs in your skins?
– Ahah I always try to put little easter eggs in the skins when the occasion arises. (The logo 1.6 on the m4a1 Cyrex, manufactory csgo&co on the mp5 Desert Strike) there is a tiny pearlescent effect on the USP Monster Mashup, did you notice it? 🙂

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