We also interview one of the makers of the ‘Catula’ project, this being one of the most distinctive of the recent semi-toon animal characters.
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Welcome to ISSUE 40 : Expressing Character
GLEN, aka ‘Glnw43’
We talk with Glen about the methods he uses to create his ensemble pictures, for his ambitious storytelling with them.
DAZ | PHOTOSHOP
“The images swirling in my brain are vividly clear. It’s like a movie I’m watching on repeat. [But then] I envision each of my scenes as a storyboard style or ‘scene’ from a film [and] if a character is looking off camera, it makes me curious what’s about to happen next.”
ANJA von LENSKI
We talk with Anja about creating multi-character pictures in DAZ Studio, and finding time in a busy schedule to make them!
DAZ | PHOTOSHOP
“Don’t stop half-way while working on the picture, just because you think no one will notice the bits you skipped. This is not the case. But sometimes for me it is very helpful to wait a few days, and then to get a fresh view on your scene.”
Lisa is a leading texture maker in the DAZ and Poser world, and works extensively for the HiveWire 3D store.
POSER | DAZ | PS
“… The Catula character’s eyes, I knew I wanted to make the main focal point. I wanted to make them sort of hypnotic, but with empathy, and a little mischief. This is where the Lemur comes into play because they tend to ‘draw you in’ with their large hypnotic eyes.”
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DAL: Glen, welcome to the in-depth Digital Art Live interview. You were an obvious choice for this “expressing character” issue, with your superb selection of large scale scenes and multi-character pictures. It must have been quite a skills and creative progression for you, to get to the heights you’ve now achieved with your large range of pictures. How and where did you first start off with making digital art?
Glen: Thank you for the kind words. I first discovered the world of digital art around the year 2001. At the time I had wondered if the world of 3D animation was available to hobbyists. I read about 3D Studio Max and then somehow… I also saw an advert for Poser 4. I purchased it and soon upgraded to Poser 5.
DAL: Great. A nice entry point, in terms of time and a maturing Poser.
Glen: Even though I had no idea what I was doing with the program, I was hooked. It was fun and something new, I suppose!
and it allowed me to study human anatomy in a non-traditional sense.
Shortly after that I also purchased Bryce and used it for many years. I also began using PaintShop Pro around that time to color my traditional art sketches and scenes.
Glen: I had tried DAZ Studio when it was first released, but my old computer’s hardware was insufficient to run the program. In fact it could barely keep up with Poser and eventually it wouldn’t even run the later version of Poser. So there were several years when I just stuck with Photoshop and traditional media.
DAL: And when you returned to 3D, it was to the maturing DAZ Studio?
Glen: Yes, I’ve been using DAZ Studio for just over three years. I was able to buy a newer computer, which could handle DAZ Studio’s requirements.
DAL: Right. So, to step back in time a little… What were the early struggles in 3D, and how did you overcome them?
Glen: Well, after purchasing Poser and Bryce, I read up on how to use each program and honestly, I had no idea what the tutorials were talking about! This hobby was completely new to me and so was all this talk of pixels, 3D models, vertices, cloth dynamics, joint hierarchies, etc. I felt overwhelmed and unprepared. It was one of those situations where I just had to play with the software to understand just the basics of it. And plan to learn the more complex skills later.
One huge struggle was computer hardware inadequacies. I didn’t do my research and discovered I couldn’t do too much in Poser due to my hardware limitations. I had to keep things simple or face errors and crashes. Bryce, being older software, was never much of a problem.
While my traditional art skills were never strong, incorporating those lessons and ideas in digital art proved frustrating in the beginning. Suddenly, I wasn’t looking at paper. I was staring at a monitor. It felt very alien to me. It was difficult transitioning from traditional to digital media and understanding the “rules of art” still apply — even if your pens, paper, and brushes are all electronic now.
As if I wasn’t confused enough already, I starting creating my own 3D models in programs like Wings, Hexagon, Amapi, and a few others. The world of modelling proved fascinating. But created a whole set of new obstacles, and unfortunately, some of those frustrations remain almost 15 years later.
DAL: Were you able to draw on your existing art training, or are you self-taught?
Glen: I suppose both, in a way. I have always sketched and painted and studied style, colour, and such on my own. I only had high school level art instruction, and I struggled with composition and technique before I discovered the world of digital art. I do think I used what I had learned over the years, built upon that knowledge, and eventually took it in the direction I desired.
DAL: Who were some of the earliest digital artists that inspired you?
Glen: Without a doubt, it was the Poser artists who influenced my decision to try Poser and the myriad of applications which followed. I still recall seeing some of the top talent showcased at Runtime DNA and Renderosity. At the time, I could not understand how this art could be made on a computer. Syyd Raven was probably at the top of that list of digital artists whose art I loved. There was such style and mystery and surreal beauty to her work.