In the years between 1995 and 1998 I did not know what I should do with my life. The only thing I did know was that I wanted to work with computers. But I never programmed anything… or did anything else that you could consider ‘useful’. Then I met a person online. We became very good friends. And that person told me about digital imaging stuff. I was hooked.
Ever since I got my first pc in 1996, as well as a corel photopaint version (6 if I remember right), I was fascinated about the possibilities. I doodled around with corel without to produce anything good or useful. Just playing with filters. I guess we all started that way. First my online contact poked me into the right direction. I soon learned basics about webdesign and screendesign. And I’m eternally thankful for the help I got. We are still friends and see each other on a regular basis… like… twice a week.
Back then I realized that this would be something I could truly dedicate myself to. Something I could see myself doing even in 20 or 30 years. Still… at that point I did not know that I would do what I am doing today. It must have been around 2001 or 2002, when I made my first experiences with print orientated jobs, learned a lot about basic 3d stuff and started to experiment into a more artistic kind of direction. I discovered programs like ‘bryce 3d’ or ‘vue d’esprit’ and, not to forget, ‘terragen’. Tg is a basic 3d landscape creation program. I always was a big fan of landscapes and started to play around with terragen. The first time I tried out tg was in 1999 I think. But I did not have a powerful machine back then. So the render times were crazy. Later in 2001/02 I rediscovered it. Right at the beginning I took my renders into photoshop to tweak colors. A bit later then I added multiple tg renders to give my pics some depth. A few months ago I used tg as a base for painting. Tg renders, to me, always looked empty. Since it was not able to render trees or other objects. That’s why I immediately moved into photoshop with my renders. To add life and more depth.
The PING of an idea…
I knew that I needed to heavily expand my knowledge about stuff to get where I wanted to be. The LOTR movies came to the big screen and the work there was amazing. SW Episode 3 came to the big screen and I was blown away by the city of coruscant. The 3d, depth and detail was just amazing. These movies kind of marked the point for me. I want to create such worlds too. The detail. The depth. I wanted to show people places we do not have on our planet. So I looked out for tutorials about matte painting… the digital way. How to combine 3d with 2d. How to work with photo plates. Etc etc etc.
I started to learn with the stuff i was familiar with at that point. Photoshop, terragen. I never want to copy things I read in tutorials. That doesn’t work anyway. It’s very important for me to develop something that belongs to ‘me’. That’s the ego asshole in me I guess. I want my style to be MY style. I’m always saying that I ‘would like to be’ an artistic mix between Gary Tonge and Dylan Cole. But it’s very important to me that you understand that I don’t copy these artists. And I think I manage that very good so far. Despite the fact that I’m still lightyears away from being a mix of these two formidable artists. Maybe I’m not even close and my technique looks very different. It’s very important that you do your ‘own’ thing. Don’t copy. Even if the line of being inspired by something or copying something is very thin. You know what I mean.
Some of you must be tired of hearing this but ‘Artificial’ was a real milestone for me. It did showing me that, no matter what other people try to tell me, I can pull off some outstanding work. Even if it took me ages to end that project. In the end it was something that really really satisfied me. And that’s hard to have when you’re an artist. Generally you never really like your work. I’m very satisfied with Artificial though.
Today I would make so many things different. Everytime I look at the pic I wonder about how it would have looked when I would have created it with the knowledge of today. Then I ask myself why I’m thinking about that. The pic is good the way it was done. The way it looks was necessary to get me where I am today. It also made me realize that I have to get away from terragen. Projects like ‘The Wall’ and ‘A New Hope’ took far too much time to get done.
A Tablet For A Change…
I decided to get me one of these graphic tablets. That kind of changed a lot for me. I learned a lot about painting. I never did that before. I had some basic knowledge about lighting because of my 3d work but that was it. I was working on ‘A New Hope’ when I got my tablet and used that project to make me familiar with the behaviours of the tool. I read a lot of things about tablets before I invested that sh’itload of cash into it. Beside the fact that truly every pro works with one… I also read negative things about them. The biggest problem they mentioned was, of course, the time you need to get used to it. And I can agree. It really takes a lot of time until you are able to efficiently use a tablet. For me it took almost 8 weeks to get me to a stage where I could say “yes, I finally got the basics”. Today, after using it for more than 2yrs, I have to say that there is no way around it. If you do digital imaging work I can clearly recommend a tablet.
I moved away from terragen and focused more on how to manipulate photos and work with them in my paintings. That, again, was helping me to make me even more familiar with the possibilities of the tablet. As some of you guys know I’m also doing some photography. Whenever I see something interesting I could need for a painting I have my cam with me to shoot it. I collected quite some nice stuff over the years that will come handy in the future. In this phase, early 2006-2007, I mainly worked with photography plates to realize my ideas. Now I’m completely away from the good old terragen.
Today, besides using photo plates, I’m focusing more into a professional 3d direction with using cinema4d and vue d’esprit to create me basic pictures to work with. I collected basic experience with vue d’esprit back in 2002 I think. When I had my 3d days so to speak. 3d offers you so many possibilities when you know how to work with it. Now you might ask yourself “this guy is talking about painting all the time… but what he does isn’t what I would call painting”. That’s true and I agree. I don’t even know why people call it painting when they combine so many different mediums. Maybe it’s because you work with digital brushes in photoshop to get certain areas in the pic right. Sometimes you overpaint a lot of areas in the pics which justifies the ‘painting’ description again. However, yes I have some true digital paintings too. Where I only worked with photoshop and it’s brushes.
This marks the end of part 2 and I hope you had an interesting read. You now know from where I came and to where I did go.
PS: All typos are mine and copyrighted! Get your own typos. ;p