As I've interviewed you a number of times already, can you briefly tell us a bit about yourself and if there is anything you might wish to share with the community?
Well, there's not much to tell, really. I love 3D - I love 3D art and making pictures.
Can you give us some hints on what you may be currently working on?
Yes I can. It's bigger than a breadbox. But seriously, I'm working on making a small studio out of my garage to take reference images from multiple angles for my poses. I find that it is impossible to get two or more angles from internet photos. So, my friends will be doing short photo shoots for me, lol!
What software is currently in your digital toolset and what could you not do without?
Wow, I use every bit of software I have from time to time. But, mostly, I rely on modo, ZBrush, 3Dcoat, and Photoshop. I do have and sometimes use Blacksmith 3D, Cinema 4D, Hexagon, Genetica for textures, Mudbox, and I have my eye on Mari.
Where do you find inspiration for your products, and do you have any particular favorite among the products you've created?
I think my favorite would have to be the POSER Beginner to Advanced tutorial video series, because it was really fun, I like sharing knowledge. It was refreshing to take a break from creating in 3D space and to show others how to do it for a change. I would like to say my inspiration comes from television, movies, books, or daydreams - but it rather comes from running into challenges when I am creating art. I find a problem and then fix it. Sometimes that's lighting, when I feel I need a certain type of lights - which led me to create several different styles of lights. Other times, it's needing morphs that just aren't available, so then I create them.
Can you tell us a bit about your creative process, and are there any workflow tips you might wish to provide?
Yes, I can provide some workflow tips. I suggest reviewing your workflow and trying to refine and shorten it. So many of my friends have a routine, and I see that their work could be done much more efficiently with a few adjustments, but they've been doing it a certain way for so long that they never stop to question the workflow. Other than that, I would have to say it's always worth it to stop and organize and to plan your work and work your plan. As far as workflow goes, I start with a picture in mind, and then I make it. What generally happens is I'll run into something I need to make my picture better, and I'll make it. I think it's the desire to create art, combined with a willingness to create whatever I need to complete that piece that really defines my creative process.
Can you tell us a bit about how it feels to turn a hobby into a full-time job, and your insights into what it takes to keep at it?
It feels fantastic, because it's something that I love doing so much, and when you get to do that for a living, it's as if all day everyday it's nothing but pleasure. Don't get me wrong, there are some frustrations. As far as my insight as to what it takes to keep at it - well... there will be days where you don't feel like working or creating - but you have to. So, what I do is simply ask myself, would I rather work for someone else doing something I enjoy much less, or would I rather put in a full workday? It's rare that I have to motivate myself this way, but it does happen. I believe that line of thinking would apply to anyone looking to turn their hobby into a full-time job. You just have to look at the alternatives.
Most everyone I know would love to work from home, but it does take a bit of self-motivation. What do you consider "best practices" in working from home in this particular field?
I think it's best to have your "employer self/planner self" and your "worker self." So, you plan your work week - decide how many hours you need to work, and for me, I put all that information up on my dry-erase board. Then, I treat myself just as if I was going to work. I wake up, do my morning routine, and try and always be at work on time, and never let myself off early, because you couldn't at a regular job, and that's really what's required. I actually don't see any other way you could truly succeed and be comfortable in this business, or any work at home business. On the other hand, be careful not to overwork yourself, you still need time to relax in the evenings, and need to take at least one day off a week. In the past, I would just work and work without days off and very long hours. Eventually, I would burn out and just stop. And that's not good. So, balance is important, I guess.
What do you enjoy doing in your off time?
Cleaning and baking for my husband, because I know I belong in the kitchen, he told me so... LOL :) But seriously, I love playing video games (yes, I play Halo). I love watching movies, I have lots of fish and also a tortoise that also takes up a bit of my time. I knit and like to do crafty things like that when I can.
Do you have any advice for anyone wishing to start in Digital Content Development?
Well, if they are just starting out, they need to choose a creation program that they feel comfortable with and then take all the tutorials for that application. It takes some time, but you'll be glad you invested your time into fully learning your application.
Do you have any final words or advice for other artists/vendors?
Yes I do, and I think it's been said a thousand times. Try and find a niche and stick with it. It definitely pays off in the end. I realize that's easier said than done, but you'd be surprised at the opportunities that are available. What I'm trying to say is, I still see holes in the marketplace that need to be filled. It's important to maintain momentum - meaning release products on a regular basis.
As far as tips for artists - I know that many people that use my content are much better artists than I, but I will say this - the better you know your application, the more beautiful your artwork will be. I get many emails where people ask me "Am I just a bad artist, or do I need to learn more of the technical side of my application?"(usually concerning Poser and DAZ Studio) And my advice is that it's almost always technical - if it's not that, it's just a matter of experience.
I would like to thank all of my customers so much for their support. I will continue to work to provide the highest quality content for your artwork. Many thanks to the staff here at Renderosity for being so good at what they do and wonderfully supportive.