Welcome to Issue 23!
WELCOME to our “Gateway to Space” issue, a small tribute to the vision of the British science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. Clarke was one of the best science popularisers and futurists of the 20th century, a true ‘gateway’ visionary for many, and he strongly influenced the conception of man’s future in space. His engaging and exciting fiction has stood the test of time. He originated a range of engineering ideas such as orbiting geo-synced communications satellites, and even real-time noise cancellation. He helped shape many more, such as radar, space elevators, and humanity’s options for interstellar travel.
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We talk with Pixar artist Neil Blevins, about his space megastructures series, his new illustrated Inc project, and more.
3DS MAX | MOVIES
“I decided to collect a list of all the major space megastructures, and then do a sort of updated version of The Usborne Book of the Future, in the hope of inspiring today’s youth in the same way.”
After being partly blinded, Graham decided to learn Lightwave — and with it he makes fabulous space and aviation pictures.
LIGHTWAVE | PS
“In 2007 I suffered a brain haemorrhage … this left me blind in one eye and partially sighted in the other. So I made the decision to ‘go for it’ — to try and learn a big professional standard 3D render package.”
ARTHUR C. CLARKE
Yes — thanks to the wonders of the public domain, we have a fresh interview with the great man himself!
AUTHOR | FUTURIST
“… it helps that astronomy does have a beauty about it … I would like the big art museums to have displays of purely scientific photographs — beautiful stuff, which appeals to everybody emotionally.”
OSHYAN GREENE ON TERRAGEN 4.1
Editor-in-Chief Paul Bussey talks with Planetside Software’s Oyshan Greene about the new features of Terragen 4.1, the new free educational licence, and the benefits of taking a booth at the major SIGGRAPH show in Los Angeles.
Part of our interview with Neil Blevins
DAL: Neil, welcome to this in-depth interview with Digital Art Live. This is our Arthur C. Clarke special tribute issue, and when we looked at your DeviantArt gallery we thought your art and interests would fit in perfectly.
NB: Thank you very much for the opportunity to talk to your readers!
DAL: Firstly, a big congratulations on the success of your The Story of Inc Kickstarter, a science fiction comic-book-like publication which has just been funded at well over 100%+ of the goal. Robots and stark alien landscapes, aliens and giant alien monolithic starships, an odd couple in an odd planetary landscape… it sounds great. So can you tell us about the Kickstarter experience, please, and what you’ll now be able to produce with the funds, that will tell the story?
NB: Thanks, Inc has been a project that has been years in the making, but it’s been well worth it. First off, it’s not exactly a comic book, it’s a narrative artbook. So it’s a novel which then is illustrated with full colour detailed digital imagery of key scenes in the narrative. Imagine a full length sci-fi film, and this book as being a somewhat abbreviated script to that film with still images from the film, except in our case the film never existed! The Kickstarter process has been great, and yet at the same time also nerve racking. Since the book was already done before the Kickstarter started, the funds are going directly to printing 1,000 copies of the book. The Kickstarter also let us pre-sell about 250 copies, and then the rest will be sold online and at conventions in the coming years.
DAL: Quite an undertaking. A hard cold print-run is always a challenge. What’s the production workflow on the book shaping up to be, on that?
NB: The first proofs have been printed, we had a few comments of things to fix, then the second proof will be done. Then we get them all printed, shipped from overseas to Amazon, and then we’re using Amazon to ship the book to all our Kickstarter pledgers and will do sales after. Hoping to have it out before Christmas, but that depends on a lot of factors. Mostly how long it takes to have the books cross the Pacific.
DAL: I see. Ok, now let’s step back into the past a little. I see that you were raised in Canada. Do the wide open spaces you experienced there, growing up, have a reflection in the Inc story? In terms of Inc traversing a big open landscape?
NB: Indirectly. I loved the Star Wars films growing up, and Hoth [remote, icy planet in the Outer Rim] sometimes did remind me of my homeland. So you might say living in Canada with all that snow made me love Hoth, which made me love Star Wars, and so I loved Tatooine [harsh desert world on the Outer Rim] and so I always wanted to make a story set in a bleak desert. But a lot of it has to do with my art, I really enjoy a single subject against a simple but atmospheric background. It makes for strong easy-to-read —visually ‘read’ — compositions. And a desert is just a perfect environment to have that sort of simple elegant composition. Then we fashioned a story around the world and our two main characters.