Who is "Oskarsson"?
'Oskarsson' is a self-reinforcing bio-magnetic structure moving through a space-time continuum... no, don't stop reading, I'm just messing with you. I'm 49 years old and I live in Gothenburg, Sweden. Been working in a lot of places in my day before I finally settled on this 3D thing.
How long have you been creating digital art?
For a very long time. I started back in the 80's. I worked as a printer then, and I remember using the company's Macintosh. I scanned in a drawing and used this new 'clone' tool to clone a part of the drawing. I remember thinking how much time I could save working like that. The fact that it took 15 minutes to set the whole thing up barely registered...LOL. I started using 3D on the Amiga in the mid 80's: applications like Imagine, Caligari3D and the first versions of Lightwave. You couldn't do much then. Building a sphere with reflections was state of the art. Rendering it took half an hour. If you wanted to change something, you had to start all over again! Very time consuming.
In the 90's, things became more useful. I did a lot of comics and I could use the computer for things like speech ballons and fonts that looked like they were written by hand. The interest in 3D was always there, but for a long time drawing comics was my main interest. I spent 18 months building my own platform game using an engine called 3DRad. That was 2001-02, I think. It didn't sell very well, but I learned a lot from that experience. After that, creating 3D content became more and more important to me.
Have you had any traditional art experience or training?
None whatsoever. I started drawing comics when I was 7 and things kind of grew out of that. Same with the 3D stuff. I'm interested in it, so I learn it.
What are you currently working on?
Almost finished 'Oskarsson's Thunderstruck'. A complete package for V4: hair, custom character, textures and casual clothing. After that, possibly a 'combat nun,' a werewolf, or something with hair (since I've found out that Dynamic hair is actually pretty good to work with). I think I finally found out how to do a convincing werewolf. Would like to do original figures, but they eat up a lot of time.
What software is in your digital toolset and why?
Lightwave, Zbrush and Photoshop. The holy trinity. Zbrush has changed the way I work forever. So many good things in this application. The way you can build clothes in a couple of minutes! The fact that you can paint over UV-seams. You can make morphs easy as sculpting with clay. Also, the fact that I bought one of the earliest versions of the application and they have given me free upgrades ever since! I use Ligtwave for precision work, when I need to do point-editing or Uv-mapping. Or just build stuff.
How would you describe your creative process?
I like to do things that challenge me on a technical level: products where I have to figure new things out. Trying to make something work that I've never done before. That often leads to new discoveries, in turn, giving me ideas for other products. I often start by building a low resolution mesh that can be easily manipulated and Uv-mapped. It's only when I'm almost finished that I subdivide it into the final resolution, before importing it into Poser for rigging.
Where do you find inspiration for your products, and do you have any particular favorite there?
I am very lucky in that I have a very active imagination. It's not always useful, but in this particular line of work it is. I like to look at pictures that spark some kind of creative idea in me. I often look at pictures on 'Flickr,' because you can do a search for illustrators that you like there, or any subject, and there's a zillion pictures of that!
I like vintage clothing, particulary the 50's and the victorian age. Comic books, obviously. The silver age of comics, Kirby and Romita. Japanese art, concept art. I'm also inspired by horror-movies, both old and new.
Have you ever created product in response to customer feedback?
Not that I remember. I promised this guy I would do a custom morph of a character with Downes syndrome as soon as the V4 kids are released. Not sure if that is going to be a product or not. Customers sometimes have perfectly reasonable requests for add-ons or matching products for V4 and M4. However, it is difficult for me to revisit a product that I've already done. The interest is just not there, and it will begin to feel like work instead of fun....
Do you have any advice for aspiring Digital Content Developers?
Don't do generic V4 characters with eight makeup colors. I know it's tempting, but just don't do it. There's enough already and the market is over-saturated. And when you do promotion pictures, don't do the one where Victoria puts her finger in her mouth and looks like her brains are melting. Please? As a personal favour to me? I caved in once, I wanted to fit in and be like everybody else. I used the-finger-in-the-mouth pose on a promotion, I think it was on 'Oskarsson's Victorian.' I've felt soiled and dirty ever since (not a totally unpleasant feeling, but I digress...).
On the level of more practical advice, synergy is the way to go. Learn from different places, make different applications work together, make it fit! Maybe a plugin from an unexpected place can be used for a product? Try to think outside the box.
When trying to break into the market, I have found that a good mix of products have worked very well for me. On one side, I have the highly original, some would say weird, products. On the other side, I have more conventional products, things that people can actually recognize.
Now, the weird stuff doesn't sell that well (it's doing okay, nothing spectacular), but it attracts attention by the way it looks. It makes people remember my name, which is very important because after you've seen a name for a while, you begin to think that you can trust that guy and his products. The weird stuff also draws people to my store because they become curious.
I'm making this sound like I have this big business plan, but it's nothing like that, it's just the way I work :) So...don't give up. You have to stick around long enough for people to recognize your name. Try something new every now and then. If you learn one new fact or one new way of doing things every week, you'll be pretty good after one year.
This is all about helping people to make cool renders! Most people don't have the time to build their own content and that's where we come in!
How has this online Community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?
I am very, very grateful for the community and Renderosity itself. It has changed my life. Two years ago, I worked in a factory lifting heavy stuff. I think that was the actual job description - lifting heavy stuff. On top of that, I was working for a temp agency. It was not a good place to be at my age. Now, thanks to Renderosity and all the nice people here, I work as a vendor full-time! I can sit very comfortably in front of my computer, listening to music while I'm having fun! And if I want to take a little nap after dinner, no one can stop me!
I also made some great friends in the community! So, yeah, I love you guys!
Do you have any final words?
I hope that you're having as much fun as I'm having! I love this job and I hope that you do too!---------------------------------------------------------------------