SCIENCE FICTION ARTIST IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS
CHUCK CARTER (MYST)
ISSUE FIFTEEN NEW YEAR 2017
VUE ● TERRAGEN ● POSER ● DAZ STUDIO ● REAL-TIME 3D ● 2D DIGITAL PAINTING ● 2D/3D COMBINATIONS
Last year we presented a successful eight part in-depth series on creating content for DAZ Studio. The series was presented by the talented DAZ Studio published artist Esha.
We covered the workflow from start to finish of creating holiday styled clothing for a character as well as standalone luggage props. This follow-on session has a particular focus on typical issues found in rigging, since this is often the part of the workflow that can cause headaches. If you have a question in particular on rigging, then contact us and we'll see if we can include that in the webinar.
This session will include:Dealing with weight maps How to rig a long sleeved top Rigging clothing in the areas of the groin and underarm Unlock Your Workflow by getting your Rigging Right! LIVE WEBINAR : SATURDAY 21ST JANUARY
About Esha Esha lives in Austria and has been creating 3D products for nearly 12 years. She has created content for Smith Micro and Daz and is an active vendor at daz3d.com. When Daz released the Developer Tools for Daz Studio in 2008 she integrated them into her workflow and has been working with Daz Studio, alongside Poser, ever since. In recent years she has been focusing on DS for product development. Eshaâ€™s favourite tools include Daz Studio, Poser, ZBrush, Wings3D, Xfrog, Marvelous Designer, UVLayout and Photoshop. In all of these she is a self-taught artist, basing her skills on years of experience and numerous online tutorials. She fully understands the difficulties of moving from Poser to Daz Studio, having made that journey herself, and enjoys passing on her Studio know-how to new users. Esha also has several years of experience in teaching adults. She firmly believes that the best way to learn is to actively do something yourself, so she favours a hands-on approach in teaching. Knowing only too well how tiresome it is to gather scraps of information all over the web she wants to provide comprehensive webinars that really offer solid information. Moving from the basics to advanced procedures she takes care to make sure that her audience will be able to follow her courses smoothly. In her spare time Esha loves listening to classical music, baking muffins and collecting cat photos.
DAZ Studio THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CREATING COMPLEX OUTFITS Five Part MASTERCLASSâ€”Starts Saturday 18th February How to create long dresses, multi-layered and long sleeved outfits
Welcome to Arki's Wardrobe Studio! How to create Long dresses, Multi-layered and Long Sleeved outfits all in DAZ Studio Package includes the live webinar events, Q&A sessions, HD Recordings Register now for Early Bird Pricing for all 5 modules! Creating more complex outfits in DAZ Studio requires extra levels of knowledge and experience. It isn't easy to find a "How to" guide on creating good quality long dresses, full length skirts, long sleeved or multi-layered outfits. So we have decided to dedicate a five part series on how to create these types of outfits in detail and show you in step by step fashion in a new five part webinar series. In addition there's tuition on creating matching jewelry to fit the style of these garments. We take you right the way through from early design considerations, polygon/box modelling, overcoming UV mapping headaches, mastering the rigging, fixing weightmap issues, successfully using joint control morphs and texturing. Presented by Kim Schneider who has been a long term vendor of complex garments at the DAZ 3D store and Runtime DNA.
Session Session Session Session Session
1 2 3 4 5
: : : : :
"Make your Dream Outfit Come True" "Tame the Best - Groundwork for Texturing" "From Solid to Articulated" "How to add Quirks and Moves" "Adding that Splash of Colour"
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE SHARE YOUR CREATIVE STORY
We are actively looking for artists or content creators that would enjoy the opportunity of teaching other artists in a live setting. Would you like to work with Digital Art Live as a partner in presenting some of our live webinars? Weâ€™re particularly looking for artists and content creators with DAZ Studio and/or Poser in mind. Use the link below to submit your application and weâ€™ll get in touch!
Past and Present Presenters : Syyd Raven, Eric Van Dycke, Paolo Ciccone, Kim Schneider, Charles Taylor
Front Cover: “Mirror Lakes” (detail) by Cathrine Langwagan, interviewed in this issue.
CONTENTS OUR LIVE WEBINARS! ―― 03
EDITORIAL ―― 09
BACK ISSUES INDEX ―― 22
ART CONTESTS ―― 30
eVolo SKYSCRAPER CONTEST ―― 40
ULCO GLIMMERVEEN ―― 64
GALLERY ―― 72
IMAGINARIUM ―― 86
Chuck Carter was one of the key artists on the alltime classic game Myst. Now he’s making a new game called ZED.
Cynthia uses Poser with Vue to create amazing environments that blend nature and fantasy architecture.
Cathrine is a digital painter and compositor who loves Myst, and who visualises and realises superb fantasy scenes.
UNREAL | GAME DESIGN
POSER | VUE | PS
PS | WACOM TABLET
“In every single lucid dream I am in I always lose control at some point. And then it turns pretty dark, so you know that's something that will also make its way into the game.”
“… That's the thing about trying to recreate nature. If you think you have enough layers of dirt and plants and rocks, triple it. … build in the richness, the time, the variety, and growth of many years. “
“I did a year of backpacking around the globe [to see] different landscapes and peoples, cultures and wildlife. So many places we find in fantasy artworks really do exist on Earth! ”
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LIVE Join our live webinar-based workshops for digital artists. 3DArtLive.com Credits for pictures, from top left: detail from “Ryzom Submersible” by Dave Haden; detail from “Steampunk Crystal Ball” by 3DStage; “Maglev Line 1” by Ulco Glimmerveen.
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Copyright © 2017 Digital Art LIVE. Published in the United Kingdom. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. No copyright claim is made by the publisher regarding any artworks made by the artists featured in this magazine.
This issue has a series of artists that were influenced by the classic adventure Myst game released back in 1993. It was originally designed by Rand and Robyn Miller and included key work by 3D artist and animator Chuck Carter who we also interview in this issue, on his latest game ZED. Each scene from Myst was modeled and rendered in StrataVision 3D, with some additional modeling in Macromedia MacroModel. It was time consuming in the making, but a memorable classic was born. Myst remained the best selling PC game for almost a decade.
Myst had something that other games yearned for – an ability to captivate the player, dropping them into a world they could believe, for the duration of their time in it, was real. In this, Myst achieved the Holy Grail of computer gaming – a truly immersive experience. You can see that Cynthia Decker’s artwork featured in this issue has had some influence from Myst. She reminisces:
influential, and I feel a very personal connection with all the Myst games. I imagine a lot of people do. They were deeply immersive, mature, and breathtakingly beautiful.“ , As you will read from our interview with Chuck Carter, his game ZED certainly has it’s own signature graphic style as he mentions his own influences:-
“... ZED is also pulling a lot of inspiration from some of my favourite artists. I still go back to my roots is my favourite artists like Moebius who was a French comic book artist who was amazing his work is phenomenal. There's a science-fiction illustrator James Harris whose work is amazing, you can get lost by looking into it. So those types of things are really appealing to me. The game level that's our demo level has some of its roots and inspiration from another artist named Sean Bann — who is a children's book illustrator. His work is very dreamlike.” Enter the world of dream-like graphics in this issue.
“From the moment the program started, I was in love. Everything about that game spoke to me — the story, the visuals, the sense of being free and alone, the puzzles. The theme music for the Cyan splash-screen still gives me goosebumps. I knew then that I wanted to move to making environments a part of my own artwork. Myst was hugely FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/3DArtDirect
PAUL BUSSEY Editor and LIVE Webinar Director email@example.com
Digital Art Live talks with veteran games
designer and entertainment artist Chuck Carter about his new game ZED, his work for Disney and Babylon 5, and his role in making the all-time classic videogame Myst.
DAL: Welcome to Chuck Carter, the creative director and founder of Eagre Games. Chuck help create the famous videogame Myst and many other videogames including working on the Command and Conquer and C&C: Red Alert franchises, Marvel Ultimate Alliance and many others. Chuck has also worked on TV shows like Babylon 5 as a digital matte painter, and has also contributed work on Star Trek: The Experience motion ride and Disney's Mission to Mars. His work has also been seen through the BBC, National Geographic, the US Department of Defense and Homeland Security, NASA Caltech and JPL, as well as dozens of additional publications and organizations. Today we're going to be talking to Chuck about ZED, his newest videogame in development. I've just put down a few words to try to describe the game: explorative, adventure, meditative, mysterious, dreamlike, and stunning immersive graphics. Anything else to add onto those, Chuck? CC: That pretty much covers the gamut, I think. You know, there may on occasion be a bit more of a feeling of being in a “dreaded” kind of environment. Like almost a nightmarish environment, in one or two places. So that, if you make a choice on a puzzle, or in going into a certain location at a certain time, you might find yourself…. in something darker. I think doing it like that helps to balance the game out. You don't want it to be too light and happy. Most dreams are never light and happy all the time. So ZED has this great value to it, because it does have this beautiful look and feel to it. DAL: It's also in this valuable niche of gaming which generally goes by the name of “meditative gaming”.
Picture: Chuck Carter at work.
CHUCK CARTER MAINE, USA PHOTSHOP | UNREAL ENGINE | GAME CONCEPTS |
So I think it would be good to talk about this notion and what attracted you to this? CC: Well, working on my first game, obviously that was Myst. That was the first game that worked on and it sort of started my career. Myst in essence was an immersive game. It was not violent like DOOM. You had a story that you were trying to figure out, through those two brothers in the game. You know: “which one do you release?” So by discovering more about the brothers you were essentially traversing a story, and I really found that I like that idea of how to do the gameplay. I liked that fact that the nonviolent aspect of it is something that allows you to not have to rush through a game. Because you have to survive. This is a game that lets you play pretty much at your own pace and it lets you know and lets the narrative come at you and at a pace that's easy to understand. Most of it's about discovery, and a lot of narrative is about the main character. It’s about discovering how you do that through these dreams. It appealed to me, because I think that right now with a lot of games — and I play my share of ‘em — they are based around violent themes. I think that it's a good thing just from a standpoint as a designer, to try and go outside that box, and to provide people with something that's an alternative. I think that's something
that has a real draw for a lot of people. It’s maybe the game you want to play after you've got to playing a big game like DOOM, to relax you a little bit. Once the player learns to slow the there's a lot of value to be had from a game like that. DAL: And I think personally this kind of harks back to good old text based and graphic based adventure games? CC: Right. DAL: There often was a kind of violence in those games. You had swords and things to pick up and kill things with, but it allowed you to play at your own place to explore to discover. But when graphics kind of took over I think some of that got swept under the carpet. So it's really pleasing to see this style of game come to the fore again. I don't know if you agree, but do you think this kind of game sits side-by-side with “sandbox” games? CC: I think so, sure. I mean in order to move through it there are puzzles, a lot of puzzles. That will either slow you down, meaning that you have to go to explore to find out other answers. I mean it's not Myst-like in that respect, the way the puzzles are designed, but it does have that that kind of open-world feel for the most part. Not in our current demo, you don't see that Pictures: Screenshots from an early version of ZED.
obviously — because we want to limit you where you can go in there. But for the rest of the game, I would say that it definitely fits that sideby-side with “sandbox”. It has a sort of sandbox feel to it. DAL: And you've drawn visual ideas for the game from your own lucid dreams. So what are some of the elements you used from your dreams? CC: Well, in my dreams are these large looming shapes. They just stack up. Like the blocks for instance in the demo. There is one particular pile of blocks, it seems to go way up into the sky. As a child I used to have dreams about things that pile up. I don’t know if it residual images from my early childhood, playing with building blocks, playing with the ABC blocks? Piling them up and imagining them being large buildings. But those images have stuck in my dreamscapes for years. And floating images of floating blocks of floating shapes. Things like that that seemed to kind of like follow you around or just take over in an environment in the background. So that's one of the elements of it. Then there’s colour — I always dreamed about dreams in black and white. For a long long time, and then one day I just had this dream that started in black-and-white and then it rushed into colour.
It was more probably one of the most memorable dreams I've ever had. I was running with someone across a jungle. It was all black and white and then we ran out on top of this is large dome of rock and The Rock collapsed. Somehow we both fell into this into this pool of this emerald green water. Beautiful, and the sunlight was streaming down through the cracks of the ceiling, falling into the dome. We were swimming amongst all this water, and all these bright orange tigers. And there was all this green greenery along the edge, so we swam to the edge and then the jungle was just there. And the sky was deep blue… and so it's just that whole thing still stands in my memory as my first realization that I was dreaming in colour. I was fairly young, probably 13 or 14, when I had that dream. But that still sticks with me today. There are elements of that dream which will be found in ZED as well. DAL: Is there other symbolism in the game? CC: As far as other symbols go, it could be anything. As simple as a drawing or… you go into a room and it's no longer a room, it's something else. I mean it's going to have a lot of the typical things, things that a lot of people dream. But it's hard to verbally describe every single thing. But there's a lot of things that that are inspired by many different dreams. I even
had something about a week and a half ago, and that's gonna find its way into the game. Because it was unusual and I think it would fit — you go around a corner and you see something and you say: “what the heck is that!” I want to create that sense of the unexpected in the game, and a lot of that comes from that part of my mind that dreams. The dreamscape element of it, so that that's fun thing. To be able to pull art out of an inspiration. DAL: So you've got that's that skill of being able to do lucid dreaming. So was it because of that dream, you were encouraged to try and control your dreams? So you could gain control over all your dreams? CC: The one thing about controlling your dreams — lucid dreaming — is that it doesn't always happen. I mean you can go to sleep and you know there are times when I really want to try to lucid dream and I can sit there and think before I fall asleep. I fall asleep very fast, so I'll just lying there and all this start thinking to myself… you know… “I'm gonna remember my dream, and remember my dream… my dream…” Now silly as that sounds, that's what I do and when I am successful I have a dream that I can sort of be aware that I’m dreaming. It's very far and few in between where I actually have lucid dreams, but the ones you have typically tend to be like that. I think that this is something where the game itself, the story itself, asks: are you the dreamer or an aspect of his memories or his mind? Or are you somebody invading somebody else's dreams. I think my lucid dreams are kind of always like that, where I look at myself almost outside myself. In every single lucid dream I am in I always lose control at some point? And then it turns pretty dark, so you know that's something that will also make its way into the game. DAL: Now you had the idea for ZED even before Myst, which is some time ago now. So tell us about the very roots of ZED please? CC: Right, there was a game that is still firmly in my in my mind, that I want to do. That ZED was sort of part of at one time. It grew out of the idea of this little boy dreaming and being able to explore all these strange worlds through his dreams. That was sort of the origination of that came from. It's based on this one game that I had, that was called The Magic Shop. We've always wanted to do The Magic Shop and
probably will still at some point. But right now that's where ZED sort of originated from. That was something I had prior to Myst, by about three or four years. Having seen… Cyan had a little game called The Manhole that Robin Miller did, it was a little black-and-white… a slideshow like Myst is… but it's all hand drawn and in the computer. It was a wonderful little project, I mean it was really inspiring and it gave me all kinds of ideas. Because it was like the first time I've ever seen a story based game that was illustrated, that you could move through much in the same way you did the story games. It spoke amazingly loud to my mind, because I was always wondering how can I take what I know, how can I build a world and somebody else share it. Then something a little game pops up and it tells a story — and it’s: “that’s the way to do it”. DAL: Now would you say that something distinguishes the artwork style of ZED from Myst? I think there are similarities, but are there new ideas or different nuances there with the look and feel of ZED? CC: The way Myst was designed… they had very strong ideas about what the world was supposed to look like. Robyn and I — Robyn Miller, who worked on the other half of the game art wise — Robyn and I, our work was very distinct. Robin’s stuff was a lot more studied, more orderly in a lot of ways, and his stuff was based more… almost in reality. Whereas I kind of took off and just sort of made it up as I went along. Robyn’s was beautiful in the game and I think my stuff was pretty good, though I cringe nowadays looking at it. But back then that style was something that we just started. I personally sort of made up, so I went along — based on what their designs were. I was like building things and seeing what happened, and boom there it was. Now ZED is sort of the same way, but you know I think ZED is also pulling a lot of inspiration from some of my favourite artists. I still go back to my roots is my favourite artists like Moebius who was a French comic book artist who was amazing his work is phenomenal. There's a science-fiction illustrator James Harris whose work is amazing, you can get lost by looking into it. So those types of things are really appealing to me. The game level that's our demo level has some of its roots and inspiration from another artist named Sean Bann — who is a children's book illustrator. His work is very dreamlike. 14
Pictures: Screenshots from an early version of ZED; and the game seen live in its level editor. 15
It looks a lot different than what Myst looks like because the technology's come a long way. My style, I mean obviously I've done a lot of work since that point of time in my life. So I’ve had the chance to do a lot more and I've learned a lot during those years. I'm not trying to be another Myst, I don't want to be another Myst but the demo is Myst-like at least in the experience. That that's great, you know, but it's not something that's intentional. DAL: Now, I'm interested in how you started. Did you look at blank piece of paper and start to draw the map of the game map of ZED? Was it organic, or did you have a clear idea of how it may be structured how it look? CC: Oh, I have a very clear idea in my head almost everything looks. I've got this actual active game design document. I was just trying to sketch out some ideas that we were having some issues with, in some of the early versions of the demo, asking how we could simplify it. So we're going over and that picture is basically going through it, kind of clarifying it for my programmer. He and I were working on the design of the layout of all the pathways, and how it would work. So that's pretty much what that was. But I do have a very strong vision of what the game is, and that is on paper now. And it’s always available for everybody — at least within a team — to be able to understand what the roadmap is. DAL: On the Kickstarter campaign you just do get some sneak peeks of some of those sketches. Definitely some interesting and outstanding looking architecture, a twisted lighthouse structure. What are some of your influences in terms of the architecture and can
you describe some of your favourite pieces in the game so far? CC: Sure the Lighthouse is one of my favourite pieces. It was a very simple object, a very simple model, it took me maybe two hours three hours to build it. I had this kind of picture my head what it's going to look like, and I've been building all the buildings up to that point. I'm making it slightly askew, like everything's not perfect. It's not symmetrical, a little twisted here and there — it just sort of organically came out of my mind. There's some sort of character about it, like Dr. Seuss. I'll start with one idea in my head and I kind of work through it, and then other things start to take over and let me kind of try some different thing. That's the one thing about such a small team, there's no time to do concept art, so I pull from every which way. Anything I can find… there are a couple of objects in a couple of the other worlds that are, such as a large sculptural head that looks like it's being held down by chains. It's just this very ominous looking thing, like something out of a horror story — some strange kind of gothic place where there's just this overseer looking down on you. Then there’s this large bird, like a bird of prey. That is sculpted in a way that has a kind of odd hungry look about it. In a level the demo there's another object that I like a lot, that’s based on a bank or a landmark called the Standpipe in Bangor. Here we are the home to Stephen King and he lives a couple blocks away from me. He's used the Standpipe in some of his books as like the source of all evil. We’re going to use it in our game and there's a very large puzzle associated with it. In order to get inside of it you have to do something you
Pictures: Screenshot from an early version of ZED; Chuck at work; Cyan’s original Myst island seen from above.
have to fix something in order to make it work and… I can't go too many details but inside it looks like water just drained out of the whole thing. So it might be fish in it there, might be all kinds of stuff inside of that, but it's another favourite object. DAL: This water tower should be a listed building, because artists from miles around will come to sketch and paint and photograph it because… Stephen King and ZED. They’ll come to this water tower for inspiration! CC: It is impressive. It's like the tallest structure in the area, so you can see it from every place, it’s made of old brick and gigantic. DAL: You mentioned puzzles just now. What are some of your personal favourites? CC: Well, some of them have to do with just essentially getting things in the right order. But for the most part it’s like pulling the right set of levers in order to get something that affects the world. You will have a number of that style of puzzle. You're going to be fixing things. There's this large robot head and you want to connect one side of it to the other side and you go inside the head — that's one of my more favourite ones. There are a number of other ones that involve fixing a giant pump… it all has to do with connections and the story itself. So all the puzzles are basically trying to fix something. Reconnecting parts is very central to the game DAL: I think a very central theme or object that you see is around cogs, which reminds me a little bit of steampunk? CC: Yes, and cogs seem to be a consistent element in the game. They also tend to be
something I have my dreams a lot. When I was a kid I used to take apart watches. My dad used to bring these watches home and I would “see what I can do” to fix it — which wasn't much. I have a friend in Portland who actually makes actual insects and he puts them together with watch pieces and gears and things like that. He and I were talking about some of our dreams, and in the very large dreams that I had along those lines there tend to be gear shapes. It's such a great shape, there’s so much variety to a gear and twisting the gear. You can add all kinds of different teeth into it to make it look interesting. Maybe it's just some sort of interpretation of how everything is structured in the entire universe, just a large machine… DAL: You’ve probably cracked the meaning of life. If we took a microscope and when beyond the atom it's all ‘gears’ of some sort… CC: The whole universe runs on that, we should be worshipping the Clockmaker! /Laughter/ DAL: Now I know that the Bioshock: Infinite writer Joe Fielder is involved in the project tell us about how he's involved? CC: He’s through Seth Armani, our producer and our self-described slave master. He's always cracking whip over us, all the time, and keeps us in check. He's based out of Boston and has a lot of connections in the Boston area for games. So we got a chance to talk to Joe at one of these meet ups recently. We found that we have a lot of things in common about look and feel, and our opinions about certain things and we just hit it off really well. He's going to take the essential story online framework that I've developed and add more motivation and in suchlike, depth, to
what is right now essentially an overriding framework for the game as far as the story goes. So that's going to work out good. We have some voiceover, it's going to be narration that will be in the game and so will be writing a script for exactly what the narrator or the dreamer is talking about. DAL: Another game in your stable in your company is something called Curio would you like to tell us a little bit about that project When ZED leaves off, a few years later Curio picks up. I really can't get into detail about why that is but as far as the story goes it's kind of my take on Alice in Wonderland to some degree. That's about as much as I can really say about it — it’s around a girl and she has a very special abilities and I think that that's going to be it's going to be a pretty interesting game. We have a lot of good ideas, and a lot of preliminary work has already been done on it. ZED is a smaller simpler game and we want to do that first because we need to raise enough money to be able to do Curio. DAL: In the past you've done digital matte painting for Babylon 5, one of the greatest TV sci -fi series, and another digital artwork. What's one of your favourite past projects to do with that approach and that side of your experience?
CC: Sure, I've done a series of campaigns for Babylon 5 mostly involving Mars. The favourite one was the interior of Mars Dome and it was this you know high shot looking down into the dome. It had a huge hotel that was essentially the central column of the dome and it had swimming pools and their lobbies all in case of the dome breaching. I did that did that back when there was just a very very beginning of digital cameras. I was living in St. George Utah when I did that one piece. It was a lot of fun because I had bought this digital camera, because I needed to take pictures of trees from a high angle and on the outskirts of St. George Utah are these large red cliffs. You could drive up to them and then look down into the city. There’s this big red desert landscape all around, but in the town itself it's very very green. Everybody has trees, lawns. So essentially I was there getting myself a bunch of images that I could use and tear apart in Photoshop. That was an early version of Photoshop at the time, which had the new layers feature. I’d paste the cut-outs into the actual matte painting image. The rest was all built in in a program at the time called Form Z and there was something called Electric Image. 3DS Max existed, and an early Maya, Lightwave. It was a lot of fun, and a very interesting thing
to take a great idea from my sketch to their digital. The second “most fun” I had was the artwork for Mission To Mars for Disney. I was responsible for the segment when the spaceship comes down onto the Martian surface. I had a design for the Martian surface where it comes down, and then I had to do this landing strip where the spaceship crash-lands and I had to build a base and everything else. That was a lot of fun. The thing was with them is working with Disney is that we had weeks and weeks and weeks to do something. So I was constantly tweaking the same thing over and over again. I can build a really fast. I’d do a combination and they’d say “all that's great”. Then next week they come by to look at it again and I just changed a couple textures on the runway and they’re “love it!” It was like this, I was constantly adding as many details as I could render out — but from a standpoint of science. DAL: Tell us about the team that are developing ZED. Maybe you can give a shout-out on some of their names and skills. CC: We’ve got Calvin Moisen who is our programmer and Unreal engine guy. He takes what I do in the game level, then he'll take it and put in all the complex functionality. Calvin's
Pictures: Screenshots from an early version of ZED.
a great great person, he's doing a great job. Seth Manti is based in Boston and is trying to get all of our connections together and call it a bunch of favours and things like that. As far as getting our name out there, to the folks at Epic and a variety of other companies and to call attention to what we're doing. He also handles producing status, he's keeps track of what's being produced and how often we get assets to the Kickstarter and eventually to the game. I also got Stephanie Franckewitz back in Cleveland and her boyfriend Brad. Stephanie is doing almost everything on the Kickstarter page, she's doing a lot of social media bursts and blasts, as well as doing all the graphics on the Kickstarter. Brad’s done all the video work for us, really good stuff he's done there. We've got Josh Ekker who's in New York doing a bunch of things helping with some of the game design, as well as doing a lot of investigation as to where to start aiming some of the marketing, when we pick up the pace a bit. Doug Goldsmith who is doing concept work. There's this gift that the dreamer in ZED wants to pass on to his granddaughter and Doug is doing all the artwork for that. We have just added a kid named James Cohen who's an intern who's a phenomenal 3d artist. DAL: Tell us about some of the rewards for your Kickstarter campaign?
CC: Well there's we've got a variety of things, aside from the typical t-shirts. Maps that are printed on cloth, silk-screened. 3D objects that are being of some buildings and a variety of other things from the game. There will be a box version of the game that should have art books in it. A variety of other little things. DAL: Chuck thank you very much for talking with us today, and we hope our readers will download and enjoy your game demo, and check out the Kickstarter page. CC: My pleasure.
Details of ZED can be found at Eagre the Games website: http://www.eagregames.com/ The game successfully raised $57K on Kickstarter, and a demo is available. The game is likely to be released in 2017 for PC and Mac. The Kickstarter page is live and has details of the reward levels and various incentives, as well as details of the team and their timeline. https://www.kickstarter.com/ projects/1368459285/zed
ABOUT MYST (1993): Myst was created by Rand and Robyn Miller’s team at Cyan and released in time for the university student gaming rush on 24th September 1993. It was a $60 per-copy hit and less than ten years later had sold 5.5 million copies. It was a unique, and uniquely grown-up experience amid a sea of childish Super Mario and Pac-Man arcade games and crude maze-shooters. There were no characters on the game’s box or marketing, and Myst very clearly showed the industry that videogames could appeal to adults and didn’t have to rely on comedy or violence. Savvy marketing and discounting brought the game to millions who would not otherwise have explored it.
The game was distributed on a CD-ROM, and was easy to install and play. It had very little competition, in an emerging games market where the other main game for over 16s was the 1993 ultra-violent but ultra-fun PC shooter DOOM (seen left).
Once you installed the game it looked as beautiful as the promotional art had promised, and it was evidently made by real artists. It was easy to play, though not to solve the puzzles in it. Its 2,500 images were all pre-rendered and the video was highly compressed, which all meant that any PC could run it. It used a HyperCard-based system and thus didn’t need to constantly access the CDROM drive, so “Loading…” was not an issue. There was also no DRM or Internet connection required back then. Indeed, there was no real Internet.
Myst is a single-player environment set on an
island upon which the player explores, solves puzzles and unravels a storyline. The world is so seamlessly created that the viewer never feels like they are being short-changed and not shown anything. Books are also important in the Myst gameworld. Four of them lead the reader to question which character should be freed first, Sirrus or Achenar. They also lead to other visually distinctive and remote Ages, all filled with strange machines and structures. The Ages have names such as Stoneship, Channelwood, Mechanical, and Selenitic. Behind all these worlds sits a rich tapestry of lore and the D’ni language and symbolism. The game was followed by Riven: The Sequel to Myst. Also later enhanced versions of Myst, Myst Masterpiece Edition and realMYST. There were soundtracks, novels, and a board game. In 1997 the solid and well-researched book From Myst to Riven: The Creations and Inspirations appeared, detailing the making of Myst and Riven.
HAVE you missed out on an issue of our free magazine? Please enjoy this new handy double-page index of our past issues, and check if any are missing from your collection. Our 15,000 readers are also able to access back-issues of our previous title 3D Art
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Issue 1 Oct 2016 Designing Future Cities ● Tarik Keskin ● Christian Hecker ● Gallery: Future Cities, a huge 32 page mega-gallery! ● The Imaginarium (regular feature, in all subsequent issues)
Issue 2 Nov 2016 Alien Plants/Creatures ● Matthew Attard ● Exidium Corporation ● Gallery: Ryzom's concept illustrations ● Gallery and essay: the future bodily evolution of humans in space
Issue 3 Dec 2016 ‘A Galaxy Far Away…’ ● Neil Thacker ● Jean-Francois Liesenborghs ● Gallery: "These are not the planets you're looking for..." ● Gallery: SpaceX manned Mars mission 22
Issue 4 Jan 2016 Poser 11: special issue ● Charles Taylor (on the new Poser 11) ● Ariano di Pierro ● Paulo Ciccone (on the Reality plugin) ● Our in-depth 8,000word review of the new Poser 11 Pro
Issue 5 Feb 2016 Cosmos (space art)
Issue 6 March 2016 Cyber-humans + VR
Issue 7 April 2016 Future Female Heroes
● Dave Hardy ● Ali Ries ● Tobais Roersch ● Oyshan Green (Terragen 4) ● Gallery: The art of the cosmic.
● Tara de Vries (Second Life) ● Ludovic Celle ● Elaine Neck ● Anders Plassgard ● Gallery: Future cyber-humans
● Leandra Dawn ● Aaron Griffin ● Paul Frances ● Troy Menke ● Bob May’s collages ● Gallery and essay: Female future heroes
Issue 9 June 2016 Blender: special issue
Issue 10 July 2016 Steampunk
Issue 11 August 2016 Future Landscapes
● Colin Masson ● Thomas Piemontese ● Shane Bevin ● Tutorial: How to export a clean .OBJ from Blender ● Index of past issues ● Gallery: Blender art
● Renderosity ● Suzi Amberson (‘Kachinadoll’) ● Bob May ● Sci-fi in PC pinball ● Steampunk gallery ● Imaginarium
● ‘Artifex’ ● Lewis Moorcroft ● Rob Wildenberg ● ‘Tigaer’: ‘making of’ ● Gallery: Future Oceans and Craft ● Imaginarium
Issue 8 May 2016 Our Future Frontier ● The Mars Society ● Ludovic Celle ● Gallery: Orbiting Cities in Space ● Gallery: Space Colonies and Outposts ● Gallery: Mars in the 1950s pulps
Issue 12 Sept 2016 Second Skin ● ‘Pixeluna’ ● Paolo Ciccone ● Deane Whitmore ● HiveWire: their new Big Cat for Poser ● Gallery: Second Skin ● Imaginarium
Issue 13 Oct 2016 Spacewrecks (TTA) ● Vikram Mulligan ● Xistenceimaginations ● Craig Farham ● TTA series tribute ● NASA’s rescue-bot ● Index of past issues ● Gallery: Space hulks wrecks, and crashes
Issue 14 Nov/Dec 2016 Cybertronic ● 'CG Artiste' ● ‘Keplianzar’ ● Jacques Pena ● TTA series tribute ● Ugee 1910b pen tablet—in-depth review ● Gallery: Neon and ‘cyberglow’ artists
Issue 15 New Year 2017 ● Chuck Carter (Myst) ● Cynthia Decker ● Cathrine Langwagen ● Ulco Glimmerveen ● Evolo competition ● Index of past issues ● Gallery: Myst-like digital art
Issue 16 Jan 2017 Vroom! Interested in being interviewed in of the magazine? Please send your Web address, and we’ll visit! firstname.lastname@example.org
NATIONAL SPACE SOCIETY International Student Art Contest 2017 “Roadmap to Space Settlement”: 1. People Living and Working in Space Settlements. OR 2. Medicine and Medical Manufacturing in Space. http://www.nss.org/settlement/calendar/
The U.S. National Space Society (NSS) is looking for student artists to create original illustrations for the NSS “Roadmap to Space Settlement”. Submitted artwork should realistically illustrate one of this year's two themes. Realistic means 'as accurate as possible', both in science and
engineering. Also 'as closely as as possible' to what a real space settlement would actually look like, within our own solar system. All fulltime students at any grade level between the ages of 13 and 25 are eligible. Entry deadline: 16th March 2017. 24 Picture by Andrew-Graphics.
Cynthia Decker uses Poser and Vue to create amazing environments that blend nature and fantasy architecture.
DAL: Cynthia, welcome to this special Myst tribute edition of Digital Art Live. CD: Thank you so much, I'm honoured to be included in this issue.
DAL: You live and work in Asheville in North Carolina? How has the place fared, over the last three years since we interviewed you (3DAD #28, April 2013)? Is it still inspiring? CD: Absolutely. I still love living here, it's a vibrant arts community. I've become more involved in local galleries, and the art scene in the area. It keeps me inspired to see the works of other artists in all mediums. DAL: What’s your studio setup like these days, and what’s the view like? CD: Asheville is in the Appalachian Mountains of
Western North Carolina, the oldest mountain range in the world. The worn down, rolling mountains are forested and dotted with small towns. My studio window faces into the woods; so I get to sit in the forest and create digital art. I can't complain! My computer setup is marginally better these days, but similar to what I had a few years ago. I use a 27” IPS monitor, and a PC: 6-core 3.3GHz Intel i7 processor, 64Gb of memory, Nvidia GTX 970 graphics card. DAL: Right, so you’re near the Blue Ridge Mountains. That’s not the same range that Laurel and Hardy famously sang about is it? Ah, no… that’s the ‘Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia’. Do you get to walk up high into the mountains there? I see several of your pictures seem to have an affinity with “the high places”
“I live at about 3,000 feet in elevation, and the highest peak near me is about 6,500 feet.”
CYNTHIA DECKER CAROLINA, USA POSER | VUE | PS
Picture: “Wufang Zi”.
of America, as Ansel Adams called them. CD: I am outdoors often, there's a lot of outdoor activities here. Because of the age of the mountain range, I live at about 3,000 feet in elevation, and the highest peak near me is about 6,500 feet. Not so high compared to the truly high places in the world, but beautiful and full of history nonetheless. DAL: Impressive. Some of your work reminds me of the sort of European late surrealist art that one found on posters in the early 1980s, back when many shops had racks of large printed wall-posters for sale. Tell us about your interest in that type of art, please. How did your interest in it develop, and which artists are your favourite influences? CD: I think I have a good sense of irony and humour that shows in some of my work, and I enjoy that in the work of other artists. Art that involves one or both speaks to me. I appreciate an unusual view of the world, a thoughtful take on people and ideas. I'm also inspired by artwork that accomplishes this goal through medium and technique. I like loose, expressionist paintings. I love seeing the image through the filter of brushstroke, texture, and colour. Surrealism had a huge impact on me as a child: Magritte, Dali — these artists told stories, they distilled huge concepts into fantastical images with fine, realistic brushwork. I can't remember where it was, but I went on a school trip to a museum and I saw an original work from Dali. I got as close as I could, and the fineness and precision of his brushwork was remarkable to me. That duality, a near hyper-realistic technique used to convey an impossible scene, that stuck with me, and is what I strive for in my own work. There are many modern artists working in this same vein today, both in digital and traditional mediums, and I find it all inspirational and exciting. DAL: And the videogame Myst and its sequels seem to me to have had an influence on your work? Can you tell us about your experience with the game(s) and how that might have encouraged you toward making 3D art? CD: I have loved videogames for just about as long as they've been around. I started out with text based games and as graphics technology improved I grabbed whatever adventures I could get my hands on. Zork, Oregon Trail, Wizardry,
Ultima, Wolfenstein, Pirates... then came the first person 3D games, like DOOM. I played a lot of console games, but PC games were always my first love.
When Myst came out in 1993, I was in my 20s, working in graphic design and making art with Corel Painter and Photoshop. I got Myst as a gift for Christmas. From the moment the program started, I was in love. Everything about that game spoke to me — the story, the visuals, the sense of being free and alone, the puzzles. The theme music for the Cyan splash-screen still gives me goosebumps. I knew then that I wanted to move to making environments a part of my own artwork. Myst was hugely influential, and I feel a very personal connection with all the Myst games. I imagine a lot of people do. They were deeply immersive, mature, and breathtakingly beautiful. DAL: And then, Bryce? CD: I think it was a couple of years after that when Bryce 1.0 came out. I bought a copy and knew I had found my medium. I worked with Bryce for a few years and in the early 2000s I found online communities for displaying and sharing 3D images; places like 3D Commune, where I was able to learn from other artists and share resources.
DAL: And then you moved to Vue? How long did you stay with Bryce? CD: I worked in Bryce until about 2005, when I switched to Vue. Vue had some powerful tools, including ecosystems and a complex material builder, that I was eager to play with. DAL: And you were a fan of the game Monkey Island, which was around at the same time as Myst? Did you play the hi-res remake / makeover they gave Monkey Island about five years ago? CD: I haven't played that. I don't always want to play re-mastered versions of my old favourites. I love them the way they were. You know the saying, “Never meet your heroes?” I have such fond memories of these games I always hesitate to play modern remakes. I remember the story, I remember the experience, and it was perfect. DAL: Have you done any commissioned work for that sort of point n’ click puzzle game? Elements of your style would be a natural fit with that, I’d say. CD: I have had a few people approach me for 28
Picture: “Lantern Bearer”.
such work, but most of them underestimated the amount of time 3D work takes, or wanted me to work for just an artist credit. I couldn't see taking time away from personal projects to do unpaid work for someone else. DAL: I see. And now you create high quality prints of your work. Tell us about the research you did into high-quality printing, please. I think that research was fifteen years ago, now? And if that work has paid off in the long-term, enabling you to keep on selling your work? CD: I worked in marketing and graphic design, initially for high tech companies, and then later for commercial printers. In that time, I learned a lot about printing, and digital printing in particular. I had been receiving requests for prints, and decided to research and buy a high quality inkjet printer to print my own work for sale. I have since moved to using commercial printers with larger and better quality equipment than I could ever afford. DAL: So you sell at prints at… print fairs and regional events? Other places, stores? How does your online store at www.curious3d.com do in terms of sales? CD: Galleries, actually. I sell in three galleries, one here in Asheville, and two in surrounding towns. But, yes, also online. I sell from my website. In the beginning, I was happy if the artwork paid for itself in terms of printers, ink, and software. As interest in my images grew, I was able to cut back my hours at my regular job and then eventually quit altogether. I have been creating and selling artwork full time since 2005. DAL: Impressive. I was listening to an EconTalk podcast the other day, on a segment of the American working-age population that had dropped off the radar in terms of employment. The rather data-befuddled expert thought that a good many people were staying home to play videogames all day. I suspect that many are actually running nice little online businesses. Anyway. Which version of Vue are you using these days? Are you happy with it? Are you tempted to upgrade? CD: I have kept up with the Vue Updates. You get a break on the price by upgrading, as opposed to buying, a whole new version. And Vue, while affordable by most 3D standards for what it offers, is still a significant investment. I'm currently using Vue 2015, v.13, I believe, and I'll probably upgrade in the spring. Overall,
I'm very happy with this build, although there have been some features added that I don't take full advantage of (photometric lighting, for example), and some features I wish were more efficient (rendering). Then again, I use Vue differently than many of my Vue artist friends. I rarely do landscape or purely environmental images, which is where Vue truly shines. DAL: And I hear that you have a super render farm at home that makes Vue rendering easy, I hear? How is that going these days? Have you had cause to slot anything new into it recently? Or has it been all replaced by online cloud rendering? CD: Same farm, but individual machines have been upgraded along the way. As in most things related to computing, I don't know if it's possible to ever have too much power. I have yet to set an image to a remote render farm, but I know people who do — especially those who work in animation — and it's saved them time and money to outsource. DAL: And you use Poser for figures and animals? Do you have any favourite “go-to” content creators whose work you keep up with on the stores, or any favourite “go-to” items in your Poser runtime? CD: I rarely render humans, I'm not very good at them. However I use a lot of animals, birds in particular. I have used Noggins’ various bird species and textures for years. I also love Stonemason's architectural models, and have spent many happy hours kit-bashing his lovely sets, taking parts and pieces and re-purposing them to suit my ideas. Because I render at high resolution, I almost always re-work or recreate textures for the models I buy. DAL: There have been faint rumours that Poser 12, the next version might change the interface or have a dual ‘skinned’ interface (so you could use either the old one or the new one, and switch between them). How would you feel about a new interface for Poser, or Vue? CD: Honestly, I have just the most tenuous grip on Poser. I barely know how to use it. I open a model, either create or use morphs to suit my idea, pose the figure or animal, slap on a rudimentary texture and export it. All the texturing happens in Vue. I'm thinking of trying DAZ, but I've put it off because I use humanoid figures so infrequently and my good old Poser still does the trick. 30
Picture: “Halloween 2016”.
DAL: I see. Tell us about the other software you use to make a picture, please, and how it all gets melded into a viable workflow?
CD: I actually start with a doodle, or a sketch of an idea for an image. I refine composition that way, with paper and pencil, making notes about colour, lighting and texture if I have particular ideas. Then I create or assemble the models for the scene, and move to compositing. Once I have a loose composite image set up, I focus on lighting. Lighting takes a while. I always use custom light, and I tend to prefer intricate, global lighting setups with high detail skies and clouds, multiple fill and spot lights in addition to one or more sun sources, ensuring I will have maddeningly slow mid-stream renders for the duration of the project. I laugh about this now, but I do it to myself every time.
build in the richness, the time, the variety, and the growth of many years. That was the biggest challenge with this image. I learned a lot, and I'm grateful to the artist who let me use their idea. DAL: What tips would you give to someone starting out with a Poser > Vue > Photoshop Picture: “Still Water”.
I also spend a great deal of time texturing. Most of my textures are image based, and I use a number of programs, most notably Photoshop and Filter Forge, to edit or create textures. After the final render, (usually around 10,000 pixels on the longest side or larger), I use a tablet and a custom clone brush with Corel Painter to hand work over the image. I use a tiny brush size to keep the overall detail of the render, but introduce an organic texture to the work. I can also fix clipping issues or other visual glitches at this time if any are present, and hand paint in additional details. Personally, I find 3D renders can have a cold sort of perfection to them. Too many straight lines and clean edges. I go and mess that up on purpose. DAL: Your “Bridge under the Bridge” is a superb picture, quite simple yet full of detail and lovely light. Tell us about how you went about making this, please? CD: On that picture I was directly inspired by a drawing of a similar bridge from another artist. I couldn't get the image out of my head, and I wrote them and asked for permission to create a 3D version of their image. The artist granted me permission, and I ran with it. The inspiration work was more fantasy based, I chose to make a version that could be set in a more modern era. A person living in an unconventional way in a surprisingly beautiful location. This image had an enormous polygon count when I rendered it, and then I painted and layered even more plant life in. That's the thing about trying to recreate nature. If you think you have enough layers of dirt and plants and rocks, triple it. You have to
workflow? CD: Be patient, be willing to watch some tutorials and use those to create your own workflow based on your artistic goals and your equipment. Don't be in a rush to finish an image just so you can start on the next one. The work will suffer. Better one great image every few months than seven mediocre ones. Take advantage of all the free resources available to digital artists, and be sure to buy from content creators whose work you appreciate. Give back when you can by sharing your own experience and resources. DAL: Have you been tempted into pure digital painting at all, now that “paint on the screen” 34
tablets like the Ugee are becoming much more affordable (we had a review of the Ugee in our last issue). I think we’re about to see a boom in digital sketching, to all sorts of people. CD: Yes, I do paint that way often. Many of my textures are created that way. In terms of finished images, I prefer the 3D workflow,
texture library, maybe adding new modelling and texture creation software to my wish list. I'd also like to do more content creation. I have a few models and textures available at Cornucopia3D, and at Renderosity. DAL: Ah, right. And have you ever done a book? Perhaps a picture story book for children? CD: I did make a book, and self published it in 2001. I wrote the story, and then created the artwork in Bryce. I'm currently re-working the images and will put a new version of the book out sometime in 2017. DAL: Wonderful. Blurb are reported to be the best, though not the cheapest, in terms of quality print-on-demand. CD: I'm not sure if I'll do print on demand or just make it available as a digital download and/ or YouTube slideshow. DAL: Are you happy with all your early work? Are you ever tempted to revisit it and do a revamped re-rendered version? CD: All the time, as evidenced by my comments about The Gray Beetle above. Honestly I'm rarely completely satisfied with any of my work, old or new, and if it wasn't for the constant stream of new ideas, I could re-work and fiddle with older images full time. I think that's a common trait among creative people, though. DAL: What has inspired you in science fiction or fantasy, lately?
largely because I'm not a very good digital painter. This year I bought myself a few books on the subject because I've never really learned proper technique with the tablet and pen. I'm looking forward to trying to improve in that area. DAL: I think you’re nearly 20 years in to making digital art, at the end of 2016? What new thematic horizons or new skills would you like to develop? VR, perhaps, or ‘augmented reality’ like the Microsoft Hololens offers? CD: I want to keep doing what I do, but improve at each aspect of it. As I mentioned, I'd like to become a better 2D painter, both digitally and traditionally. I'd like to improve my modelling skills. I'd like to work on building a bigger 35
CD: While I love both genres in many different formats: art, games, comics, movies... lately I've been more focused on atmospheric and conceptual images. I will always love and be inspired by other worlds and realities, and sci-fi / fantasy is a rich source for that. It will always be the foundation of my work, even if what I'm working on isn't directly related to the genre. DAL: Super. Well, thanks very much for this indepth interview. We wish you well with your future work.
Cynthia Decker is online at: http://www.curious3d.com/ and http://curious3d.deviantart.com/
Pictures: “Aviary” (early Bryce work) on opposite page; and “Precarious”.
Picture: “Under the Bridge”.
eVolo is inviting architects, students, engineers, and artists from all nations to take part in its 2017 Skyscraper Competition. The competition is one of the world's most prestigious awards for high-rise architecture. It recognizes outstanding optimistic ideas that redefine future skyscraper design through the implementation of technologies, materials, aesthetics, and spatial and digital organization. Contestants are encouraged to ambitiously explore the relationship between the skycraper and nature, the city and its resources, its peoples and territories. Individual entries are accepted. But it seems that winners will most likely have multidisciplinary teams, as eVolo expects not only visuals but also ‘buildable’ structures and a deal of serious background thinking and research. They’re looking for building science that stays up, basically— not a fantasy that will fall down. Participants must register by 24th January 2017, and the cost is $135 per project/team. If that sounds expensive, consider that if a ten person team of amateur 3D designers signed up, they would only need $13.50 each to register as a team. The team's local and regional free press publicity would likely pay the fee back tenfold. This is a digital competition and no hardcopies are necessary. Entrants must submit their proposal no later than 7th February 2017. The 1st place winner gets US $5,000 + press promotion; 2nd place US $2,000 and 3rd place US $1,000. Winners and special mentions will be published by eVolo and several international print publications. eVolo has good relations with major design news outlets such as Blueprint, Uomo Vogue, Mercedes Benz Magazine, Popular Mechanics, The Wall Street Journal and more.
Picture: "Sand Babel", solarpowered 3D printed towers, for use as science labs and tourist hotels. Honorable mention, 2014, by Chinese designers Qiu Song, Kang Pengfei, Bai Ying, Ren Nuoya, Guo Shen. Sand is a perfect and abundant building material. In deserts, the sun also provides abundant energy. Bring these two things together and it will be easy to fuse the giant perforated slabs and struts needed for these large well-ventilated towers. The grouped towers also have an underground structure similar to tree roots, which draw out deep moisture. In time, the â€˜root roadsâ€™ in the dune area around the towers will start to become naturally green, and this will aided by the natural re-greening of the whole earth due to the ongoing carbon fertilization effect.
Picture: “Project Umbrella”, winner of the 2013 eVolo competition, by Derek Pirozzi. The Polar Umbrella’s buoyant superstructure houses de-salinisation and power facilities, enabling a relatively comfortable all-year round research life for scientists working in the Arctic. They would live on a floating metropolis equipped with research laboratories, solar power stations, dormitory-style housing units, and ecological pods for wildlife study. A series of these structures would be strategically located around the Arctic. They would offer the ability for scientists to: try to understand what is really happening in that region; determine what the mineral and resource potentials really are; help protect against national territorial expansion in
the Arctic; and possibly also in time these giant “icescrapers” could also become some sort of eco-tourist attractions. Salt water is used to produce a renewable source of energy through an osmotic ("salinity gradient power") power facility housed within the core. The umbrella’s thermal skin has a polyethylene piping system that pumps brackish water. In addition, the structure’s immense canopy allows for the reduction of heat gain on the Arctic surface while also harvesting solar energy.
The eVolo entries can number in the thousands each year â€” but a tightly curated comprehensive survey and showcase of these is offered. This takes the form of eVoloâ€™s sumptious printed book publication (seen right). The book is a limited edition of, so order quickly if you see a new edition being publicised! The latest edition (#3) was limited to just 500 copies. http://shop.evolo.us/
Pictures: (This page). A concept for a sustainable supermassive Internet data centre in Iceland, by Marco Merletti and Valeria Mercuri. This won Third Place in 2016. The towers are sustainably powered by Icelandâ€™s abundant natural volcanic energy, while also being cooled above by the naturally chilly environment. (Opposite) Freshwater Skyscrapers, a Design Crew for Architecture entry in 2010. The immense modular greenhouse domes contain sealed mangrove ecosystems. When these are connected to â€˜trickle downâ€™, they could change slightly salty water into freshwater at 15,000 gallons a day.
Pictures: (Clockwise, from left): “Martian Ring”, by Mamon Alexander and Tyutyunnik Artem. eVolo Honorable Mention in 2013. A human colony skyscraper in space. “Cloud Capture” by South Korean architects Taehan Kim, Seoung Ji Lee and Yujin Ha. Towers that capture rain-bearing clouds and then take them where they are needed. “Crater Scraper” by China’s Xiaomia Xiao, Lixiang Miao, Xinmin Li & Minzhao Guo. Quickly heal a major asteroid strike crater in an urban centre. “pH Conditioners” by China’s Hao Tian, Huang Haiyang & Shi Jianwei. Floating towers harvest pollution from smoggy air, and turn it into useful fertiliser.
Cathrine Langwagen is a digital painter and compositor who loves the Myst series, and who visualises and realises superb fantasy scenes.
DAL: Cathrine, a big welcome to the Myst issue of Digital Art Live magazine. Many thanks for this in-depth interview. This issue is a themed tribute to the famous videogame Myst and its distinctive island and Ages. We came across pictures of your crafted real-world “Myst Puzzle book” and then thought that your gallery art would be a fine fit with the theme. CL: Thank you so much and I feel very honoured to be featured in Digital Art Live magazine.
DAL: First, tell us about your love for the Myst game(s) please? You write on your website, for instance, that “I have always dreamt of coming up with new ages for the game”. CL: I’ve always been the “logic puzzle and problem” girl, being drawn — from very early on — toward solving riddles and coming up with my own games and puzzles for others to solve. Myst was the first real computer game that I fell in love with, many years ago, and it changed my entire view on gaming. Until that point I didn’t know that there were fantasy games that did not include violence or defeating enemies of some sort. This game was relying solely on exploration, fantastic worlds and solving riddles and it spoke to me and who I was on so many levels. Not only did it connect with my love for puzzles but also my keen interest in drawing and painting. The fantastic worlds in Myst were a revelation for a kind of art I felt an instant connection to. After finishing playing Myst I remember going back to the shop where I bought it asking for more Myst-games. Despite there not being many games like that, back in the mid 1990s, there was the follow-up to Myst. That was how I found Riven.
Riven was even more amazing visually than Myst. I think
this is the point where I started fantasizing about painting fantastic worlds of my own. Up until this point my doodles and drawings were mostly of everyday, mundane things. 48
Picture: “Moon Tree Hills”.
CATHRINE LANGWAGEN SPAIN WACOM | PHOTOSHOP
DAL: Thanks. You’re a Swedish artist living in Spain? Which bit of Spain? And how do the local landscapes / seascapes there inspire you and your art? CL: That’s right. I currently live on the Costa Blanca coast of Spain, in a small fishing town. Living near the open sea has always been important to me, though I also need close access to forests and countryside to feel at home. I’ve never been much of a big city girl, I grew up near nature, sea and forests and it is those things which influence my art very much. DAL: Super. And what is your studio there like? A good view? CL: I work from home, so my studio is an officeroom I share with my partner who also works in computing. I do the artwork and creative side, he does the coding and programming. We work in different areas but use the same set-up basically. DAL: You also appear to have other ‘home places’? Am I right in thinking that you have an imagined world called Cassiopeia? Where and what is your Cassiopeia? CL: Cassiopeia is one of the first star constellations I learnt when very young, and it is still today the first one I can identify looking up at the night sky. That always stuck with me and that is what I decided to call the art-side of my life. My Cassiopeia is ‘wherever I go’, it is my home and where I work from. I’m also part of several studios as a freelancing contractor. But all my work is done from my own home and all correspondence is done via email and Skype. Thanks to the Internet my work place can be anywhere in the world. Amazing times we live in for sure. DAL: That’s sure. Very exciting, and with huge underlying shifts that offer optimism for the future. Now, your DeviantArt gallery seems to have started around 2010? So am I right in thinking that you’re now about six years in? What were some of the first “breakthrough” images that started to get you a lot more attention, in the early years? CL: First time I even found out about digital painting was when I picked up a copy of a magazine called “Advanced Photoshop” in Australia back in 2005. At that time I had no idea what you could do on computers more than playing games. My partner had also given me my first digital drawing tablet and I had started
experimenting a bit with it. But it is fair to say that I had no idea just what the potential of it was. Back then drawing for me was something you only did on paper or a canvas, and there wasn’t much of a market for it. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that there must be game artists creating all these amazing environments and assets for the games I was playing. To me it was a distant thing that I couldn’t even dream of getting close to doing. I joined DeviantArt in 2007 but had very little experience in digital painting at that time. I had started getting a bit further into painting on the computer with my tablet, but I was still very new to the whole digital art field. My very first breakthrough was in 2008 with an abstract artwork called “Moon Shield” where I got my very first daily deviation award for. The year after I felt I had more of my style nailed down and I had started focusing more on mythology, fairy tales and magical settings for my art. In 2010 I had my first significant breakthrough with a few different artworks such as “Elements Fire” and “Freedom”, which are photo manipulation artworks, where I felt for the first time that I could control and create the effects I wanted without the software program limiting me. These are also the very first images I saw published in an art magazine, and from that point I had pictures shown in quite a few publications. This was definitely the point where I felt I had reached a level where I could start calling myself a digital art artist, something that I had only dreamed of five years before. DAL: What were the best resources you used, which helped you improve and develop? CL: I read tons of digital art magazines in the first few years such as Corel Painter, Creative and Advanced Photoshop and Imagine FX amongst others. I tried an endless number of tutorials from these magazines and I experimented a lot. Photoshop and Painter were the two of the main programs I used. The learning curve for both programs was steep. DAL: Yes, I think we often underestimate how much time it will take newcomers to learn Photoshop. But it is so worth it. CL: There were quite a few frustrating times, during the first years. When you know exactly what you want to create in your mind’s eye, but your skill on the software you are using is 50
Picture: “Myst Puzzle Book”, Cathrine’s real-world handmade set of crafted items.
hindering you in painting and creating what you want. When getting online more in 2007, I found all the incredible resources online with lots of other artists also sharing tips and hints. This arena was so much bigger than only keeping to magazines and my creativity and understanding of Photoshop in particular got really boosted. Once I found the DeviantArt community I had found my online place for developing as an artist. DeviantArt had everything you needed as an aspiring artist and I was surrounded by other artists and like-minded peers that were all into sharing and helping each other to get better. Critique, support, using free stock images to practice with, getting feedback and participating in events and competitions and making friends along the way all helped me to get to where I am today. DeviantArt has had a huge impact on my professional career. DAL: What are your favourite production tools? CL: My Wacom tablet and Photoshop are by far my most important assets I use for creating my art. I do occasionally use other programs and I like creating images in 3D and fractal programs such as Terragen 3, Blender, Sketchup and Ultra Fractal as well. Since I’ve been focusing more on video-game art than I ever have done before in the last few years I have also got into learning a bit in Unity. DAL: Right, that’s the free and open source videogame engine. Tell us about the choices you make now, when you first plan or approach making an artwork? For instance, is there something that tends to influence a work to be a speed painting rather than something else? CL: It depends if the artwork is done for work, or for myself in my spare time. For work each artwork is usually described in more or less detail before I start. So I’ll have a pretty good idea what needs to be put on paper before I start. For artworks I do in my spare time, my workflow varies a lot. I usually get inspired by a specific image or something I’ve seen and I start sketching down ideas around this particular image or subject. Sometimes that sketch leads to more refining until I’ve got something that you can visually appreciate. Sometimes though — if the inspiration isn’t present — I tend to start a drawing with placing a photograph in the background of the artwork and then I pick colours from it and just paint random lines and blobs. I do this until I start seeing shapes of something that inspires me to
keep going. These sessions seem to lead to more speed paintings. Sometimes one of the speed paintings looks promising and I will continue on it until I have something finished, but most of the time they stay as very rough speed paints. For each of the finished artworks you see in my gallery there are probably about 15 unfinished ones. DAL: Do you have a favourite way to work up a picture to its finished state? CL: I feel very happy when I can get down a sketch and then develop an artwork within a day. Most pieces take several days to finish but speed paintings and some environments can sometimes be done in under a day. The feeling of completing an artwork in that time is very satisfying. DAL: Indeed. What inspirations do you call on, for your work? I’m not especially current with fantasy literature or games, for instance, outside of the Elder Scrolls series. Are novels and stories helping to inspire your work? CL: Oh yes, movies, music and games all play a vital role as inspiration in my art no doubt. But so do other artists that I look up to. Browsing images done by other artists are very inspiring. I look up to great matte painters such as Dylan Cole, Philip Straub and Raphael Lacoste amongst others. I also draw a lot of inspiration from some well-known and not so well known artists through history too, mainly from the Victorian and Edwardian era such as John Bauer, Alphonse Mucha and Elsa Beskow. I don’t read that much, I have more of a visual mind and I get ideas from looking at things. Anything fantasy / sci-fi are very high on my list for visual inspiration. Favourite movies and games that are big inspirations for me would be The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Labyrinth, Star Wars, Howl’s Moving Castle, the Myst-series and Zelda. I also draw inspiration from other standalone games which emphase m exploration and atmosphere such as Firewatch, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and The Long Dark. DAL: Thanks. Can you take our readers in detail through the typical workflow for a major 100hour painting, please? Also, perhaps, any tips on how one gets over the initial ‘procrastination hump’ and start creating. CL: I usually start by gathering inspiration and references for the initial idea. I sometimes do something I call “inspiration sheets” where I cut 52
Picture: “Mirror Lakes”.
and paste images and photos onto a canvas — as a collage — and that gives me the colour palette and theme ideas I have for the artwork. Then I get on to the next preparation before painting which is to find the main stock image/s first and then do the sketch based on those images. I always work in many layers when I build up the different parts of a painting, so that I can easily go in and move around the main parts and change colouring as the artwork progress. I tend to select a light source very early on so that when I move from sketch to more detailing I can get shadows and lit up surfaces matching. Once my layout feels balanced and in tune with what I’m aiming to create, I will start detailing different areas in several stages. If I’m painting a landscape I tend to work from the faint mountains or whatever view is in the far background first and then move forward to the foreground layer by layer. Then I go back the other way around in several passes. For character artworks that are usually made using photographs I tend to start detailing the main person first and then move on to the environment near the character before I move on to the background elements. For both kinds of artworks I always finish off with an overall tweak of curves, hues and brightness and then I add final small details such as highlights at the end. I find that if I don’t have a clear idea of what I want to paint, I rarely accomplish it and it gets very hard to start. So researching and finding references and visual aids in what I want to accomplish before I start, helps me actually get started. I will procrastinate unless I have a visual goal in mind. Certain days you are just not ‘in the zone’ and no matter what you try there is no muse to keep you going or to make you want to draw. And the feeling at the end of the day of having produced nothing makes the procrastinating feeling even worse. For me personally a few things help. One is to not paint that day, but to do something else that is creative such as crafting, doodle with pen and paper, play around with fractal formulas, work on something in a 3D program instead or take your camera and go outside to clear the head and make some pictures. This helps me with knowing that at the end of the day I have actually done something even if it wasn’t that particular artwork. ‘I still created something’ and it helps me not feeling overly stressed. I accomplished something that, in the long run,
can only help my career. Another tip is to do quick and abstract speed paints. Just pick a couple of colours, start blurting them down on canvas with various brushes to get fun shapes and then erase parts of it to reveal more shapes, lines and so on. Paint over with another brush using various opacity levels. Once you are tired of one just start another one. It can be quite a release to just draw nothing at all, almost like nonsense. There is no pressure or goal with it, but it helps me release artists block. At the end of the day you will still have a few or perhaps a whole bunch of abstract speed paints. These things Picture: “Da Andor”, concept illustration for Arcen Games.
tend to get my creative part of my mind to start up again and I can get going the next day. DAL: Thanks, that’s great advice. What’s your own personal favourite image from your portfolio and why? CL: I’m very proud over my “Element” series, and especially the “Fire” version. The model is my sister and I did the whole series based on her in different poses. I really enjoyed playing with the illusion of making the person actually being made up of the element she represents. So for the “Fire” one I used photos of solidified lava that I had taken on a recent trip to Hawaii 56
and the very active volcano there. I made the rock feel more moving and soft and added a rich red and orange hue to all that grey and black and it really paid off as a piece full of impact. To this day it is by far the most popular artwork I’ve ever done so it makes me feel a huge accomplishment to have created it. DAL: What’s your opinion on using 3D to “speed up” the production of 2D art? CL: I’m all for it, personally. I don’t see any limits with digital media and the use of mixing as many sides as possible can only help to improve what is already there. I’ve never been much for classifying things into specific areas and then not
promoting it and I was part of the company team if it was to take off. But sadly it didn’t get funded. The studio works with a lot of manga/ anime orientated art and my role there is being an environmental/background artist. I have done numerous backgrounds for their animations for both smaller and bigger films and trailers. My type of environment style fits very nicely with 2D fantasy animation movies and reels such as manga/anime. DAL: And you offer 35,000 of your photos on your stock site at CA-Stock.com. All for just $1 access per image. That’s an excellent offer. Tell us more about how that site came to be, please? CL: My long time partner and I share a common interest of travelling a lot, so living in various countries around the globe is something that comes naturally to me. Back in 2012 we finally did a year of backpacking around the globe, something we both had been dreaming about doing one day. It was an amazing experience and we saw so many widely different landscapes and peoples, cultures and wildlife. It had a huge impact on my art style. So many places we find in fantasy artworks really do exist on Earth! We ended up making over 60,000 photos on our trip, and being a digital artist I rely heavily on using stock photos for my artworks. Having my own stock library helps a lot since using stock images can get very expensive. With all the photos we had, we thought that offering them to other artists that might not have all that money to spend could be a good idea. We named it www.CAStock.com so that people finding it might recognise it from my DeviantArt stock account with the same name. The small cost per image is more of a symbolic sum to be able to afford paying for the website they are hosted on. In reality the target of these photos are for other artists needing affordable and easy to use photos for their artworks. Therefore they also come with very simple rules and none of the fine print and huge sums that normally goes with the larger stock sites.
mixing them, I like the idea of no boundaries and creating something unique and potentially better by going outside the normal areas and experiment with combining different fields. I’m all about the end result and the way to get to that result can be in so many different directions.
DAL: Sounds very useful. Tell us about your book and music album cover art commissions, please.
DAL: Let’s turn to your commercial ventures now. You tried a Kickstarter in late summer 2015. How did that go for you, and what did you learn from it? CL: The Kickstarter campaign was run by one of the studios I help out working for, so it was not my personal Kickstarter per se. I helped 57
CL: Most of the book covers I’ve done are for self-publishing authors mainly writing teen and adult fiction. I think my art style is bested suited for these kind of books, so it makes sense that the authors from this genre are my main clients.
Picture: “"Eder Terehn”. 58
I’ve done covers for the “Nicky” series by A. Nadudvari, the “Ingrid Redstone” series by S.P. Traver and several books for J. Cross to mention a few. Book and CD-covers are great to work on in between doing game-art since the two are very different kinds of art and also have a very different kind of work-flow. It helps keeping things varied and fresh. DAL: Is there anyone you would like a Skype call with, in relation to a creative venture? A movie director, a comic or game writer, a band, a TV director, an explorer or suchlike? Who would be your “dream commission”, asking you to work with them and offering oodles of cash? CL: Cyan (Myst) is well up there amongst the dream-studio to do work for, the work they do is amazing. I’m also extremely fond of Studio Ghibli and their animations, that would be another dream-job. Some producers from movies that would be high on my list would be Luc Besson, Peter Jackson and Night M. Shyamalan, since I have a deep fascination for their movie styles. If you can dream, you might as well dream big. DAL: You’ve also done commercial work for games and movies. And are you able to talk about working in the videogame "The Last Federation" by Arcen Games, for instance?
CL: I’ve worked on and off for several years at Arcen Games and while working there I learnt a lot about the game industry and how to develop art that fits 2D-games in general. My most prominent position at Arcen was environment and game asset artist and that was the main art I did for “The Last Federation” too. Set in space and being a strategy / action story about a solar system and its inhabitants eternal battle and dealings with each other there was plenty of environmental images needed. I did most of the backdrops and scenic images in the game and I also did the alien characters and most starscapes. DAL: What three things should newcomers to DeviantArt (or new-returners) try to avoid doing? In other word, what pitfalls should an ambitious artist — one who wants to fully access all that DeviantArt offers — not do? CL: Don’t use any images you ‘find on the Internet’ in your artwork that you don’t have permission for, and think that will all be good and fine! First thing would be to understand basic copyright and how to use resource images
Picture: “Spring Masquerade”.
to you and from there you will find the artists behind those images and the groups they belong to. A good way to find your way around is to keep an eye on the front-page of the site where you can reach the “Today’s” tab on the site. From here you get a good array of different themed areas that are changed daily/weekly/ monthly to get you started. DAL: Thanks. Yes, I do wish there was an “Exclude all Ponies and Furries” button somewhere on their search. What are you working on at the moment? Do you see any new themes starting to emerge in your art? CL: I’m currently working on a personal game project with my long time partner, so my art is currently a mix of sci-fi and fantasy gamerelated game-assets for a 2D platformer game. In the last few years I’ve had a lot of requests for early 20th century Art Nouveau (Jugend) style artworks, so I tend to do a lot of those these days outside my game design. DAL: Great, well we wish you well with that. Thanks again for this in-depth interview. CL: Thank you for the opportunity.
Cathrine Langwagen is online at:
http://www.cassiopeiaart.com/ and http://cassiopeiaart.deviantart.com/
Pictures: â€œKirderehn" and "Angels' Passage".
In this mini-interview we talk with Ulco Glimmerveen about the new Terragen 4, his professional historical visualisations, and his love of the game Myst.
DAL: Ulco, welcome to the Christmas issue of Digital Art Live magazine. Thanks for taking time from your busy professional schedule, for this mini-interview. We spotted your lovely-looking new “Dunes River” preset for Terragen and we thought you’d be the perfect person for a short mini-interview on Terragen, which of course has just been released in version 4. I assume that you’ve downloaded and tried the new version of Terragen? What are your opinions on Planetside’s latest version of their landscape software? UG: Oh yes, I’ve tried it alright. I work almost daily in Terragen, and I’m one of the alpha testers, so I am privileged to always get the newest releases to test. From the earliest beginning Planetside has delivered an outstanding product, and when I first worked with Terragen 2 I was blown away by the atmospheric possibilities, and the fact that objects could be used. It was a huge change from the previous Terragen Classic, which was the software that I happened to stumble upon long time ago. Since then Terragen has been constantly improved — and by a very small team, mind you — and every update amazes me. The new Version 3 Clouds and Ray-Traced Preview are astonishing. V3 Clouds have a much more natural lighting than the V2 Clouds did, and the extra 64
Picture: â€œMonorail and Pylon".
TERRAGEN 4 Terragen 4 has just been released as a retail edition. This major 3D landscape software is now faster, more interactive and easier to use. The new edition gives you new tools to create and explore your photo-realistic scenes more quickly and intuitively than ever before. There's a new Ray-Traced Preview (RTP) which can provide almost instant feedback as you work on your objects, shaders, atmosphere and lighting. The Ray-Traced Preview lets users fine-tune scenes much more quickly and easily. Years of internal research and development have led to a major breakthrough for rendering clouds with photo-realistic shading. Terragen 4 can simulate light scattering hundreds of times within clouds to produce their characteristic softness, as well as inter -cloud and cloud-surface interactions. There's a new cloud shading technology allows you to produce highly realistic skies with ease. There are new simple-to-use cloud presets that realize a variety of common cloud types such as altocumulus. Terragen 4 also adds simulation of the absorption of light by ozone in the atmosphere, making the already realistic atmosphere model practically indistinguishable from reality. The Rendering engine enhancements have speeded up Terragen 4. Now users can render scenes which feature objects on average more than twice as fast as Terragen 3, and in some cases much faster. Plus lens effects, new shaders, and all paid version of Terragen now include animation tools. Try Terragen 4 today, with the free non-commercial version which has a 1280 Ă— 900px render output limit. http://planetside.co.uk/freedownloads/terragen-4-free-download/
‘EasyCloud’ presets quickly get you to making a range of very realistic clouds, all using internal computations that are hard to make from scratch. The Ray-Traced Preview updates very fast when you change cloud seeds, or the cloud coverage. So it’s perfect for users who aim for photographic realism, especially where clouds are a major part of the work. It will also give a fast preview of the foliage, and what is important to me is to be able to check the procedural colour adjustments I made on objects like trees or buildings. Another feature, though around since Terragen 3, is the possibility to edit populations of objects; move or delete instances. I couldn’t do without anymore. I know Terragen is a bit hard to grasp at first, but once you understand the basic effects of the nodes, there is a world to explore and develop. I am really looking forward to whatever is up Planetside’s sleeve...
DAL: Is there anything else that version 4 of Terragen help you to do now, that was either difficult or impossible before?
UG: Ah, well now one other thing that’s much easier to accomplish now is God Rays. DAL: Right — streams of sunlight shafting through breaks in the cloud, or bright light streaming through a lattice window. UG: Right. With Ray-Traced Preview on you can just shift the sun or clouds and immediately see the rays appear. You can manoeuvre cloud shadows around to where you want them. But some of the features that made my life much easier have been implemented before V4. I remember making a city, and having to adjust each house while in box view, even without the manoeuvring handles that have been added since. It took ages to get them lined up nicely, while you can see objects in great detail now,
and move them around more easily. DAL: How would you like Terragen to develop? UG: I can’t speak for all of course, because I only use part of Terragen’s possibilities, and I use it mainly for stills work. There’s a whole lot of small to big features on the implementation list, but the most important for me is faster rendering of the more complicated clouds. But I am pretty impatient. There has been a huge performance improvement with the new Embree renderer — which means that renders with lots of objects take up far less time. But the clouds are still a bit slow in comparison, beautiful as they are. But for my work I am very happy with this version already. DAL: You are of course a superb specialist illustrator of ancient historical scenes. What interests you in history, these days — is there perhaps a topic that you have not yet tackled,
but which interest you? I recently had cause to look at Ancient Babylonia for instance, and there’s a distinct lack of good re-creation pictures there. UG: The funny thing is that I just stumbled into history, from biology, and it now provides my major work. But that work is mainly northern European; Stone Age scenes, Roman and Medieval scenes, though as it happens I’ve just done some work on Ancient Egyptian desert and Nile River scenes for an American documentary. And that does indeed spark the imagination about future work. I really love deserts; the subdued colours and combinations of sand, rock and buildings that seem to emerge from the soil. So if anything like that comes up, I’m won’t hesitate. DAL: Great. I must say that Northern European ancient archaeology is very exciting these days. New sites, new methods and all the consequent
Picture: Ulco's new Dunes River preset for Terragen, available at the NWA Store.
discoveries. What are you most excited about, in terms of new developments and discoveries? UG: The details and 3D information that can be provided by photogrammetry excite me. And the possibilities of scanning underground structures by their densities or other features, and thus
getting data without disturbing the ground and keeping the buried past safe for future generations — who without a doubt will improve on our ‘excavating’ technology. Though I have to admit, that excavation side of history hasn’t been part of my work until now. And I am not an
“The last major commissions I made were a 278 x 9 -foot wall for the Limburgs Museum, depicting a continuous landscape from Ice Age to Medieval times ...”
archaeologist, so I don’t read everything published, just what I stumble upon or need for my work. Another thing that’s quite astonishing is that ‘forensic evidence’ can now be extracted from finds, the smallest items giving even more clues about ancient life. Picture: “Winter River".
But to be honest, the public awareness being developed around our ancient history excites me even more as an artist. For most people it’s really hard to get some visual idea about the past. So the possibility to use 3D reconstructions to visualize ancient environments in (almost)
photorealistic detail is a terrific way to fill that void. DAL: Very true, and the population genetics is also developing in very interesting ways, showing us which peoples were where and when. What are you working on at present? Or work that you have recently completed. UG: My latest commissions are from Dutch and Belgian universities, for whom I am developing some series of historical landscape reconstructions. Working with archaeologists, palaeo-botanists (ancient plant archaeologists), geologists, that is always exciting. They provide scientific data to work with, which helps me to get the most realistic reconstructions, and then it’s really great to make landscapes appear that come close to their scientific ideas. But equally interesting — though sometimes frustrating — are the discussions that frequently arise about details that haven’t been studied yet, or can’t be explained, or illustrated just like that. It’s quite regularly a two-way development, my work on their data providing the scientists with ideas or doubts that then need to be solved. And some illustrated features are still conjecture of course, and it has to be made clear when the illustrations are interpretations, or an educated guess. The last major commissions I made were a 278 x 9 -foot wall, and a 40 x 13 -foot wall for the Limburgs Museum, depicting respectively a continuous landscape from Ice Age to Medieval
times, and a very detailed medieval harbor town. The latter being printed on special canvas and lit from behind, it’s quite spectacular, and a very satisfying job. One or two of that kind of commissions are in some pipeline being developed, but it’s always exciting what my next job will be.... DAL: Yes, big backlit pictures on lightboxes can be especially impressive. Things like that will be needed to compete with VR and other technology. Museums will have to ‘up their game’ on 2D presentations, I think. What do you think of the advances in real-time rendering, using videogame engines? Have you looked at such things lately? UG: That’s an exciting development as well, and one of these days I might get into it. It’s the future, but it would also be a complete new area of study, and my main challenge until now is to develop the most realistic reconstruction stills possible. It all takes a vast amount of time, and it’s just me out here… But talking of real-time; I am involved in the development of some virtual reality scenes for VR headsets, smartphones and tablets; archaeological reconstructions that depict the past on specific locations. They kind of overlap the present when you point your phone, or use the headset in a certain area. An exciting field of work also. DAL: Fascinating. And lastly, this is our Myst issue, so I should ask you if you have every
Pictures: “Monorail 23” and “Maglev Line”.
played the videogame Myst or sequels? UG: I certainly have, and as a matter of fact, Myst has been a major inspiration. I used to wander around in Myst and Riven a lot, not really to play the game, but to wonder at the environment and the wondrous stuff going on. DAL: Yes, I sometimes think that game makers are missing some revenue: they should offer a “walker/photographer edition”. Everything unlocked, go anywhere in relative safety. Just walk around. UG: I always wanted to build landscapes and assets in that style, but there’s hardly time for it now, neither to play the games, nor to work on Myst-like environments. I have Exile lying around, still unpacked. The only thing I recently did was a small series of equi-rectangular renders for a Planetside contest. That was fun, making the assets and putting together some sort of little story. A lot of the older games lack in realism though, and I think the latest developments in games are very encouraging; they get increasingly more beautiful and photoreal. DAL: True. Ok, well, thanks very much for this short interview. We appreciate you’re very busy as we hurtle toward Christmas, so thanks for taking time to talk with us.
UG: You’re welcome, and thanks very much for giving me the opportunity.
Ulco Glimmerveen is online at http://ulco-art.nl/
This issue’s picture gallery celebrates digital art that evokes or pays homage to the classic videogame Myst and its several sequels.
Picture: “Maglev Line” by Ulco Glimmerveen.
Picture: “The House of the Hangman” by Dave Haden. A real-time render, made in iClone. 74
Pictures: from top left: "Riven Ball" carved from British elm wood by Forcefield3d; "Subuh" and "Orinarri" by Tse60; "Suspension Railway" by Ulco Glimmerveen.
Pictures: from top left: "Keeper of Time" by Michael Whimann; “Riven Hut” hand-made by Tse60; "Bored of Puzzles" by Crap Mariner.
Picture: “Roundtrip 3D” a 360-degree VR made with Terragen, by Ulco Glimmerveen.
Pictures: from top left: "Sumila” and “Calling” by Tse60; “Steampunk Crystal Ball” and “Music Machine” by 3DStage.
Pictures: “Album cover for Thomas Dolby’s Oceanea”, and “Squid Free World”, both by PaulSizer. 85
Mass Effect: Andromeda One of the most popular sci-fi video game series returns soon — with new races, new crafting gameplay, and all sorts of other new goodies. And baddies. The game's release date of March 2017 is fairly firm, considering that this is a major AAA game, but there's not currently a lot more detail. The script is by Drew Karpyshyn, who authored the first two games, and the game should have all the futuristic polish that we’ve come to expect. The aim seems not to be to create a “next episode” of the Mass Effect series, but a whole new standalone game — one that combines all that was best in the earlier games and is set within a heart-tugging family story. The game has been made for luscious 4k state-of-theart gaming graphics, and is being billed as the “biggest” of the Mass Effect games. The game is intended to be made available across multiple platforms including the Windows PC.
Our pick of the most inspirational art and sci-fi. Make your imagination LIVE! 86
Picture: Promotional press picture for Mass Effect: Andromeda. Pre-alpha gameplay.
Game: Call of Duty: Infinity Ward
Online audio drama is ‘the hot thing’ right now, and the independent producers are producing much more sparky material than tired and slanted mainstream broadcasters such as BBC Radio and NPR. MarsCorp (rated PG-13) is one of the leading science fiction audio drama podcasts of 2016, during which its makers pumped out 12 scripted comedy episodes that can be downloaded for free. Direct MP3 downloads are also supported, for those who don't care to install Apple's intrusive iTunes software. MarsCorp is an original story that follows Station Supervisor E.L. Hob's first year at MarsCorp, a terraforming colony established on the red planet in the year 2070. MarsCorp has had several nominations for the Audio Verse Awards in 2016 including ‘Best’ in: Original; Long Form, Large Cast; Ongoing; and Comedic Production.
The famous videogame Call of Duty... in Space! Oh yes. Finally spurred into action by the likes of Titanfall, the makers of the new Call of Duty: Infinity Ward have launched the much-loved gaming franchise into orbit. Predictably, many of the franchise’s fanboys seem to loathe the change. But the rest of us get to enjoy the polished COD gaming mechanics in a setting involving inter-planetary colonisation, combat in zero-gravity, AI robots, and refreshing new enemies. All set inside superb space skyboxes and in sci-fi settings. The ten hour single-player campaign is genuinely well-scripted and paced and is not just the usual tired afterthought. As such the game will appeal most to the older infrequent or first-time gamer who has no use for multiplayer mode, and who wants no-snags story-led gameplay in gorgeous settings. The campaign opens on Europa, Jupiter’s frosty moon, and then you hop across a partly colonised solar system. Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare is for gaming PCs, PS4 and Xbox One.
Stories: Stories of Your Life
Graphic novel: Scarlet Traces
The big new ‘aliens arrive’ movie Arrival is gathering fine reviews, but did you know that there's a short story behind the movie? This story can be found in Ted Chaing's 2014 Stories of Your Life and Others collection, recently re-issued in paperback with a movie-still cover under the name Arrival. The eight stories inside are all top-flight works, including two Nebula Award winners, a Hugo winner, a Locus winner, and more. Here are stories from the Seattle-based writer about: artificially boosted human intelligence; a Victoriana steampunk age with actual living golems; what might have happened if the Tower of Babel had actually reached a heaven; a tale of angels and a strange new religion; and of course the story that inspired Arrival. Sadly there's no audio book version available yet, but there is an affordable ebook edition for the Kindle.
A 144-page full-colour paperback graphic novel which recaps the famous H.G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds, and then continues with a sequel. Picking up a decade after the Martian invasion, the new story tells of how the British Empire’s boffins discovered the secrets of the Martian technology and then deployed it everywhere. In this tech-steampunk setting a detective mystery story develops. On the banks of the River Thames in London, Captain Autumn and Sergeant-Major Currie find curious bodies that draw them into a murder mystery. The book is set for publication as a collected edition in early January 2017, collecting the previous pamphlet comic issues. It appears to be set to launch a series of straightforward doorstopper novels set in the same world, the first of which is set to appear in summer 2017 as Scarlet Traces: Empire of Blood. http://www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk/completescarlet-traces-volume-1
Opening February 2017, USA
May to September 2017, London
Famous science fiction book cover artist Micheal Whelan currently has a Kickstarter for a new artbook, which has already succeeded. To accompany this he will be having a major retrospective gallery exhibition at the Riverside Art Museum in southern California. The show will run from February until May 2017 and be titled ‘Beyond Science Fiction’.
“Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan” a London exhibition of hand-crafted backgrounds from science fiction and anime films. The exhibition is timed to coincide with the release of the new live-action American version of Ghost in The Shell. The House of Illustration will survey the wide range of illustrations made by Tokyo's production designers, as they constructed fictional future worlds — including that of the cyberpunk sci-fi classic Ghost in the Shell and its sequel.
http://www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/ Pictures, from left, across double-page spread: Detail of the proposed cover for Michael Whelan’s new Kickstarter book. Promotional press picture for “Anime Architecture”. Concept design for Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Takashi Watabe. Interior of the Cartoon Art Museum, Studio Ghibli exhibition. Photographic portrait of the early space artist Howard Russell Butler, courtesy of Princeton
The exhibition will include work by art director Hiromasa Ogura for Ghost in the Shell, directed in 1995 by Mamoru Oshii and based on a manga comics series of the same name by Masamune Shirow. Ogura’s art was based on photographs of Hong Kong in its period under enlightened and dynamic British rule, and depicts a striking contrast between the decrepit old Chinese town and the soaring new blue skyscrapers that made the colony such a beacon of capitalist prosperity for the world. http://www.houseofillustration.org.uk/
SF Cartoon Art Museum opens
Spring 2017, San Francisco, USA
Amid the bustle of San Francisco's hot real estate market, the city's Cartoon Art Museum has recently had to move. But in Spring 2017 the Museum will have a grand reopening in a new 8,000 square-foot space inside a historic brick building at 781 Beach Street. The museum is the only one in the western United States dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of cartoon art in all its forms. The new home is just one block away from Aquatic Park and the Maritime Museum, and should be in a fine location for tourists. Over the past three decades, the museum has produced nearly 200 exhibitions and released more than 20 publications. Among the hundreds of artists that have been featured are Robert Crumb, Will Eisner, Dave Gibbons, Edward Gorey, Jack Kirby, John Romita, Dr. Seuss, Charles Schulz and Wally Wood. The museum’s Sparky Awards, named for Peanuts creator Charles “Sparky” Schulz, have been awarded to more than 20 cartoonists.
On 21st August 2017, the first full solar eclipse of this century will be visible in the United States. Princeton University is celebrating this historical event with a substantial online exhibition. This brings together experts from the sciences and art history to present the unique paintings of Howard Russell Butler (1856–1934) and the story of the artist who created them. Butler was a portrait and ‘celestial landscape’ artist and a graduate of Princeton University’s first School of Science. He painted a new kind of 'space' portrait, of a very unusual sitter: the total solar eclipse. With remarkable accuracy, he captured those rare seconds when the moon disappears into darkness — crowned by the flames of the sun, whose brilliant colors had eluded the new art of photography. In so doing so, he joined the ranks of artists and other image-makers who have struggled to translate un-seeable or fleeting natural phenomena into visual form for science and for public knowledge.
Are you interested in being interviewed in a future issue of the magazine? Or presenting a webinar for our series? Please send the Web address of your gallery or store, and we’ll visit! email@example.com Back cover: “Cel Industries - V.VI Seol” by Bryan Flynn. 92