Tools of the Trade

Tools of the trade are generally the usual tools an artist creates artwork with. When I started finding a way through the digital art landscape I tried a lot of programs to see how they could fit my current work process. I began with Corel Photopaint when I first started. It soon got replaced by Photoshop. Then I started to explore 3D with Bryce. I soon understood that its capabilities are rather limited and moved on. Then I used Terragen to create me a landscape base that I could apply my Photoshop work on. That worked nicely for a while. I learned a lot of basics with the help of Terragen but ultimately brought it to its edge and realized I need a more controllable tool. Terragen 2 was still in development and turned out to be not really handy for what I needed. Nonetheless its able to produce some very stunning results.

My orientation pointed to Vue. Over the past few years it really became a big number in the VFX business and made it a true candidate to dig into. And that’s what I did. Now Vue belongs to my standard arsenal of tools. Its flexibility and wide range of fields to operate in, may it be stills or animation, makes it much more powerful than it may intends to actually be. You can use it for pretty much everything. And in its complexity it lies directly between Bryce and Maya or 3dsmax. Perfect for me.

Vue in combination with Photoshop is a really powerful thing to have. Multipass rendering with Vue and Postworking with Photoshop gives you an amazing freedom and level of detail that allows you to maintain full control over your work. In the past years i tried to find the perfect techniques to use multipass rendering to tickle out the most detail out of every pixel my image has. It also thaught me patience. Like all 3d applications it demands a lot of CPU power and RAM to render your project. If you don’t have enough hardware… multipass can be a lifesaver.

Since late 2005 i’m also working with a graphic tablet. A Wacom Intuos3 A5. It was not easy to handle in the beginning. I kept learning how to use it and soon found out that I cannot use Photoshop without a tablet anymore. Well… lets say the productivity with a tablet is much higher compared to a mouse. So it comes that I have a strange feeling when I’m working in Photoshop with mouse. With help of the tablet I also started to discover digital painting. A tool I can only recommend to everyone who is planning to do graphics work on the computer.

With Vue under my belt it became obvious that I needed to learn a more direct 3d tool. Vue is for landscapes and environments. It only offers some very rudimentary modelling options. an old version of Cinema 4D helped me learn some of the basics. When my version started to become more and more outdated I opted for Blender. Quite a learn process as well. Now I’m fairly happy with Blender and how it works within my workflow.

When I‘m out for some photography I am using a Canon 20d and a nice set of lenses I collected over the time. My first lens was a Sigma 105mm Macro Lens. I was always a big fan of macro photography… so this lens was and is perfect for me. My next choice was a Canon 70-300mm IS Zoom Lens. Then I needed a quality replacement for the Canon 18-55 Kit Lens, which is not the best piece of hardware. I was going for the Sigma 28-70mm to fill out that part. With my basic photo package complete, and still grrowing, now I’m open to all kinds of situations when it comes to photography.

Hope that clears some of your questions.
Thank you very much.