Artist Feature: Joe Vinton – “Orbital”

joe vinton astonishing view

After the last feature I told myself I was going to take a break from these and get around to some other work I’ve been meaning to do around here. Virtually as soon as I posted the feature with Steve Winter I stumbled upon the work of Joe Vinton, or as he is better known in 3D art circles such as Renderosity and DAZ 3D, Orbital. Like with the first feature posted here (Santosky), seeing Orbital’s amazing Bryce renderings triggered some deep sci-fi/exploration/creative grey matter. I knew instantly that I wanted to feature Orbital’s work.

Joe Vinton’s works have been exhibited in UK galleries and taken him to foreign lands. He primarily works with Bryce, or at least did so until recent years where his work has increasingly incorporated Photoshop. Even in many of Joe’s latest works published on his various online galleries Bryce still features heavily. In his latest posting, shown above (“Astonishing View”), the focal elements and space craft are all 3D rendered while the nebula and stars are Photoshop. As with many of the artists featured on the pages of DigiSprawl, Joe Vinton shows that the often underestimated Bryce, can still hold its own.

Jim: So, Joe, getting any sort of detailed info on you out of the intawebz is not the easiest business. I have found some interesting tidbits though – I know you hail from the UK, you’ve been using Bryce since 2002, that your art has landed you at least one gallery showing (others?), took you to the National Space Symposium in the US in 2007, and won you artist of the year at Renderosity in 2008. In 2009 you picked up a Wacom tablet, but before this you had very little experience with drawing or painting, digital or otherwise. More recently your artwork was selected for the 30th Space Symposium commemorative poster (slated for May 2014).

This about the size of things? Or are there any major developments I’ve missed? Continue reading

Artist Feature: Steve Winter – Mecha Beasties of The Future

Steve Winten Bryce 3D image - robot on alien worldSteve Winter’s work grabbed my attention some months ago amid many posts to a Bryce themed Facebook group. The particular image was of an imposing insectile machine standing amidst a gloomy rundown cathedral. It was the mecha monstrosity that caught my eye more than the overall image presentation. I was particularly drawn and stunned because Steve does his modelling entirely in Bryce (mostly 4), a program that few would associate with heavy modelling tasks. Steve’s designs are complex, frequently composed of millions of Bryce primitives and Boolean operations.

Steve’s works gets even better, not only is he a master of Bryce of model mancery, but he is a skilled visual artist (digital and traditional), so while many of his renders are WIP demonstrations he also has a stunning collection of superbly finished images. Most of his digital works can be found at his Renderosity gallery where he goes by the name The Lord Steve Winten Rair DeZign 5Of Dragons, a title endowed by a Japanese business man who bought several works from a youthful Steve Winter back in his homeland (UK). His 3D works have a serious sci-fi bent, with his renders of the last few years dominated by his InZect creations. His publicly available works do also include some other spectacular renders.

Jim: I admit to being awed when I first saw your mecha-insectoid creations (still am). The idea of creating such complex models in a program that was never designed to be a full featured modeller is mind boggling. Is it a gruelling project putting together one of your InZects, or is Bryce a lot more adept as a modeller than an outsider might expect?

Continue reading

DAZ Studio and Poser Sci-fi Content Roundup

Looking for more sci-fi content articles?
Ok, so I’m biased. I know no content theme has been the topic of more of my posts here, but this is the stuff that gets the grey matter infused with that delightful creative juice (in my case anyway). Maybe it also has something to do with seeing Elysium today. Not a bad movie, thought the plot was somewhat disappointing and predictable (especially last half). Good CGI, reasonable to good acting with Sharlto Copley playing a seriously vile character very well.

But, I’m not here to talk movies. I’m here to talk content. I know just about all the content I post about here comes from DAZ 3D, but I hope to change that in the future. I am but one man. Maybe I’ll even branch out and post about content that isn’t sci-fi. Maybe.

DAZ 3D Premium Sci-fi Content For Your Runtime

So, a lot of good stuff released over at DAZ 3D to create and fill those sci-fi themed renders. I don’t own most of these, but those that I don’t are on my wishlist. Let’s start with a D3D favourite, Stonemason.

Featured content

The inspiration for Desert Outpost is blindingly clear to any Star Wars fan, but as if there was any doubt you only need to read the opening sentence from the product description: “You will never find a more deplorable colony of trash and knavery than the Desert Outpost. Home to thieves, smugglers, and anyone who has ventured south of the law”. Stonemason not only know how to put a spectacular environment together, but he also knows how to sell it. His promo images always inspire awe and tempt the imagination to find a home for his creations.

DZFire’s Tenshi immediately grabbed my attention when I first saw a prerelease image posted on the artist’s Facebook page. Tenshi is a texture and prop expansion set for the artist’s Cyborg Version 4, which I am quite fond of. I have been a big fan of Dz’s cyborg/android creations, and am very happy that there is another similar, but suitably different product that should be released in the near future.

Sci-fi clutter

Technological clutter is always in need for those workshop, lab and construction scenes that are so often the setting for sci-fi renders. Empty scenes don’t look convincing and we all know it.

Thanks to artists like Nightshift3D, we need for nothing. His latest offering, aptly titled Sci Fi Gear Bundle (beneath left) brings together 3 sets of medical instruments and industrial tools that will fit many situations. Lazarus Containment Cell Crates (beneath right) is another great addition to the DAZ store.

Future fashion and battle wear

Midnight_Stories is another favourite of mine his Sky Chaser for Genesis (beneath right) is simply  beautiful. Sky Chaser also has an expansion pack that adds a helmet, jetpack, and weapon. On the left we have The3dwizard’s sexy Vinyl Jumpsuit for Genesis and V5 will find itself put to use in many sci-fi settings, and perhaps even edge into more “contemporary” renders. Heroine, fashion portrait, cyberpunk street fashion – got you covered.

 

 

 

 

 






This is another one that immediately grabbed my attention. Great anime sci-fi outfit, that has many possibilities if you are the retexturing type. Tech Soldier: Special Forces for Genesis, V5, and M5 was a an instant grab with the use of the monthly PC coupon.

techsoldierspecialforces

Need something different? Design Anvil’s Black Dragon Clothing set for Genesis and V5 might just be it. “Just because danger lies around every corner, doesn’t mean you don’t need to look sexy! This futuristic Sci-fi suit blends sleek looks with practical armor…”

As a warm blooded male I’d buy that – well all except that nonsense about practicality :)

Scenes and environmental props

Why, oh why did I not buy Shantara City when it was first released with 75% off? While this majestic city does not fit into my typical sci-fi ideas, there are undoubtedly situations where this would be perfect. Sci-fantasy scenes come to mind, but with many of the large building being free to move at will, the possibilities to mix and match with other sci-fi city sets explodes open the possibilities. Throw in DAZ’s instancing abilities and the potential for huge and varied cityscapes is limitless – depending, of course, on how much geometry you can stack onto your graphics card.















Sometimes you need to blow things up, have an apocalypse or an earthquake. Thankfully there are a lot of good props on DAZ 3D’s store that fit this role. Stonemason has many good props in this category as does the DigiVault. Many of this items can be found in the previous sci-fi content articles.This one in particular is the work of Dreamlight, who is well known for his environmental props, light sets, and training material. In The City: Destroyed Bridge will fit the needs of just about any city in chaos.

Iron Sky: The Coming Race – Sequel to 2012 Indie VFX Cult Hit

Iron Sky: Inspiring Indie 3D VFX

As someone who was just starting out with LightWave at the time Iron Sky was going to the cinema, it was quite motivational knowing that the production had relied quite heavily on the software, as have many film and television productions on a huge range of budgets. After watching the hilarious, low budget Star Trek parody, Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning (some years after it first appeared), I immediately set to Googling and uncovered the first hints of another project by the same crew underway, Iron Sky. The film was still some way off back at the end of 2008, and even though moon Nazis in clunky retro space craft instantly appealed to me, it fell off my cluttered radar. Perhaps, if it wasn’t for my interest in LW I might have again ended up missing Iron Sky for years after release.

Since its cinema debut the quirky sci-fi comedy has only growing in popularity (and notoriety), as any true cult hit should, with the trailer ticking up over 12.7 million views on YouTube. With this continued interest a sequel, Iron Sky: The Coming Race, is now in preproduction and looking for backers on Indigogo to fund the production of a script and promo reel. Rewards include exclusive shirts, script drafts, script development invites, a speaking part in the promo, and in this day of social media a very enticing opportunity to view and share the promo before it is officially handed over to the media.

So for those who aren’t familiar with Iron Sky, the films basic premise revolves around an American astronaut who is captured by Moon Nazis, who having fled Earth at the end of WWII, have been assembling an armada of massive, clunky era inspired war ships. Ensue hilarity and jaw dropping effects and action scenes.

VFX To The Indie Producers

The film’s spectacular visual effects are a testament to the power of CGI methods to transform vision to reality, and increasingly, on a tight budget. Gone are the days where VFX was the sole domain of the mega financed film, with increasingly small budget productions making heavy use of CGI. Though Iron Sky’s 10 million is not to be sniffed at, its place as a VFX heavy sci-fi still place it very much on the low scale of funding. Much of the movie’s 800 + shots were done against green screen and incorporated elements produced with LightWave, Maya, and Nuke. I won’t delve into how LightWave saved the day for the production, but you can read further details in an article published at LightWave3D.com

Iron Sky: The Coming Race

Details are light at this point, but the campaign introduction at Indiegogo implicates North Korea in the plot, which is stated to be darker and MORE EPIC. All we really know is that the writing team from the first film is back, as are some of the VFX crew and actors. And yeah, Laibach is back to score the movie again. Who’s Laibach? Well, that’s all part of a whole other world that may not be familiar to many Iron Sky fans. That is to say I assume a good number of IS fans have little or no idea about this strange music history footnote thing called industrial music – go check it out. Follow the bread crumbs out from Laibach (I don’t suggest doing it the other way around).

Anyway, we aren’t here to talk about vague and dark places in music (unless you want to?). So we know a pile of people are coming back from IS, both on and off camera – meaning we know it is going to be well scored, and packed with eye-popping levels of visual candy. We know that the producers are looking for 150 000 thousand preproduction dollars. So far the Indigogo campaign has many times eclipsed the previous failed 2011 campaign for Iron Sky, and is on track to smash the current goal.

A final draft of the script is to be completed by the end of 2014, with a first draft ready by the end of this year. The promo reel is targeted for release at Cannes film festival 2014, with shooting to be done in 2015 with an estimated budget of 15 million dollars to realise “the epic scale of the story”.

For me, 2015 still feels so far away for my next fix of comedic totalitarian fuelled space mayhem, but this time around there will be no dropping off the radar. This one is staying locked on. If you haven’t seen the first movie, do yourself a favour and go pick it up right now, and then you too can wait in excited anticipation for the end of 2015, or 16, or whenever it will be released.

And How Can I Forget The Iron Sky CGI Reel?

Not sure, but I almost did. It is amazing how much of the movie is shot against green screen. All-in-all there were 800 VFX shots – which is about half the movie! That’s a lot of CGI for an indie film.