3D Art Direct
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BE INSPIRED BY 3D DIGITAL ART Discover New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Worlds
Issue 9 Luca Oleastri
June 2011 Premium Edition
3D Art Direct
BE INSPIRED BY 3D DIGITAL ART Discover New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Worlds
How we contribute to the Digital Arts Community
We specialize in 3D Digital Art in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. We interview digital artists from around the world and publish their portfolios in our magazine, video blog and our 3D virtual gallery. We specialise in examining an artist's portfolio in detail and discovering the stories about it's creation. We promote an artist's work across the board through multiple media.
Magazine Read our magazine online or order a printed copy.
Praetax Explore our on-line virtual art gallery. See our blog and click on the ―Praetax‖ button. 3dartdirect.com/blog
Videocast View portfolios of artists we have interviewed on YouTube. See the 3DArtDirect channel.
Paul Bussey Editor email@example.com
Mickey Mills Design Assistant
Farrukh Hassan Assistant Editor
Cover art : “Departure” courtesy of Brian Christensen 2
Editorial Three Tips for Slaying the digital Dragon
Model Store Focus
Review City Engine softwareâ€”detailed procedural urban environments with a few clicks.
Interview : Luca Oleastri
Professional digital artist from Innovari
Interview : Tony Meszaros
Professional 3D models from Realms Art
Interview : Arthur Dorety Rich portfolio of digital dragon artwork
Interview: Dave Orchid
Extraordinary worlds formed from Mojoworldâ€˜s landscape software. 3
3 Tips for Slaying the Digital Dragon
hat is the number one enemy for a newly hatched digital artist, just testing the waters of digital art?
It‘s being overwhelmed with too many choices. That overwhelm is like a deadly digital dragon, burning up our valuable resource of time. The tools for digital art seem to take up a whole universe of their own. There is a myriad of choices for 3D art software. With so many choices, it‘s easy to go after each and every shiny new toy that comes our way.
A Universe of Tools The main software packages offer so much, but like most products that try to cover all the bases, they can‘t do everything well. Some are suited more for animation, some for modelling and some for creating natural landscapes. Then there are choices for that essential accessory software for postwork. And of course, all those options for 3D models to import into your scene….
EDITORIAL Danny Gordon, an artist we‘ve previously interviewed, offers this practical tip to those who are just starting out with digital art: ―With all the 3d applications out there its easy to get distracted and too spread out. Do some research and find a program that interests you; stick with it. Post your progress, get involved in forums and ask questions.‖. 1. Focus on One Package Making a focus on one package is good advice. Think about what your strongest interest is for 3D digital art and then marry up this interest with the package that offers the greatest excellence for your focus. Do some research to find out which software offers the greatest strengths for your interest. 2. Sign up For a Forum As you start to learn the package, get yourself involved in a forum. Post images as your learn, seek advice and ask questions . Being involved in a forum offers several high benefits. A forum gives you a supportive peer group and the potential to get continuous feedback that can improve your methods and speed up your workflow. 3. Post Your Progress & Ask Questions Digital art communities often offer a means of creating your own gallery. Posting images into your own gallery builds up a history of your work and helps you track progress. Don‘t be afraid to ask even basic questions to learn 3D digital art. There are plenty of artists who have been through the same stages of learning that you‘ve experienced and are willing to help. As time goes on, you‘ll be able to reciprocate your support to others—and the involvement of educating others will further motivate your work.
Last year we pitched this survey question to our blog followers:
―Do you have an on-line resource that provides you with quality feedback for most of the artwork that you post? If so – what‘s the resource that you use? ―
Surprisingly, about 50% of artists did not have a resource that they regularly used—yet feedback and being involved in a supportive community will be the lifeblood of your art. If you haven‘t done so already, make the point of regularly connecting with other artists—find a forum!
Paul Bussey Editor firstname.lastname@example.org 5
Models for E-onâ€™s Vue
MODEL STORE FOCUSâ€”Realms Art Realmsart.com
Sci-Fi Corridors : $23.40 Highly detailed sci-fi corridor suitable for the interior of spaceships, space-stations, bunkers, military outposts, terrestrial bases, submarine bases, and many other uses. All lights are included. There are five large modules included: corridor section, four-way junction, T-junction, corridor with airlock, and a corridor with an observation window. Each module can be moved, replicated, and reconfigured to make unique corridors that can be extended indefinitely.
The Temple of Horus : $13.50 This temple is partly inspired by the famous Horus temple at Edfu, the second largest Egyptian temple after the one in Karnak. It was begun 237BC by Ptolemy III and wasn't finished until about 200 years later. This model is detailed both interior and exterior, with many elements modeled separately so you can break the model apart and reuse the components. Different elements of the model are textured separately, allowing you to change some or all the materials.
Citadel of the Ice Queen : $13.50 Hidden in the frozen north, with cold, ethereal towers and high, wind-blown bridges, drapped with icicles and speckled with moss, this detailed, late-medieval, gothic styled citadel makes a perfect abode for an evil villain with a cold heart. The complex breaks into individual towers and bridges, and the main structure further breaks into base, lower, mid and upper sections to allow you to reconfigure it to suit the contours of the landscape, or reassemble it as a completely different structure.
CityEngine artists have F orhadyears a selection of applications to provide automatic generation of 3D landscapes such as Terragen, Vue, WorldMachine and Mojoworld. Each of these allows a landscape to be created procedurally. After a few clicks a whole landscape can be created. But what about something as complex as an urban environment â€“ a city?
The amount of detail that goes into making a 3D city takes a lot of time to build and construct, but a Swiss based company called Procedural has created an application called CityEngine solving the problem of generating an urban environment simply and effectively. Just as we have seen in procedural terrain software, much of the work can be done for you, cutting out time consuming tasks such as manual design, texturing and modeling of city models, buildings and streets, so you can build your city in no time. 7
Review by Farrukh Hassan
REVIEW : CityEngine Introduction Cityengine is a procedural modeling tool, from Procedural, used for the automatic creation of large cityscapes. In just a few clicks, the user is able to build a fully realized urban city, having buildings and a full network of roads. As the name clearly suggests, the purpose of this software is to provide the necessary tools to create large-scale realistic textured cities quickly and efficiently, which can then be exported to 3DS, Vue Vob and Obj format to be used in your app of choice for lighting and rendering.
CityEngine is a very unique and specialized 3D modeling software and is steadily building up its popularity and a place in the market. User Interface Let's discuss CityEngine's user interface in detail. The UI is divided into main menu and toolbar menu at the top. The rest of the space is taken up by Navigator and Scene sections on the left side and Viewport and Inspector sections in the middle and right side respectively. The Navigator section consists of the open projects displayed in a tree-view hierarchy. All the images, models, maps, data and assets etc. of the project in use can be viewed and accessed from here. Below the Navigator section, we have the Scene window which is the central place where you manage your scene organized in the following layers: Environmental Layers - Common 3D viewport parameters, such as scene's panorama or the scene light, are controlled here. Map Layers - This is used to globally control object attributes and contain images. Graph Layers - These contain the street networks, blocks and generated models displayed under "StreetNetwork". Shape Layers - These usually contain the static shapes used as the building footprints also displayed under "StreetNetwork".
REVIEW : CityEngine Next we have the middle area for the Viewport, which is used to display the whole scene from either perspective, top, front, side or a custom view configured by the user. All these four pre-defined views can also be displayed simultaneously in the main window similar to the 3DS Max layout.
it will go with building up all the objects. The user can work with this either using a text or node based approach. The latter is particularly useful for those who are not comfortable with writing code. Using this method, rules can be defined for producing
You can also select the focal length, bookmark a view, toggle between show/hide models, graph networks, shapes and map layers. The scene can also be viewed in shaded, textured or wireframe mode. Last we have the Inspector window in which you can view and/or edit the selected item's properties, attributes, and view its vertices, rule parameters and reports.
simple or complex models by adding and connecting nodes and while this is being done, the text file for these rules is written by the application. The text based approach, on the other hand, will surely appeal to those familiar with programming as it offers a new programming language with helpful tools such as, highlighting code and grammar checking as you work. When you start building up a city from scratch, the first step is to grow a network of roads and streets for it. This is done using the "Grow Street" option under Graph in the main menu.
Modeling Like in any other 3D modeling software, the modeling part is of utmost importance in CityEngine too. But unlike other modeling tools, where you work on splines, faces, polygons and vertices of a single model, in CityEngine a CGA (Computer Generated Architecture) file is used to actually teach the software how to build different models for a scene. This is the core procedural modeling approach used by CityEngine for the creation of large cityscapes.
You can predefine various attributes like number of streets, the pattern of major and minor streets, alignment and width settings etc., before generating the entire street network. Once this is done, it will generate lots inside them and a CGA file can also be allocated from which the models can be generated. Street networks can also be imported from AutoCAD DXF (dxf), Esri Shapefile (shp) or OpenStreetMaps (osm) files.
The Computer Generated Architecture file is made up of all the rules which are defined to tell the application how 9
REVIEW : CityEngine Next we have Obstacle and Attribute maps which can be included in the project using the "New Map Layer" option under Layer in the main menu. The Obstacle maps are very useful in preventing the generation of buildings and
"Live Mode". When this is enabled, you can literally select a section of a street, move it in either direction and the blocks will reorganize themselves, redrawing the streets, retexturing the land and choosing buildings to suit the new layout. All of this is possible thanks to the procedural
streets in areas like rivers, parks etc.
To control the attributes of buildings such as height, level of detail and colour channels, which helps to differentiate between residential and commercial areas, Attribute maps are used.
This definitely looks and is complex, especially working directly in the text file, but CityEngine has also provided a visual way for doing all this which I have already discussed above. It does simplify things a bit if not much. The team at Procedural has also provided a detailed manual, very helpful set of tutorials (text and video) incluiding examples which gives the user a nice start to understand the domain and begin editing an existing scene right away.
The final and the most essential step is the generation of buildings using the CGA file. Scripting is, of course, at the heart of what this file relies on in defining the rules. These rules extrude, rotate, move, scale and apply textures to the built structures. You can also build windows, on the buildings, of varying shapes and sizes as well as add various roofs to the buildings. With the help of these rules, models built in other 3D softwares can also be imported and added into the scene. To generate a simple building, you select a Lot in the scene, assign a rule file to it via the "Assign" option in the toolbar menu and simply generate a model using the "Generate" option. The parameters of the generated building can be accessed and edited in the "Rule Parameters" section in the Inspector window.
Conclusion CityEngine is without a doubt one of the best 3D software I have come across yet. The way procedural modeling has been implemented and utilized is remarkable, although the interface may not be easy for everyone. The application has a nice looking and user-friendly interface. The node-based approach does help in making life easier but needs more improvement. The comprehensive set of guides, tutorials and examples are of great help in understanding the underlying functionalities. The export to a good variety of applications is also an advantage.
One of the most amazing feature of CityEngine is called 10
REVIEW : CityEngine
CityEngine has great potential and is heading in the right direction in my opinion. It is extremely helpful and quick for projects having small or large villages, towns or an entire city.
You can download the trial version from :http://www.procedural.com/cityengine/trial.html The version of CityEngine for Vue is $199 from Cornucopia3D
Luca Oleastri 3DAD: You‘ve mentioned that you are an avid reader of science fiction and a fan of the book cover art. Do you recall some of the first books that caught your eye with their illustrations? LO: Yes, I totally remember the book. It was the Italian version of "Anything you can do" by Darrel T. Langart (a.k.a. Randall Garrett). It was the seventies, I was thirteen and it was the first science fiction book I read. I bought it just for the cover. The cover art was by Karel Thole, a very good and surreal Dutch illustrator who has created during his long career thousands of science fiction book covers worldwide. To know more about his work see the tribute website at http://www.karelthole.com 3DAD: Looking at your past experiences and your resume, recreating the type of artwork you are a fan of is and has been important to you. You tried airbrushing and plastic model making before focussing on digital art with
Luca Oleastri is a solid veteran of the science fiction and fantasy genres. He has owned his own special effects company, a publishing house and was editor in chief of the Italian editions of Fangoria and Gorezone movie magazines. He now offers his services as a full time illustrator and designer for books, magazaines and games at Innovari (www.innovari.it ) using digital art as his preferred medium.
Bryce. Did you start with Bryce early on it‘s history? LO: I started with Bryce 3. I loved it immediately because after a few hours I understood almost everything without reading the manual ��� 3DAD: What were some of the first learning curve challenges you found with Bryce. Did you find a natural affinity with working with it? LO: I had previously used Photoshop filters "KPT, Kai's Power Tools" on a Mac, and I found the PC Bryce interface very similar and familiar. 3DAD: I notice that your original degree was in surveying, yet your career now is very much to do with the arts and publishing. How did you end up changing track – did this change occur quite early on in your life? Steel Abyss
LO: Very Early. At the age of twenty, I started with some 12
INTERVIEW : Luca Oleastri friends a special effects company for film and television in which I worked for ten years. It was the eighties and the personal computers were still awful machines for accounting! At the time special effects were achieved with scale models, explosions, special makeup and some tricks on film printing. Personally in my company, I was responsible of the construction of scale models. I do the same now in 3D! 3DAD: From 2000-2005, you worked at Qubica. What are a few key things you that you learnt whilst working amongst other professional digital artists. Did it for instance improve your workflow methods? LO: My experience at Qubica (now Qubica AMF) had improved my workflow methods. All work at Qubica was made with a high professional level at warp speed. I'm still at warp speed! 3DAD: After Qubica you started your own business doing fantasy and sci-fi illustrations. Was it preferable working for yourself and working on your favourite genres? LO: A lot! It was what I always wanted to do and I did it.
Use of Grobto in â€•Dreamy Planetâ€– Furthermore, despite the fact that there are many Fantasy and Sci-Fi artists out there, there are relatively few who work professionally in the world. So I carved out a niche in the market, even if technically I'm not the best. Unfortunately today's genre market is really a niche, much more than in the past. If I had started ten years before with genre illustrations made in 3D with PC, my career would be such as Fred Gambino (see http://www.fredgambino.co.uk) who was the first pro illustrator to use 3D, and in particular Bryce for his works, but he was older, wiser and more English and Anglo-Saxon than me ... I still live at the extreme outskirts of the Empire! 3DAD: Did you have some early breakthroughs with gaining some commissions and clients in the early days of your company?
The Wild Blue Yonder
LO: I have breakthroughs in every project. Every time I discover a new way to achieve my goals with less time being consumed. The important thing for the customer is the result, not the method which it is reached, and for the customer, the less time a project takes, the better. 13
INTERVIEW : Luca Oleastri 3DAD: You‘ve mentioned that when using Photoshop, you‘ll often use it to remove details and make things less ―cold‖ in your illustrations. Is this to overcome the fact that 3D digital art can appear to perfect, with edges and shapes looking too ―on the nose‖? LO: I think that the most important thing is, at the end, that the result is a true illustration and not a life-like render. Realist renders are okay for movies, commercials and also for games, not for illustrations in the publishing industry. 3DAD: You‘ve mentioned that you use Groboto – what are some of the works you‘ve created with this that you are most proud of? LO: Groboto is great for weird backgrounds or to make strange 3D meshes. Besides achieving excellent renders, Groboto gives you the ability to export the meshes that it generates in useful 3D formats. ―Dreamy Planet‖ is a good example. 3DAD: You‘ve also mentioned that Bryce give you more creative freedom and a faster workflow. What features of it allowed this to happen?
Production of covers for classic sci-fi books is one series that Luca includes in his Renderosity gallery LO: Mainly the interface, for me it is particularly natural. You can totally love or hate Bryce's interface. Artists from "serious" programs such as Maya usually hate it because they find it unintelligible or "too easy" or "unprofessional‖. 3DAD: In your opinion how could Bryce be improved? LO: In a couple of things: some simple modelling tools such as a lathe tool and an extrude tool. The most important improvement would be a serious mesh export tool. After all these years (more than 10) Bryce still does not have real way to export in other 3D formats the mesh created with the program, and I've seen meshes created with Bryce by various artists that are really amazing.
3DAD: I‘m glad to see you are a fan of Chris Foss and Peter Elson. I‘m a big fan of Peter‘s work as well and I am sure you are aware of the website at peterelson.co.uk showing most of his works, organised by his sister. She asked me a few years ago on recommending how to provide poster prints for the fans. I am a big fan of Harry Harrison‘s sci-fi books and short stories and many of his 14
INTERVIEW : Luca Oleastri books were illustrated by Elson in the eighties and nineties bit more – simply because the technicalities of it were – so that‘s how I was introduced to Peter‘s work. What over the directors heads. are a few favourites images of your of Peter and Chris‘s work? LO: I don't believe so, it is exactly the opposite. LO: I know via email Peter's sister too; she contacted me because for many years I created a web space "The Unofficial Peter Elson Homepage" (http://www.innovari.it/ peter elson 1.htm). The site is my tribute to this great artist who died prematurely. Of Peter's works I like best are the ones with spaceships as a subject. I believe that Peter, with his works, have changed forever the way of imagining and designing a spaceship - much more than Chris Foss did. His designs still influence today all the genre artists. If he were alive today, he certainly would have worked successfully in the gaming and entertainment industries.
Todays movie directors have totally lost control of the scripts, due to the fact that the special effects, in todays standards are always perfect, and are too easy to make. In the past the story was more important than the effects. You can still watch the 1951 movie "The Thing from Another World" because of the dialogues - a movie where the alien, the main character, is virtually never seen. In six months from now who want to see a movie like "Battle: Los Angeles"? Special effects are important only if they support a good story and well-defined characters Red Nebula
The Avalon Spaceship 3DAD: You‘ve worked in the film industry for 10 years – specialising in sci-fi and special effects. Do you feel that directors are gaining better artistic control over special effects recently. I think in the early days of effects, the effects houses tended to drive the style of the output a 15
INTERVIEW : Luca Oleastri movies such as "Forbidden Planet" or "Blade Runner". gaining space in the hearts of the readers with our It is easy today to make a movie full of amazing special project. effects. It is not easy to do a good movie. We believe that with the advent of Ebooks and the printon demand books, it will certainly give room for the For these reasons, the genre TV Serials are always better creativity of the writers of our country and space for than movies: less money for special effects, more publishers like us. imagination in the development of the stories and the characters. 3DAD: Tell me about your three favourite models you have developed and what aspects do you like about Many times a pilot episode is better than a movie. them? 3DAD: You‘ve also work in publishing with your publishing house ―Edizioni Scudo‖, promoting the works of writers and illustrators – I think mainly for the Italian market, which is very much the same goal as 3D Art Direct. Is there a lot of talent in Italy with regards to sci-fi writing and illustrating? LO: The Italian publishing market is very xenophilous. Today publishers prefer to produce genre novels bought from the USA. Because of this bad habit (imposed to the Subspace Sister
readers by decades by the publishers) the readers still do not trust the Italian genre authors, but something is changing and we try to ride this wave. We are a very small publishing company but well known in the Italian fantasy and sci-fi scenes, and we are 16
INTERVIEW : Luca Oleastri
LO: Almost all my Renderosity store products are a sort of Bryce "tools" for science fiction images. Backgrounds, spaceships, robots, cities, aliens, UFOs and all that you need in order to produce Sci-Fi artworks are available to the customer devoted to Bryce for a cheap price.
My favorite products are models with a "vintage" design such as "Amazing Rocketships", made in collaboration with Renderosity member Geodesic250, and "Conquest of Space". I was born in the sixties, during the conquest of space, and that kind of design is an important part of my imagination. Another of my products that satisfies me a lot is "Secret Weapons - Flying Saucers and Experimental Jets" because it is the result of my own historical research on Nazi secret weapons. Perhaps these are not among my best selling products, but definitely are my favourites! 3DAD: What are some of your best selling products â€“ why do you think they have been particularly popular? LO: All my best selling products are related to futuristic cities, such as "Future City Blocks", "Alien City Blocks 2" and "Blade City Greble". I believe because big cities populated with large sets of buildings are difficult to model and appear consistent. Another one of my best selling products are definitely the spaceships, which I sell in collections; I have many products with spaceships. For example, with only $ 14.90
INTERVIEW : Luca Oleastri illustrations for a Steampunk anthology book published by my publishing house, in which all the stories are set in Italy. I've posted some of the artworks on Renderosity. My preferred one of this series is named "STEAMPUNK The Steam Fairy" . With this image, made in Poser (software that I use frequently) and Photoshop, I think that I have completely hit the Steampunk theme. In the last few weeks I'm working for a U.S. company on a Sci-Fi tabletop game full of spaceships, but this is top secret! 3DAD: What three tips would you give those who are just starting out with digital art? As I said in the past to those who asked me this question: * Always experiment, try to find new and fast ways to do the usual things. In this holistic process you will find also a way to do brand new stuff. * Try to focus on your favourite subjects. For example, If you're good in fantasy subjects, do not waste your time trying to make children subjects. The mood won‘t work, and specialization certainly has it‘s rewards. * If you are working for a customer keep the deadlines. This is the basic rule to be a professional, and this is what customers want.
Terraformers you can buy "Spacefleet - The Collection" with 24 spaceships totally textured and ready to explore the deep space inside your PC! 3DAD: Tell me about your book ―Innovari‖ that you‘ve published. Is this a collection of your best work? Was this book a long time in the making? LO: Actually my printed book "Innovari, the fantastic digital art of Luca Oleastri" is a collection of works made before 2006. My most recent works can be found in my other printed books named "UFOs, ALIENS, IFOs AND OTHER MYSTERIES", "Girls of Fantasy and Science Fiction", and the latest one, called "SHIPS - Spaceships and People from Another Galaxy". The books can be purchased from around the world directly from my website (in English) http:// www.innovari.it All these books together, contain my best works over the past decade. 3DAD: Is there any other recent work you have done that would like to mention and promote at this time? LO: Yes, I've just finished work on a series of colour 18
Steampunk—The Steam Fairy
Models for Daz/Bryce/Poser
MODEL STORE FOCUSâ€”Luca Oleastri Duo on renderosity.com
Tony Meszaros Tony Meszaros is the owner of
there‘s no reason to ―do it alone‖.
Realms Art. He currently lives and works in Adelaide, South Australia, and is a full-time professional CGI artist and content provider.
3DAD: You started in the early 1980s with digital art. Do you still reminisce with the experiences you had back then? I believe you started with an Apple II?
Realms Art was originally established to provide inexpensive, quality CGI images to the plethora of users in need of book covers, CD art, web images, and other applications. The main target customers were individuals on limited budgets without necessarily a lot of experience with art – mainly self-published authors, bands independently producing CDs, small business operators in need of web art, indie game developers and so on.
TM: I did own an Apple II but it wasn‘t really used for any form of serious art – it‘s simply not possible on a machine that supported a palette of only four colours, and where each pixel couldn‘t be assigned its own value. However, the Apple was an important threshold for me to get into the digital world because it helped me to develop an interest in things IT.
In 2006 the Realms Art focus shifted to digital content with a specialisation in Vue and Poser (though, of course, not limited to these). Initially the focus was on SolidGrowth plants, but that soon grew to encompass all items relevant to Vue – including objects, materials, plants and atmospheres – and then later expanded again to include Poser outfits for Michael4 and Victoria4. Since then countless images and animations by thousands of customers have been generated using Realms Art content. Customers range from high-end professionals to hobbyists. If you want to find out more, the Realms Art website is www.realsmart.com. The Realms Art storefront is at Cornucopia3D http://www.cornucopia3d.com/brokeredfor.php?artist_store=25 , or you can find Realms Art on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ RealmsArt where, if you press the ―Like‖ button, you can subscribe to the page and receive periodic free stuff.
3DAD: South Australia is your home. Do you have much of a local community of digital artists and other vendors in that part of the world? TM: I‘m aware of other Vue users in my neighbourhood, and also artists in different media and I do get together with them from time to time. However, in the digital world of today, in this industry in particular, locality is of no consequence. I have a large number of correspondents, many of whom I count as true, meaningful friends, from virtually every part of the world. We communicate mainly via email, but sometimes webcam or skype. I regularly liaison with these people, bounce ideas around, perform joint projects, etc. Like any industry, dealing with like-minded people is critical for feedback and growth both professionally and personally. In the connected world that we live in today 20
INTERVIEW : Tony Meszaros TM: Steps in my workflow consist of geometry development, rigging, 2D work, and platform specific development. After the item is developed it‘s extensively beta tested by my friends and collaborators, and finally the various bits of marketing data, such as the blurb and the marketplace images are generated. Not all content I develop uses all steps, for example SolidGrowth plants don‘t have a custom geometry, and aren‘t rigged. For geometry and rigging I‘m a 3DS user. At an earlier time, when maintaining a positive cash-flow was difficult, I learned how to use Blender. Blender is a powerful tool that‘s almost up there with 3DS, which is even more amazing when you keep in mind that Blender is free. That said, Blender is possibly one of the most frustrating tools in existence due to its terrible, non-standard interface. I know Blender fanatics rave about the interface, but I, like almost everyone else I‘ve spoken to, hate it and find it an impediment to using the product. Hopefully the new interface being designed for Blender 2.5 will rectify this. I‘m strongly considering switching to Blender full time and dropping 3DS altogether – the saving in licensing cost will certainly be welcome, but before I do so, I will need to achieve similar productivity levels as I do with 3DS. Most of my early career was spent in software I also do a lot of quick prototyping of the geometry using development of one form or another. The last 15 years of Wings3D, another free modeller. In my opinion, Wings3D which was spent being the manager of a significant sized IT development shop. I learnt a lot of critical skills that I later applied to my own business, not the least of which was budget and project management, as well as people and communication skills. 3DAD: You‘ve mentioned in your C3D interview that you started with Bryce and then eventually moved over to Vue. Do you still use Bryce to a degree? Were there some shortcomings of Bryce where Vue won you over? TM: No, I stopped using Bryce when I started with Vue – the two overlapped a lot, and it was of no value to maintain both skill-sets and software licenses. Bryce, for its time, was brilliant, and a tool aimed at everybody, not just CGI professionals. Sadly, the owners of Bryce stopped developing it, it grew older and staler, and Vue eventually surpassed it. Possibly sometime in the future, the same will happen to Vue and some other tool will take over. Vue has, unfortunately, a large number of frustrations and limitations that has me pulling my hair out some days, so there is a stage there for someone else to come along and do it better. That said, for the time being and in my opinion, Vue really is best in class for this type of tool. 3DAD: What tools do you use in your workflow? What tends to be the bottleneck in your workflow and how have you tried to resolve this?
Heavenly Bodies 21
INTERVIEW : Tony Meszaros
THE LADY OF SHALOTT is an absolute gem. If you‘re new to modelling, it‘s the place to start. It‘s simple, very quick to learn, but surpriseingly powerful. Many people dismiss Wings3D because it looks simple, but don‘t let that fool you. I‘ve had several times where I just decided to keep the prototype model (rather than redeveloping a production version in my main modeller) and ended up selling that. Wings3D does have limitations, but at producing static, non-rigged geometry quickly, nothing compares to it. For certain types of geometry I often develop my own software either in python in one of the modellers, or in C++ running native under Windows. They‘re usually quick programs to generate a particular type of geometry mathematically rather than me doing it manually. For my 2D work, I switched to GIMP a long time ago. For my requirements, it‘s more than enough and saving the expense of Photoshop helps keep my business afloat. Wherever possible I take my own photos to make into textures and I found much better results in investing the license cost of Photoshop in a top end camera. Given a choice of either buying an expensive camera and using GIMP, or paying for Photoshop, I choose the camera every time. I‘m a photography nut and am currently using a Nikon 300s fitted with the Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.55.6 VR II lens. I‘ve known some people try taking pictures to make into textures using simple compact digital cameras, or worse still, mobile phones, but the results, particularly in focus clarity and colour reproduction, are
usually poor and the resulting texture can seem very unrealistic. I recommend that if you intend to make your own textures that you consider a proper digital SLR – there are a number of cheaper ones on the market which, according to their published stats, should produce decent results. The final stages of the item development is always done in the target platform – so, for a Poser item that means rigging the item in Poser using its Setup Room, and then developing its textures using the Poser shader tree. In Vue it means developing its materials in the material editor. The next stage is Beta testing. For this I hand my item over to a handful of friends and collaborators and ask them to test the product. Some of my testers try and break the item by putting them through all sorts of strange situations, and others just try and use it in artwork. Nowadays I don‘t get that many change requests coming back because I‘ve improved my development skills, but in earlier days the beta testing phase used to sometimes take weeks of back and forth revisions. Beta testing is critical though and something I think no content developer should skimp on. If a customer gets a bad product then he or she will probably avoid your products in the future, but worse still, they tell of their bad experience to everyone that will listen. I studied marketing in my previous job and one of the stats I remember is that on average one bad customer experience is shared by 11 people, and those 11 will then, on average, tell four others. So that‘s over 40 people that may avoid your product as a result of one bad experience. Don‘t put a bad product into the marketplace, ever! That‘s why beta testing is so important because it‘s a precursor to customer experience – really listen to your beta testers, and don‘t try and justify their complaints.
INTERVIEW : Tony Meszaros
FLURRIES The last stage is development of the marketing blurb and images. This is often where customer expectation is generated. You need to generate enough excitement that the customer buys your product, but not so much that they end up with unrealistic expectations. The maxim ―promise little, deliver a lot‖ should be kept in mind. If a customer uses your products and says ―wow, it can do that as well,‖ then you‘ve got one very happy customer that is likely to come back for more products. As for bottlenecks, I‘m not sure I have any major ones. Once I start on a project it is usually pretty smooth, although research can sometimes take up an unreasonable amount of time. If anything, my bottlenecks are in the in between phases between projects where I can sometimes have difficulty getting started. In this industry you have to be self-reliant and a self-motivator because you don‘t have a boss breathing down your neck telling you to get on with it. A surprising number of people don‘t seem to have the right sort of mentality for working this way, and sometimes I wonder if I‘m one of them! 3DAD: When going commercial with selling your own
content, what were some of your early breakthroughs that helped get your business going? TM: I was very lucky with my timing and at about the time I started thinking seriously about making Realms Art my full time job, Cornucopia3D opened up. I was one of the very first vendors there. This gave me an opportunity to settle into a new major marketplace and establish myself as one of the primary content providers. Vue content, previous to this, was only available in little trickles here and there from various other store-fronts, but Cornucopia3D was a big player, and in the early days a largely empty field waiting to be filled. Because I was there from the start, I feel a strong tie to the place. It almost feels like we grew up together. This is one of the reasons why I sell exclusively through Cornucopia3D. In the first 12 or so months of Cornucopia3D being live there were quite a number of object developers but very few SolidGrowth plant developers. This seemed like a hole in the marketplace, particularly when you remember that Eon consider SolidGrowth plants as being
HP LOVECRAFT 2
INTERVIEW : Tony Meszaros
FIRESTORM 3-0 one of Vue‘s primary selling points. All of my early successes were giant SolidGrowth plant packs of 40 or more items that the customers seemed to love. In the same way, I‘ve now shifted a lot of my focus to Poser outfits for Michael4 and Victoria4. This is an expansion in clientele for Cornucopia3D, and for the moment, I‘m the only Poser content developer on this site. 3DAD: Before Realms Art, what were some of the other commercial projects that you have been most proud of? TM: Before RA I was employed by a major automotive manufacturer in their IT department. I started as a software developer, became a Systems Analyst, and moved onto Project Management. Towards the end of my career there I was managing the entire IT software development department. During this time I had the opportunity to be seconded to a number of other departments, including Engineering and Marketing. All this provided me with invaluable experience. One day I would be expected to give an ad-hoc presentation to the Board of Directors, the next day I might be dealing with gruff production line workers, and then next day I might be expected to fly to Japan to present a case to our parent company. I learnt how to deal with all sorts of
people. The job also taught me a lot about budget control, time management, project control, user expectations, marketing, etc. All skills I now need to run my business. All the CGI items I developed were always under the Realms Art banner, so in essence there is nothing ―before‖ Realms Art. This was even true when developing CGI was still a hobby for me. I decided to put everything under the Realms Art banner so that customers would have some brand identification. Today there are a large number of pro, semi-pro, and amateur content developers and remembering a brand is much easier for customers that may want to come back for more, or tell their friends of it. People sometimes ask me what Realms Art means, but I have to reply that it doesn‘t really mean anything. It had a kind of fantasy sound to it which I liked, that‘s all. 3DAD: You are involved in the development of a fantasy role playing game. Tell me a little about the game if you can. What‘s been the most satisfying points of work in this project? TM: The FRPG has been shelved for a while. There were a core of four of us developing the software for it, and for one reason or another people drifted off the project. It was the requirement to develop 3D content for the game that lead me to establish Realms Art in the first 24
INTERVIEW : Tony Meszaros WAITING FOR PRINCE CHARMING
WAITING FOR THE HOMECOMING 25
INTERVIEW : Tony Meszaros novel, or maybe its building a cubby house for the kids, or whatever else. They‘re not serious commercial projects, but if I ever do finish a graphic novel, or a novel, or a marketable piece of software, then I probably would look to get it published. 3DAD: You broker content for Cornucopia 3D. Your three best sellers at the moment are a tree stump, 500 metal materials and the temple of Horus! Clearly you have a great range of content. Do you have a favourite line of content that you‘ve created and sold via C3d? TM: I wouldn‘t pay a lot of attention to the top three items. Eon have some sort of complex formula that calculates the popularity of an item based on its number of sales, time in the store, etc. Nobody understands how the formula works, and the top three items shuffle around in some sort of Brownian motion from time-to -time. My overall best selling items are still the SolidGrowth plants I developed years ago, but they are aging now so their day-to-day sales are somewhat less than my more recent items. My best selling objects are ―Medieval Dungeon‖, ―Medieval Tavern‖ and ―Medieval Cloister‖ with the dungeon leading by a long way. Of my Poser items, the ―Medieval Peasants‖ are the clear leaders. It‘s probably coincidence that all those items are ―Medieval‖.
THE SORCERESS place, and in a strange twist, RA just took over and the FRPG floundered. 3DAD: You‘ve tried your hand at a graphic novel— have you been able to complete this? What was the main point of the story? TM: The graphic novel was never a really serious venture for me. I tend to have a lot of nervous creative energy, and from time-to-time, when RA projects don‘t quite satisfy my craving to produce something, I often find myself dabbling in other things – sometimes that‘s a CGI image, sometimes a short animation, sometimes its software develop-ment, or a graphic novel, or a written
3DAD: The SolidGrowth plants are I think are amongst most popular items in your Cornucopia3D store. What led you to producing this line of products? TM: As I mention earlier, at the time I started there seemed to be a hole in the market for SolidGrowth plants. There were not many brokers producing it, and Eon was slow in releasing new ones. Vue and SolidGroth plants go together like cheese and crackers, so it seemed a good way to spend my time. For me, it was just a business venture, and I have no special interest in plants. 3DAD: Who were the first few artists that you looked up to
INTERVIEW : Tony Meszaros
THE ROAD GOES EVER ON
and inspired you with their fantasy or sci-fi art? What are a few of your favourite images of these artists?
And the list just goes on.
TM: Boy, where to begin?
3DAD: From your gallery, ―The Road Goes Ever On‖, what inspired you to do this particular scene from Lord of the I‘m a huge fan of Frank Frazetta. I love both his barbarian Rings (Ithilien?). Were you pleased with the outcome of art, and his Barsoom illustrations. His women, though not this piece? always the prettiest looking, always looked a little more natural than many other artists in this genre. I pretty TM: I‘m a big Tolkien fan and have read Lord of the Rings much like all of his work, but if I had to pick some over a dozen times. I started off doing something else favourites, they would be ―Egyptian Queen‖ altogether – at the time I was working on my Highlander http://www.frankfrazetta.net/images/EgyptianPoser outfits and I wanted to do a Scottish Medieval Queen_01.jpg, ―The Moon‘s Rapture‖ http:// scene to highlight the product. At first attempt the www.frankfrazetta.net/images/Moon's-Rapture_01.jpg, landscape looked boring, so I added the road of the ―Fighting Man of Mars‖ http://www.frankfrazetta.net/ title, and then ―The Road Goes Ever On‖ poem from the images/Fighting-Man-of-Mars_01.jpg. Plus, many, many Hobbit played through my head. I then added the others. hobbits and Gollum and had a Lord of the Rings scene! I love the book covers Tim White was doing in the ‗80s and ‗90s. He had a really strange feeling of ―otherness‖ about his paintings which I think you can see in some of the book covers he did for Heinlein‘s NEL books, including ―Stranger in a Strange Land‖, ―Glory Road‖, and ―Time Enough For Love‖ (Sorry, no links, his official website didn‘t have these images, and I didn‘t want to link anywhere else).
I think the outcome more or less met expectations, but it did surprise me that it turned out to be the one most view and commented in my gallery. And it surprised me even more when Cornucopia3D chose it for their Cream of the Crop gallery. I personally don‘t think it‘s my best work.
Michael Whelan is another one of my favourites, especially his Barsoom book covers for Del Ray. I like H. R. Giger, though it‘s a style I would never try and 27
INTERVIEW : Tony Meszaros
THE GHOST OF T-REX 3DAD: ―The Ghost of T Rex‖. You mentioned that this took some time to render. I think the lighting provides a wonderful atmosphere to this image – did it take you some time to get the lighting to your satisfaction? TM: Most of my successful images are successful in the first hour or two of development. I rarely find myself agonising over an image – it either comes together quickly, or it doesn‘t work at all. The light in the scene came out pretty much straight away, and was reasonably close to how I envisioned it. At the time my top machine was a single core, multi-threaded PC and the render time was astronomical. I don‘t remember exactly, but I‘m sure it was over a week running 24 hours a day. The same image re-render on a modern rig would probably be done in less than 8 hours. Rendered over my network of four and eight core machines, it would be a fraction even of that. has been playing with one of them since as early as 12 I‘ve got a young son (and a younger daughter) and the months old. He was into dinosaurs at the time, but I didn‘t Rex image came about as a desktop for his PC. We‘ve want to put a big toothed flesh-eater onto his desktop, got a lot of spare PCs all over the house and our little one so I did the museum scene.
INTERVIEW : Tony Meszaros
WHEN IN CRETE sorts. Sure, knights and such do exists, but most are 3DAD: ―When in Crete‖. This image also has a strong historically inaccurate. So I set about to fill this gap, and sense of light. Was this what you envisaged when you first hence my Poser range came into being (though I thought about it? haven‘t done a Minoan Snake Goddess dress yet). TM: In actual fact that image is the promo image for the ―Knossos Courtyard‖ product I sell at Cornucopia3D. If you look at the primary image for that product and then at ―When in Crete‖ you‘ll see it‘s the same scene, but with the women added. The woman‘s pose, including the unexpected opening of her dress, came from a real photo I once took.
3DAD: ―Quest‖. You mention that the style of this render was influenced by artists such as Mick Van Houton. What are some of your favourites of Mick Van Houton‘s portfolio?
I think a strong sense of lighting is one of the items that set CGI apart from ordinary paint and brush art. I think it's one of the areas that CGI artists should spend time to perfect. If you look at some of the best Vue artists, including Don Webster and Laars Brad Andersen, they pretty much always have a strong sense of lighting.
TM: I wouldn‘t describe myself as necessarily being a Mick Van Houton fan, but if I had to choose some of his portfolio as my favourite, then I would pick the three covers he did for Jack Vance‘s Lyonesse series. I studied Houton‘s pictures to get an idea for non-realistic images. His use of colour, though stunning, is not a true representation of nature, and that was something I tried to capture in ―Quest‖. It occurred to me that a lot of CGI artists spend a lot of time and effort trying to achieve photo-realism, but really that doesn‘t necessarily make for good art – most paint and brush artists, after all, don‘t try for that hyper-realism look. ―Quest‖ was an attempt to get something to look ―arty‖ rather than realistic.
It was the Knossos courtyard and the open fronted dress which first decided me to expand into Poser outfits. I was thinking of the open-fronted, boobs out ―Snake Goddess‖ dresses of the Minoan people and it was obvious that no such Poser outfit would be available anywhere. Discussing this with some of my colleagues 3DAD: ―Ceremony of Gates‖. You have a good range of made it obvious that there is quite a large gap in the content relating to ancient Egypt in your store and no Poser marketplace for historically accurate clothing of all doubt used in this image. Has this been a favourite 29
INTERVIEW : Tony Meszaros
CEREMONY OF GATES
INTERVIEW : Tony Meszaros theme of yours that you‘ve explored? TM: All things historic are utterly fascinating to me. I can‘t get enough of historic novels, documentaries, etc. Ancient Egypt is fascinating to me, but no more so than Ancient Rome, or Mesopotamia, or Medieval Europe, etc. The large number of Egyptian items came about because of a promotion that Cornucopia3D were running, and I just took advantage of the promo and churned out a few items.
extensive collection of corals; or possibly Poser outfits for Vikings, Normals, Saxons, etc. I‘m active on Facebook and I publish in detail upcoming projects when they coalesce in my mind, and I usually keep a running dialogue going on how each project is going. Also, subscribers to my Facebook page get periodic freebies. If you‘re interested, head to http://www.facebook.com/RealmsArt and press the ―Like‖ button. 3DAD: What do you see as the major impediment to succeeding in this industry?
3DAD: ―That Which Does Not Kill Us‖. This image has a brief back story associated with it. Is there a larger story involved here, or is this an excerpt from an existing favourite novel of yours?
TM: With absolutely no doubt at all I would say its piracy. Piracy is rampant in this industry and various government studies put the cost of it at billions of dollars. But it‘s the little guy that really, really gets hurt here. I‘ve had TM: ―That which does not kill us, makes us stronger‖ is a numerous discussions with people who try and justify their quote from Nitchke used in the original Conan movie downloading habits in all sorts of ways; they usually make starring Arnie Schwarzenegger. That‘s where the title to statements like ―we still have a music (or movie) industry‖ this piece comes from. suggesting that they don‘t believe anyone is being hurt by piracy. That‘s just plain wrong and utter ignorance. In I‘m a voracious reader devouring three or four books a the 3D content industry it‘s tempting to see the face of week. I mostly read sci-fi, but I love from time-to-time to giant marketplaces such as Cornucopia3D, DAZ3D, and indulge in the mindlessness of heroic pulp fiction best Renderosity and come to believe that stealing one or represented by Howard‘s Conan stories and Burrough‘s two items wouldn‘t possibly damage them, but what Barsoom books. It‘s all pure escapism and great fun, and people so often forget is that behind the face of these fun is its own reward! giant marketplaces are small, independent people, many of whom are struggling to stay afloat, and often 3DAD: What are you working on at the moment, or have working crazy hours. How many content providers, just completed that you‘d like to promote to the readers independent musicians, small movie makers, indie game of 3D Art Direct? developers, or whatever has gone bust because of people‘s thoughtlessness? TM: You‘ve kind of caught me at a hiatus in work. I tend to be sporadic on and off in my projects. Because most Now the thing that makes it even worse is that there are of my pay is royalty based, my cash flow is smoothed out a lot of people getting very, very rich of piracy. You may despite my peaky work habits, and because I don‘t have think that sites that provide bit torrent links, or content, or a boss and I very rarely take on commission work file-sharing sites, or whatever are doing it for free nowadays, I can pretty much work as I want, and if that because you, as the user, may not actually pay means taking a few weeks leave of absence, or (as my anything, but in reality these sites make masses of money wife can attest to me doing) sitting in front of my PC at 6 through web traffic, advertising, subscription fees, or in the morning, in my underwear and drinking beer, then something else. So these little, struggling independent that‘s all fine. I don‘t actually recommend any of those content providers are getting bent over and are taking it things as a work habit, but it‘s just the way I‘m made – I from these rich pirate organisations. It‘s really sickening. blame it on an erratic Muse! So what can we do about it? The music and movie Some upcoming project being considered are: A industry have tried the hard approach for decades Benedictine Nun outfit for Victoria4 to compliment the without a lot of success, but I think there is something we Benedictine Monk outfit I‘m selling through can do. Just like the exploitation of animals was largely Cornucopia3D. I‘m also considering doing an extensive stopped when people said ―enough is enough‖ and collection of mushrooms, and because I hate doing stopped buying ivory and fur products, so we can all things by halves, I was thinking of doing a package of stop using these pirate sites – as soon as their traffic gets every significant mushroom in the world, with some rare small enough and their margins shrink, they‘ll cease to and strange species thrown in – a total of about 500 or exist. It takes one person to make a stand and refuse to 600 mushrooms, though I‘m not sure how I‘ll package download content, and then another, and then another. that up for sale. Looking ahead at upcoming Stop using these sites, then convince your friends to stop, Cornucipia3D promotions, I‘m also considering doing an then take every opportunity to educate other people. 31
INTERVIEW : Tony Meszaros
THAT WHICH DOES NOT KILL US 32
INTERVIEW : Tony Meszaros If you are an up-and-coming content provider than this is critical to you – if you use a pirate site, you contribute to their income, and in the future you may well find your own content there! Don‘t use pirate sites, no matter how tempting a free copy seems to you. And above all, never, ever upload stuff. That‘s my two cents worth on this soapbox. 3DAD: Finally What three tips would you have for those involved in model creation and/or digital artwork, particularly those who are just starting out?
First, I suggest that you initially aim at having a hobby that pays for itself. Presumably you‘re in the CGI game because you find it a fun thing to do, and if it's not, then you‘re probably in the wrong industry. It‘s a hobby that costs in terms of software licenses, hardware and content. If you can get to a point where you are making enough money from your CGI activities to pay for these costs, then I think you‘ll be in a very happy place. And if you can‘t achieve that much, then it‘s probably not a good idea to try going professional.
So how can you make money from CGI? There are a lot of people that would pay for a CGI image to use for one TM: I guess I‘ve made a number of these tips in my earlier project or another; particularly I‘m thinking of the points, so this will largely just be a recap. plethora of self-published authors and indie musicians launching their own CD. All these people need cover art. Look around the web and find some sites where people THE GHOST OF T-REX are asking for this type of work, and then get your artwork out there and start bidding for people‘s business. Don‘t be greedy and expect to get paid a pittance because you‘re trying to outbid hundreds of other artists TM: This interview resurrected "The Ghost of T in the same boat as you, and because your customer is Rex" image in my mind. It was always one of likely to be on a tight budget. Always communicate my favourite images, but at some 5 years old, respectfully with your customers, and always over-deliver it's dated, and both technology and my skills in terms of timing and quality. If, on the other hand you have improved since I originally rendered it. I have the skills to develop content rather than just CGI decided to revisit the scene and see how images, then you absolutely should join one or more of it would come out today. The Rex model the broker sites out there such as Cornucopia3D, DAZ3D, is quite a bit better and the lighting model is or Renderosity. Keep churning out products, some of significantly more ambitious. Total render time: which will succeed, some which will flop, and some under 2 hours! which may even be rejected by the site. Just take it in stride, and keep producing content until you‘ve built up
INTERVIEW : Tony Meszaros itself is fun, but once you‘re professional, it‘s a job, and pretty soon, day-after-day, its funness is going to diminish. Hopefully you‘ll still enjoy yourself, but be prepared that you‘re going to have days when you get up and groan that you have to go to work today. If you are not familiar with the principles of running a business, absolutely do a course in small business management, project management, and possibly even accountancy. You‘re now running a business and not working for someone else; and all those things your former boss had to worry about such as ―Have I enough cash flow to keep the business alive and still pay my bills?‖ are now your concerns. If you don‘t take this seriously, you will sink. If you‘re not prepared to run a small business, then keep it as a hobby and keep on with your real job.
a steady royalty stream. It goes without saying that you don‘t want to give up your day-job during this – remember, it‘s a hobby that pays its own way and any extra money is a bonus, call it ―beer money‖ or whatever and treat yourself, your partner, or kids with it on a regular basis.
Thirdly, both as a CGI artist or as a content provider you‘re going to survive on your output. Don‘t do the same as everyone else – how many medieval castle objects do we need? Look for gaps in the marketplace, look for stuff that other people aren‘t doing. And don‘t forget to brand yourself – it‘s much easier to remember ―Realms Art‖ than it is to remember ―Tony Meszaros‖. I tell this to people time and again – brand has value. Thanks for listening to me and I genuinely wish all of you the best. Feel free to contact me through Facebook to discuss anything you like. I love meeting new people and sharing ideas.
www.realmsart.com http://www.cornucopia3d.com/ brokeredfor.php?artist_store=25
Secondly, if you are now ready to take the step to be professional, then get ready for a rude slap in the face. This is a big step … I‘m not kidding. A hobby that pays for
Arthur Dorety Arthur Doherty writes of his journey to 3D art: I was born in US New Jersey in early January 1966. I have been drawing all my life as well as playing piano, organ and synths since 15. My brother and I put out a CD in 2007. I went to two years at The University of the Arts, in Philadelphia (Formerly Philadelphia College of Art); I went to local school for communications and got an internship working for a live sound company called Modular Sound of Morrisville PA. All the while I also worked part time in a lab at Princeton University. I helped process and even collected ocean water samples to measure CO2 levels in the oceans caused by industrial sources. I'd spend a month to two months at sea out in the Pacific and Indian Oceans collecting samples and processing some on board. Others would be shipped home and processed in the lab. Did three trips and got to see a lot of the world because of this. But alas all good things come to an end and there were no more samples to process and no more grant money for the bosses to keep me on. Hello unemployment. Perfect.
For the next six months, while looking for work, I did sound for a band called Mastermind and from Feb to Sept we did some touring. We went to Japan for 7 days in winter then England, the Netherlands and Germany for ten days in May. And finally we drove from the east coast to the west coast in two legs and were an opening band for the singer Fish of Marillion. He did a solo tour in 1997 in the states. When that was all done, I went back to doing live sound at Modular Sound again and working at a local liquor store a friend was an owner of. After ten years my friend sold the store, almost four years ago, and we both worked for the new owners until they sold it seven months ago (Sept 2010) and now my friend went elsewhere and I'm the top manager there. So between that, my art and the studio I'm very busy. In fall of 2010 I was contacted by Shawn R. Key. He was putting together a multimedia project with a music CD, an illustrated e-book, audio book and an online advent for Christmas with excerpts from the book, illustrations or songs from the CD. Prints and canvasses as well as t-shirts
all that kinda stuff. He contacted me through C3D and I illustrated the story for him. I did 30 images for the story. It was my first professional art job and it was a lot of fun to do, even with deadlines. I was free to interpret a lot on my own as long as it stayed in context with the story. That was a great learning experience for business and deadlines. I had to produce a picture a day and that's not always easy with Vue and I had to keep myself from doing too many versions or images from one aspect of the story. I definitely enjoy art for art's sake. Links: http://www.cornucopia3d.com/portfolio/art_dorety http://www.renderosity.com/mod/gallery/browse.php? username=adorety http://www.reignofkings.com/RoKhome.html http://adorety.deviantart.com/ http://www.doretybrothers.com
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
WIZARD SPRING and ink wash. Painting and color mediums were more elusive to me, even now to some degree. I could draw very realistically in black, white and shades, but painting for me was much tougher in that realm. However, I have many acrylic and water color paintings around, they're just more abstract or impressionistic.
3DAD: You and your brother are involved in music as well as art, including offering the services of a recording studio. Have you both been involved with the arts and music from an early age? AD: We both have been involved, to some degree, in art and music since we were kids. I was definitely more into drawing and Chris was more involved with music. We've had a Hammond organ in the house since before we were born and eventually a piano made it in too, so it was inevitable. My brother is probably my biggest musical influence really.
I went to Philadelphia College of Art for two years. The second year it became University of the Arts. I had a change of heart then and decided to get into the music side and see if I could end up working in a studio or do live sound for some big rock band.
As far as the studio goes, I switched from art to music in college and eventually spent almost twenty years in the live sound biz. Amidst that, I gathered enough equipment for a recording studio and when an addition was added onto the house in 1997 the lower half became a small soundproof studio. This got me out of the live sound business for good eventually. 3DAD: Did you start with learning traditional art medium skills first? AD: Yes. I would get art books when I was young and all classes in high school were geared towards an art career. I was mostly doing pencil, charcoal, pen and ink,
I managed to work with few big names, but nothing on the stadium size. And lots of big festivals and LOTS of jazz festivals. That was half my living from 1989 to 2006. The hours and labor began to wear out the money and fun. But by then I ended up with my own little studio. Though it doesn't provide me with a living income it's a fun addition. 3DAD: What influenced you to take up digital art and when did you get started? AD: Ironically I got reacquainted with art in general in 2006. I was working the main stage at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts for perhaps the fifth straight year, but now I had a laptop and I stumbled
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety upon Terragen in its early form. I had no idea what I was doing, but by playing around I began making terrains and figured out how to render them, etc. Right after that I found a book by Michael Burns called "Digital Sci-Fi Art". This made me want to return to the art field. After looking at the programs used for various images I was thinking Bryce and Poser, and then found out how expensive they were. At that time Vue had Vue Esprit version 5 bundled with Poser in a special promotion. I looked up Vue online and was just as impressed and more so than Bryce, and the price was right. For a little less than $200 US at the time I had what I was looking for. I never looked back. Now I'm just waiting for computer hardware to catch up!
doing some more traditional pieces now and putting them on Renderosity and Deviant Art. I'd like to show I can draw and it would give me a chance to step away from the digital and get some perspective. It's tough though, I'm very addicted to Vue and Poser right now. 3DAD: You have a strong interest in the subject of dragons, where have your main inspirations come from for this aspect of your work?
AD: Well, dinosaurs came first and dragons were just a tiny sidestep. In my youth I read everything I could that involved dragons and still do, to some degree, to this day. Oddly one story that sticks with me even now is "The Dragon that Lived Under Manhattan" by Edmund 3DAD: Do you enjoy creating digital art more than using Wallace Hildick and illustrated by Harold Berson. It was a unique story for me with a benevolent talking dragon traditional mediums? and great illustrations. Mr. Berson put a lot of personality AD: Yes and no. As I mentioned before, my paintings skills into the expressions on the dragon's face. don't match my line and shading skills, so the digital I was a nerd to some degree in middle and high school medium has allowed me to realize in 2D many of the ideas and images that occupy my mind. In only a year or and found Dungeons and Dragons. That was probably my biggest influence and a starting platform for my so of working in digital I realized there's just as much imagination. I'd still play it today, but to do it right takes effort and work that goes into a digital creation as a up too much time. traditional. In addition, if you don't have an eye for composition and detail, then the medium doesn't matter And to be clichĂŠ, Tolkien's "The Hobbitâ€–, with Smaug is a at all, whether it's a photo, painting or render. Having said that. I still get satisfaction, and frustration, out classic. Beyond that I have collections of traditional folklore of dragons. I've read a few of the Pern novels of a traditional drawing. How can you not, it's yourself creating. I still practice drawing and have thought about and some of Melanie Rawn's work. At some point I went out of my way to avoid dragon stories because I needed
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
to do my own. 3DAD: You currently use PoserPro 2010. Did you start to use Poser when it was first released? What first impressed you about PoserPro 2010 when you first used it? What do you believe itâ€˜s main strengths are? AD: As above, I started with Poser 6 and Vue Esprit 5 bundled together. There are many aspects that come together to make something a good experience. I use a
much faster computer now, I7 dual quad core, the program is more stable and the render times have decreased. I think the lighting and texture shaders have made the greatest improvements. In all these programs, it's the lighting and how they interact with the mesh materials that make an image work, assuming your composition is set out nicely. In Poser the use of Ambient Occlusion and Image Based 38
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety 3DAD: With what you have learned about Vue 9 Infinite so far, what for you are its top two features?
WOOD ELF LAND Lighting have come a long way. In Poser Pro 2010 they added Indirect Lighting (IDL) to enhance realistic lighting situations. IDL can take longer to render than regular AO/ IBL but the results can be quite good. I'm sure I don't take advantage of all the strengths of PPro2010, but the rendering and lighting options are a big deal and I enjoy the default user layout and the runtime folder options are much more sophisticated now.
AD: I'm forever learning in Vue. I recently did some tutorials by Quadspinner and that helped a lot in learning the function editor better with procedural terrain creation. Though some of these features were introduced in Vue 8, I didn't know them until 9 because I skipped from 7 to 9 with only one week with 8.5. The terrain editor has changed by leaps and bounds IMHO. You can create nearly anything you imagine. I use terrains to make organic objects occasionally too. Material painting directly onto the terrain is excellent and the eco-system and eco painting are the best. As an example the image "Battle at the Lake of Eternal Ice" was made by creating and posing 3 to 5 versions of a character, turning them into Vue obj and then adding them to an ecosystem and painting them where I needed to. And you can select which figure you want to populate or do a mix of all. So, I guess the terrain editor and eco systems are still my favorite aspects. I haven't tried the cloud editor yet, but the plant editor is a very handy tool as well. I've only had Vue version 9.5 for about a week, so there is lots to explore. The last thing to add to this is that Poser figure imports
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
THE DRAGON SORCERESS into Vue 9.5 are greatly improved. I find I'm making much For most of my images and for all but one of the D&D fewer edits to bump and specular/highlight settings. I Dragon series I use DAZ's Millenium Dragon 2. There are think Poser Pro 2010 is a partial factor in this. so many options and morphs I usually can make something close to what I want and sometimes 3DAD: Which dragon models have you used for your something else happens on its own. Swidhelm is the images or have you decided to construct your own? other. His dragons are excellent, but they lack the variety AD: 3D modeling is the final frontier for me. I've only of morphs. His dragons look excellent, but are very dabbled and you wont find any model I've made unless identifiable and I find I don't want to over use them. I it was with Vue primitives and booleans or a Vue terrain love the dynamic wings with those models and I have turned into a waterfall or something. That's still down the the dynamic wings he made for the Millenium Dragon road a little bit for me. and use them all the time.
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
BATTLE at the LAKE of ETERNAL ICE
TETHY’S SHORE 41
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
THE LAST MONK OF MAO SHIN—―Alira made her way down the street killing all the monks along the way. Her body in constant motion and swords scything everything down. She counted nineteen monks, that meant two left and one would be on his way to their master Mao Shin the Gold. Kahn was quite amused. He rose up and followed her thinking how useful she's been. He now understood even more, how dangerous she could be and she would probably expect betrayal on his part. He understood the Codes of Partners and reconsidered his original plan. At that moment the last monk of Mao Shin stepped from the shadow.”
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
RED DRAGONâ€” (Draco Conflagratio Horriblus)". The most terrifying of all dragons, the red dragon. A monster at forty eight feet and breath hotter than the sun. Horns, claws and teeth and massive muscles. These dragons are solitary and live in remote hills or mountains in deep underground lairs. Exceptional intelligence, thoroughly evil and chaotically unpredictable, one should avoid these beasts at all costs. Many speak human and other tongues and many are capable of spell use, making them that much more dangerous. Even the greatest warriors and wizards could not stand against one without a party of people for support. Next to the queen of evil dragons, red dragons are perhaps the greediest.
image includes a back story. Tell me about this image Is this back story of your own making? AD: Thank you. I was meticulous in the lighting in this. I added lights to only affect certain areas and objects, I knew what I wanted here. All the models are from DAZ,
3DAD: Do you have a digital artist that you admire the work of most? Who is it and what do you like about their work? AD: That's a tough question. There are many to admire and I try to look at their work and say to myself, 'What is there that's so captivating?' If I were to mention names, ones that come to mind are Lars Braad Anderson, Daniel Respaud, Eshan Azzuz, Artur Rosa and of course Raul Lumia (Dinoraul). I could go on from there, Britta Jacobs and Robin Kleb are excellent too. I think I started in this stuff before Robin and she zoomed past me ages ago. Detail is what I find in these images. In reality if you stand in the woods or in a field there's probably ten different types of vegetation around you within a 50 foot radius. The artists mentioned above realize this and literally add in that variety in their images. Others, like Eshan and Artur will use any tools necessary to create extraordinary scenes and make them look realistic or surrealistic. I'm happy some are very diligent in doing post work to create the final image. Creativity is what it's all about, unless it's a commissioned work. 3DAD: "The Last Monk of Mao Shin". Brilliant lighting effects, character models and their attires and the
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
COPPER DRAGON 45
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
RIDE THE LIGHTNING Renderosity or Vue/Cornucopia 3D, even the flames are Wabe's Firebugs from C3D. The smoke was part of Wabe's collection and Photoshop brushes. The story is all mine. I think the image before this one of the blue dragon is where the story began to take life. On a whim I
wanted to see if I could make all the dragons from the D&D game and for each one I made a little back story to help illustrate the personality and habitat of the dragon. By the time I got to the blue dragon, ideas were popping up. The truth is the only connection to D&D
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety anymore was the dragon. The characters and storyline just started writing themselves. 3DAD: "Red Dragon (Draco Conflagratio Horriblus)". Good use of lighting where the dragonâ€˜s flame lights up the whole scene. Do you spend much time with experimenting with the lighting of a scene in your workflow? To me lighting can be one of the most important aspects. It sets the mood and it has to illuminate the subjects. I like to create as realistic a light source as possible, but have no problem adding lights for taste and to enhance the image. There is a point light in the fiery breath, but there is a volumetric point light off camera that lights up the scene and two lights way in the background to create the silhouettes of the cave. Most of the time I spend on an image is doing test renders and changing the lighting until I'm satisfied. Another example of enhancing the lighting is with the bronze dragon. All the light comes from the sun in that image, except I added a light near the one side of the dragons head to illuminate it better. But I turned off shadows and set it to only influence the dragon and no other objects. That way all the shadows are created by the sunlight and it looks like the sun glinting of his scales. 3DAD: "Copper (Draco Comes Stabuli)". I like the texture and colour used on the dragon. What do you like best about your work on this image?
I'd have to agree with you on this. I just really liked how the colors came out on this guy. I start with the base texture of the millenium dragon and while in Poser I change the diffuse color, specular and sometimes alternate diffuse. When imported into Vue I'll have to adjust bump and highlights a bit, because there is some disconnect with the programs. Though that's not so true now. Poser figures are importing nicely into Vue 9.5. 3DAD: "Ride the Lightning". Exceptional thunder storm effects with a great action sequence depicted in the image. Were you pleased with how this turned out? This is one of my personal favorites. I like the subject matter and I like how all the elements came together. It took a little while to get the atmosphere, but in the end I was happy. This was an example of not worrying completely about realistic lights, but I tried to position the extra point lights so they would appear to be sourced from the lightning and from Thor in general. 3DAD: What are two of your favourite on-line resources related with digital art? Be it a forum, on-line galleries, model sites or other resources? I have to cite three. Cornucopia3D/E-on, DAZ, and Renderosity. All of those are vital to me. C3D has many excellent tutorials on Vue, besides all the excellent Vue related objects, plants materials. DAZ provides 90 percent of the main figures I use such as V4, M4 the DAZ
BLACK HILLS 47
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
LOQUAA TAVERN dragon, etc. And Renderosity fills in the rest. Much of the clothing, props, alternate materials for props, character morphs and textures come from there. Additionally, Renderosity is a great artist community. I've met and interact with many great artists there and there are just
wonderful, friendly people at that site. I post most of my work there. 3DAD: What do you think is one of your greatest strengths as a digital artist?
THE EXECUTIONER 48
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
ODIN AND THRYM AD: Generally speaking I'd say I still have an eye for layout/composition. Sometimes I want the viewer in the picture and other times I want them to view it from the outside. Speaking strictly digital is a tougher answer. I think knowing my way around a computer in general is a big help. Making settings and knowing limits helps in reducing crashes and freezes. I guess digital has allowed me to "paint" the color pictures I never could and enabled me to realize my imagination, entertain myself and hopefully others. 3DAD: What were some of the â€•breakthroughâ€– images that started to get you a lot more attention? I think "The Black Hills" was a big one. C3D chose that for one of their focuses. Some images from the Spirit Quest story as well as the Dragon series are well liked, such as the the Last Monk and the Gold dragon. Also I've gotten some quality comments on the more recent "Trackers" series. I started that just to experiment with Vue terrain editing and ecosystem setups. "Loquaa Tavern" was well liked and quite an endeavor at the time. 3DAD: What are three of your personal favourite images you have created? What did you learn from creating them and what inspired you to create them? I love'em all and hate'em all because I always want to do better."Ride the Lighting is a favorite and I'm going to cheat and add "Odin and Thrym" to that, because they were done back to back and in the same manner. They
were experiments in lighting and atmosphere in Vue and creature morphing in Poser. Odin's horse is two horses merged to create the eight legged Sleipnir and the giant is the Freak recolored in Vue. Jormundgander was created with the Millenium dragon head and Dinoraul's snake dragon. I then used a couple more snake dragon bodies to create the extra bumps in the water. "The Last Monk of Mao Shin" is another favorite, discussed earlier. After that I have a small handful that could tie for third for different specifics, but all because I achieved a personal goal in them and they came out how I envisioned. I have to toss up between an older "Loquaa Tavern" and the recent "The Executioner". "Loquaa Tavern" was a big deal for the extensive lighting (I set up many lights to coincide with candles and torches), the number of Poser characters, all different poses, and the naturalness of the outcome. I was looking for a random snapshot of a tavern scene and I felt I got that. For "The Executioner" I set out to make a an evil looking badass character with two evil looking bodyguards and I felt I achieved that. I liked the scene and props and felt I got the atmosphere to match the mood.
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
Green Dragon Truly evil and very cunning, the race of green dragons are extremely feared and short on temper. As large as copper dragons, averaging 36 feet in length, greens are formidable adversaries. They prefer to match their opponents on a mental level before resorting to force. They do this out of pure malevolent pleasure. They make their lairs near or in deep, bleak forests. They are often quite organized and keep their lairs neat and tidy, with their prizes on display, rather than strewn about in piles. It is not uncommon for a green dragon's lair to have more than one entrance/exit. This provides escape and unseen return. This beasts breath weapon is a great cloud of chlorine gas. Using ambush techniques, they will try to entrap their enemy in a small space and cut off an exit, then breathe out their gas leaving the victims to a gasping and painful death. Should that not work, their size and strength brought to bear with their vicious talons and fangs, will surely do the job. Almost half speak human tongue, but only 20% are known to use magic.
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
PEP RALLY 3DAD: What three tips would you give to those who are just starting out with digital art? AD: Patience, perseverance and patience, resources too. There are so many tools open to digital artists with Photoshop, pens and tablets, and all the 3D and animating software it's mind boggling. Regardless, like anything that's new, there's a learning curve. Have patience with yourself and the software and persevere when it seems insurmountable, because when you figure it out you'll find you've just made a big step.
because they provide up to date info and it's something you can read anywhere as well as at the computer while you're working. I also highly recommend joining the various online art communities such as Renderosity, C3D for Vue users, Deviant Art, Runtime DNA and whatever is relevant to the software you use. Here is where you get critiques from your peers and professionals and there are forums that address software and hardware issues as well as tutorials. A lot of these sites have contests with small, but significant prizes and this can provide an incentive to try harder and can get you recognition.
Art magazines dedicated to digital art are excellent 52
INTERVIEW : Arthur Dorety
For more of Arthur Doretyâ€˜s work check out the following URLs: Links: http://www.cornucopia3d.com/portfolio/art_dorety http://www.renderosity.com/mod/gallery/browse.php?username=adorety http://www.reignofkings.com/RoKhome.html http://adorety.deviantart.com/ http://www.doretybrothers.com
Blue (Draco Electricus) Blue dragons live where they want to. Originally associated with arid lands, they actually prefer rough mountainous terrains to make their underground homes. As large as bronze dragons, averaging forty two feet in length, these beasts are destruction incarnate. They are able to discharge an electrical bolt that rivals or exceeds a true bolt of lightning. Highly intelligent, many speak human tongue and many use magic. Like all dragons, they are driven by greed, but blues are heinously evil, organized and unrelenting when they've devised a plan. Though red dragons are larger, the blues are almost equally feared because of their tendency to create a plan and their patience in carrying it out.
INTERVIEW : Dave Orchid
Dave Orchid Dave Orchid shares his passion of Mojoworld art and reveals he was one of the first beta testers for Doc Mojoâ€˜s landmark software.
in Pacific Palisades and migrated north to S.Oregon in the early 1980's where I have lived since then. Though I have a horticultural background. DO: I have spent a good part of my adult life dealing with intense chronic pain and therefore am unable to do the physical labor being a gardener requires anymore. I got into digital art as a way to deal with my pain and chronic health problems. I create places I'd rather be than in pain and during the process of creating the art I tend to not focus my mind on how bad I hurt or feel. I feel it's a win/win situation.
3DAD: What is your background and where are you from? DO: My background is in horticulture hence the nickname "Orchid". I have been growing Orchids and 3DAD: Was Mojo your first 3D digital artist application and exotic plants my whole life thanks to my father, an avid if not, why did you gravitate towards it? plant collector his whole life. I was born and raised on the coast of Southern California DO: My first 3D application was Bryce3D. I got a free
Equinox at the Bluffs 54
INTERVIEW : Dave Orchid copy off of a CD attached to a 3D computer graphics magazine. I taught myself how to use Bryce and then when I got a copy of Poser in much the same fashion as Bryce3D, I really started cranking out the pictures. I started posting my creations on the Bryce3D newsgroup on Usenet. Planet Emerald Isle Many fine Bryce artists participated there including Ken Musgrave, aka Doc Mojo, the genius that envisioned and helped create Pandromeda Mojoworld. Doc Mojo contacted me when he started developing Mojoworld and asked me if I'd like to become a beta tester beginning with their 1st version. I jumped at the opportunity. The rest is history... 3DAD: What hardware box and software tool set do you use at the moment? DO: Currently I have a wonderful graphics PC with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 6000+ 3.0 ghz with 6 gigs of RAM and an ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2- 1 gig video card running 2 identical 19" HD monitors with the Windows 7 Premium 64 bit OS. Graphics apps include Poser 6, Adobe CS3, and of course Mojoworld Pro 3.
you a conscious fan of using the sun in this way? You‘ve also mentioned you are a fan of sun trails as well (eg your older image of Path of Light after the storm and ―Morning on Coven Bay‖)
DO: Suntrails...Yes I love suntrails on water in the real world so it's only natural that I would create these wonderous images. I enjoy the challenge of getting my camera angle and the lighting just right. 3DAD: What first impressed you about Mojoworld when you first used it? What do you believe it‘s main strengths are?
DO: The 1st thing that impressed me about Mojo was that I could fly in real time and really fast if I wanted or at a crawl and stop anywhere I want and render photo quality images. Being a beta tester one must explore every nook and cranny of the software and explore I did. The deeper you go into Mojoworld the more amazing the application becomes. I'm currently reteaching myself as well as learning parts of the program I never understood before. I've never been much of a world builder in the past, instead I explore planets other 'mojonauts' have created. I'm now determined to learn the art of world building...
3DAD: Planet Emerald Isle – Morning Reflections. In this image, you‘re using a super-sized sun as the focal point, which is quite a bold move, since the sun is rarely featured as the leading object in images. I‘ve noticed 3DAD: You‘ve done a few panoramas (eg Planet you‘ve done a fair amount of sunset/sunrise images – are Suponovates: High Desert ) recently and you‘ve
Planet Suponovates: High Desert 55
INTERVIEW : Dave Orchid Planet Expolaries—3 Moon Vista
and anti-aliasing at 3000 x 4000 pixels and then use a photoshop plugin called Genuine Fractals to up the dpi and size to whatever size I want. I'm having some prints made now that are 18 x 24 on canvas for an upcoming gallery showing. 3DAD: Misty Newerades. Another good use of mist in this image. The mist trails leads the eye right around the image and keeps your attention on it. The shot you‘ve chosen is nicely composed, although in Mojoworld, it‘s a case of camera placement, rather than trying to control the landscape! Do you consciously look for good composition in your images? DO: I do spend a bit of time getting my camera angle just right for my images as well as lighting. This is part of my style. 3DAD: Cosmosis on io-lite. This is a spectacular doodle (as you mention in the post – ―just doodling about‖. How did you create this image? It looks like some of this could be done as postwork, but I guess it is all internal to Mojoworld? DO: 'Cosmosis' on Iolite was an effect the world builder put in the world file. I have no idea how they did it, I just had fun with it. I do very little if any postwork on 95% of my mojo images. 3DAD: What are you working on at the moment?
mentioned that you love the panorama format and colourful skies. Lewis Moorcroft, another Mojoworld artist who we interviewed recently has done a great series of panorama pictures and created a whole featured gallery of them. Is this something you want to focus on more in the future with your artwork?
DO: I'm using this time to study Photoshop CS3 and Poser 6 so I can improve my art and my ability to express that which lies within. Magic Garden Gate
DO: Panoramas....I love them and I also do huge panoramas with my digital camera. I do want to explore this more in the future and have some printed in large format. They should be spectacular prints. 3DAD: Planet Expolaries – ―3 moon vista‖ (James Webb). This is an interesting shot you‘ve taken of Expolaries. I like how it seems that a ―random ― break in the clouds seems to reveal the three moons in sequence. You mentioned in the post that you‘re producing mini posters. What size do you render up to for print quality? Do you share or sell these posters with others? DO: I render my pictures at high detail
INTERVIEW : Dave Orchid Misty Newerades
Orangira Nebulic Skies
Cosmosis on Iolite 57
INTERVIEW : Dave Orchid A Tropical Cove
The Dojo Gardens
INTERVIEW : Dave Orchid Tsalakot Tropical Fish
Briali Seashore 59
Classic Sci-fi Book Cover Series by Luca Oleastri
3D Art Direct : Be Inspired By Digital Art
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