Back In LightWave And Modelling

So after a little break to get some other projects done/underway I’ve been back and modelling in LightWave. I have a few modelling projects to get started, but I thought I’d get back into the swing with something spontaneous. I’ve wanted to try making a fitted prop for a long time and decided to start with something relatively simple like a cyberpunkish VR headset. Somewhere at the start of the project I got distracted and ended up making a retro sci-fi helmet instead.

retro sci-fi helmet modelled with lightwave 11.5

Modelled and rendered in LightWave 11.5. spherical image from HDR Labs/Archive

The character figure is DAZ 3D’s Genesis with a dialled mix’n match morph – obviously the only texture used was for the bump. For a quick project I’m very happy with it. I’m now considering what to do with it next. Maybe I’ll model some additional props and see where that takes me. Or maybe I should get back to the “real work”. Decisions, decisions…

In any case I’m happy I took the gamble and forked out the money for LightWave. I know it isn’t the 3D package, but I’m sure as hell happy with it. The intuitive, no-nonsense interface is so easy to get around, which is a relief after some of the other programs I’ve worked with – certainly makes learning a lot easier. I think the program as a whole has boosted my productivity and creativity when it comes to modelling. Every time I boot it up I feel completely confident to start exploring and experimenting with features I have only the vaguest idea of. I also love the “Layout” component to the package. Well, to call it a component is a serious misattribution as it is an entirely separate and richly featured program – the other half of LW really. The procedural texture system, and node editor is just fantastic. I’m not a texture guy, so it is nice to have something easy to use to get some reasonable textures done quickly. The VPR is also a huge time saver when it comes to setting materials and lighting. Being able to see a high quality image update in realtime is just awesome. Anyway that’s enough LW love.

retro sci-fi helmet model wire frame

Wire frames for anyone interested

Bryce Artist Feature 03: Michael Frank

To Earth Reclaimed Bryce render by Michael Frank

To Earth Reclaimed

One cannot fail to be struck with some measure of awe by Michael Frank’s impeccably arranged and ambitious organic wonders. Surreal and other worldly landscapes and creatures loom out of his dreams to tantalise us with their digitised tendrils, enticing us to pause a moment or a minute or longer… maybe much longer, and ponder. Michael’s images speak of futures and realities and overlapping spaces where anachronisms meet with the timeless to exchange notes. His work is undoubtedly one of the most vivid examples that Bryce can be a tool for the creation of beautiful fine arts of the highest quality. It was an honour and a privilege to correspond with and bug Michael Frank for his thoughts on Bryce and how he uses it.

JW: How long have you been a Bryce user and what is it about Bryce that drew you in the first place? Continue reading

Bryce Artist Feature 01. SANTOSKY

santosky ancient astronauts bryce
As part of the ongoing Bryce feature I recently spoke to a number of Bryce’s most vivid artists. I’ve long since admired the works that people are producing with Bryce, but it wasn’t until stumbling uponSantosky’s fun, exploratory surrealism that I ever felt compelled to look more into the program, not so much in terms of a new program to learn (got more than enough on the cook right now!), but as someone who is interested in 3D programs themselves almost as much as 3D art and its production. I contacted him directly through the site and soon we got chatting.

Santiago Gómez (aka Santosky) has been a Brycer since 2002 when he came across a demo version of Bryce somewhere on the vast internet. At the time Santiago was new to 3D, and his early usage of the program was casual and unassuming of the artist endeavours it would open up. Today, he cites the program as one of his main sources of inspiration, and says that it forms the basis of his work.

santosky abstract 3d sculpture bryce
Santiago likes Bryce’s surface simplicity which allows him to create and light scenes rapidly, as can be seen with a quick browse of his image galleries that show a huge outpouring of high quality works. Santiago is under no illusions that his software of choice is beginning to show its age and lag behind rival software packages. He says the software has evolved little over the last ten years, and that there are several issues he comes up against time and again: the 32bit limitations of the software, restricted render size, and lack of more advanced modelling tools. Despite Bryce’s shortcomings he is quick to praise the intuitive interface, rapid scene construction and lighting tools, and points out that every day he discovers more of Bryce’s secrets.

santosky ancient astronauts bryce render

Sadly he notes that Bryce has an uncertain future with its diminished commercial profitability and slow intermittent development. He would like to see DAZ or another developer “bet” on Bryce and build it back up into a competitive program. Given the apparently slim possibilities of a Bryce renaissance, he sees his future with software on the forefront of development with programs like ZBrush forming the top of his 3D toolbox. Users of a number of other 3D packages will no doubt commiserate on this sentiment, with users of Carrara (another of DAZ 3D’s holdings) being of particularly relevant note.

santosky abstract 3d sculpture bryce

Next in the Bryce series I got to talk to one of Bryce’s most recognised maverick gurus, David Brinnen. David recently co-released (with fellow Bryce maverick and HDR Kingpin, Horo (who I also got to talk with)) Practical Bryce 7.1 Pro – Volume 1.

Bryce - The First Name in 3D Landscapes

More in the Bryce Arist series:

04: Horo
03: Michael Frank
02: David Brinnen

Carrara 3D Expo Issue 10

Carrara 3D Expo is something I’ve been meaning to plug for a long time now. On the 10th of March the free online magazine released their 10th issue. I’m not a historian of such things, but if one looks at their catalogue on ISSUU it seems that issue 1 was released all the way back in July of 2009. Having briefly ran a free online magazine myself (survived one whole year!) I know that it is a lot of work, so congratulations to Danas Bartkevicius and his team for keeping Carrara 3D Expo thriving for over 4 years and 10 issues. Seeing the awe inspiring work of Elianeck back in issue 9 was one of the precipitating factors in my purchase of Carrara.

Highlights of the issue, for me at least, were the interview with C3DE founder Danas Bartkevicius (so hope I’m spelling that right!), and the gallery section which, as usual, features some fantastic work from several artists. Looking forward to seeing the magazine into the future with issue 11 and beyond.

And… in other Carrara related news: Carrara 8.5 slotted for September 2013 release (that would be what Americans mean by end of summer?), and Carrara 9 planned for some time in 2014. Check out the few details that made it out of DAZ 3D to Carrara Cafe.

Carrara 8