Who is "Shana"?
Well, I live in a small town in the south of Portugal near the beach, I've lived here for almost my whole life. Currently, I work as a freelance graphical artist, even though my main focus these days is Poser-related. In my freetime (when I get some), I love to read, I have a huge movie collection that I enjoy watching, I like to play all kinds of games (I will play almost anything: Sims 3, Guitar Hero, Heavy Rain, even Farmville on Facebook lol), I love to shop (yes I am a shopaholic lol), and I love to hang out with my friends. Other than that, I LOVE music, I can't do anything without something playing in the background, especially when I'm working.
Have you had any traditional art experience or training?
Not traditional, no. I've been drawing for as long as I can remember, but I never took an actual art-related class, just the ones everyone gets through school, just the basic stuff. My father is a very talented artist - he's an amazing painter and he definitely influenced me. Art has always been a part of my life, but, despite the fact that I have drawn since I was little, painting was never something that truly interested me. So much so, that when it came time to color my own drawings, I started using my computer to do it. I was much more interested in doing it that way than the traditional way, so, while I never took an actual class, years of doing that made me learn on my own.
What are you currently working on?
I'm always working on a lot of things at once, but, as everyone knows I'm mainly a texturer, so I will always be working on more textures packs. I'm also working on continuing my Inked and Scarred series, and maybe even creating a new one :)
What software is currently in your digital toolset and why?
Nothing out of the ordinary - Poser 7 and 8 for all the rendering, posing and promos. I use Photoshop CS4 and Paint Shop Pro 9 for everything else - no particular reason there, they're simply the best applications for this sort of work.
How would you describe your creative process?
Since I'm mainly a texturer, it kinda depends on what I'm working on. I have a lot of ideas but not all of them work on all products, so I have to pick and choose from the ideas I have that I think will look the best. After I have the textures planned out, I start thinking about how the promos are going to look - which characters am I going to use, what background and what poses can I have there - because I honestly think the way you present your product is almost as important as the product itself. Then, I start creating the textures based on what I planned out before. When the actual product is done, I start putting everything together: the renders, promos, the product page. It almost ends up being the best part. I do this for every single one of my products, so you could say my creative process is very methodical, lol.
Are there perhaps any tips or tricks you have found in your own work that might be of help to others learning the software you use?
The best tip I can give anyone is when you don't know something, ask someone for help. You'll be surprised at how generous people are, especially in the art community, and in particular, here on Renderosity. I don't know everything myself, far from it, but I don't think there are any significant tips or tricks to what I do that I can share with everyone. I could say that the right lighting on renders is just as important as render settings, or I could say to sharpen your renders a bit with Photoshop, so that they won't look blurry, but those are just general tips. When you're stuck, search for the right tutorial, ask around on the forums, ask someone more experienced. I have gotten so many mails and sitemails asking me for help, and I always try my best to help out, as I believe any vendor or user here would.
Where do you find inspiration for your products, and do you have any particular favorite among the products you've created?
From so many things. From regular fashion, to movies, TV shows, magazines, video games, anime, comics, music videos, everyday life...basically anything around can give you an idea for something, even for things you would normally not think of. As for a favorite, I would have to say it's "Inked Vol.1," just because it was something different and new. Up until that point, I had only done textures for outfits that other people created, and textures packs are a fairly common thing. But with that product, even though they are still textures, it was something original and new, that's why it's my favorite.
Have you ever created product in response to customer feedback?
Whenever I can, I try and do that, especially if it's something that gets requested a lot. "Inked Vol.6 for M4" was something many customers had requested. When I started doing those sets, I didn't even consider doing one for M4, but I got so many requests that it was inevitable and I would have to thank those customers for bringing that idea to me. I also try to include certain texture styles for certain outfits based on requests, if I think it will look cool. I have no problem going out of my way to fulfill that request.
Do you have any advice for aspiring Digital Content Developers?
Absolutely. From personal experience, I think the best advice I can give anyone is to be original. This is a very competitive business. There are so many talented people working daily on creating content, many of those who make their living off of this. If you don't stand out from the crowd and just follow what everyone else is doing, the chances of success will be much smaller. Never put quantity before quality - you will do better with 1 quality product than with 5 mediocre ones. And when something doesn't work out as you had hoped, try and do better next time. Don't listen to the negativity and never give up. If you truly want to make it, it can be done, just do what you love the best you can :)
How has this online Community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?
Probably more than I realize. I have met so many people through Renderosity, many who have become really good friends, and many who have helped me out even when they really didn't need to. I think it's unusual that such a large community works the way this one does. It truly has become like a second home - I won't go a day without visiting this site, the galleries, the forums, even if I'm not the most active member there, I will check them every day :)
Do you have any final words or advice for other digital artists?
Yes, I do. I would like to take the chance to thank all my customers, all those who are nice enough to leave reviews on my products, and everyone who goes to the trouble of sitemailing me their suggestions, or just their messages letting me know they enjoy my work. I would also like to thank those that share the artwork they create using something I made, I really appreciate it.
I would also like to thank the fellow vendors who have helped me out through the years, namely rebelmommy. Had it not been for her, my renders would just suck, so thanks, I still haven't forgotten ;) _Al3d_, who has always been great to work with, and hongyu who has become one of my closest friends here. I would also like to leave a big thanks to one other person who really helped me out when I needed it, so, thanks!
And, finally, I would also like to thank the Renderosity Staff, and the Renderosity Community, for giving me this honor once again :)