Welcome to Issue 29!
It’s been 20 years since 3D first arrived in the mail. Or, more precisely, since chunky cardboard boxes arrived on people’s doorsteps. Each box carrying a precious cargo of Poser 3.0 CD-ROMs, a door-stop sized printed manual and a licence-key card. Amazingly there is no precise shipping-date online for Poser 3.0 — the Internet forgets much, even at Archive.org. But a deep-dive into Google turned up an in-depth review from Germany (April 1998, avAtaR eZine, “Test Bryce 3D und Poser 3”), and this suggests Poser 3.0 probably shipped in May 1998. More certainly, the famous Poser Forum Online was first established in June 1998 and then grew exponentially.
By summer 1998 users had their hands on the first really usable Poser version, with the familiar and much-loved user-interface it still has today. Phil Clevenger of MetaCreations had successfully transferred to Poser 3.0 much of the unique user-interface from MetaCreations’s popular Bryce 3D landscape software. The company then enlisted Zygote to provide a huge bundle of add-on 3D content for Poser. There was nothing else like it, and by Christmas the ‘street price’ of Poser 3.0 was £179 in the UK — a bargain even at 1998 prices. The new Poser software proved a great success, and the price fell as the volume of sales rose. By 1999 the online archives show: that Poser 3.0 was being listed at just $119 U.S.; that flagship artists such has Larry Weinberg had shown what was possible with the software; and that it was being very well-reviewed even in magazines at the upmarket end of the industry. The mass-market desktop 3D art revolution was well underway!
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We talk with Kevin about childhood art training, his disappointment in college art, and his discovery of the power of 3D software.
DAZ | PHOTOSHOP
“As a young child I would set me off across town with my bike and $10 every Saturday morning, to take private art lessons. While all the other kids were sleeping I studied drawing, sculpting, painting…”
Rebecca talks about how DAZ Studio runs on a budget PC, kit-bashing 3D content, and the importance of details.
DAZ | PHOTOSHOP
“I often imagine [finishing a 3D render is] similar to the way a sculptor feels when they stand back and look at their work. It’s not always what the viewer sees, but the hidden and subtle details that make a render.”
Mirjam delights in making female fantasy portraits, and she has developed a low-light style full of rich shadows and soft glows.
DAZ | PHOTOSHOP
“For a long time I was trying to develop a style that felt natural and comfortable. I think that is really important [that your style feels natural], because otherwise the style is difficult to stick to.”
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Part Interview text with Kevin McBriarty
DAL: Kevin, many thanks for taking the time to do this in-depth interview with Digital Art Live.
KM: I’m humbled and flattered by your interest in my work, and by your contacting me for an in-depth interview. Fantasy and fantasy art has been an escape for me, since a young age. I’ve always dreamed of creating fantastic images of mythical creatures and people. 3d imaging allows me to bring my dreams to life — and many more dreams that I had ever imagined when I was a boy.
DAL: Yes, I think that’s one of the great things about fantasy, in that at its best it can give individuals the ability to tap into the wider and interwoven imagination of the group, and at the same to time to tap into poetry of real history and landscapes. But to start talking about your art, I must congratulate you first on your very stylish control of light and shadow in many of your pictures. The outdoor ‘sunlight pictures’ also have excellent lighting. Have you trained in that, in terms of studying traditional art and/or photographic studio set-up or movie/stage lighting? Or does it just come naturally?
KM: Thank you. All the training I received was prior to college years. As a young child my parents ‘saw something in me’ and set me off across town with my bike and $10 every Saturday morning to take private art lessons. While all the other kids were sleeping in late, or watching Saturday morning cartoons on TV, I was peddling my bike across town to study everything from drawing to sculpting to painting. I did this until I reached high school where I enrolled in every possible art related class that I could fit into my schedule. Jewellery making, photography, graphic arts, traditional art… anything to be creative.
DAL: Right, so the training started early for you. Was there anyone special you helped develop your talents, in those early years?
KM: My private art instructor, who also happened to be one of the many teachers I had in high school. He was the most influential figure in developing my skills. I had spent virtually every Saturday morning with him and his family in his home — painting, drawing, sculpting and at one point even weaving. Yes, weaving — not my favourite experience!
He would push me to ‘reach outside my comfort zone’ through-out my learning. Ultimately he was the one who pushed me to sign-up for a photography course in high school. He felt I needed to have a basic understanding of light, shadow and depth to help me see the world in a different light (pun intended, his joke not mine).
Once in high school he pushed me further. There were projects that others would work on for ages, but he had me completing those projects years earlier at his kitchen table. He always managed to find things to challenge me and keep me interested in creating.
DAL: That sounds like a great start. And then photography became a big input, in terms of feeding through into you 3D skills. Would you recommend 3D artists take a short course in that, to help boost their lighting and framing skills?
KM: Taking that first photography course set the foundation for me, later in my development of 3D art. I would recommend a budding 3D artist to invest in a basic course, at least, to develop their understanding of lighting and the power it can bring to their creations. Lighting can make or break a 3D piece, and a good foundational understanding of basic lighting and framing skills can take a piece from ‘interesting’ to ‘incredible’.
For the past couple of years I have found that I enjoy using light as a medium. The balance or imbalance of light and shadow on a piece can have a dynamic effect on the emotion of a piece, especially portraits.