Saiyaness is one of those artists that’s humble to a fault. She will constantly play down her strengths and will be the first to draw attention to any flaws in her work. She also suffers from bouts of project killing procrastination and perfectionism. In short, Saiyaness is an artist so many of us can identify with. Her roots are in traditional mediums like drawing, but for a number of years she has been working almost exclusively with digital mediums. Daz Studio, Photoshop and GIMP are her key tools.
Jim: If your deviantART gallery is anything to go by I would say your roots are solidly in traditional mediums like drawing and photography. How did you discover the love for 3D arts and how has a background with trad mediums influenced your current work?
Saiyaness: I can’t paint to save myself. I can barely use coloured pencils. If it’s not blank paper and an old HB pencil with an eraser to destroy the evidence, I’m doomed…
I was already dabbling in (terrible) digital art with my ancient copy of Photoshop and other photo-editing software long before I ever discovered Daz Studio 3. I was flicking through a Photoshop magazine and there was a tutorial using Bryce which blew my mind (even though it wasn’t a great picture) and I immediately jumped online to learn about this amazing program where I could essentially unload my ideas into a 3D space and play.
Long story short, I acquired Daz Studio instead (and an unused Poser trial) and it started from there. I was making bland unlit renders but I was breathing 3D life into characters from my own head and it was freaking awesome.
I only ever liked drawing people. I have no talent for landscapes, architecture – anything that’s not a human. It unfortunately shows in my 3D art today. I favour simple portraits over anything else and am obsessed with eyes. If they’re not looking at the viewer, I hate it.
Jim: Your drawing seems to have taken a backseat in favour of 3D in recent times. Is this something you see continuing?
Saiyaness: I’m not a great drawer and I never had the time, interest or dedication to practice and hone my craft. I’m a fickle hobbyist and the hobby wheel turns often. 3D has been the ONLY medium I have remained interested in, probably because it keeps evolving (and I get photo-realistic results FAST.) Unless an electromagnetic pulse wipes out technology and I can’t use my computer, I doubt I’ll be picking up a pencil for a long time!
Saiyaness: I’m forever tweaking textures in GIMP/Photoshop to get the look I need for a render. Sometimes if it’s a poor quality mesh even with better textures it can still look awful. Sometimes I just don’t light things right and a render can still come out awful.
Tweaking and experimenting with surface settings and making them work with your lighting is vital.
Jim: A lot of your work integrates characters, themes, and situations from anime and games, what do you make of all the criticism surrounding fan art/fiction?
Saiyaness: I rage at poorly represented literary characters in film so I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite. In regards to art, I believe in your own interpretation of things and people should accept that and move on. Unfortunately, the world is inhabited by dicks.
I find it really discouraging that fanart is often more popular than original art. DA’s front page is a prime example of fandom fads and how one stupid picture of a popular character (or a naked women, don’t get me started) gets a million views, when some poor dude has probably spent weeks on a cool, amazing original piece and gets little to no feedback.
If I’m doing fanart though, I personally find it more fun to create original characters within that established universe. Then nobody can pick on you if their eyes aren’t right or their breasts are too large. *coughs* Not that I’m picking on a particular criticism that I’ve received…
Jim: You just released your first product, Mahala for Genesis 2, at DAZ 3D no less (congratulations). Did Mahala begin her life as something that was heading out to the brokerages, or was she a personal project that took on a larger life?
Saiyaness: I love characters, love creating people and so I thought I’d have a crack at creating my own. Kudos to all the content creators out there because it took WAY longer than I ever thought it would. How do you not want to stab yourself in the eye when it comes to seam-lines?
Mahala started out as a pale Caucasian named Inara. I love ballet dancers so I modelled her after photos of ballet dancers, really trying to nail the shape of the legs, calves, feet and even her head. I then decided that there were too many Caucasians on the market and I LOVE freckles and moles so I started again and created Mahala’s freckled, dark skin (freckles and seam lines are not your friend) I kept Inara’s morph, refined her features to look a little more “ethnic” and went from there. I don’t actually know what Mahala’s ethnicity. She looks Caucasian with an ethnic, unknown-Islander flavour. I like my characters to be racially ambiguous.
Jim: Was the lack of a dark skinned G2 product (something that many have been vocal about) a part of your decision to produce and release her? How has she been received?
Saiyaness: There are some gorgeous African and Eastern skins on the market and the only freckled skins I have seen are for red-haired, ginger characters. I must be the only dark-haired, freckled, mole-y person in the world…
Google searches brought up lots of women with dark, freckled skin so I knew I was safe to go down that road…
I haven’t received much feedback on her so I couldn’t tell you how well she has been received! I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the sales though, so much better than I could have ever hoped. I can only promise to go above and beyond with the next character. I have to catch up fast if I am to be anywhere near as good as current content creators.
Jim: Taking into account all the blood and sweat lost, are character sets something you want to do again?
Saiyaness: There’s a demand for more male content so I am working on several male characters at the moment. I was making a toon female for the G2F base but scrapped it when a toon skin pack was released at Daz. I really like the Gen 6 version of the Girl so would like to make a petite, curvy character for that base down the track. I’d also like to explore older characters with personality. I admit to being stuck in the Fountain of Youth with my renders and character creation.
Jim: You also pursue 3D modelling. Is that something you want could see yourself getting into as a content producer or is it more of a way of plugging holes in your runtime and putting together items you won’t find anywhere else?
Saiyaness: A little bit of both. I was jobless and couldn’t afford to buy content so I was making my own. Now that I have a job, I’m buying content again so I’ve stopped modelling. I had grand ideas of selling products I’d modelled but I’m just not good enough. I’ll leave it to the pros! I am however, learning character modelling. One day I’ll be able to afford an awesome computer (and Zbrush) so I can create some awesome, unique sculpts. I have Sculptris (which is free) but my computer can’t handle it.
Jim: As an artist you really are the whole package – texturing, modelling, software/rendering prowess. Is becoming a jack-of-all-trades something you intentionally set out to do?
Saiyaness: I’m easily distracted and get a little excited by the euphoric endorphin rush of NEW STUFF and feel claustrophobic being limited to ONE thing.
I get really frustrated when I don’t have/can’t find something I need for a scene so I’ll attempt to make it….or just scrap the scene and move on.
Saiyaness: Definitely! I chop and change all the time so I never master anything. My promos for Mahala could have been better (and more basic) and I’d like to do more amazing artistic works but my computer can’t handle big scenes in Daz Studio. One day!
Jim: Perfectionism and procrastination (all too common for many of us) is something you seem to struggle with. How much of an obstacle was this for finally getting your first product together and out the door? Do you have any coping techniques you could share?
Saiyaness: Perfectionists have their own standard of “perfect” and in comparison to other artists my perfectionism probably sits around the “good enough” level. I daresay it’s obvious that I’ve reached a “that’ll do” sense of completion with most art, submitted it, and moved on. With Mahala, I was terrified of bad feedback (but expectant) so I wanted to be as flawless as possible. That being said, I can think of a few things people might pick at with her…but I haven’t heard them yet!
I procrastinate like the best of them. I have a hundred unfinished models and projects on this computer that may or may not see the light of day. I’m notorious for making renders and not uploading them for months. I eventually do it just to show that I’ve been somewhat creative.
Jim: I know you work a lot with DAZ Studio, but what other 3D applications like modelers and UV mapping programs do you use?
Saiyaness: Hexagon 2.5 (highly recommended for beginners, like me – the UV unwrapping feature is a mess but there’s Blender for that.)
Blender – UV unwrapping and the occasional cloth draping – it’s slow on my computer though so I tend to avoid it…and I hate the interface, no matter how I tweak it.
Sculptris – I would love to use this (and ZBrush , if us mere mortals could afford it) for Sculpting Genesis and Genesis 2 meshes but my computer, again, is too slow to handle even basic tweaking.
Marvelous Designer 2 (trial version) – I REALLY enjoyed using this and am considering MD3’s new subscription but until they bring in quads for their meshes it gets a big funky in Daz Studio (and buying a commercial licence is out of the question…)
UVViewer IS useful. It’s only a load and save-out UV’s tool but it’s great.
Saiyaness: Definitely. I always assume it’ll make my art “better” even though what some people do with Daz Studio blows my mind. Octane is my “want” at the moment but only because I’m sucked in by the crisp, pretty images. It may or may not make a huge difference to my renders…
I tend to make do with what I’ve got so I don’t waste money on getting apps that I may not use…like Luxus. If I can’t do something quickly and painlessly, I lose interest fast.
Jim: What about Poser?
Saiyaness: I JUST picked up Poser 9 for $30. Bargain!! I lament over the gorgeous skin people get with Poser renders…and now I have it I’m not using it! I would like to create content for both though, to keep everyone happy…once I figure out the DSON nightmare. I see why .CR2 figures are so painless.
Jim: You’ve flirted with LuxRender via Reality 2 a number of times in your renders, but 3Delight still dominates your gallery. Lux seems to be a renderer that people love or hate. Do you see LuxRender becoming a larger part of your workflow? What do you like/dislike about it when compared to 3Delight.
Saiyaness: If I had a better computer, I daresay I would use it more. Some people are masters of Reality2/Luxrender and I commend their efforts. I’m not always a huge fan of the artificial quality it has. There’s something that irks me about Luxrender images that I can’t put my finger on. 3Delight renders can look more cartoon-y but…I like the style. I’ve never been huge on super-realism anyway, probably due to my game/concept art influences over the years.
Jim: Do you think 3Delight gets an unfair wrap from the average user – why do you think this is?
Saiyaness: I can’t paint but I’m not going to blame the paint or the paintbrush I’m holding just because my artwork looks like a monkey’s finger-painting.
I’m not tech-y enough to know the difference between the Daz Studio 3Delight and the standalone product or why people complain about it. 3Delight’s default render settings, partnered with decent, ray-traced lighting – can give you good results straight up. This could stem from the biased vs unbiased argument in which I’ll happily sit on the fence. I’ll let you know after I’ve tried Octane and seen if it’s any better than Luxrender!