Welcome to DigiSprawl, my little space for all things related to 3D computer graphics and more generally, CGI – but before I get too far ahead let me introduce myself. In the day-to-day grind I tend to go by my birth name, James Willey, but online I prefer Jim for the sake of simplicity. I am not a professional in the world of 3D imagery, nor have I studied it in any formal capacity. I am a hobbyist with a passion. I’ve always needed and sought out creative outlets, and on and off for sixteen years that outlet was primarily writing. I like to think I was getting good at it, even if my spelling and punctuation required the constant aid of MS Word’s spell checker, and then a keen pair of eyes. For some reason, though I loved it dearly, writing rarely worked out for me, and my creative urges were never fully satiated.
As a kid I always admired art, particularly CGI. I was always stunned and blown away by the next generation of computer graphics, and special effects, and awed when confronted by art produced with the aid of computers. For whatever reason I never translated my love of visual art into practice, digital or otherwise. Perhaps my parents relatively Luddite disposition is partly to blame – maybe I just thought it was all beyond me. I loved computers, but didn’t own one till I bought an old Apple IIe for five dollars from my high school in 2000. I think this shamed my parents somewhat – or maybe it was just a confirmation that my near lifelong computer lust wasn’t a phase – as an out dated and overpriced Power PC soon followed.
I dabbled with some graphics programs that came with a demo disk, but lacking the resources to learn the programs I gave up in disgust at the results of my inept tamperings. I took up writing – anyone can write – and thus began a long duration in the wilderness.
Like I said, I like to think my creative writing developed a lot in that time, though there were long periods where I wrote nothing and dabbled with other creative mediums, but I could never make anything stick. My whole creative life changed when I stumbled upon Daz Studio. This program (and its older brother, Poser) is to 3D art and animation sort of like what the digital camera was to photography. Anyone with a few bucks and the inclination to give it a go can make a start and take it as far as they like. For those not familiar with these programs, they allow the user to arrange pre made 3D modelled figures and props into scenes and render as an image using an integrated 3D rendering programs (3Delight in Studio and Firefly in Poser). I don’t have any ability as a drawer/painter/designer and limited skills as a photographer, but since I found this gateway into the digital realm I’ve become increasingly motivated to develop these skills in a way to fully realise the images that inhabit my mind. I want to digitise the stories I couldn’t quite tell with the written word. I want to model, texture, render, and animate them.
So what do I hope to achieve with this blog? In part it is to exercise my writing (I still love it), but more importantly it is to share my experience as a digi newb, and to hopefully point out resources and inspiration for others starting out or even well into their own 3D journey. So come on in, I know there will be something for the digital art enthusiast.