FANTASY & SCI-FI ARTIST IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS
MARK JAY BEE
JAN VAN DE KLOOSTER
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Credits for backgrounds, from top left: Mark J. Brady; Jan Van de Klooster; H.R. Wernli; H.R. Wernli.
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Copyright ÂŠ 2014 3D Art Direct. 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.
Front Cover: “Ixian Manufactories II” (2014, Mandelbulb 3D), by Mark J. Brady.
CONTENTS ―― 02
3D ART LIVE! ―― 07
MARK J. BRADY
JAN VAN DE KLOOSTER
3d Art Direct interviews
3d Art Direct talks to the
3d Art Direct chats with
Mandelbulb artist Mark J. Brady (‘MarkJayBee’) about his amazing work.
Swiss 3D artist Jan Van de Klooster about his Vue based sci-fi landscapes.
Bryce expert H. R. Wernli (‘Horo’) about his Bryce content range and art.
MANDELBULB 3D | 2D
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“Ixian Manufactories II” (detail) (2013). Mandelulb 3D.
3D Art Direct interviews
Scotland’s Mandelbulb 3D wizard, Mark J. Brady. 3DAD: We are very happy to have with us today the accomplished Mandelbulb 3D artist MarkJayBee. Mark, welcome to 3D Art Direct. Mark J. Brady: Thanks very much for inviting me. 3DAD: Reading a bit about you online I see you have some traditional art background. You’ve worked with aquarel pencils, gouache and acrylics. Could you start by telling us a little about this, please? MJB: Well, many years ago, when I was still wearing short trousers, my natural drawing abilities were discovered and encouraged by my father. He was a fine draughtsman. However, being colour-blind, sadly he couldn’t really develop his own artistic abilities as far as he’d have liked. But he taught me as much as he could about the basics of drawing, for which I’ll always be grateful. His plan was always, of course, for me to go to art school. But the family moved around a lot due to his job, so unfortunately that idea never came to fruition.
MARK J. BRADY (‘MARKJAYBEE’) SCOTLAND, UK MANDELBULB 3D WEB
Digital paintings: “Escape” and “Marooned on Ganymede”, inspired by the covers for the 1970s paperback editions of the E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith pulp-era sci-fi stories.
“Chrome Squelchy 1” (detail) (2009), Bryce.
As I practiced, and gained a better understanding of drawing and painting techniques, I began to develop my own methods of working. After experimenting with watercolours, oils and other media, I found that acrylics gave me the most control due to their fast drying times. Being waterbased, and therefore easy to clean, acrylics were ideal for use with the airbrush, a tool which was very much in vogue with commercial artists at that time — the mid 1970s. I found in the airbrush the ideal method for achieving realistic skies and subtle gradations of colour and tone. Although they are a real pain sometimes, as they require constant disassembling and cleaning after every colour change! I completed many traditional media commissions during the late seventies and eighties, including around half the cover illustrations for the range of games made by budget videogames company Mastertronics. These can now be seen on my website. I do still occasionally paint — mostly local sea and landscape work. But I trained up in Graphic Design around the year 2000, and started learning to use the new digital media. So digital has now become my main creative tool, basically due to its immediacy and ease of use. It also doesn’t usually require lengthy break-down and clean-up sessions! 3DAD: “Marooned on Ganymede” is an excellent example of traditional sci-fi art work, really well done. Readers can see this picture accompanying this interview. When was it created? And what was the inspiration for its creation? MJB: I’ve had a love of early science fiction, ever since picking up a paperback copy of E.E.’Doc’ Smith’s SF novel Masters of the Vortex in the mid 1970s. I must admit that it was actually the brilliantly realistic Chris Foss cover illustration that made me buy it! This also led directly to my interest in sci-fi art generally — 50p (30 cents) well spent I think!! “Marooned on Ganymede” was 11
painted in the early 1990s, and was based on a scene from another ‘Doc’ Smith novel called The Spacehounds of IPC which was a great title! This saw a couple of explorers stranded on Ganymede — which is one of the moons of Jupiter. Bear in mind that this story was written in the early 1940’s, an era that still knew very little was known about the planets of the solar system. So there was still that pulp idea that Mars had cities and exotic princesses, and Venus was a steaming jungle populated by dinosaurs and the like! So why not have a wee moon like Ganymede as a dangerous environment — with a breathable atmosphere though! — and full of weird alien monsters? There is a strong Chris Foss influence in this artwork, particularly in the spacecraft. I have no qualms about admitting to being a lifelong admirer of his work, I happen to feel that the guy can realistically see the future of technology, and transport systems in particular! 3DAD: “Escape” is another classic retro 2d piece. You can really see influences of your current work in this piece. What got the ball rolling on this one? MJB: I imagine you mean the attempt to create a sense of huge scale? That was exactly that I was trying to do with this one; the world-girdling orbital ‘city’ was a challenge I set myself — and I think it works ok to some extent — although it’s certainly not quite the way I’d do it now! I also tried to get a feeling of dynamic action into the piece. There’s no real ‘back-story’ here though I’m afraid, it was really more of a personal technical exercise. 3DAD: Mark you have an impressive body of 3d work on both your Deviant Art Page as well as your markjaybeefractal.com. How did you get into 3d art? And which applications did you start off with? MJB: Thanks. Well, my first ‘toe in the water’ with 3d software was Bryce. I’d seen landscape renders by various experienced
Brycers and been very impressed with the results. But I must admit, my initial efforts were nothing to write home about! So, although I do have a bit of a stubborn streak, I’m sorry to say that — rather discouraged — I hung up my Bryce hat for a few years. Then I discovered the huge DeviantArt website, and saw some of the more abstract Bryce renders
people were showing there. I decided it might be time to have another go at 3d art. 3DAD: Bryce was way ahead of its time in terms of its flexibility. The ability to do landscape based renders as well as abstracts in one software package was a new and exciting concept at the time. What was it about Bryce that attracted you the most?
“Hi Rise” (2012), Mandelulb 3D.
MJB: Well, at that time it was available for free download for one thing! I must admit that although I initially found its artistdesigned UI a little quirky — compared to most applications — with its ‘trackballs’ and the like. But I got used to it fairly quickly.
light sources and quality glass materials really make this a feast for the eyes. Thinking back, what was your inspiration for creations such as this? MJB: Having dusted off my copy of Bryce, I started following a few tutorials shared on DeviantArt. Particularly the technique of using an extremely wide-angle view of a basic
3DAD: The “Chrome Squelchy” series are fine examples of Bryce abstracts. Multiple
object inside a 100% reflecting sphere. This technique was brought to my attention by fellow DeviantArt user ‘VickyM72’, who’s helpful advice on using Bryce was quite invaluable to me. 3DAD: You certainly know how to work materials and light in its application. Bryce, as you know, is still widely used by many in the digital art community. So what advice would you give to someone who just started experimenting with it? MJB: As I mentioned, Bryce’s interface can be a bit tricky to get the hang of. So my advice would be to do as I did, and find tutorials on its use — there are plenty of these available now on DeviantArt. Just search for ‘Bryce tutorials’! 3DAD: Creating those abstracts in Bryce seemed to have been the foundation of your current Mandelbulb 3D works, and a perfect next step in development for you as an artist. Mandelbulb 3D seems tailor-made for your own personal style. When was it that you discovered it and how did you react to it?
MJB: Bryce gave me some sense of how lighting and texturing works in 3D applications. So when I started using 3D Fractal programs, such as Mandelbulb 3D, I already had some idea of how I wanted to light and colour my renders. The interface, navigation, lighting and colour controls for those early versions of Mandelbulb 3d however was very far from what we’re used to now though! I actually started with ‘Mandelbulber’, a superb 3D Fractal program written and developed by programmer Krzysztof Marczak. In its initial versions Mandelbulber was a little tricky to use, if you didn’t have any knowledge of the theoretical principles of 3D Fractal generation. As the program went through its development, and gained new features, it inevitably became more resource hungry — eventually it was just too hungry for my PC! So at that point I decided to try Mandelbulb 3D. That was around late 2010, if memory serves. I’d always loved the quality of
“Bronze Battlements 1” (2010), Mandelulb 3D.
lighting, and the clarity of the final rendered output from Mandelbulber, and going from that to Mandelbulb 3D’s completely different final rendering method took some getting used to. But, as I played with the program more and more, I began to get a sense of the much larger range of creative options — particularly via the formulas — available within the program, and it wasn’t long until I was using it exclusively.
The introduction of the 3D ‘Navigator’ made an enormous difference in the ease of finding one’s way around the sometimes labyrinthine depths of 3D fractal forms. The range of formulas available is also huge, certainly compared with Mandelbulber. Many of the newer Mandelbulb 3D formulae were written by FF and DeviantArt member Luca ‘darkbeam’, to whom I and many others are indebted!
3DAD: Mandelbulb 3D really has a large following and user base, Fractal Forums being the hub for this. Why do you think so many people are attracted to this program?
As more and more people have become familiar with Mandelbulb 3D’s potential, many have written tutorials in order to share their discoveries with other users. This has obviously greatly increased the number of enthusiastic new users of the program. I personally run a group on DeviantArt called – what else – ‘mandelbulb3d’ at mandelbulb3d.deviantart.com and there we have a wide range of tutorials available in our groups ‘Tutorials and Resources’ folder. Interested readers may like to take a look.
MJB: Mandelbulb 3D was developed by FF mod and programmer Jens ‘Jesse’ Dierks. Initially it was his own personal tool for the exploration of the, then new, field of 3d fractals. So it was designed with his own skillset in mind, and wasn’t particularly intuitive to operate, to say the least! However, on releasing the program as a free download for general use, Jesse has made numerous changes to its operation.
3DAD: It’s certainly useful. While browsing through the Fractal Forums I found a lot of
“Urban Decay” (2012), Mandelulb 3D. 15
interaction between artists. Tons of advice, file and formula sharing, lots going on. What was your first impression of Fractal Forums? And what is your involvement today? MJB: I had seen some abstract 2D fractal artwork on DeviantArt back in 2010, rendered using the program Apophysis. I’d had a very brief flirtation with that software, I stopped
using it since I felt it was a little too ‘abstract’ and unfocussed for my tastes. So after that dalliance I followed a link to FractalForums. My timing was very fortuitous, because this was around the time that the scientific discovery of the so-called ‘Mandelbulb’, the first true 3d fractal. So FF was very much afire with this new ‘plaything’ just then, and I
couldn’t help but be drawn in! Shortly after I joined FF, FF member Tom Lowe (‘Tglad’) discovered the ‘Mandelbox’, a more angular — and dare I say it? — ‘engineered’ looking 3d fractal. This object appealed to me immediately. I could see the potential in it for creating environmental imagery with a sci -fi flavor. I haven’t really stopped since!
I’m perhaps not as active at FF now as I was a couple of years back, as I’ve been quite busy with various personal projects. But I am definitely planning to rectify that lapse when time permits. 3DAD: OK, let’s get into some of your renders like your picture “Fire and Ice!”. You certainly nailed the ice textures and light in
“Fire and Ice” (2013), Mandelulb 3D.
this. Tell our readers a bit about this image and its creation. MJB: ‘Fire and Ice’ was created not too long after the introduction of three new additions to the Mandelbulb 3d program: ‘Dynamic/ Iteration Fog’; ‘Reflections/Transparency’; and the ‘d-IFS’ formula type, developed by ‘darkbeam’. D-Fog allowed the generation of
‘haloes’ and various ‘beams’ and ‘streaks’ related to the underlying fractal forms, and the iteration count of the formulas used. Many viewers of this piece were under the impression that I’d actually used the — then new — ‘Transparency’ function to get the translucent appearance of the ‘ceiling’ here. But it’s actually just low level reflections. The
“External Services” (2014), Mandelulb 3D. 18
‘fire’ aspect is given by an orange positional light dropped into the ‘crucible’ in the foreground. Since happening on this combination of ‘escapetime’ (Menger3) and the d-IFS formulae, I’ve since created many more ‘techno-architectural’ pieces using this method — I might even be that I am slightly addicted to it!!
One of my personal favourites which uses this technique is “External Services”, which also uses Volumetric Lighting, although it’s not that obvious — so less is more, perhaps? A 360-degree interactive panoramic version of that piece can be viewed at my website. 3DAD: Your recent Mandelbulb 3D picture “SubSurfaceSystem”, there’s so much going
on in this. The top-light, fog and tiled texturing really come together well. What got the ball rolling on this piece? MJB: “SubSurface System” was a bit of a departure for me. I’d never attempted an ‘underwater’ scene using Mandelbulb 3d. Volumetric Lighting hadn’t long been introduced to the program. Actually it was
something I’d requested on FractalForums years previously. So I was over the moon when it finally arrived. This formula combo — escapetime and d-IFS again — was just crying out for it, those ‘hoops’ were perfect for the beams to shine through! VL in Mandelbulb 3D is not the easiest function to use, and it took a fair bit of ‘beard-pulling’, general fiddling, and
“SubSurface System” (2014), Mandelulb 3D. 20
countless small test renders to get it ‘right’, but I reckon it was worth the effort.
advice would you give a MD3D user wanting to create texturing like this?
The texturing, or diffuse map, I created in Photoshop for use with just this sort of smooth surfaced fractal form.
MJB: There are several options for applying diffuse maps as surface textures available in Mandelbulb 3D, some more controllable than others. The default maps that come with Mandelbulb 3D are fine for practice, but having a good collection of maps is essential
3DAD: “Ixian Manufactories II”, which opens this interview, looks like a similar texturing technique as SubSurfaceSystem. What
“GCV Mainbay III” (2014), Mandelulb 3D.
See this picture animated on YouTube!
if you want to put your own personal stamp on your work. There are pre-made collections of maps available on DeviantArt and FF for free use, but making your own is really the best way to go for complete creative freedom. As far as actually applying your map, my personal preference is the ‘wrap2’ method, which allows very fine adjustments to both the scale, and the X and Y positioning. 3DAD: “GSV MainBay III” is an epic image, certainly inspiring to any fractal artist. It has inspired DeviantArt’s ‘Capstoned’ to have a go at rendering this as an animation, which is linked on the page opposite. Even at low resolution the video it certainly shows off this detailed environment. Are there any plans for the two of you to do more animated work on this image? MJB: This piece was inspired by the SF writings of Iain M. Banks — now very sadly missed — and his excellent ‘Culture’ novels. These featured the ginormous GSV’s or General Systems Vehicles. I think Joey did a great job of animating this one, considering how tricky it was for me to actually get the d-IFS ‘ship’ positioned in the static version! The main drawback with animating this kind of mapped fractal in Mandelbulb 3d is that the map cannot be ‘fixed’, and therefore will drift as soon as the object is moved. So I doubt we’ll be taking this one any further, until this problem is addressed. 3DAD: Mandelbulb 3D, created by Jens Dierks, has come a long way in recent builds. Adding more and more tools with each release. If you could have any additional functionality added to enhance your work flow, what would that be? MJB: Well, obviously the ability to ‘fix’ a diffuse map would top of my list. Then more realistic animations would be possible. Somehow I suspect that this may not happen in the immediate future though, as 23
Jesse has now officially stated that he will not be developing Mandelbulb 3D any further. However, the program seems pretty much complete, certainly as far as I’m concerned. Though Jesse has also stated that the Delphi source code may be made available. Notes requesting it should go in the first instance to ‘cKleinhuis’, the administrator of FractalForums. So if any dedicated coders feel up to the task of taking the program further, please visit www.fractalforums.com/ mandelbulb-3d/mandelbulb-3d-development -officially-suspendet/ I should also mention that Mandelbulber, the 3d fractal program I originally started out on, has recently been released in v2.0. With a new, more conventional UI it’s now become much more like Mandelbulb 3d! I’ve been tentatively exploring it, so this may perhaps be the time for me to get to grips creatively with it again. 3DAD: Mark, you certainly have been quite driven over the years creating and inspiring, so what’s next for you? Any future plans to speak of? MJB: I’ll be continuing my explorations of the 3d fractal universe of course. I’m also currently developing my skills in the area of purely digital illustration. For this I recently acquired a large Wacom tablet, and have been practicing various digital painting techniques with it. At some point I hope to be in a position to show some work online, which as I’m sure you’ll imagine, will probably have quite a hard sci-fi content! 3DAD: There are certainly some really nice 2d digital painting applications now, for use with Wacom pads and touch screens, including the latest versions of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Lastly what general advice would you give a new artist just starting out with 3d software? MJB: Once the choice of program is decided on, then I’d build up a list of links to good
tutorials. Then work through them, from the most basic on up. Try to apply what’s learned in each, in a new picture, and use your new skills and personal insights to create something truly original. Sadly, I see far too many 3d fractal images that are really no more than straight outcomes from tutorials, rather
than original works created using the knowledge gained from tutorials, and personal exploration of the software’s capabilities. As in photography and painting, light is the essential tool. I think it should always be carefully and creatively used to give objects and scenes form, substance and some kind of
“Girdle City” (2014), Mandelulb 3D.
atmosphere and sense of place, rather than simply used to illuminate an object. An object which, after all, may have taken a great deal of time to create or discover! 3DAD: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, good luck in all your endeavors and we look forward to following up with you soon.
MJB: Youâ€™re very welcome, itâ€™s been my pleasure.
Mark J. Brady is online at: http://markjaybee.deviantart.com/ http: //mjb-graphics.co.uk
This page: “Encapsulation II”. Opposite: “Encapsulation”. Both Mandelbulb 3D.
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JAN VAN DE KLOOSTER NETHERLANDS VUE | BLENDER | 3D COAT | RHINO WEB
3D Art Direct talks Vue and sci-fi with Jan Van de Klooster 3DAD: Jan, welcome to 3D Art Direct magazine. We especially like your sci-fi art, and it has the feeling of being influenced by the classic sci-fi paperback covers of the 1970s and 80s. How did you first become interested in science fiction art?
Jan Klooster: Thank you, 3DAD. You ‘hit that nail right on the head’, and it says something about my age. I’m actually 68 years old, and so maybe not your typical 3D SF guy. My first science fiction was the Flash Gordon comic, which I read daily in my parents’ newspaper.
JAN VAN DE 30
“Under the Dome” (detail) (2014), Vue.
E KLOOSTER 31
I loved it! That was in 1952, before we even had television, and long before any space launch program had even started. 3DAD: That was the year Collier’s magazine galvanised the mood in America for a space race. They gathered the free world’s great space experts. Then, in a series of beautifully illustrated magazine articles, had them give a very comprehensive scenario for the exploration of space. Sadly it wasn’t to be. But it had a strong effect on the social acceptance of science-fiction. Jan Klooster: Yes, I read many of them from that era. Later when I learned some English, I read a lot of SF paperbacks, writers like Asimov, Bradbury, Niven, Anderson, you name it.
3DAD: Were the paperback covers an influence? I sense a slight Chris Foss influence on some of your art. He was around a lot on the UK and European papercks, back then? Jan Klooster: Yes, when I was in my twenties I bought a box which contained mini-posters of Chris Foss art, and I papered my room with them. And to think he did his art with the airbrush! His enormous spaceships and constructions opened a new vista for me, and changed the way I experienced my science fiction. Then, in 1979 or there abouts, I saw the first Alien movie and after I left the cinema I spun around on my heels and went right back in to see it again! I loved the realism, the grungy inside of those Nostromo corridors, the natural way the crew acted, complaining about the conditions and suchlike. Ridley Scott’s
“My parents lived on a little ship that sailed the inland waterways of Northwest Europe ... I was born and lived on that ship for three years.” 32
image of the ship landing on that alien planet is an all-time classic, as far as I’m concerned. I recently tried to capture that feel with one of my renders. It is on my Facebook, of course, as all my work is. 3DAD: And later sci-fi movies? Jan Klooster: Later movies like Avatar, Oblivion, the Star Wars saga, Elysium, in which I mostly look at the graphics, the ships, the special effects in those. The stories became less and less important for me. 3DAD: I think that can also put down to the fact that older people, who read just about all the SF books and stories there were before circa 1985, have heard just every plot going. It’s difficult to show us a new twist in outer space SF, at least in terms of what’s able to
get past a producer in a film or TV studio.
Jan Klooster: I also admired the traditional 2D space artists, including the painter John Harris, who made really awesome science fiction and space art. 3DAD: So did space art influence you to take up digital art? And when did you get started? Did you go straight to making 3D art, or did you try digital 2D art first? Jan Klooster: I got into the digital side of things via Corel Draw and Photoshop. In 1987 I had my first Atari 16 computer and it had a very simple 3d program. I’m afraid I cannot remember the name, but you could do a simple spaceship and turn it around, and it even could do hidden lines! You could only print the result from the screen, there
“Terraforming” (2014), Vue.
was no rendering. That software was an eyeopener for me. Later, in 1995, when I was in the United States I bought a copy of Lightwave. Version 1, I think. I actually made some money with it, by visualising designs for booths and stalls for trade exhibitions, the interiors of shops, etc. But then I became too busy to do science fiction art with it. 3DAD: Who were some of the earliest digital or 3d artists who inspired you?
Jan Klooster: Well, maybe the first one was a guy named Peter “Loki” Bausteadter, a guy from Austria, who later went to the USA. It must be the same person who works now at Marco Polo Productions. He had made this image of a spaceship that I would have died for. Today I wouldn’t make the sacrifice, but back then I almost had that feeling! I also saw a lot of matte paintings, which at that time I wrongly thought was made with 3D. 3DAD: Ironically, we’re now going to other
“High Country” (2014), Vue. 34
way: what one thinks is 2d art actually turns out to be 3d! But what first impressed you about Vue when you first used it? What do you believe its main strengths are? Jan Klooster: I first started to render my sci-fi scenes in Bryce, but although I had a good deal of fun with Bryce, the software got to a point where it was not being developed further. And so I looked around and discovered Vue. You can jump right into it, and I did. So I bought a copy. My first
experience with Vue was Studio 10. I felt that it was easy to use. But it is also very layered very deep, like Photoshop is, so you discover new avenues all the time. I am still learning new things, even though Iâ€™ve been using it for three years now. I think its main strength are the options for making great landscapes, the powerful atmospheres, and the realistic plants and trees. 3DAD: What could be improved in Vue? Or, what do you go to other applications for?
Jan Klooster: Vue Studio 10 is not the most stable platform. I advise any new user to to make many back-ups. Some have suggested I should upgrade to the latest Vue. But although you can do some simple modelling, you cannot get into your meshes. And since I make 98% of my models myself, it would not be very comfortable if I couldn’t make little corrections in Vue itself, and had to go back into my modelling apps again and again. 3DAD: Your “Customs in Pursuit of the Snowsmuggler” is a great example of a
panoramic scene in Vue, with amazing control of lighting and colour and depth fog. What inspired you to create this piece, and how did you go about making and finishing it? Jan Klooster: Most Vue users are earthbound “tree-huggers”, which I mean in a friendly way. But I am not, so most of my terrains will be bare alien planet-scapes. But for the specific inspiration, I think I saw a great winterscape by U.B. Jacobs, a very interesting fellow Vue artist. So I thought that it would be nice to do something like that, but with sci-
fi action, maybe just a few trees. I had just finished making the Smuggler spaceship and it was obvious the ship of my choice. I also wanted the picture to have a certain optical depth. The aerial perspective in the render was not enough to achieve what I wanted, and so I applied some blur with my z-buffer, to get separation between my leading actor and the pursuer and the background. I lightly used some Photoshop brushes to suggest snowdust flying in the air behind the main ship. I think the main thing there was getting the atmosphere coherent. All there is in this
image, is two ships and a terrain, which you can get together in minutes. But the trick is to get it on screen in the way that you see it in your mind. I think the subtle shades of white and blue give a feel of extreme cold. 3DAD: They certainly do. What tends to be your basic work-flow for creating your images, from start to finish, with a picture like that? Do you start with small thumbnail silhouette sketches of a scene? Jan Klooster: ‘Work-flow’ is a word one encounters a lot these days. But as I am not
“Customs in Pursuit of the Snowsmuggler” (2014), Vue.
“My first science fiction influence was the Flash Gordon comic, which I read daily in my parents’ newspaper. I loved it! That was in 1952, before we even had television, and long before any space launch program had even started.” “Back Home” (2014), Vue.
a professional, but a retired amateur, time is not an issue for me. You might say I do a lot of work, but there is no flow! I work very intuitively, most of the time not even making sketches or concepts. When I model, I might start with a simple thing like a wheel, and from there it grows into a landing gear and then I move on to attach a spaceship to it. Or something like that. 3DAD: Interesting. Jack Kirby could work like that, though he was working in comics. Jan Klooster: When I have a model… let’s say it’s a ship, I export it into Vue and texture it and name it, and save it. I might fool around in Vue and make a nice landscape and then there comes an idea to place a tower here, and land a ship there, and maybe add some more mist over there. See, it is not like having meetings
with art directors and go back and forth until everybody is satisfied. I am my own man. I just like to place my stuff on Facebook and get some likes. I have posted literally hundreds of posts on Paul Heyses’s “Vue SciFi Group” and have had a lot of fun there. Now I’m trying to build up my own Facebook page with my art. Facebook of course is very superficial in some ways, and so after one or two days your picture and its ‘likes’ move down out of sight. 3DAD: Do you have any plans for a printed archive? Jan Klooster: Oh, yes. About once a year I make a very nice coffee-table book and that is a comfortable way to present my work to people. 3DAD: Could you describe your current working set up for the readers? Both the hardware and the software?
“Techno Desert” (2014), Vue.
Jan Klooster: My basic hardware is… Processor: Intel Core i7 4770 @ 3.40GHz RAM: 32Gb Dual-Kanaal DDR3 @ 665MHz (9-9-9-24) Graphics: 2047Mb NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 (ASUStek)
For my modelling I use Blender, 3D Coat and now and then I go back to some old software like the first Rhino ever, which I have on a very old computer, just so as to use it for some tricks that I know how to do easily. I just got WorldMachine, but have yet to learn much about it. Certainly not enough to make it sing. I use the first Photoshop CS, not a later version, because it can do all I want it to. I use Flamepainter and Amberlight now and then, and I have some free fractal programs which I have not used very much so far. I am saving money at present, because I want to buy some interesting
software next year. I am very impressed with Modo. It will mean another learning curve for me, and because I’m getting older it might take longer to learn. While I have time, patience is not my forte. My ideas flow like water and I am always waiting, waiting for my renders and for the computer to grinding through its commands to millions of polygon and virtual light beams. So I will have to wait, before I can make Modo sing like I can my other software. 3DAD: Would you say that Vue is a good starting application for learning 3D? Or would you recommend that people start with other software? Jan Klooster: It all depends on what you want, of course, but if you want to have great fun and want to buy just one piece of
“When I model, I might start with a simple thing like a wheel, and from there it grows into a landing gear and then I move on to attach a spaceship to it.”
software, Vue would be a great choice. There are tons of affordable 3D models you can buy from the likes of Renderosity, DAZ, Runtime DNA, and have a great time with them. I frequent the Vue Facebook groups and there are great people who will help you. They are great communities, without all the flaming and shredding you see so much around the Internet now. If you have no money, there is a full copy of Bryce Pro or free at DAZ. But it is no longer at the same level as Vue.
is a computer wizard and a pro. This friend ‘saved my bacon’ many, many times. 3DAD: What is it like being a 3D artist where you live? Readers may remember that Holland is famous as a very flat country in northern Europe, known for ceramics, cycling, and liberal attitudes to sex and drugs.
Jan Klooster: If I was young again I would
Jan Klooster: Holland is a great little country and much, much more than the windmills and the cannabis cafes and the official Red Light district in our capital Amsterdam. There is a lot of misunderstanding about this. People I met in the USA thought that Amsterdam was a part of Denmark. I used to live in Delft, in the south of Holland, and I lived there for my first thirty years. As a matter of fact I lived
attend an art school of the traditional painterly variety, and at the same time I would learn Computer Science and/or coding and programming. Then I would specialize in one of the main 3D softwares and particularly in animation. As it is, I don’t have coding skills. But I am lucky to have a very good friend who
for many years right next to “The Porceleyne Fles”, the most important producer of Delft Blue ware in fine ceramic art. We boys never actually saw what they did in there, but we were fascinated by all the artistic girls who worked there and who walked right by us every day. The older people were always
3DAD: Would you recommend that people start with learning traditional art medium skills first? If only in terms of learning about composition and similar basics?
grumbling about their ‘sexy outfits’! 3DAD: That sounds a lot like the current Renderosity store! /laughter/ Is there much of a videogames industry in Holland? Jan Klooster: I understand there are some good game producers in Holland, but I guess they are located around Amsterdam. Guerrilla Games (Killzone) is there, maybe others. I have read there are some good Dutch 3D artists who have gone to work in the L.A. area in the USA and also in London. In general you can say the mainstream Dutch people and businesses are not very aware of 3D, other than the special effects they may see in the movies, sci-fi TV mini-series, and a few TV ads. If I tell them that I am a 3D
strong 3D ceramics and painting tradition — like Delft and other cities in Holland — need to take those skills into the 21st century, but often they just want to do what they have always done, fall back on the heritage tourism market. They don’t see the possibility of taking a redundant painter of ceramic figures and re-skilling that person to texture and paint 3D models in the computer, which gives them access to a world market. Jan Klooster: It would be nice if it happened, but I think a lot of the traditional older artists would never switch to computers. I hear sentiments such as: “It is not art because you do not have direct contact with clay or paper, you have no way to feel your medium”. But perhaps this is an old discussion, similar to the one our culture had when photography first arrived in art. And later when film arrived in art. Maybe with 3D -printing maturing, and younger people graduating from the academies with good digital skills, things will change. 3d certainly gave a boost to make films both more attractive and financially viable. Perhaps something similar can happen in 3d objects. 3DAD: Especially if we get the much-hyped ‘Internet of Things’. But to you think the Dutch scenery may have influenced your 3D work? Those very flat horizons, very wide skies with mists and big clouds, and the feeling that the North Sea is never far away?
“Oldie” (2012), Vue.
science fiction artist, if I may call myself that, then in their eyes that suddenly launches me to somewhere up in orbit. A lot of people react like: “Nice… but why not make something real? ” 3DAD: I sometimes think that places with a 43
Jan Klooster: We do have these immense skies, and you can see very far. I guess it must have had an impact on me. But there are lots of people who do not see it. So I guess it is personal. I sometimes think the Dutch people see less and less, because their noses are so often buried in their smartphones as they walk. But yes, waterways and the sea are important to me. My parents lived on a little ship that sailed the inland waterways of Northwest Europe, and in fact I was born and lived on that ship for three years. All my family were “schippers” too.
“Sjingjang” (2014), Vue.
3DAD: Have you visited places as a tourist which have inspired your work? The remarkable forest picture “Sjingjang” (see previous page) seems rather different for you? Jan Klooster: I was inspired by pictures of a place in China, and so I wanted to do something like that. But also to add my personal twist — the pyramid — to it. As I said before I am not much into trees and forests, but now and then it is fun to do such a piece. Of course, you have to buy models of trees, but there is some nice free stuff out there.
3DAD: There has been a great growth in the 3D digital artist communities, and also the communities around matte painting and ‘previs’, in recent years. Do you use those? Jan Klooster: I sometimes hang out at CGSociety, but you can find me mostly at the Facebook groups I mentioned before. Like Vue Galleries, Vue SciFi Group, and now there is a promising new group Vue Tutorial Tips and Tricks. That might be very helpful for beginners and people who are skilling up.
3DAD: And there are now amazing video tutorial resources from a variety of commercial operators, from Lynda up at the top, down to people selling tutorials via the Renderosity store and suchlike. As one’s skills improve, it’s natural to start thinking about how to share with others. Have you ever considered providing some kind of tuition to others? Jan Klooster: Well, I am an autodidact. Self taught. I work very intuitively and so for me to track back how I have done and exactly how I did it… most of the time that would be very difficult for me. I once made a ‘how-to’ for Cornucopia, but it is not my thing, really. When I am working on a project, I have three, four new ideas streaming in from the back of my mind. So it is on and on and on... I feel a bit guilty about that, but not much…. 3DAD: The results certainly justify that. What are three of your own personal favourite pictures? And is there any underlying idea or philosophy behind them?
Jan Klooster: I like “Terraforming”, because it nicely conveys the concept of huge machines making a new atmosphere. I like “The Discovery of the Corsairs’ Nest”, because I like the idea of space pirates having a hide-out and I think, yes it could be like this! But no philosophy. I just want to make beautiful pictures, and now and then I succeed, in my humble opinion. 3DAD: What are you working on at the moment? Or what direction do you feel your art is going in, in the near-future?
Jan Klooster: At the moment I’m not working on a project, because things in the real world require my attention. But I hope to grow in my art, and secretly I hope to find the patience to work for longer and more intensely on my projects. In future I hope to learn some new software, again, and I hope that it will help step me up to a higher level. 3DAD: Finally, if someone was just starting out in 3D art, had a little money to invest in it, and wanted to make a real serious hobby of it, what three advice tips would you give to them? Jan Klooster: Firstly I would say buy a large sketchbook to draft your concepts. Then buy a little book and have it always with you, just to note your ideas. Secondly visit those Vue pages I mentioned before, and learn from great guys like Barry Marshal, Lars Braad Andersen an Britta Jacobs. And many more. Thirdly, well… money is always the thing in the 3d branch of art. But if it fits your budget, buy a good copy of Vue or at least get an older and cheaper version. Learn if you really want to make this kind of art. And then when you are sure — and perhaps when you get a bonus at work — invest in a fast new computer to bring down those long Vue render times. 3DAD: Jan, thank you very much!
Jan Van de Klooster is online at: https://www.facebook.com/ArtScienceFiction/ http://www.artstation.com/artist/JanKlooster 46
“Intruders” (2012), Vue. 48
“Vertical Development” (2014), Vue. “Untitled” (2014), Vue.
WERNLI 3d Art Direct talks to commercial Bryce content
developer and veteran Bryce user, Hans-Rudolph Wernli 3DAD: Hans, welcome to 3D Art Direct magazine. You are an expert in the Bryce 3D software and a long-standing Bryce user. So let me start by asking you to think back to the beginning. When did you first encounter and learn Bryce?
Hans-Rudolf Wernli: Well, I have always been fascinated by maps of the Ordnance Survey type that you have in the British Isles. In these British O.S. maps the isohypses â€” or the altitude contour lines â€” help us to imagine the 3rd dimension,
HANSRUDOLPH WERNLI SWITZERLAND BRYCE | WORLDCREATOR WINGS3D | WEB
“Isle X Beach” (2012), Bryce. 51
“Pack Art for Bryce 7.1 Pro Vegetation Content Pack”, Bryce.
Opposite page: Bryce Content Packs. 52
while the map nevertheless depicts a flat world. 3DAD: I’m also a fan of fine maps. Our American readers may be more familiar with the similar large-scale U.S. Geological Survey topographical maps, which are perhaps the closest equivalent to the British O.S. maps. Oddly enough, if you trace it back far enough, my own interest in 3d also arose through the idea of visualising my local terrain in 3d. Hans-Rudolf Wernli: Yes, that was exactly it with me, too. So I started with the free Terragen landscape software, in an early version. But I dreamed of the ultimate 3D landscape creation program, which at that time was Bryce. I had seen it in a bookshop, but it was quite expensive back then. Eventually I found the money to buy the German version of Bryce 5 from Corel, back in 2002. I was quite disappointed, because it was not as simple as I thought to create a 3D version of the landscape where I live.
3DAD: That’s Swizerland, the mountainous country in the heart of Europe?
alien landscapes is also great fun; and that there is much more to 3d than “just” terrestrial landscapes. Bryce turned out to be a very versatile 3D program. 3DAD: Was it a steep learning curve? I seem to remember that there wasn’t the support structure for learning that there is now. HRW: The interface was designed from an artist for artists, and to be frank I struggled with it at first. Then I started to look at it as an adventure game, where all buttons and triangles lead to new “rooms”, new options and possibilities, even treasures! Around the time I started with Bryce, the bryce5.com website was launched. Uploading a render to the gallery was great, but better was the community that gradually built up on that site. They would criticise pictures in a constructive manner, giving advice. I learned enormously just by looking at the artworks of others, and reading the comments. You know, reading “it’s nice” flatters the ego at first, but does not help one to improve.
3DAD: Mostly this interview will concentrate on your landscapes and the landscape content that you sell for Bryce. But readers should also know that some of your earlier work is quite structured, seems quite interested in architectural form. “Fuel Rods” (2007), for
HRW: Yes, and so there were all the mountains, the valleys, the rivers to model. But quite soon I became enthusiastic again, when I realised that creating fantastic and
instance. Readers can see this picture below. So did you train in some other technical field? HRW: Yes, I earned my living in electronics, telecom and networking. I am a technical chap, without any formal training in art. I have always had a good feeling what a good picture is, but could not tell what makes it better than the one next to it. So sometimes I failed to create pleasing artwork, and if I was successful it was a fortunate accident. Reading a couple of books on photography helped to understand why some pictures are nicer than others, even though the subject depicted is the same. 3DAD: John Szarkowski’s book Looking at Photographs is excellent for that, and it was written clearly by a straight-talking man of the 1950s, before the academic theorists
latched on to photography.
HRW: Later it dawned on me that visual art is mostly about light. 3DAD: Absolutely, light and form. HRW: So I purchased some good models at the DAZ 3D store and did nothing else except practice lighting a scene until it pleased me. Camera placing and aspect ratio came as the next step, then compositional considerations. I gained an keener instinct for ‘what looks good’, but now there was the knowledge of why it looks good. Making the scene deliberately looking bad helped to confirm the theory. There is still a lot to learn, but I am on my way now. 3DAD: Your “Orbimals” is a classic space art picture, made with Bryce. Readers can see it
“Fuel Rods (2007), Bryce.
overleaf. This was an early work of yours, from 2007. A ‘breakthrough’ picture, perhaps? What was the inspiration for this? HRW: Oh, well first I would like to confirm that “Orbimals” was a planned work. Initially it was another lucky accident like “Fuel Rods”, but I got very nice and frank feedback on it. That motivated me to try harder and start learning a bit of the trade. I had bought the model used, and wanted to create some space art scenes with it. I have been an astronomy enthusiast for as long as I can remember, and also a sci-fi addict. Inspiration came probably from the book covers of the paperbacks I read. 3DAD: Yes, it seems very common that paperback covers were an inspiration for anyone who grew up in the 1970s and 80s. Why use Bryce for your landscapes? Many people would have moved to Vue, to make that type of picture. Vue is certainly not perfect, but it does have those lovely atmospheres for landscapes. So what was it, specifically, about Bryce that kept you using the software? HRW: The best program is the one you know how to use. Almost all 3D programs out there are very capable. Vue has certainly an edge on vegetation that makes me drool. But what keeps me with Bryce is its versatility. I can do every type of artwork in Bryce: landscapes, underwater, space, indoor, architecture, cartoon, pencil sketch, abstracts, whatever comes to mind. Bryce has a great IBL (image-based lighting) lab featuring a tone-mapper, an option to specular convolve the HDRI, export it in several transformations. It even has the “impossibility” of an HDRI at world centre shining out into the scene as opposed to shine from outside into the scene. Bryce also has a great GI render option, called True Ambience. Working with Bryce is not work, it is fun and that is what I want. 3DAD: Was there any specific feature in
Bryce you found that enabled you to make the space art landscapes you wanted? HRW: Well, the Terrain Editor (TE) is great, but it gets progressively more sluggish once the resolution is ramped up. All the nice options in there become useless, because you can no longer see what effect your modification has in real-time. So I realised that high resolution terrains have to be made in another application. I experimented with several and finally settled for the one that works best for me.
3DAD: And it also worked for others, I hear? HRW: Yes, David Brinnen is the ultimate DTE (deep texture editor) master, and he was quite impressed with what I came up with, when I created curvature filtered textures for them. Then he came up with the idea to stack the same terrain in different resolutions. I embraced this idea and pushed it further. Using different advanced textures on the stacked terrains makes them look very elaborate. The possibilities are almost infinite, I got addicted to them. 3DAD: Your recent “Cliff Evening” picture has a fine atmospheric depth haze. You did that without postwork, I think? So could you tell our readers how you achieved that in Bryce? HRW: Right, no postwork. I am a purist, which is actually a very silly attitude because the result counts, not the process by which it was achieved. Being a purist compels me to squeeze everything out of the application, though. The sky with the clouds is from an HDRI I made and removed the sun from so only the ambient light and the clouds remained. It brightens the shadow parts with a faint blue omnidirectional light, without casting shadows. It is blended partly into the background and its light is added to the sky. The sky colour is rather dark red. The coloured sun provides the key light and is quite bright. Haze has the same colour hue like the sun, is darker than the sun, but
“Orbimals” (2009), Bryce.
“Cliff Evening” (2014), Bryce.
brighter than the sky. Density is high, thickness low and its base height lifted just a tad. Haze fades slowly with altitude. Then, there is a wee bit of colour perspective, with a red bias. Haze is blended with the sun, more with the colour less with luminance. 3DAD: That’s very impressive. Does Bryce, as it currently stands, have limits? If someone really spends years learning Bryce — and they might, because it is free now — are they eventually going to find certain barriers, certain things they still need to go to Poser or Vue or a Photoshop plugin to achieve? HRW: I once bragged “in Bryce, not even the sky is the limit”. I would like to believe it myself. Still being a 32-bit application is the most severe barrier, as most people are moving to 64-bit PCs. There are strategies to push this limit, but none to surmount it. A new user can abandon Bryce quickly, in frustration that there is no manual that comes with it, and support is only offered by volunteers and enthusiasts in forums. Having no official documentation is a serious limit to learning. There are no plans to fix bugs and upgrade the software, and this threatens the future of Bryce and hence interest in it fades. Who is going to invest time in an unpopular and apparently neglected piece of software? 3DAD: You have been involved with Bryce ‘behind the scenes’ I think? You were on the Steering Committee for Bryce 6, which helped the developers with ideas? HRW: For the development of version 6.0 and 6.1 I was a beta tester. For versions 6.3, 7.0 and 7.1 I was again a beta tester, with developer status, and additionally a member of the Steering Committee. That Committee was a superb idea. The scope of the upgrade was defined, and we could suggest which part each one of us would take as main responsibility. My main assignment was the Sky Lab with IBL, and also network rendering. We could directly communicate with the programmers, and also got alpha versions to
check whether our ideas were implemented the way we thought. This development phase lasted for 2 years, and much of what we suggested made it into the software. Not everything, since the budget was not infinite. 3DAD: What are the next likely features, those that would improve a next version of Bryce, and make it stand up against rivals? HRW: First of all it must become a 64-bit application. Instancing must be completed. Displacement is a must, we currently only have a skeleton of it at best. The Tree Lab must become a Vegetation Lab, as we also want flowers and growing ivy as well as trees that bend in the wind in animations. The IBL sphere must become scalable so that the light bulb in an indoor HDRI does not shine at the distance of the sun. Bryce already renders internally with 48-bit, either integers or half precision floating point variables. Single precision floating point variables should be used throughout, resulting in true 96-bit. We can export the render as 96-bit already, but the range of the pixel values suggest that this is just converted 48-bit. Network rendering must become a true TCP/IP application so that we can render over the public Internet and also serve more than 16 clients. Use more than 8 CPU cores for rendering, and also add multi-CPU support for all the tasks and labs. Increase document size, 4000 pixels are not enough. And without SSS (sub-surface scattering) we will never be able to render skin convincingly. 3DAD: You said Bryce was not a good modeller. Do you use any modelling software alongside Bryce? What would you recommend for modelling? HRW: I am a bad modeller, I lack the imagination to visualise things. Booleans, of the sort that Bryce offers, come nearest to how my mind works. With some help and a bit of luck, I can use Wings3D. This is really great modelling software and the price is right. But I consider myself the wrong person
to give advice on that. Obviously, for terrains I use an external program. I had experimented with WorldMachine, back when it was around version 1, but oddly enough its brick and node approach did not work very well for me. I am now using WorldCreator and I am happy with it. I sometimes use Ivy Generator and Arbaro for making trees. 3DAD: And now you have become a content developer for Bryce, selling your own High Resolution Terrains and Vegetation packs for Bryce 7.1 Pro and higher. Could you talk us through that content, please? The range you offer. Why was it needed? How was it created, developed and tested? HRW: I started with HDRI sets because there were almost none available at the time. They do not sell well, people still shy away from IBL, probably thinking it is a bit exotic. Providing scenes with an HDRI in them does better in terms of sales. As I mentioned before, David Brinnen and I had worked together successfully on some projects and so there came a point where we decided to team up. This started with the Deep Space HDRI. Essentially, all our products consist of scene files that can be taken as template and modified to suit the user. Often, there are also objects and materials in libraries, along with videos explaining how the scenes are set up and why. Plus documents, and most of the time some HDRI light probes. For our four terrain sets, there are also interactive panoramas — QTVR Movies — at different camera positions, which show the user how the landscape looks at that location. There are the textures and materials made by merging photographs and procedurals to create advanced materials for different purposes. Hyper Textures are materials that go beyond the normal colour and intensity range, thus creating interesting effects and boosting brightness. So any object can become a light source, even a mirror can reflect the light and illuminate the object that is mirrored. More specialised products are 59
Stylised Rendering, that comprises simplified pictures like toon- and cel-shading, pencil sketch, hatching and similar. Then, there are the lenses that can be “bolted” on the camera, to render a scene directly as: an angular map; a spherical panorama (not just a cylindrical one); true 3D as anaglyph or side-by-side to watch with eyes crossed or parallel; or whatever works best for the beholder. Fisheye lenses that distort the image accordingly and widen the field of view beyond 180°, dirt filters, vignette filters, blooming filters, lens flare filters. Many of these effects can be done in postwork, but our lenses renders them directly in one go. RTR — ready-to-render is also a product. Here the HDRI backdrop or an LDRI of it mapped on a sphere host the objects in the scene. This needs a shadow capturing means. It is made in such a way that “drilling” a hole in the floor is possible. 3DAD: And you just released a space art kit? HRW: Yes, Space Construction Kit is our most recent product. It turned out to be surprisingly popular. It contains most of what is needed to create a deep space scene: star fields; nebulae; planets with atmospheres; moons; and so on. Was all this is needed? Well, in a way, we created the need! Either David or I have an idea, the other takes up the “gauntlet” and a new product is born. Each person provides what he is best at. Sometimes we want to do something particular but do not know how to tackle it. Then we work together, exchanging our experiments, improving on them until we ‘have it’. The anaglyph lens system, for instance, came about unplanned. It was a result of a filter for colour aberration, which we so far failed to create. Seeing what we had, we concentrated on the different 3D representations. We test stuff for each other. The one who in deeply involved in something is more prone to miss a detail, which the other will spot.
Sometimes we find a fellow “Brycer” who is up for testing a potential product. Files and videos are often too big to send by email. So I have a folder set up on my website only we two can access by FTP, and we use that to exchange stuff to test. Once submitted as a product, it must pass the DAZ 3D quality assurance process. 3DAD: What has the reception of your content been like, in the Bryce community? HRW: Quite good. Bryce content is not popular enough to make one wealthy. But free stuff, however, does amazingly well, and gets used. Sometimes I see renders that used one of our products. Sometimes a product is favourably discussed in a forum. Our motto is to make it easy for the beginner and add enough options for the advanced user. Always explain how and why, never leave the customer alone to figure things out. This seems to be appreciated. 3DAD: How did you approach making the promotional images for your content packs? The main promotional picture is so important for sales, to get that “good first impression”. But at the same time regular buyers of 3D
content have become wary, because some promotional images can “over-promise”. HRW: Our promotional images are taken from the scenes that come with the product and they are “honest”. David usually selects them and he writes the text applied to the main image. I do the blurb which people read if they like the promo images enough. Finally, the Art Department at DAZ 3D accepts it, or gives advice how to improve. 3DAD: You are based in Switzerland. What is the 3D art scene like there? Is there any local community there? Any videogames industry to encourage 3D university courses and suchlike? HRW: To be frank, there is not enough 3D activity in this country to make me aware that it exists at all. Of course, I may be too wrapped up in myself to notice. What makes my assessment even more unreliable is that I live in a rural part of the country, away from the excitement of towns where I had spent my first 25 years.
3DAD: Well, at least that suggests a nice view from the studio! So what does your personal working environment look like, at The new Bryce 7.1 Space Construction Kit has just been launched. Made by David Brinnen and Hans-Rudolf Wernli. Available through the DAZ Store. Shown here along with a promo sample of what the kit can allow Bryce 7.1 to achieve in terms of space art.
“VoxMtl (alien silver)” (2011), Bryce.
“Vue certainly has an edge in vegetation that makes me drool. But Bryce can do every type of artwork: landscapes; underwater; space; indoor; architecture; cartoon; pencil sketch; abstracts; whatever comes to mind.” 61
“Glowing Lake” (2014), Bryce. 62
“On Top” (2010), Bryce.
present? The hardware and the software?
HRW: There is the main computer with an 8core i7 processor and 8Gb of RAM. The backup machine features a 4-core i3, again with 8Gb memory. I use it to do the timeconsuming renders. It reaches 60% of the speed of the i7 and needs 50% of the electrical power, has no fan and is actually more efficient. Both run Windows 7, the i3 with the English version (for videos). The backup-for-the-backup is a 2-core 2Gb Windows XP Pro machine. Then there is a netbook, also 2-core and with a 1Gb memory. Finally, an old laptop with 500Mb memory upgraded from Windows 98 SE to 2000. I keep it mostly for bug tracking. Six network drives, totalling 6TB, are for backup. As for software, there is Bryce — all versions from 4.0 up and three DAZ Studio versions: 2.3 for Bryce 5.5, 3 for Bryce 6.0, 6.1 and 6.3 and DS 4.6 for Bryce 7.0 and 7.1. I use Studio only to export objects I want in Bryce, sometimes I use the Bridge. Even though I started with Carrara 3 and upgraded it regularly up to 8, I do not use it. I was mostly interested in the IBL implementation. I installed the Octane Demo version to see whether I can make IBL work. There are many modellers installed like Blender, Hexagon, LeoCAD, Sculptris, SketchUp, TopMod, TrueSpace. I experimented with all of them at one time. Wings3D works best for me and I use MeshLab to reduce mesh resolution when necessary. WorldCreator for terrains, I already mentioned that. Then there are 27 dedicated modellers installed like Arbaro, Ivy Generator, Plant Studio and the like. I do not use them often. For doing my HDRI panoramas for IBL I use Picturenaut, HDRShop, PTGui Pro, Pano2VR and a few programs I wrote myself, some of them are available for free on my website, others I keep to myself. 3DAD: It sounds like you are well set up
there. What are you working on at the moment? Do you have plans for more content packs for Bryce? HRW: We are working on a Small World project, using HDRIs shot very close to the ground with a narrow depth of field setting. It is based on the RTR method. The idea is to provide environments for macro renders, miniatures, insects, toys, that kind of thing. 3DAD: You have a Bryce Mentoring DVD for sale, with 26 hours of tutorials for Bryce 7 Pro, made with David Brinnen. But what three top advice tips would you give to the Bryce beginner, someone who has downloaded Bryce for free from DAZ, and who wants to get the best out of it? In terms of a making a good well-composed picture, which doesn’t immediately make people say “that was made in Bryce”. So… what are the main three things to get right, right at the start? HRW: Oh dear, the typical Bryce look… Yes, I once attended training in satellite telecoms, and the backdrop of the PowerPoint presentation was a Bryce scene with ‘the Bryce look’. I was horrified. Firstly I would say that if you use materials on one of the objects from the Library, modify the materials. Most were made long ago when the Bryce sun had the power of a hand torch, and Ambience was used to brighten up the scene. Ambience is for glowing objects like a fire or some lava. Everything looks flat with ambience, bumps gets lost. If you ever need ambience, use it consciously and with care. Secondly, the colour of the default sky is unfortunate. A good start for the colour is “Lazy Afternoon”, the first one in “Daytime”. Always set Sun/Moon Shadows Intensity to 100. If this is lowered, all objects in the scene get progressively transparent for light, brightening the shadows in this manner. This is a global control and it affects all light sources. Set Sky Dome colour to full black.
We do not need this radial light in the zenith anymore, as it does not cast shadows and penetrates closed rooms. Shadows must be black, so brighten them up with an HDRI without a strong light source. There is still the option to create one from the sky, to provide ambient light and soften the shadow contrast. As an alternative use a sphere dome light. The Light Lab has greatly improved since Bryce 6. For indoors, fill lights can give a room the right mood. Lastly, we create 3D scenes that are seen on a flat screen, so the depth is lost. Our sight perceives depth only as far as about 15m or 50 ft, and everything farther away than that looks the same whether viewed with one eye only or with both. So we have learned that haze gives us a clue for distance. So use distance haze for your outdoor scenes, but obviously not for the render of a interior room. Remember that the cumulus cloud height changes the behaviour of how haze fades towards the zenith, even if the clouds are disabled. For outdoors, use a wider FOV setting than the default 60째, which is actually only 48째 horizontally and corresponds to a 40 mm photo lens. The 4:3 aspect ratio, which the document is set to by default, is not always the best choice. Get the free Golden Rules and bolt them in front of the camera, as they will help you composing your image. 3DAD: That sounds like very good advice. Hans, thank you.
Hans-Rudolph Wernli is at: http://www.horo.ch/raytracing/gal/sys/ index_en.html http://www.daz3d.com/horo http://www.bryce5.com/search.php? search_user=Horo http://www.renderosity.com/mod/gallery/ browse.php?username=BryceHoro
Picture, “Moon over Rim” (2014), Bryce. Made with Wernli’s High-Resolution Terrain Set 2. Materials from the set, at the same location. Sky and ambient light via an HDRI which is included in the set, the key light is provided by the sun. In front of the camera is a fisheye lens from Wernli’s Bryce 7.1 Pro Lenses and Filters pack.
INDEX Background: Jan Van de Klooster, “Techno Desert”, Vue (2014).
● Dave De Kerf
● Pierre Chartier
● Jan Walter Schielp
● Mark J. Brady
● ● ● Kim Schneider
● New World Contest
and Frank Basinski
● Jan Van de Klooster ● Hans-Rudolf Wernli
● Matthew Attard
+ Tobias Richter
● Mavrosh Stratiotis
● Benoit Petterlini
● ● Runtime DNA
● Oshyan Greene
● ● Vladimir Yaremchuk
● Drea Horvath
● ● ● Paul Gibson
● Michel Rongberg
● ● Sixus 1
● AlfA SeeD
● ● Dan Alvaro
● Shaun Williams | his
H.P. Lovecraft gallery
● ● Maxime des Touches
● John Haverkamp
● Erich Mestriner
● Daz, book review
● ● Clint Hawkins
● ● Angel Alonso
● ● ● Deedee Davies
● ● ● Neil Thacker
● Don Webster
● Danny Gordon
* John Scoleri on the
● William Black
● Cynthia Decker
work of Ralph McQuarrie
● Ryan Bliss
● Edson Moraes |
● ● ● Jens Reinhart
● ● Sebastien Hue
● Graham Symmons
● ● Jeff Wal
● ● ● Kim Schneider
● Tutorial: Importing a
● J. F. Leisenbor
● Rob Caswell
+ Alie Ries
● Massimo Verona
DEM terrain into Vue
+ ● ● ● Scott Richard
● Mary William
● Matthew Attard
● Dax Pandhi
● Suzanne Krings |
● ● Juan Roderiguez
● ● ● Patrick Turner
● Joe Vintol | Orbital
● Melissa Krauss
● Adriano (Ady) Di
● Richard Fraser
● Artur Rosa
● Cody Paschal
● Alexander Nikolaev
● Don Webster
● Finnian MacManus
● Warren Turner
● Isadore Koliavras
● ● Tim Haaksma |
Pierro | Laticis
● Kerem Gogus
● Lewis Morrcroft
● ● Sergio Martinez |
● Sylvain Chevallier
● ● Chris Hecker |
● ● Tarik Keskin
● Suzi Amberson
● Andy Welder
● Arthur Dorety
● ● ● Mirek Drozd
● Ron Miller
● ● Christian Beyer
● Ali Ries
● ● ● George Krallis ● ● Nancho Riesco
● James Webb
● ● Ian Grainger
● ● Dragos Jieanu Issue 17
● Hannes Janetzko
● Lewis Moorcroft
● Jani Peltola
● Oshyan Green
● Tutorial: make a
● Ulco Glimmerveen
● ● Tobias Roetsch 68
DIRE T ● ● Bjorn Malmberg
● ● Ryan Malone
● ● Robert Nurse
● Kurt Richards
● ● I. L. Jackson
● Lewis Moorcroft
● 3ds max
● Paul Bussey
● Kerem Gogus
● ● Tarik Keskin
● Software review:
● Shaun Williams
● DeeDee Davies
● Barry Marshall
● ● Luca Oleastri
● John Robertson
● Tony Meszaros
● Phil Drawbridge
* Peter Elson
● Arthur Dorety
● Warren Turner
● ● Chris Hecker
● Dave Orchid
● ● Juan Rodriguez
● Susanne Korff-
+ Realms Art
+ City Engine review
● ● Neil Thacker ● Les Garner | Sixus 1
● Carrara ● Cinema 4D * Classic sci-fi art
● Daz Studio ~ Games CG
● Lightwave Issue 3 ● Arthur Rosa
● Mandelbulb ● Mojoworld
● ● Danny Gordon
● Bradley W. Schenck
● Groboto 3 review
● Fabrice Delage
+ Angel Alonso Garcia
● ● Jeff Hindmarch
● Alexander Nikolaev
● ● ● Simon Beer
● ● ● Tony Hayes
● ● Jack Tomalin
● Brian Christensen Issue 13
+ Movie & TV CG
● Photoshop comp. ● POV-Ray
● Glenn Clovis
● Jacob Charles Dietz
● Rob Caswell
● ● Mark Edwards
● ● Melissa Krauss
● Wings 3D
● Peter Rex ● Brian Christensen
● Mark Stevenson Issue 6 ● Artur Rosa
● Alex Niko
● Ken Musgrave
● Jeeni Sjoberg
● Warren Turner
● Ken Musgrave's
~ Chuck Carter (Myst)
● ● Danny Gordon
● ● Christoph Gerber
● ● Juan Rodriguez
● Chipp Walters
● ● ● Phil Drawbridge
● Peter Rex
● Jacob Charles Dietz
● ● Juan Rodriguez
● Fredy Wenzel
● Peter Rex
● Tutorial: Vue
● Richard Kitner
● ● Melissa Krauss
● Lenord Curry
● Heinz Grzybowski
GET ALL BACK ISSUES for just $35!
FREEBIES EACH ISSUE 3D Art Direct will boldly seek out new 3d freebies suitable for your creativity. This issue, after last issue’s Halloween special, we return to science fiction. We have three very cool spaceships created by content developers with professional-level abilities.
‘real world’ test render to show what actually loaded up in our old copy of DAZ Studio or the other testbed software we used.
These freebies are illustrated with our basic
Disclaimer: We can't promise that the Web links on this page will live forever, or that the maker won't decide to put their freebie on sale in the future. So grab them quick!
PLANETARY LANDER SPACE CAPSULE:
This is a fun little spaceship for Blender, made by TheCali. It’s a nice combination of a 1950s sci-fi comic-book look with realistic 1960s NASA engines. We easily exported an .OBJ. No textures, but it is easy to texture as the few material zones are all assigned.
3d model of a 1970s NASA-style idea of a human space lander, in .OBJ by Herminio Nieves ('Sevein'). His excellent paid sci-fi content is now on the Renderosity store, including some very nice Syd Mead style planetary landing ships.
THE NASA ‘WARP SHIP’ DESIGN: Ron L. Long’s 3d model of the warp ship design created by Dr. Harold White at NASA in 2013. Only for Lightwave, but most Poser users should be able to load a .LWO file. Our test version of Poser loaded it, and exported an .OBJ model. NASA doesn't yet have warp engines, but it does have a warp research program at
Houston, working with Eric Davis at IAS Texas. Currently NASA studies tiny natural ‘warp bubble’ effects, and has maths suggesting it should be possible to scale up and harness these effects. The NASA work on ‘warp bubbles’ has led to this new proposed spaceship design.
NEXT ISSUE: DEC 2014 Interested in being interviewed in a future issue of 3D Art Direct magazine? Or offering a webinar for our conference series? Please send us the Web address of your sci-fi website, gallery or store, and we’ll take a look! email@example.com Jan Van de Klooster, “Back Home” (2014), Vue