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FANTASY & SCI-FI ARTIST IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS

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88 PAGE WINTER DOUBLE-ISSUE

REALITY 4 INTERVIEW

THIERRY CRAVATTE

AEON SOUL

DOUBLE ISSUE 46/47 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2015

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Background: “Observatory” by Thierry Cravatte.

Front Cover: “Nahla” (2014) by Kadaj777. Daz Studio and Reality 4.

CONTENTS ―― 04

3D ART LIVE! ―― 09

INTRO

INTERVIEWS

―― 10

―― 26

―― 48

PAOLO CICCONE

THIERRY CRAVATTE

AEON SOUL

3d Art Direct interviews

3d Art Direct talks to

3d Art Direct chats with

the author of the latest high-end render plugin for DAZ Studio, Reality 4.

Thierry Cravavatte about Belgium, and his fine sci-fi character renders.

veteran content developer Aeon Soul, about sci-fi and more.

DAZ & POSER PLUGIN

DAZ STUDIO | OCTANE

DAZ & POSER CONTENT

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JAN-FEB 2015 ―― 46 SUBSCRIBE!

―― 84 BACK ISSUES INDEX

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3d Art Direct interviews an emerging new sci-fi model maker, who has a flair for awesome ships.

How to use wholly free software to paint over a 3D greyscale render, to make a stunning future city scene.

Our selection of freebies to accompany this issue’s focus on hard armour and hard metal surfaces.

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Credits for backgrounds, from top left: Antonis Karidis of Corfu; Herminio Neives; Thierry Cravatte; and Aeon Soul.

Paul Bussey

Danny Gordon

Editor, Conference Director

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Dave Haden Assistant Editor and Layout david@3dartdirect.com

Copyright Š 2015 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.

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EDITOR’S LETTER

WELCOME...

Daz Studio user? Here's an

interesting little industry secret... in combination with Reality, Daz was used extensively on Jurassic World (Jurassic Park 4) and Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Paolo has an interview on his Reality blog with the top-level creatives who use Daz Studio to help make these and other Hollywood blockbusters. This caused me to think about other examples where powerful and function rich 3D applications that are of a lower price (or free) that are used in film/TV productions and other mainstream publications and media. Poser has been used in storyboarding to help visualise “The Art of Star Wars: Episode II”. Artists at Industrial Light and Magic have used Poser figures to help block their shot, position the camera and how background figures should be placed in the scene. Ever been to Epcot’s spaceship Earth attraction at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida? The animation used there uses Poser 4’s characters to depict a family in the rotating ride vehicle.

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Blender was used to create previsualizations (animatics) for SpiderMan 2 (2004). The open movie projects organised by the Blender foundation have produced some astounding results, the last being Tears of Steel that composited live action with Blender animation. Terragen’s environment system has been used extensively in well known recent movies including Enders Game, Elysium, Superman (Man of Steel), Oblivion and the Hunger Games.

Vue’s natural environments has also been used frequently in blockbusters such as Monsters Vs Aliens, Tintin, Despicable Me, 2012, Avatar and Terminator Salvation. So it’s gratifying to know that the type of tools that are used by hobbyists have the potential to be used in projects where the end results are seen by millions. It’s part of the magnetic attraction of these 3D apps.

PAUL BUSSEY Editor and Conference Director paul@3dartdirect.com

RSS: www.feeds.feedburner.com/3dArtDirect


“Nahla� (2014) by Kadaj777. Daz Studio and Reality 4.

3D Art Direct interviews Paolo Ciccone, creator of the Reality 4 plug-in for Poser and Daz Studio. 3DAD: Welcome Paolo Ciccone, creator of the Reality plug-in for Poser and Daz Studio, as well as author of the Pakt book The Complete Guide to DAZ Studio 4. Paolo is originally from northeast Italy and he studied at the Art Institute of Trieste. He moved to Silicon Valley, California, where he worked for Boland before finally settling in Santa Cruz in the Monterey Bay area, where Paolo concentrated on his Reality software. Paolo has mentioned in the past that he loves technology that empowers people, and Reality can be definitely placed in that category, harnessing your renders to the power of the LuxRender engine. PC: Thank you for having me. It's my pleasure. 3DAD: Fantastic. So, here we are a number of weeks after the Reality 4 release. Before we talk about how that went, give our

PAOLO CICCONE CALIFORNIA CODING, COMPUTER GRAPHICS, PLUGINS, AUTHOR

WEB

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readers a little history of this advanced render engine and the potential that you first saw in it. PC: Well, I learned about LuxRender in 2009 first time, and that's because I was working heavily with Blender, the open source 3D software. And I was looking for an alternative renderer for it, because I wasn't too happy with what Blender had at that time. We are talking about Blender 2.49, before the big rewrite and overhaul. In general, I've never been a fan of how 3D programs treat light. I have a background in photography and so I know how light works. And most 3D programs, even the very expensive ones, don't render light accurately. They don't render light realistically. So I was looking for an alternative, and I found LuxRender. It seemed almost too good to be true, because when I looked at the specs, I saw that it was a physics-based renderer, so something that was actually rendering the scene according to strict laws of physics.

same distance from the subject, same everything, casts a much harsher light. Now this situation, which seems fairly simple, is now respected in general by any 3D renderer, but Lux reproduces that situation perfectly. So as I went through the specs and the features of Lux, I thought, "This is fantastic technology." I didn't know that something like that actually existed. And Lux had started from basically a research project, something called "PBRT". And that was... I have the book here, which is actually a big tome and I have to lift it. The project was started by Matt Pharr and Greg Humphreys, and they published a book called Physically Based Rendering. It's quite a hefty book. They published the code in the book, and it was released as an open source project. A little time after, some researchers decided to expand it to create some more features, make it more ‘real world’, instead of being just a research project. And so that's how LuxRender was born. 3DAD: So when do you start working with Lux?

3DAD: Could you give readers an example of that? PC: Ok, to give you an example… when you're a photographer using a light for portraiture, the size of that light determines the quality of the light. So a large light has a very diffuse, very soft light. It will create soft shadows. A smaller light, same intensity,

PC: In 2009, just between version 0.6 and 0.7. So you are talking about even before the program became a version 1.0. Even at that stage, it was incredibly stable, incredibly powerful. And I looked at that technology and I thought, "My God, this is fantastic! Finally as artists we can place a light and have that light work exactly as we expect it to work." Because if you have any experience in real life with any light, you will see that if you try to recreate it in those conventional 3D programs, nothing like that works. Lights in 3D programs traditionally don't work like real lights, so they're very hard to predict, and you have to create all kinds of hacks to replicate what happens in real life. And you have to be a real connoisseur, a real expert of the physicality of the light. LuxRender, instead generates scenes by recreating the physical properties of the scene, removing

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This page: “Moxie09” by Kadaj777, Daz Studio and Reality 4. Opposite: “Before and After” in Reality 2, by ArtExtreme 101.

“Automatic presets were totally absent in Reality 3 in Poser. But now you say, ‘This is how the skin for Victoria 4 should be treated.’ You save it as a snapshot and you forget about it. The next time you use that skin, Reality automatically applies your presets. Just create your scene in Poser, apply the skin, boom: Reality is ready.”

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“With Reality 4, we have 14 types of textures for Daz users … procedural textures … fractal noise, cloud, bricks, distorted noise, checkers. And … mixing of textures. So we can have two textures mixed together ….”

"Flower Garden" by Ikke46 (Rian). Daz Studio and Reality 2.

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the requirement that we know the laws of physics. So we can go back to being artists. And that was very appealing to me, even though I am a software engineer, so I am very familiar with the technical aspects. But there are times when you want to do that and there are times when you want to just relax and express yourself through art or music or whatever that is. So in that moment, I thought, "If I can place light in the scene and change the size and make it work accordingly, as if I was doing that in real life, then that would be a great bonus." Then I thought… “Let's see if we can bring this technology to the world of Poser and DAZ Studio.” And to my surprise, back then in 2009, nobody was talking about it! And so I thought, "Man, we have an opportunity here…" 3DAD: I wonder if that's where the term originally came from, "physically based rendering"? Because that's now a very popular term, isn't it? PC: It is, it is and I think it actually did stem from that book. Because, the first experiments in 3D modeling and rendering started decades ago, I think in the 1970s. 3DAD: Yes, it’s taken decades of computer science work in computer graphics, to get us where we are now. PC: Of course, the computers back then were extremely crude by today's standards. And we didn't have the computation necessary to recreate how light bounces from object to object and how it gets colored by different surfaces and how all these surfaces interact. So a lot of shortcuts were taken, a lot of corners were cut. It was the difference between having an image rendering in a feasible time frame, or not having at all. And so I'm not criticising the biased renderers for what they are. They were a very workable solution that helped us for the past decades. 3DAD: Some of the smoke-and-mirrors done with videogames has been amazing, to get around the problems and still have 3d running 13

in real-time on a old Pentium II processor.

PC: Thankfully our computers have become more and more powerful, another thing we can thank all those unsung computer scientists for. And so the CPUs became faster and then we started adding multiple cores to our CPUs, to the point that now we can have ‘easy machines’ that have four or eight cores and multiprocessing between them. My iPad has three cores, which is incredible. My telephone has two cores. So having a multi-core computer, a desktop computer, is normal now. And with that power, finally we have access to things we just could not compute before. So the whole idea of creating a physically based renderer, a renderer that is actually recreating the ways materials and lights work, based on the laws of nature, that idea became feasible. So Humphreys and Pharr started it and now we have a lot of companies saying, "Oh, we have physically based renderers now." Now… physically based is one thing. Physically accurate is a completely different story. 3DAD: Which brings us to your new Reality 4. As well as the lights, this also converts the materials. Is that right? To ‘physics based’ versions. So what's all the fuss about physically based rendering, from the point of view of the Daz or Poser user? What are the advantages, the key advantages to the artist? PC: Right, right, an excellent question. Well, as I hinted just a minute ago, we have two things here actually to consider. One is physically based and the other is physically accurate. I'm a big fan of Lux because it has a very uncompromising position on being the most accurate renderer possible. It means basically that if something in nature is supposed to work in a certain way, they will recreate that situation as most faithful as possible. I'll give you an example. Imagine we have a crystal ball... so a crystal ball in real life is made of polished crystal, of course, which has very specific properties. It has a certain thickness. Now, the entire object inside is made of crystal. It's not hollow. So as light


“When we are talking about a renderer that is very accurate, we use a term “unbiased”. And so LuxRender is physically based, and it is also unbiased, meaning that as much as possible any bias, any shortcut, any compromise has been removed — so that we have a renderer that is calculating the scene in the most faithful way possible.”

Promotional render created for the Reality 4 launch. 14


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goes through the ball, because of the thickness, light gets attenuated, meaning it gets dimmed a little bit. So the light that comes out of the ball, on the opposite direction that it enters, is different than the light that enters the ball. The light that exists is basically refracted, means it's being bent. It's been attenuated, so dimmed, and it has possibly a certain color that is different from when it entered the ball. Because there are impurities in the crystal and they can be a colour tint. If the crystal ball for any reason is bluish or greenish, then the light coming out will be of that color to a certain amount. That is what happens in real life. A physically accurate renderer like Lux will recreate exactly that situation. So the attenuation of the light, the way the light is dimmed exiting the volume of the sphere, depends... it's directly proportional... it depends on the thickness of the object. So in this case, in the diameter of the sphere, a larger sphere will attenuate the light more than a smaller one. Makes perfect sense. Let me give you another example. It's like… if you have a window pane... a thick window pane will create more attenuation than a thin one. So this is just an example. All materials and lights in Lux are treated in this way. That is the big advantage for the artist, because we don't have to micromanage this. We can just say, "Look, this is a crystal ball. I'll give it the right material." In Lux we have material types, so Reality gives you access to all these materials. You can right click on a material and say, "Look, this is not some generic material. It is glass." And then Reality will give you a preset for crystal. So you click and it will change the glass spec to be absolutely perfect with crystal. And then you can do other things, like changing the color, but you don't have to micromanage the shader to create the situation where the light bends based on whatever rules. Reality knows, communicates with Lux. Lux renders the object, and it becomes absolutely, the most accurate replica of that object that we can have. So it frees the artist from

micromanaging the materials, instead lets the artist express their intent. “I want a crystal ball. I don’t want to spend two hours tweaking parameters to simulate that effect.” That is the difference. Now having said so, there are a lot of renderers out there that are claiming to be physically based, which means that they probably have a few features, but the few features that are in connection with the real world. It's a different thing to be physically accurate. When we are talking about a renderer that is very accurate, we use a term “unbiased”. And so LuxRender is physically based, and it is also unbiased, meaning that as much as possible any bias, any shortcut, any compromise has been removed, so that we have a renderer that is calculating the scene in the most faithful way possible. 3DAD: Now, to play devil's advocate, because it sounds almost perfect, is PBR still advancing? Is LuxRender still advancing? PC: Oh, yes. Absolutely, absolutely. This is a technology that basically has just started, 16


better integration and workflow, for instance?

because for decades we had biased rendering and basically nobody was questioning that approach. Now with unbiased rendering, with the physically based rendering... as I said, Lux probably started about five, six years ago. The technology is improving as we speak. I watch every day what the developers do with Lux, the new improvements, the new ideas they have. It's a very exciting time. This is basically still a young technology that will explode in the next few years. In fact, I think that just in a range of a few years most of the renderers in the market will be physically based to a certain degree. A few, very few will be physically accurate, unbiased, but most of the renderers will become physically based. So it is a very exciting time. Again, technology keeps renewing itself, keeps moving forward. And this technology here is going to make big jumps very soon. 3DAD: So back to Reality 4, what are some of the changes that have been made for the artist to make it easier to use? Is it to do with 17

PC: Well, that is a very complex question to answer. It depends on one’s perspective, because Reality 4 is the first version where I can unify Reality for both Poser and Daz Studio users. This is the first version that is bringing the same exact set of features to both groups of users. Before, we had Reality 2.5x for Studio and Reality 3.x for Poser users. So the jump from the old Studio version to the new Studio version is of a certain type. It's a big jump. There are different features. It's not the same jump that we have from the Poser version 3.1 to the Poser version 4.0. So if we look at this from the Daz Studio user point of view, for example, we have new materials. There is the skin material that we didn't have before, so this is skin material with subsurface scattering or SSS. So that's new. We have the cloth material, which is also new. The previous version of Reality for Daz, which was 2.5, had basically one type of texture. It was the image map. Now with Reality 4, we have 14 types of textures for Daz users. So we have things like procedural textures, and so things like fractal noise, cloud, bricks, distorted noise, checkers. And then we have things like mixing of textures. So we can have two textures mixed together and each texture can be a mixed texture itself. So you can nest all these things to any level. It's extremely flexible. 3DAD: That’s very useful. That puts you ahead of the likes of KeyShot, which can’t — to my knowledge — mix textures together. Not that Keyshot is very useful for Poser characters if they have faces and skin, because its own skin material (just one!) is deadly slow, and Keyshot also blanks the eyes and eyelashes on the .OBJ import. Keyshot is really meant for gadgets and product shots. PC: One thing that has changed for Studio users, in a very visible way, is the nonblocking UI. With Reality 2, Reality was


basically a plug-in designed exclusively for Studio. It lived inside Studio and it appeared as a dialog box, which meant that while you ran Reality 2, you didn't have access to Studio, because the 3D viewport and UI was blocked. With Reality 4 that restriction is gone. Reality 4 is now running in parallel. It's its own application, so you can switch between the two seamlessly. If you have a dual monitor, it works perfectly. Then we have the new automatic presets. They are a large evolution of the previous preset. They are much more powerful, easier to use. There is a whole manager dedicated to those, where they can be disabled, enabled. They can be exported or imported very easily. There are the universal presets, which are basically presets that can be applied to any material. This is what was called also the Material Library. Which is a feature that has been requested by several users. We have userdefined volumes. We have Smart IBL lighting. There's a lot of stuff. There's a lot of stuff.

which means Genesis, Genesis 2, and all the related figures — now they render beautifully. We have better editing of textures that can improve the import of Poser materials. And we have texture caching, which is really good. It's a great optimisation of how textures are exported to Lux. We can maybe elaborate on that technology later, but this is already a

“Genesis, Genesis 2, and all the related figures — now they render beautifully in Reality 4 for Poser”

3DAD: And for the Poser users? PC: For the Poser users, some of the biggest improvements are, again, the automatic presets, which were totally absent in Reality 3, and the universal presets. So the automatic presets basically are a way of creating materials automatically. So you store the preset. You say, "This is how the skin for Victoria 4 should be treated." You save it as a snapshot and you forget about it. The next time you use that skin, Reality will automatically apply your presets, so that's why they are called "automatic." There's nothing to do. You just create your scene in Poser, apply the skin, boom: Reality is ready. Then we have the universal presets, so the Material Library. In there you can find things like stones, materials for metal. You can find presets for things like glass and crystal and so on. Oh, and a great addition is the support for the DSON figure, which is the newer Daz Studio file format. So anything that is brought inside Poser using the DSON import plug-in –

pretty long list of features. And of course, there are a bunch of other smaller features, but all very useful for the workflow. It would take too long to explain them all. 3DAD: Yes, it's probably worth mentioning where you can find a list of those changes?

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PC: Yes, it's all at Preta3d.com including a free 180-page PDF manual for Reality 4, which has all the new features. At the same website you can find technical documentation. Plus a link to the official forums… which are actually hosted by Runtime DNA. They very kindly support our forums.

were exported directly as they were found. So if you look at a scene, something from Studio or from Poser, now the same texture... and I don't mean just the image mapping, I mean the entire mixing of textures... if you look at that scene, the same texture can be repeated many times, dozens of times sometimes. It depends on the complexity of the scene. So if we export that texture every time we find it, as it was happening before, then you end up with a fairly large scene file. And Lux will have to read the same definition over and over again and store the definition in memory. 3DAD: So that’s gone now. PC: With version 4.0, if Reality finds, during export, a texture, then it will export that texture only once. It doesn't matter how many times it appears, it will be exported once, and then referenced in every other point where that texture is needed. And so the scene files become smaller. Lux will read them more quickly. So the response of Lux will be faster, using much less memory, which also turns into faster rendering. So it's an optimization that is going to affect a lot of scenes, so pretty much everything else.

“Welcome to Robotland” by Kadaj777, Daz Studio and Reality.

3DAD: You mentioned about texture caching a few moments ago. Are there other performance improvements for Reality 4? PC: Actually that caching is a big deal performance-wise, because in the past, especially with Reality 3, all the textures

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3DAD: Thank you for outlining and giving us some details about Reality 4. And it does sound like a large update. Because of that, at 3D Art Direct we thought it would be a great idea to produce a ‘New Features Masters Class’ webinar to help Poser users who want to learn about those features, and to make the most of those features. So we have a live webinar on Saturday, the 31st of January 2015. So if our readers go to http://3dartlive.com/ they’ll see in the event registration area, the opportunity to sign up to that class. And of course, as part of that you'll get the recording anyway, so if you can't make the live session, you'll benefit from the recording anyway. And of course, Paolo will be presenting that. If you’re reading this after the webinar, we’ll have recordings available.


PC: That sounds great.

3DAD: So finally, Paolo, what lies ahead for your company, Prêt-à-3D, for this year? For 2015? PC: There’s a lot of exciting stuff! There is a new version of Lux that is coming, 1.4. It's currently in a more or less stable beta. Specifically its third "RC" or "release candidate." And it has some core changes that are interesting, but nothing really much evident on the outside. There are no new materials or things like that, but it has a lot of optimizations on the inside. And I'm looking forward to integrate that version into Reality. Right now I'm just waiting for the Lux program to reach a certain level of stability. Because it's still in development, and a few things have changed. So I'm basically working with three moving targets here. There’s DAZ Studio, which changes frequently, because it's a free program. And there’s Poser, which changes sometimes. There’s LuxRender, which changes every single day. So I'm trying to find a stable point where I can work with the programs because otherwise, I'm always chasing the new thing... the new thing! Then… I never get to release the program, because I’m always chasing… For 2015, I really hope to integrate some of the core and new features of LuxRender. They're putting a lot of optimisations in, so we expect some speed improvement in that area. 3DAD: Even with a new PC, speed is always what we 3d people want, above everything. Finally, is there anything radical you’d like to do with software, or perhaps even personally? PC: Well… yes, there is also something interesting in a completely different field. Pixar is going to release a free version... actually a new version of RenderMan, which will be distributed as a free program basically. Not "free" as in "open source" but as "gratis!" So RenderMan, which is the same renderer used for movies like all the Pixar movies, all the Toy Story movies, and the Cars movies, and so on.

That is a major piece of 3d software, and they're going to give it away to people for personal use. So for the Daz and Poser, people, using RenderMan will be a possibility. So I'm really curious to see how that works and who knows? Maybe... who knows? Fascinating stuff ahead. 3DAD: That sounds really exciting. Thank you for joining us for this interview. PC: Oh, thank you very much for having me. It's always a pleasure. And thank you for supporting Reality so much. You've been a great supporter for years now, a couple of years, so it’s always a pleasure to drop by and chat for the interview. 3DAD: Thank you, Paolo. PC: Bye bye.

Key Web links for Reality 4: Get Reality 4 at Prêt-à-3D: http://preta3d.com/ Learn the new features added to Reality 4: http://preta3d.com/purchase-reality-4/ #newFeatures Read the Reality user manuals in PDF: http://preta3d.com/reality-documentation/ Official Reality user forums, at Runtime DNA: http://forum.runtimedna.com/ forumdisplay.php?303-REALITY-3-OfficialForums Download LuxRender: http://www.luxrender.net/ The Pixelplow render farm supports Reality: http://www.pixelplow.net/pricing/

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Paolo's book was released October 2013, and it took him a year of intense work, research and writing. It uncovers the features and methods of Daz Studio 4 naturally, as you work on progressively more complex topics. Packt is committed to this practical 'learn by doing' approach, and require it of all their authors. The 21

book covers topics like posing, lighting, the runtime, creating content and animation, among others. Packt offers a free sample chapter. Cover render by Callad. https://www.packtpub.com/hardware-and-creative/ complete-guide-daz-studio-4


THIERRY C

3D Art Direct talks with Thierry THIERRY CRAVATTE BELGIUM DAZ STUDIO, OCTANE, VUE

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Cravatte about his impressive sci-fi portraits of Poser characters. 3DAD: Thierry, welcome to 3D Art Direct magazine. Who were some of the earliest artists who inspired you? I get the feeling, from looking at your online gallery, that your early inspiration may have been comic book artists? For which your own Belgium has been famous, of course. Or maybe your influences come from videogames, such as Halo. 22


Picture: “Melee” (2014). Daz Studio and Octane. Nanosuit is sold by Xurge.

CRAVATTE

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“Big Boy ... Big Gun !” (2015), Vue.


TC: First, I’d like to thank you sincerely for giving me this fantastic opportunity to talk about my work, I really feel honoured by your interest for my 3d productions. Seeing my name among those of prestigious artists, whom I admire, will give me a thrill that I'm not likely to forget. 3DAD: Start by telling readers about the making of your “Big Boy ... Big Gun !” (2012), which has a very successful 3D illustrative semi-toon look to it. It’s the picture we’ve published opposite, for our readers. TC: This is a good example of an image how I tend changed my mind while creating a picture. I started with the idea of a realistic portrait of a fierce space soldier, ready to leave for a dangerous combat mission. As the base character of Michael 4 looked a bit bland and too ‘kind’ for such a casting call, so I decided to add the cigar to make him more ‘virile’, then I decided to quit the realistic way and to make him exaggeratedly muscular, semi-toon in style. As the spacesuit didn’t fit the character anymore, I had to cheat a bit by making certain parts of the body invisible to avoid the dreaded clothing ‘poke through’. Then the picture still lacked a bit of the overthe-top 'humorous aggression' I wanted, so I remembered an awesome gun — which is called The Beast — and I decided to add it. I exaggerated the ‘Field of View’ to slightly ‘distort’ the perspective and emphasize the mouth of the gun. I began to imagine the image as a cover for a ‘vintage sci-fi’ book, so I added the space ship behind the character. I rendered the scene with a transparent background so that I could add any background later. I ended up with a very simple background designed using Gimp, with a blue layer and a few brush strokes. I wanted to focus on the character, so I didn’t want the viewer to be ‘distracted’ by a busy background. 3DAD: It certainly works. It sounds like there are some interest comics and pulp sci-fi influences in your background? 25

TC: Oh yes, though I think that my first influences don’t really come from the graphics side. But rather from sci-fi and space opera novels, such as those which I was crazy about when I was a teenager. So, I’d say that Rene Barjavel, G.J. Arnaud, Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke. The ‘pictures’ they inspired for their readers were certainly my first major influences. They stimulated my imagination and they gave me the urge to 'materialize' the images they produced in my head. Secondly I have to mention the Euro reprints of early American ‘comic strips’ like Flash Gordon, Superman, Mandrake… and all the other more modern superhero stuff that we were reading — and discussing — a lot when we were kids. For us, all these comics had a special “aura” because they came from America. 3DAD: You grew up and live in Belgium, which as readers will remember is a small country next to France, in northern Europe. Have the strong artistic traditions of Belgium — which is well-known in areas such as surrealism and comic-book and cartoon art — had any effect on you? TC: Yes… living in Belgium I have also been exposed to the work of great artists like Herge and Edgar P. Jacobs, who created the famous ‘ligne claire’ [‘clear line’ cartoon drawing] named Franquin. These are part of our cultural heritage and our collective unconsciousness, although they may not be such familiar names outside of continental Europe. There are others also, without a doubt. When I was a kid, we were reading two weekly comic magazines, named Tintin and Spirou, publications that revealed many emerging talents who went on to become major players in the field of European comics. But, more important, we have a strong tradition on a particular style of comics where you make a joke through a single ‘spot’ drawing or cartoon, often with a strong taste of ‘absurdity’. Artists like Piem, Pierre Kroll or Philip Geluck (with his character ‘le Chat’)


"Sister from Darkness" (2013), Daz Studio and Octane. Test for Ynneva, the character from Pixeluna and Shadownet at RDNA.

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illustrate that perfectly. This is something that certainly also influenced me in the way I set up my images. It is said that one of the characteristics of the Belgian humor is selfmockery. I love this idea. It must be said that Belgium is an absurdly complicated country at the political level, which sometimes leads to ridiculous situations… 3DAD: Yes, and more so most recently near to you, where we saw… well, everyone knows what happened recently in Europe, with the muderous religious attack on the offices of the cartoon magazine Charlie Hedbo. But let’s not dwell on that here… tell us a little about your own artistic training in schools and colleges. Did the teachers take any notice of the digital medium? TC: Well… I am ashamed to say, I have absolutely no training in traditional art! None. I must confess that I can’t draw at all! I do have some notions in photography and video, that I acquired by reading things here and there. But I’m totally unable to draw something that would be recognisable. So of course digital imaging was a fantastic opportunity for me, because it gave me the possibility to ‘give life’ to the images I had in mind and enabled me to circumvent the huge barrier that is the drawing by hand. But in 3d too, I’m completely self-taught. 3DAD: So were there any initial barriers as you started out along the learning curve toward making digital art? And how did you overcome these difficulties? TC: Well, no, not really. Having no background in traditional art, I started digital imagery with a ‘virgin’ state of mind. So it perhaps helped that I didn’t have to overcome prejudices or change deeply ingrained habits, which I might have picked up in painting or drawing. I consider the digital imaging to be a way of creating an illusion by ‘tinkering’ and using ‘tricks’. When one looks at it like that, then there are many ways to reach your goal.

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If it does not work one way, you can find another solution.

3DAD: Yes, that’s something that learning Photoshop has also taught a lot of digital artists. There’s always six ways to get the effect or look that you want, in Photoshop. TC: For my work, I’ve also had to learn some programming languages and this definitely helped me, too! Anyways, these days the digital creative can find all the help that you need on the Internet, in tutorials, videos, forums, paid webinars… all the resources you need are at your fingertips. By the way, I should say that I’m a bit embarrassed to talk about ‘Art’ with a capital A, because I consider myself more like an artisan than an artist. 3DAD: We’re fine with that. Whatever gets the picture made and working successfully for the viewer. So, how did you first encounter Daz Studio? TC: By chance, I’ve been trying various software and I found Daz Studio efficient and easy to learn. It perfectly suits my needs for scene setups. Very important also, is that it is free. 3DAD: Yes, and uncrippled, you even get extra plugins and characters for free. But did you try any other 3d software first, before Daz? I

understand that you used to use Wings3D and Vue, for a while? What were your experiences with that other software? TC: My first experience in digital imaging was actually with the free edition of Terragen, the landscape software. I was literally blown away! I realised that I could create (or try to create) some of the ‘oniric’ landscapes I had in mind. Then I began to read about CGI, rendering, modelling, textures, UV mapping… I was insatiable in my reading. That plunged me into trying various software applications. Such as Blender, Hexagon, Sculptris… but not really seriously. And I found that none of those applications made me feel at ease. Then… I got a very old version of Vue for free, on a demo CD with a magazine, and I began to seriously use it. I was soon trying to achieve some realism in my images. I wanted my scenes to be ‘believable’, even if the subject matter was not realistic. I think that Vue has no equivalent for the creation of outdoor landscapes, nature scenes, certain types of large spaces. But admittedly it’s not the most effective tool for tighter and close-up scenes. I also tried modelling with Wings3D, mostly because it was free. And I must admit that, even if I really suck at modelling, that piece of software is really nice to use. But my goal is certainly not to become a 3D modeller, I just

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“Klank Story Teller” and “Steampunk Angel”, both Daz Studio and Octane.


use it when I have a specific need and I can’t find a shape I need on Internet.

3DAD: Did you ever try SmithsMicro’s Poser? TC: Yes, I also tried Poser. It’s a nice program, but I found it too complicated. Personally, I find Daz Studio more intuitive. 3DAD: Yes, the Poser interface either grabs you or it doesn’t. Though until 4.7 the Daz Studio interface was also unintuitive, though in a different way. Talking of the latest Daz, your work closely bonds DAZ Studio with the third-party Octane renderer. How did you first come to use Octane with DAZ, and how do you feel about the current workflow for DAZwith-Octane? For unfamiliar readers, Octane is similar to Reality, but as I understand it Octane can only be used by those lucky few who have a powerful NVIDIA gaming graphics card in their PC, and the cash to pay the electric bills for such power-sucking beasts. TC: First of all, I have to say that, even though I bought it, I still don’t actually use the ‘Octane For Daz Studio’ plugin.

of course perfect for posing characters, managing the clothes and props and setting up scenes, even the most complicated ones. But it has, in my opinion, a major weakness: its native render engine. Don’t get me wrong, 3Delight isn’t a bad renderer, but it’s really complicated to obtain a realistic result, in my opinion. So I was searching for an external render engine that I could use to render my exported Daz scene. First, I tried to combine the Daz Studio export with Vue. That was better, but with a biased rendering module, Vue was not what I was looking for. Then, while talking with my friend Enrico Cerica who is a fantastic 3D artist, I heard of Octane. It was still at the beta stage at that time. Enrico, who was involved with the creation of the program, convinced me to give it a try and I was immediately seduced. It’s a physically correct unbiased engine, so I could get the realism I was after. Since that time, it’s become an irreplaceable part of my pipeline. 3DAD: What format do you export the Daz scene to?

TC: Daz Studio is great for posing the characters and the scene ‘set up’, with an intuitive interface and sufficient import capabilities. I also do all the texturing and retexturing and texture tweaking work with it. When I’m satisfied with the placement of the

3DAD: Ah… So how do you… TC: So... I still work the old way. I export from Daz Studio, and import into Octane by hand. I’m used to the Octane interface and I really like it, so I stick with it. Daz Studio is

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“Special Ops” and “Salute to the Flag”, both Daz Studio and Octane. 31


objects of the scene, I do an export of the scene as an .obj file and then I import it into Octane. I just have to check that the export parameters in Daz match with the import parameters on Octane. Meaning, the mesh scale, the texture maps conversions, and so on. Nothing very complex, and this is all explained on the Octane manual. Then, I check the placement after import into Octane. If the camera doesn’t match perfectly, I have some adjustments. Sometimes I re-make things in Daz, then export-import again, until I’m satisfied. Using the plugin would be more efficient, but as I said I fell happy using the Octane interface. When all is OK with the placement, I begin to work on the Octane lighting, trying different light setups, trying to get as close as possible to the idea I have in mind. I sometimes have to go back and forth between Daz and Octane, to add some objects that then I convert to lights in Octane, which adjusts the lighting. Even if I usually start with a precise idea for the lighting, I sometime completely change my mind after experimenting with different lights setups in Octane. I consider that the lighting is very important because it determines the overall feel and atmosphere of the scene. You can add a lot of drama with subtle change in lights. Then I start working on the materials. Usually, the texture maps come through from Daz Studio, attached to the .obj file via the .mtl. But then I change almost all the parameters in Octane, including material types, the bump/normal parameters, the specularity. Fine tweaking the materials allows me to bring some realism in the image. Sometime I use the materials provided in the Octane LiveDB, or I create them from scratch, depending on my needs. Then I let the render run the time needed to have a clear and precise image, with no ‘fireflies’ or ‘speckles’. Usually this means… overnight! And I

sometimes tweak some final parameters — gamma, exposure, film response, glare, bloom — and then I save the final image. 3DAD: Do you use any special techniques to get good results with Octane? I mean, beyond those in the manual and video introductions? TC: I am afraid there are no magic tricks or miraculous technique with Octane, despite what I said earlier about how to design a picture. But I know that some things work well for me. About the materials, for example, I always use glossy or specular materials, because all materials have some glossiness, at least a small amount. Even concrete, cement or fabric have a little specularity. On the lighting, I use very often a combination of HDRI and mesh lights. HDRI produces a realistic lighting and the mesh lights give me a precise control on the lighting direction and distribution. 3DAD: What would you improve or add, either with DAZ Studio or Octane? TC: Well, maybe adding some atmospheric functionalities could bring Octane to a new level. The material manager could also be improved, to allow a better flexibility in the manipulation of large amount of materials. It would be cool to have the opportunity to change a parameter over several materials at once, for example. But Octane is constantly improving and it now has features that didn’t exist when I started using it. Such as displacement, subsurface scattering. So I’m confident and I believe the developers will add some useful features. Regarding Daz, since I only use a small part of its potential, it perfectly suits my needs as it is. I’m still going to wait for a bit, until the Octane for Daz plugin becomes stable. Then I sure will try it again, as I suspect it will certainly improve the fluidity of my workflow pipeline.

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"Are you me?", Daz Studio and Octane.

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3DAD: And you also use the GIMP, the free open source Photoshop clone, for retouching and post-production of your pictures? What’s your experience of the GIMP? Would you recommend learning it? I must admit I haven’t looked as its progress for several years now. TC: As I said above, I am very bad at drawing, traditional or digital, so I try to keep my postwork to the minimum. I always try to do most of the work at render level. But for my needs, the Gimp suits me very well. It offers all the features I need. Such as layer management, customizable brushes, plugin management. And it is free! So I consider it’s a good alternative to Photoshop. I still use the older version 2.6 because I’m too lazy to learn a newer version. 3DAD: I get the sense from your pictures that you really love making stock 3d characters come alive, putting them in suitable matching settings and making their situations dramatic. Do you plan ahead for such a picture, sketch

out what the finished work will look like, or do you just play around with combining different content until it ‘clicks’? TC: I always start with an idea of what the finished image will look like, because I believe that a good image starts with a good idea. But sometimes, I change my mind while working, because I accidentally try something that looks better or more dramatic then what I first aiming at. When I set up a scene, I always let my imagination run away a bit, and I usually create a short story in my head, what I call ‘une tranche de vie’: who is the character, what is his history, why is he (or she) there, what caused the actual situation... This helps me to give thickness to the character or characters. I’m not interesting in creating an image by just combining randomly elements of my runtime. It has no real interest, it’s just a matter of who has the biggest model library to make the wildest pictures. There is no real artistic statement, except some pleasure for the artist who created the models and

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characters used. So even when I do promotional images, I try to imagine a good environment/situation for the product before starting. 3DAD: I think some of your most interesting pictures are where two or more characters are interacting, even if only in a minimal way. “Are You Me?”, for instance. “Once Upon a Time”, “Bikers” and “Close Protection”. “Dirty Boy”, “Love is Stronger” and “Spec Ops”. Readers can see these and many more on youre wwebsite. Do you like to try to ‘tell a story’ in this way? Do you try to create small fictional ‘back stories’ for each of the pictures, or just some? TC: That’s exactly what I’m doing, I like to imagine a ‘small universe’ for each picture. But I don’t want to impose that story, it’s just my vision of the scene and everyone can imagine their own. In my picture ‘What the hell ...’ for example, you don’t see what is frightening the two characters, so it opens the door to allow everyone’s interpretation. When

“Observatory” and “Camoflage”, both Daz Studio and Octane. 35

you have more than one character, you have an interaction, and if you have interaction then you have a story. Talking about this bring me back to the Belgian and contentinal European style of the comics that I was talking about ealier, where the author tells an entire joke with a single drawing. It’s that kind of effect I’m after. 3DAD: It certainly seems to be something that works for you. What are you working on at the moment? TC: I do not have any big projects on the go at the moment, so I’m lazily and egoistically creating images for my own pleasure. After all, that’s the advantage of being ‘just’ a hobbyist, you have no pressure and you can work at your own pace. 3DAD: Do you see yourself doing professional 3d work in the future, perhaps starting to make narrative comics, animated scenes, or even modelling some of your own 3d content?


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“What The Hell!?”, Daz Studio and Poser. 37


TC: Certainly not modelling, that’s definitely not my cup of tea. But I’ve already been working with a writer, creating illustrations for his first novel (I think it have been published on Kindle). But we had to stop our collaboration due to the need for the author to undertake heavy medical treatment to try to stop a serious illness. I really liked that job, and if it was possible, I’d be so happy to start a new collaboration as an illustrator. Doing 3d animation is also something that attracts me, especially as I have notions of getting into video editing, but it’s such a long process that requires a huge time investment. 3DAD: Animation — even in 3d — does take an enormous amount of time. Comics is a better medium for most people, a half-way house to storytelling. Make the comic, tell the story, then persuade a studio to do the work of turning it into an animated movie! /Laughter/

TC: And I have a day job that consumes an important part of my time — bills have to be paid — I’m not sure I could consider working professionally in 3d. At least, not as my sole source of income, unless it could magically guarantee a decent salary on a regular basis! Of course I can dream of that, but I have to keep my feet on the ground. 3DAD: Thierry, thank you. TC: It was a pleasure. Thank you once again to 3D Art Direct for offering such a prestigious place to show people my some of sci-fi work!

Thierry Cravatte is online at: http://thierrycravatte.deviantart.com/ gallery/ http://www.renderosity.com/mod/gallery/ browse.php?user_id=488243

Top: “Driven by the Light”. Bottom: “Infection: Preying Mantis”; “Post-apocalyptic Knight”; “We've Been Waiting For You”, all Daz Studio and Octane.

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“There is still some hope…”, Daz Studio and Octane.

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AEON

SOUL Behind Aeon Soul there’s a whole history of similar names, and behind those the artistic duo As and Syl, a real life couple and a pair of very passionate individuals all-in-one. They have produced Poser content for more than ten years and have grown in vision

and stature, winning awards and having artworks published in digital artbooks. 3DAD: As and Syl, welcome. Some of our readers may know your work under a variety of names?

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AEON SOUL EUROPE CHARACTER CONTENT DEVELOPERS FOR POSER AND DAZ

WEB

Picture: “AlfaSeed World”


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Aeon Soul: Yes, Aeon Soul is the evolution of our previous “AS” moniker, our first being Aery Sense, then Awful Soul, Aery Soul, and Alfa Seed (aka AlfASeeD).

limits. As persons, we’re quite different from each other but are not opposites and we share the most important things, our values and passion for creativity.

3DAD: Long time Poser content collectors will be familiar with many of those names.

3DAD: Did you train anywhere?

Aeon Soul: That Alfa Seed name when used we re-entered the 3D graphics world in March 2011, with the intent of creating wonderful 3D products and game designs, to expand compared to our previous selves. Many people will associate it with our best-selling “110.1” sci -fi armour/clothing. 3DAD: “110.1” certainly was, and is, very appealing to sci-fi creatives. It’s the sort of thing that, if you wanted to convince a movie maker of the quality of royalty-free content now being made for Poser, you’d show them. So we’ll just keep on thinking of your name as being Awesome Stuff (AS), for simplicity! / laughter/ And you keep on pushing the limits… AS: Yes, whatever the name, our creations, our style, has always been very popular among users. We feel that’s because we’ve always been very committed and wanted to do the best our skills could offer and kept pushing our

AS: We have always been our own bosses, doing what we liked and enjoyed rather than what we thought the market wanted. Customers have mostly been on our side, even when we “dared to dare”. It was our vision, I think — in putting quality and artistry ahead of anything else and being very passionate and committed — that made and make us stand out from the growing crowd of 3D content creators. 3DAD: There certainly are more and more content producers, which is raising the bar. How do you work together and divide up the tasks at Aeon Soul? Do you have similar strengths, or do you complement each other with different skills? AS: We mostly complement each other. Since the very beginning we decided we should focus on different tasks, to then specialize and be more proficient in what we do. So we decided to specialize and then “merge” our specialized

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skills to create wonderful products all around. We feel this is probably our most important strength when it comes to our industry. We both work on the designs of our products and there's always a lot of back and forth feedback about anything between us. As for specific tasks, while producing 3d content As takes care of the modeling part, rigging, UV mapping and morphs creations. Syl is in charge of the texturing part, product finalisation, writing any tutorials. We both work on the designs of our products and there's always a lot of back and forth feedback about anything between us.

3DAD: You output a good amount of content for videogames. Has it always been your objective to produce games content?

3DAD: Where does the design inspiration trend to come from?

AS: Well, not all games have them all, but the point is: a game can really be a sort of ultimate, concerted form of art, and an interactive and immersive one on top of it all. For creative minds in the 21st century, you’re being remiss if games are an area that you dismiss and don’t deal with.

AS: Some of our designs are totally original, inspired by personal (virtual) adventures and such. Others are inspired by existing “worlds” and styles, more often than not videogame ones, but also by an image rather than a character. We like to look at other artists’ creations to be inspired and then create something new and unique and with an Aeon Soul twist. Music also plays a huge role, oddly enough, but more in the creation of artistic images than the products themselves.

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AS: Absolutely, yes. We see games as being the ultimate creative output: they have story, involvement, role playing, beautiful graphics arts, and amazing compelling music scores. 3DAD: There are certainly more and more games making the ‘Best of the Year’ surveys each New Year, and of various sub-types that often didn’t exist the previous year, but it takes a lot of work to get it all right in a single game.

3DAD: In your minds what are the top three essential elements of a good 3d game design? AS: Unfortunately, answering such a question is not so easy, since the top elements may vary depending on the kind of game, its genre. As you say, sub-genres are


proliferating. So to give an answer I’ll consider the concept of game design at large, rather than thinking about all the specifics and variants that actually exist. I’ll look at the Game Designer as someone that doesn’t “only” take care of creating the game mechanics, but is also involved in the other creative tasks of the game design. By far, I feel that a game design must focus on creating a game that is as polished and flowing as possible, that’s the ultimate goal and those should be the keywords during the whole design process. All elements featured in the game must work together well and flow smoothly. Present the player with streamlined mechanics that keep him/her interested throughout the game (also by including some variation) and that culminate in a satisfying manner at the end of the game. 3DAD: PC games are often quite ‘sticky’ at the start, though, as players learn the mechanics and the HUD, and the keyboard keys. AS: Well, a game design must feature a learning curve. I think it’s key that a game is structured so that the player learns as s/he plays, improving his or her skills as they progress in the game.

The difficulty of the game must increase as the players skills also improve and it’s the experience the gamer gains while playing that allows him or her to progress, not just (for example) more powerful weapons against more powerful foes. Ideally, a player should have mastered the controls and skills needed to play during the first third of the game to then be able to enjoy the rest of the game at its fullest. A designer can also choose to “challenge” the player (outside the main game storyline) to “boost” his/her skills, in fact there are some psychological aspects of the gamers that can be linked to the learning curve in an interesting way. For example, a player may be asked to complete a series of tasks that require several attempts. The first few times, the player could feel clumsy and maybe think there’s something wrong with the challenge itself, may feel it’s impossible. After some more attempts though, s/he will feel s/he is improving. While trying to complete the tasks the players skills have improved, the game has “asked” the player to commit and learn to overcome some challenging tasks. As the game progresses, the player will feel more self-confident about his or her skills. They’ll get an actual in-game

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reward, and the satisfaction of beating the game-world challenge while improving their skills. In regards to game design, conceiving mechanics, thinking up events or finding other ways to involve and reward the player is certainly much harder. For a game to be involving, it means the player is having fun playing your game, that s/he will keep playing and perhaps play it again once it’s finished (if the game has something to offer with more than one play-through). Creating a game means making choices and creating a good balance, not just throwing all “cool” ideas into a design. When a game manages to involve the player and be fun, it has reached its goal. In regards to our own game design, every moment of the process is very enjoyable, since it’s an ongoing challenge turning those game-mechanics ideas into something concrete. First of all making the idea to work even just on paper, simplifying it as much as possible and then adding elements if there’s a chance for more complexity. Creating a gameworld is certainly quite complex, but incredibly gratifying.

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3DAD: Tell us about the parts of your work that you enjoy most? Is it interacting with your customer base as well as the content creation? AS: The part we mostly enjoy are those more creative. As far as 3D content is concerned, definitely the design part, when we decide what to create, as sketches or just notes. The very creation of something, that is, both the modelling and texturing stages. And finally making promotional and personal art with the finished product, that's the moment when we enjoy what we have done to its fullest, that's the moment when most of our art is created. 3DAD: You’ve had good feedback, I expect? AS: Yes, and we do enjoy interacting with our customers, during the years we have met a lot of very nice people, of every age and coming from any walks of life. We have built interesting friendships and are always very proud to see people express themselves through our creations. While many people in the 3D industry distain Poser…

3DAD: Which is such an out-of-date pose for them to adopt, by the way...


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AS: … and the truth is, it’s tools like Poser that allow people to express themselves, even if they have limited time and skills. That, we find, it’s the greatest merit of Poser and DAZ Studio: offering people tools to give form to their inner worlds. It all revolves around creativity and we support that in any form and shape! 3DAD: You’ve designed a shooter game for your “110.1” character, called 110.1 Shooter. Was the “110.1” character specially designed for the game, or did the game evolve after thinking about the character? AS: Yes, “110.1” was created as the main character of the shooter, even though in the game she won’t have any human part or exposed skin saved for the head (the Poser product features human thighs and collars). The idea behind 110.1 Shooter is simple yet of great impact. The main character is a kind of final weapon and all her limbs can be controlled independently and are powerful firearms. The range will go from simple rays to energy projectiles, featuring acrobatic moves in gun-fu style and with the possibility to fly, detach body parts to a large mega-blast that will fill the screen with rays of energy that propagates from the character. We want to create an extremely scenic and spectacular game. 3DAD: Which games are your favourites and have burned away the most hours and days? AS: We are fervent game players. We feel that to do something you have to be passionate about it and enjoy it first-hand. You can't be a cook without enjoying eating, you can't be a director without enjoying movies and you can't create games, or at least design games, without playing them. That’s how we feel and how we experience things. That's also one of the reasons behind the success of our 3D products, we use them ourselves, to create art and we are very demanding users! I could start from the SF trading space epic

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Elite for the Commodore 64, through to Dishonoured, through years of games of any kind. I really can’t say which of all the games I played are my favourite. Nowadays we mostly play on a Playstation and on a PC. But we have a collection of 20 years of game consoles that have offered us awesome and unforgettable experiences. We have a huge gaming library and during this seventh generation of consoles there’s really a few games that we have missed and lots that we have played and enjoyed through the end, and maybe again. We also have huge libraries on our Steam accounts with tens of indie games that we love playing. 3DAD: You create wonderful royatly-free content for Poser and DAZ Studio. What software do you use in your workflow and are you happy with the majority of your tools, or do you see yourselves switching to other applications in the future? AS: for modelling I use Autodesk Maya, have been using it since the start and can't really see myself switching to any other modelling tool, I’m absolutely comfortable with it. I do also use Zbrush, mostly for different tasks but I would really like to integrate the two in my workflow more. Perhaps starting to do some initial sketching in Zbrush, since I often sketch in 3D, directly into Maya and doing so in Zbrush could be interesting. SIL: While I definitely spend most of my time in Photoshop, I can't say it's my main tool. Photoshop and ZBrush together are my main tools. In Adobe Photoshop I actually do most of my work. But I can only achieve great texturing results and styles by working in ZBrush, to sculpt details and create displacement maps. Sometimes I also just use it for sketching ideas on the mesh, that are then used in Photoshop as guidelines. I've tried Mudbox and I love the painting part of the tool, I can definitely see myself using something like it more frequently in the future. But ZBrush is amazing and they keep


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adding features for free, it's a tool that has revolutionized the 3D world allowing artists to go crazy with their creativity, I couldn't do without it. Photoshop is great, there's some things that I'd love to see seriously overhauled (like the brushes management)… 3DAD: Yes, to have the brushes be more like SketchBook Pro. Or like anything else apart from Photoshop! /laughter/ AS: But it's a very solid and powerful tool, I've been using it since the beginning and I really don't think there's something else that sports all those basic and most advanced features I use. 3DAD: How do you see Aeon Soul developing as a production company? Do you think that game content will be the high majority of the content? AS: We want to see Aeon Soul really bloom, grow and expand, our farther away goal, right now, it’s making our tentatively-titled game Prison. So, yes, we would like to shift toward making more and mostly games than 3D assets but it’s a shift that will require some time. We are patient, we have been so far, but are also committed to achieve our goals. 3DAD: Are there other art projects to do, too? AS: Yes, in-between there’s also other artrelated things we would like to do: publishing an art book together with a few artists we love and appreciate. Have some of our characters printed in 3d printing, to have a line of Aeon Soul figurines. It’s been years since we have had some nice shirt designs on our hard-drives. And maybe finally we can also hire someone for that comic book project that started it all! 3DAD: What advice would you give to those who are just starting to produce content for sale in the 3D character market? AS: If you want to do it, you can. Really, there’s only something you need to seriously

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invest: your time and passion. 3D content is creativity, it’s art. It is skills that, nowadays, can be acquired through a series of different means, virtual and digital or “real” (schools and universities). Be humble but have the top of the market in your sight. The first things you’ll produce will simply suck, it’s like that, in everything. You must be humble enough to accept your failures and just keep going, keeping in your sights something extraordinary that you want to achieve. It will take time but you will get there, sometimes you’ll feel you’re not progressing and then you’ll make huge leaps forward. Just keep going on, always. Then one day you’ll find yourself looking at something you thought was amazing and unreachable and you’ll think “well, not bad”, because you’re doing much better! 3DAD: And learn from others? AS: Always look at the best, they will inspire you and will also teach you things just by looking at their work. Also learning, as many great artists share tips and tutorials that can be really precious. There are tens of places you can check to learn things, including your own 3D Art Live webinars. Also remember 3D has a lot in common with other art fields, so to understand lighting photography books and sites can be great allies. Or those about sculpture, if you want to be a dedicated Zbrusher. 3DAD: I really like the mix of sci-fi and fantasy genres used for your “Uraalys' Ny” character. Tell me about the design of her clothing set — it really stands out and looks inspired in part by a medieval knight’s outfit. AS: We love fantasy, the D&D kind and we love sci-fi — the high-tech kind — and then, there's something in-between. We call it scifantasy, magic and technology fused together, we feel Star Wars represents the genre topically (we were also playing SWTOR when we started working on her, we can't deny it had to do with our decision to create


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“Chant of the Planets”, Uraaly’s Ny with Alice. 55


that kind of character). Our characters so far had been either markedly fantasy or sci-fi so we decided to explore the "in-between" of two worlds we love. Uraalys’ Ny was therefore born as an essential sci-fantasy designs, we wanted her to look perfect in a multitude of "worlds". The hood was actually inspired by the Assassin's Creed costumes, but it's also something you find in sci-fi settings. When it came to the texturing part we envisioned her in the Star Wars universe (the earthy colors with bright accents on the sci-fantasy style are inspired by the Star Wars Jedi style. But also in Mass Effect as a powerful adept (the sci-fi texture was inspired by Mass Effect) and then also in a natural, elven-populated, fantasy world (and that's why the fantasy style is so green and bronze). 3DAD: Tell me a little about your “Lemonade AMP” character. How was her character born and how did she develop over time? AS: Well, Lemonade was actually born as a silly-frilly set, something manga/anime style, mostly; cute and nice. The model, the mesh itself, however, was “plain” enough to be turned into something totally different. The first AMP character to be born was the Assassin one, inspired by the fantasymedieval costumes of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, especially the Hellequin. It turned out so good we decided to dare even more and grabbed the artbook from the Crysis 2 special edition (great edition!) for inspiration. That’s how we created our female version of the nanosuit.

3DAD: There must be a lot of work in translating that into a workable Poser character? AS: Creating a clothing set from scratch, it’s time-consuming and demanding, not because of the modelling time required, but because — yes — we need to make everything work in Poser and DAZ Studio, we have to include many fitting morphs, movement morphs and so on. There are many, many things that need to be done, in order to make something

easily usable by our customers. With AMP, we decided to “exploit” an existing set (Lemonade) and create something totally different. This allows us to be more productive and creative and will offer people an economically sound way to expand their wardrobe by turning a mesh they already have, into a completely different outfit. We call it a win-win situation. 3DAD: The “IIv3 Skin” is a unique product and helps a fantasy character that much more interesting for an artist. It’s a great concept — but was it hard to develop and finalise as a product? AS: Interestingly enough, the “IIv3” engravings, were actually “doodled” in Zbrush to compliment another product by us. It was not meant to be a product by itself, initially. As you’ll have noticed, we often like to add tattoos and skin art to our characters and we wanted something to go along with “Hanyma”, a peculiar set that we’ll be available in the next few months at RDNA. “Hanyma” is a concept we’ve worked on for years (we actually released two versions of it) and that was initially inspired by the postapocalyptic works of Luis Royo. The “IIv3” engraving was meant as a sort of sci-fi “hero” marking that would bear particular meaning and that only a few, special individuals would sport. This means different characters from the same planet would have different drawings on their body, albeit of a similar style. So once we had this cool marking design on our hands we realized it has great potential and developed and complete skin package around it, choosing a very pale skin tone to compliment the markings. Products aren’t always planned, sometimes they just spontaneously happen. And, who knows, maybe in a few years, using laser technology, it will be possible to actually create this kind of “engravings” on human skin, something smooth and cool-looking, very “fast-forward” and much more refined compared to the scarring techniques of today.

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“The Fate Weaver” by Aeon Soul.

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3DAD: Yes, techno-tattoos, nano-tattoos, interacting with the mind and the electrosmog of wi-fi, etc, that’s all very much in the air now. Why have a smart watch when a tattoo on the ball of your thumb can do the same thing? Although that may put Poser accessory designers out of business if it catches on! / laughs/ What’s been your favourite product to date that you have developed and what are a few things that you have learned along the way during the process? Sil: To name a favourite is very, very hard and not fair at all! Well, truth be told most of our products are linked to a particular idea, or moment, are somehow inspired by something, so they all have something special, for us. Anyway, in regards to inspiration I think “110.1” has been one of the most inspiring, but “Uraalys' Ny” is a favourite too. There is also a “110.1” style for “Uraalys’ Ny”, that enables the two to mix and match fabulously. As far as my texturing work is concerned I would definitely name “Earth Breaker” and “110.1 Hard Metal” as my cornerstone products of the last couple of years. I have learned and applied new techniques in ZBrush (well, new for me of course) to achieve my desired results. I'm very proud of “AMP” as well, but I'd say it's the result of what I had learned by working on previous creations. Still I dared with “AMP” and it really paid off! I also like very much drawing tattoos, I really like the “Sisterhood” one as well as “IIv3” and there's a few more I created to match products that I love. Including the “Uraalys’ Ny” one, that one of our customers would like to have tattooed on her back for real. AS: I always have a hard time choosing favourites, because each products has features that I like, things I don’t like and would like to change, and, likely, an intriguing story behind it. In the end, much also depends on the kind of textures Syl will create. There’s been a few times when I wasn’t too happy with a product, but after seeing her texturing work I

completely changed my mind. Anyway, among my favourite there are certainly our most unique designs. I’m very happy with “Soulforged: the Outlander”, both in regards to the design and modelling work. It’s a complex mesh that took a while but was absolutely worth the effort. Another favourite is “Black Lotus”, which we’ll be releasing again soon, with some minor changes. “110.1”, again, is a design I really like, but as of today I would make some changes. I’d do the legs in a different way. I feel that both “Almost Human” and “Hard Metal” for “110.1” are fantastic, and “C-Suit AMP for Lemonade” is as well. “Uraaly’s Ny” is another design I did and like a lot, and of course, the next one I’m working on, will certainly become a favourite! 3DAD: Can you tell a little bit about what Aeon Soul will be doing in this next year with its creations? AS: Great 3D content is still our main focus right now, and we’re working on a large fantasy armour set, that we hope to release before the end of the year. We have a “X8A01” sci-fi armour set in the works, with cyber limbs of a “realistic” design (more realistic than “110.1”, so to speak). We like to differentiate a lot, so we’ll definitely do something completely different after that, just swing off into the jungle… 3DAD: We wish you well! AS: Thank you.

AEON SOUL IS ONLINE AT: http://www.runtimedna.com/Aeon-Soul/ http://aeon--soul.deviantart.com/

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HERMINIO

NIEVES 3D Art Direct interviews the spaceship and sci-fi

vehicle designer who has recently lifted the ‘free sci-fi models’ creative community into orbit.

HERMINIO NIEVES EUROPE 3D MODELLER FOR POSER AND DAZ STUDIO

WEB

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Picture: Vue render of a Herminio Nieves spaceship, by Antonis Karidis of Corfu — who is online at DeviantArt.

3DAD: Herminio, welcome to 3D Art Direct magazine. Before we talk about your amazing sci-fi model-making, can I ask how you first became a shape designer? Because it seems to me that there is a lot of learning and experience behind your sci-fi designs. So did you work in commercial car design, or something like that, earlier in your life?

anything I could find in the trash can! I worked, in my early days in college in the Physics Department of the university, just as an assistant in the lab. But my major subject was actually in Biology. 3DAD: So were that sounds like science was a major early interest? HN: Yes, and so I always had an idea of a spaceship design that will emulate the organic function of a human body, so that

HN: I started back when I was just a kid, making my own toys. I began using

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the human body becomes more efficient. I had many design ideas for years, but it wasn’t until computer programs for 3d design showed up, that I was able now to only to draw them or make a plastic Airfix-style model of them. Now, with the power of computer graphics I can let my imagination go wild. 3DAD: And how did you first come to sci-fi?

HN: I grew up with re-runs of the original Star Trek TV series, and other sci-fi TV shows that were shown in the 1970’s. 3DAD: Star Trek ‘got’ a lot of people, back then, that’s for sure. And the Star Trek influence has fed through into the culture and the tech-culture in so many ways. What about your hardware and vehicles? Are there any

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vehicle designers or concept artists that you especially admire?

HN: Honestly, a lot of the concepts I had then were concepts that were ‘ahead of my time’, so many of the TV designs were not the sort of thing that I was aiming at, not what I had in mind when I was younger. So there’s not much of an influence on my current work.

3DAD: You live and work in Kissimmee, Florida, USA, I believe? Do you think that the landscape and the environment of the Florida shoreline has had an effect on your work or outlook? For instance, I think I can see the Florida setting coming through in some of your renders, where you set the vehicles and cities in a sort of semi-tropical location. HN: Yes, there is an influence. But I grew up Promotional render for Herminio’s Scout Patrol spaceship. Also seen is one of his 3d sci-fi cities. Vue.

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in the Caribbean, specifically Puerto Rico, and the colourful nature of that island has been very influential, perhaps more than Florida. That’s probably what you’re picking up on in the renders. Florida is of course very beautiful and has a lot of tropical colours to inspire, and to a certain extent has influenced me in terms of imparting certain colours or textures to my art. 3DAD: You model in the free open source Blender, I believe? How do you find that software for modelling? I only use it for trying to export free models to a more useable format, for which it’s usually a total pain in the CPU. Although I also read that you use DAZ Hexagon too. I imagine that DAZ Hexagon was vastly easier to learn. HN: It’s very rare that I use Blender these days. My basic 3d design and modelling tool is the free DAZ Hexagon, that’s correct. It is more versatile than Blender, and allows me to do my 3d design projects in a shorter time. From DAZ Hexagon I then export the finished mesh into DAZ Studio. From there it may go to Anim8or or Bryce or sometimes into Vue, it all depends on the project’s details and complexity. 3DAD: What are your top tips for those who are just starting out in 3d modelling? The mistakes to avoid, also. HN: First off, it is good to have a definite idea or concept of the model, which means you need to know how it works, what its purpose is, even if that is an imagined purpose. Second you have to create a ‘strategy’, meaning a basic order or ‘chain’ of programs that allow you to reach your goal. That’s not quite the same things as what some people refer to as a ‘workflow’. Thirdly, it is always good to practice as many times a day or week as possible, and never give up, because the mistakes are part of the learning. They help your brain to build up the circuits you need to start doing things without having to think about doing them.

Start with the basic model, though. It is always good to create a single hard-drive folder to dump all the materials you’re going to use for that specific model. Then also make a folder to hold all your smaller model parts. For example if you are going to create a slick 3d car, make a folder where you can stored parts like the awesome tires, the engine muffler, the flurry dice... and doing this makes you think of all the possible parts that you may need and you can use in other models… 3DAD: Simply doing a Bing or Google Images search will usually get you some quick inspiration for the list of parts that you need for a generic type of model, and maybe give you some ideas for items you hadn’t considered. HN: And, most important of all save your ongoing work on disk, and have an external back-up hard-drive. Ideally one where the external HDD and its cords are inaccessible to small children, dogs, and anything else that might send if flying off your desk. 3DAD: Yes, even if you only do a backup of the key final production files, once a month, it may save you a lot of work or lost income in the future. HN: Accidents can occur, so have a backup! 3DAD: And you tend to use Vue for rendering, for small online product shots of your 3d vehicles? How are you finding that software?

HN: Vue is excellent for rendering, because it allows you to very easily create a scene, with scenery, and most importantly with its range of preset atmospheric light effects. These ‘atmospheres’, as Vue calls them, makes your 3d model stand out. 3DAD: Could you tell our readers about the process, from start-to-finish, that it would take for you to make, say… a cool Syd Mead like sci-fi ground vehicle?

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Three of Herminio’s spaceships seen against his equally impressive 3d cities. All in Vue.

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HN: Sure. First I look at the generic accepted idea or the sort of shape of the vehicle that I’m intending to do. To get into this I draw it out on paper, if I don’t have my computer with me. Secondly I start in on modelling the extra features. Things that define the vehicle type, like tires etc... 3DAD: Yes, tyres are vital for sci-fi vehicles like planetary ground exploration rovers. HN: And once these are done then put them in a folder, as I explained earlier. Then once I had the basic body shape done, I start making decisions as to where I want each part located on the body. So in the basic model I then start adding more detailing, but I try to keep it as simple as possible. 3DAD: Why is that? HN: Well, to be frank… it’s because sometimes there is a tendency for DAZ Hexagon to crash… 3DAD: Ah, so now we know why Hexagon is free! /laughter/ But, it’s a good modeller.

HN: Once I have the basic model, I can then split it into material sections for texturing and also start to work with those sections

separately in order to increase their level of detail. Then I join all the parts in DAZ Studio and assemble the model with all components. From that I can choose what parts can be fuse together (by sending them to Anim8or) and once fused, I upload them back to DAZ Studio, and so on until the final 3d model is finished and is rendering up nicely. 3DAD: You’ve very generously given away a whole lot of free sci-fi content over the last couple of years, as .obj models. I see your work scattered around a host of different sites.

HN: Yes, your readers can please check herminionieves.selz.com, hns3d.com, tf3dm.com, and other 3d content sites. 3DAD: You mostly make .obj files. These freebies work fine in most 3d software, but it’s just such a pity they can’t be used in Keyshot. Sadly the surfaces get horribly marked, with grey triangles that poke through the texture, in Keyshot. It happens on many .objs, not just yours, though. Apparently Keyshot triangulates all .objs on import, causing the triangle speckling. I don’t know, perhaps with your experience in modelling you might be able to suggest a workaround for this?

This Page: Phantom Glyder 286. Opposite: Scout Patrol showing the triangle problem in Keyshot, and as a normal Vue render. 66


HN: I found that problem can be solved. When you import the model to Bryce, then ‘ungroup’ the model and then export the parts to a folder. Then then import the parts to DAZ and reunite the pieces, then save it in a folder, that problem gets solved. HN: Thanks, I hope that’s prevent a few support email to you from our readers, in future! I had also heard something similar, about importing to Sketchup (which sadly requires an .OBJ importer plugin for some weird reason — you would have thought that Google could have afforded to add .OBJ to the types that Sketchup could handle) and then ungrouping, and judging the meshes apart by 0.1, then grouping again. Apparently it’s so that surfaces don’t intersect into the same space, when they get triangulated. And Keyshot triangulates on import, apparently. Again, I don’t know why — speed of rendering I guess — but it just does. 3DAD: More recently have you started selling and porting your content into a native Poser format, for stores such as Renderosity. Was the long period of free giveaways before that a conscious business strategy — get your

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name known first, sell later — or did it ‘just happen that way’? HN: I started with giving away freebies for a simple reason, so that people with low budgets could make their 3d projects, and put the sci-fi visions they have in their heads into a tangible form. Then, when I saw the business possibility, well I had to start to move into sales. I definitely felt I had to create a reputation first, though, before I could start selling. No-one will buy a product without having some clear indication of the level of the product’s quality. 3DAD: How did your sales fare in 2014? Have you noticed any trends over time? Anything that sells better than others? HN: My 2014 sales were good. It sure seems that spaceships and sci-fi cities have developed more demand. 3DAD: Yes, I was looking at the list of new Hollywood movies for 2015. It’s interesting that there’s a whole lot of science-fiction in there. Nothing even vaguely original in horror or supernatural (other than perhaps Vin Diesel as The Last Witch Hunter, an immortal witch-


hunter in New York, and fantasy seems to have retreated into kiddie animation or big family-friendly Cinderella / Peter Pan remakes. The historical epic space also seems to have been totally ceded by Hollywood to the TV mini-series directors. They’re going big on sci -fi in 2015, and obviously their trend-watchers tell them that they’re tapping into the mood of the times. But back to the questions. Which fellow 3D artists do you admire, and why? HN: That’s a tough question… there are far too many excellent artists to be seen around on the Internet, even if one confines oneself just to the 3d content artists. Stonemason loves his sci-fi cities. Kibarreto with his spasceships, and there are others like Giovanino. I love his renderings, especially his sci-fi. JBJDesigns… she is awesome. Her renderings of nature are so beautiful. And, as I said, there are other artists that I can’t tell you about because I do not know their names. 3DAD: What about yourself, then? What is the all-time favourite item of 3d content that you’ve made?

3DAD: That’s certainly a very handsome craft. We pointed to a somewhat similar craft by you recently, in our freebies section. I see you also made a free and rather steampunk ‘Cyber Locust’ in 2013, although like most of your work it was a static mesh and not articulated. Do you ever see yourself making articulated characters in future, especially for Poser and DAZ content buyers? HN: Hmmm… maybe one day, when I learn how to do it. 3DAD: We’ll look forward to that day. Herminio, thank you. We wish you all the best in the future. HN: Thank you. I hope others get interested in 3d modelling, from reading this interview and others in 3D Art Direct magazine, and so we can positively influence others.

Herminio Nieves is online at: http://oigaitnas.deviantart.com/ https://herminionieves.selz.com/ http://www.cgtrader.com/Herminio

HN: Ah, that would be Phantom Glyder 286.

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Top: Terran Transport. Middle: Hybrid Glider and Scout Patrol. Bottom: Sentinel Explorer.

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TUTO

OVERPAINT 3D! DAVID REVOY DAVID REVOY FRANCE ILLUSTRATOR AND CONCEPT ARTIST

WEB

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ORIAL This tutorial shows you how to quickly colorise and then overpaint a 3d render from Blender. The graphics software used is the free GIMP and MyPaint, but Photoshop, Sketchbook Pro or similar can be used.

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Create your scene in your 3D software, and light it for a strong painting, but without making the highlights a harsh white with no texture detail showing. Here we’ve used Blender, but it could be DAZ or Poser. You may want to simplify textures on some models. Then turn off visibility on certain models and sections in your scene, so you can export your whole scene as four or five layered renders of different depths. If you have a way to render depth-haze on the distant towers layer, all the better. It will help later on to have scene elements and layers

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partially separated like this (see above examples). PNG image renders will preserve the ‘cut out’ transparency you need. Finally, also export a simple gradient for the sky, if you have one. A sky perspective grid can also be useful for adding clouds. On these two pages you can see the completed export PNG layers and the perspective grid, re-assembled inside our paint software — which in this case is the free software GIMP. If you’ve exported the layers in colour, desaturate them down to a rich and slightly muted greyscale (as seen here).


Lock other layers, then use a fat grainy Multiply brush to add the dark tree-shade that will fall over the bottom-left corner of the picture. Now add the trees themselves. No, you don’t need to paint each leaf! Just find a custom ‘tree foliage brush’ (online, or in your brush library). Use this to paint in the tree foliage in greyscale, keeping the highlights matching with the overall scene lighting. Now brighten up the far background with a big textured brush, simulating a

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luminous depth-haze. Paint in a little treetop foliage under the platform, too. Colourise the Sky gradient layer with a single sky colour. Colourise your other layers with a single base colour each (green for trees, brown for stone, etc). No need to use the brush for this — we’re just laying in the key colours. Although you may want paint on the ship just a little, and the tree trunks, with a big brush set to Colour blending mode.


Use Ctrl + Z to Undo often here, until you get exactly the right base colours. You may want to start to broadly ‘paint and smudge’ in a few clouds too, with the aid of your perspective grid. Once you start to get happy with the picture, add shade to the tree leaf canopies, matching the shade on the ship. Then start to work in the shadows that the trees are casting. Don’t zoom in during all of this. Resist the

temptation to dive in to work on fine details. Instead, get the overall picture looking right at the 400px level. If it visually ‘reads’ correctly from a big thumbnail, it probably is right. The background can now be slightly blurred, to make it seem further away. The background layers can also be given a ‘hazy blue distance’ colorise, to make the foreground stand out.

Colorise whole layers to quickly ‘block in’ your basic colours, with little work.

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You can also import your old greyscale background buildings layer, boost the contrast very high, then blend it in Screen mode. This has the effect of quickly ‘painting’ in all the highlights on your buildings. Then warm up those highlights by colorising the whole layer. Then paint with a big white brush on the foreground, to add key highlights to match those on the buildings. Now is the time to

‘photobash’ on certain areas, overlaying photo textures in Blend mode for added texture detail. Add a cloudhead behind the ship, for instance. Ok, looking good! Now we actually start painting! Reconcile yourself to destroying parts of the 3d render, especially the sharp edges. Experiment to find the right brushes for you. Try a Mix brush, not Wet, with a Square tip.

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Painting the shiny or reflective bits of the scene is usually a good place to start. For this you can zoom in, for instance on the ship. Tree leaves are also highly reflective in this sort of light, so lighten up the tops and sides of their massed dark green. Add the decal on the service hatch, using a texture set to Overlay mode. Paint in the glows on this and the ship engines. Once satisfied with one hatch/engine,

copy-paste it to the other and fit it over the top, to save time. Then start to paint in the foreground characters. From here the painting started to become very bright, with early autumnal trees! You can make a temporary greyscale copy of your painting, to check that all the lighting and tonal values are still working correctly. Continue painting in details, such as the finer limbs of the trees. A cat is added, for

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extra visual charm. The girl’s hat is changed to something a little more futuristic. The sky colour changes to that of a distant human colony world, and two moons are added. Now it’s all done bar the fine detailing. This detailing takes about six hours of painting at 6000px, including the ship, workman, fallen leaves and the distant characters on the exit ramp. The edges of the stone are given more

detailing. Now a little story develops: the exit ramp guys are taking away a big green alien criminal. The ‘pilots’ in the foreground are actually police, perhaps going to inspect the ship for evidence. So why is the girl there? Did the alien try to steal her cat? A little story like this can be pinned down through the choice of a title for the picture. Perhaps: “On Ulthar Kitti III, Cat Kidnappers Always Go To Jail”.

Our thanks to painter David Revoy and the Blender Foundation. Our tutorial is our cut-down version of their much fuller and longer video tutorial, which is available for purchase.

Get the video DVD or video download version of this tutorial, and support the development of the free Blender software! A complete ‘making of’ video for this painting can be found on the Blender Foundation's DVD training video Blend & Paint with David Revoy. The main project for this training is the large, highly-detailed 6K picture of a science-fiction environment, with space ship, a city, plants and trees, and several characters, which we've shown in this magazine tutorial. David takes you through this artwork step-by-step in video, showing his 3D paint-over techniques and how we uses the GIMP. The training goes from Blender (including light and rendering set-ups) into the image editors for further processing and overpainting. You are shown exactly how to efficiently add detail, texture and more dramatic lighting to a 3D render by using manual paintovers and layering techniques. All the working files are on the DVD, including the Blender and 79

GIMP files at various stages of the project. The overall goal of the training DVD is to understand the workflow, to train techniques to make efficient changes in your artwork's appearance, and to learn to redo steps continuously, so you can transfer your learning to your own digital 3d overpaintings. Over 2 hours (speeded up) of clear videos of 1280px x 720px, 30fps. Short, concise steps, commented with descriptive English labels (no voice-over). Requires: Blender 2.5+ | Gimp-painter 2.6+ | Mypaint 0.9+ These are all free software.

By purchasing this DVD you support the Blender Foundation projects, and help the continuing development of open source software such as Blender.


INDEX Background: “Observatory” by Thierry Cravatte. Daz Studio and Octane.

Issue 46-47

● Adriano (Ady) Di

Issue 31

● Ron Miller

● ● Paolo Ciccone

Pierro | Laticis

● Sylvain Chevallier

● ● Dragos Jieanu

(maker of Reality 4)

● ● Tarik Keskin

● Thierry Cravatte

Issue 38/39

● ● Aeon Soul

● ● S. Martinez | Xurge

● ● Hermino Nieves

● ● Chris Hecker | Tigear

Issue 30

● Ulco Glimmerveen

* 3D overpaint tutorial

● ● ● George Krallis

● ● Ian Grainger

● Jan Walter Schielp

● ● Nancho Riesco

● Hannes Janetzko

and Frank Basinski

Issue 45

● James Webb

● Jani Peltola

~ Peter Johansson | TheHunter videogame

● Pierre Chartier

Issue 23

Issue 37

● New World Contest

● AlfA SeeD

~ Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

● ● Tobias Roetsch

(Terragen) gallery

● Benoit Petterlini

Unique Landscapes

~ Richard Whitelock

● Andy Welder

Issue 24 ● Oshyan Green

● Dave De Kerf

● Drea Horvath Issue 29

● ● ● Kim Schneider

● Michel Rongberg

● Mavrosh Stratiotis Issue 44

Issue 36

● ● Vladimir Yaremchuk

Issue 22

● Mark J. Brady

● Matthew Attard

● ● ● Paul Gibson

● Erich Mestriner

● Jan Van de Klooster

+ Tobias Richter

● Shaun Williams | his

● ● Clint Hawkins

● Hans-Rudolf Wernli

● Oshyan Greene

Ghostship game

● ● ● Deedee Davies ● Danny Gordon

Issue 43

Issue 35

Issue 28

● ● Runtime DNA

● ● Maxime des Touches

● Don Webster

Issue 21

● ● Sixus 1

● John Haverkamp

● Cynthia Decker

● Eliane Neck

● ● Dan Alvaro

● DAZ book review

● Edson Moraes

● ● ● Jens Reinhart

Issue 34

Issue 27

Issue 42

● William Black

● ● ● Kim Schneider

Issue 20

● ● Angel Alonso

● Ryan Bliss

● Massimo Verona

● Matthew Attard

● Mary William

● ● Tim Haaksma |

● Rob Caswell

H.P. Lovecraft gallery

● ● ● Neil Thacker

Renderosity

* John Scoleri on the

Issue 33

work of Ralph McQuarrie

● ● Sebastien Hue

Issue 26

● ● Jeff Wal

● ● Juan Roderiguez

+ Alie Ries

● Melissa Krauss

Issue 19

+ ● ● ● Scott Richard

● Artur Rosa

● Don Webster

● Alexander Nikolaev

● Isadore Koliavras

Issue 41 ● J. F. Leisenbor ● Graham Symmons

● ● ● Patrick Turner

● Tutorial: Importing a

Issue 32

● Warren Turner

DEM terrain into Vue

● Suzanne Krings |

● Kerem Gogus

Issue 18

’BadSue’

● Lewis Morrcroft

● Ali Ries

Issue 40

● Richard Fraser

● Suzi Amberson

● Dax Pandhi

● Cody Paschal

Issue 25

● Joe Vintol | Orbital

● Finnian MacManus

● Arthur Dorety 80

● ● ● Mirek Drozd ● ● Christian Beyer


DIRE T Issue 17

● Heinz Grzybowski

Issue 5

● Lewis Moorcroft

SOFTWARE KEY:

● Kurt Richards

● Tutorial: Nebulas

Issue 10

● Lewis Moorcroft

● 3ds max

● ● Bjorn Malmberg

● ● Robert Nurse

● Kerem Gogus

● ● Ryan Malone

● ● I. L. Jackson

● Shaun Williams

● Bryce

● Paul Bussey

● Barry Marshall

Issue 16

● Software review:

● ● Tarik Keskin

Wings 3D

Issue 4

● DeeDee Davies

● John Robertson

● Carrara ● Cinema 4D * Classic sci-fi art

● Daz Studio ~ Games CG

● ● Neil Thacker

Issue 9

● Phil Drawbridge

● Les Garner | Sixus 1

● ● Luca Oleastri

● Warren Turner

● Groboto

● Tony Meszaros

● ● Juan Rodriguez

● Hexagon

Issue 15

● Arthur Dorety

* Peter Elson

● Dave Orchid

Issue 3

● ● Chris Hecker

+ Realms Art

● Arthur Rosa

● Susanne Korff-

+ City Engine review

● ● Danny Gordon

● Lightwave

Knoblauch

● Fabrice Delage

● Mandelbulb ● Mojoworld + Movie & TV CG

● Photoshop comp.

Issue 8

● Alexander Nikolaev

Issue 14

● Groboto 3 review

● ● Jack Tomalin

● Poser

● Bradley W. Schenck

● ● Jeff Hindmarch

+ Angel Alonso Garcia

● ● ● Tony Hayes

Issue 2

● Terragen

● ● ● Simon Beer

● Brian Christensen

● Jacob Charles Dietz

● Vue

● ● Melissa Krauss

● Wings 3D

Issue 13

Issue 7

● Glenn Clovis

● ● Mark Edwards

● Mark Stevenson

● Rob Caswell

● POV-Ray

● Zbrush

Issue 1

● Peter Rex

Issue 6

● Ken Musgrave

● Brian Christensen

● Artur Rosa

● Ken Musgrave’s

● Alex Niko

MojoWorld software

Issue 12

● Warren Turner

● Chipp Walters

● Jeeni Sjoberg

● ● Danny Gordon

● Peter Rex

~ Chuck Carter (Myst)

● ● Juan Rodriguez

● ● Juan Rodriguez

● ● Christoph Gerber

● ● ● Phil Drawbridge

● Tutorial: Vue

● Jacob Charles Dietz

procedural landscape

Issue 11

● Peter Rex

● Fredy Wenzel

● ● Melissa Krauss

● Richard Kitner

Dynda Yaroslav

● Lenord Curry 81

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FREEBIES EACH ISSUE 3D Art Direct will boldly seek out new 3d freebies suitable for your creativity. For this issue’s focus on smooth surface modelling and texturing in sci-fi armour and spaceships, we have a range of similar freebies. These freebies, all bar ‘Americana’, are illustrated with our basic ’real world’ test

render to show what actually exported and loaded up in the testbed software that we used. 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!

VBORG FOR V4 and MBORG FOR M4 Need to add a small army of cyborg extras for your picture, without sending your render times into orbit? Just send in the old Victoria 3 and Mike 3 from Poser, without their CPU-straining morphs and wearing this quickrendering basic cyberskin. Frankly, when seen in close-up it’s not the best texture we’ve ever seen — but boy does it render quickly! Both these figures rendered together in DAZ 4.7 at 3600px in about one second! Useful for the middle distance and far distance in big SF city or spaceport scenes, where you need to have many 3d figures be seen doing work in the background.

DOWNLOAD

82


DIRECT!

TITAN CLASS II CARGO SHIP The Titan II from Herminio Nieves is a free .OBJ model with textures. There are no moving parts, it’s a static mesh. The textures are adequate, and the model imported and rendered nicely in the latest DAZ Studio 4.7.

Hermino has many other sci-fi freebies online. These include many spaceships, but also altmosphere flyers, ground explorer vehicles and large megacities meant for distant views.

DOWNLOAD

AMERICANA FOR ALYSON2: Americana is a slick free texture set which brings alive Runtime DNA’s paid-for ‘French Kiss’ superheroine style armour for Alyson2. Alyson2 is the free female character which ships in the default runtime that comes with all the recent versions of Poser, including Poser 2014.

DOWNLOAD

83


"Fly with me..." (2013) by Thierry Cravatte. Daz Studio and Octane.

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TERRAGEN SPECIAL

MARCH 2015 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 visit! paul@3dartdirect.com 84

3D Art Direct Issue 46/47  

3D Art Direct specialises with the stories of creativity using 3D digital art applications. We love to share our in-depth interviews of digi...

3D Art Direct Issue 46/47  

3D Art Direct specialises with the stories of creativity using 3D digital art applications. We love to share our in-depth interviews of digi...

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