May 2010 Vendor of the Month - danae
Who is "danae"?
danae is me, Danae, living in Athens, Greece. I really do not know how to describe me, so here are a few of my favorite things:
I love classical literature and I can not get enough of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.Other fav books: Gabriel Garcia Marquez– Of Love and.Other Demons. I grew up loving anything Star Wars, Star Trek and V, and seriously believed, up till the age of 8, that when there was a thunderstorm, God was having a photoshoot with flash. I’m a Lord of The Rings fanatic and one of my favorite films is Hitchcock’s Rebecca. I used to play guitar in a band, but never could really play the guitar. I enjoy long walks in the forest and countryside; love the snow and hate the sun (yeah and living in Greece makes sense then). This year, I finally realized though, that I am a notoriously bad skier. My husband and 16 month old son are jazz music fanatics, hence I am forced to listen to it most of the day. I have learned to appreciate it, and now sometimes have a craving for Chet Baker, Charlie Parker and Dizzie. I don’t know how to drive, but have to and dread the driving lessons. I have a Border Collie named Marcus Aurelius.
How long have you been creating digital art?
When I was at my University, I had an Art Direction project that required a production portfolio. During that time, a friend of mine had his house burgled, so I offered to let him stay in our house till everything settled down. He happened to have an application named (from what I can remember) Fractal 3D. I remember playing around with it and discovering I could do so many things that I could not express with a simple hand drawn image. It was a silly program in today’s standards, but I was hooked. The same person, years later, let me in on a secret that there was a new software out there that is called Poser and I should look into it. So, thank you Abraham, you are the godfather of my work (and sometimes a bit of good can come of some bad house burgling). So, I think it is well over a decade of digital art.
It is amazing though, isn’t it? I was raised in the generation of Atari and Commodores and my first PC was an Apple IIc, with its black and green screen and Conan the Barbarian game. And here we are, with new apps and shaders and particle systems and 3D movies. I feel old.
Have you had any traditional art experience or training?
Coming from an Art Direction background, I have been doing a lot of things before settling down to CG. Although I never had any formal 3D training, experience in the arts has helped me in terms of aesthetics and getting a vision across.
What are you currently working on?
I’m always working on so many things, but getting them completed is another story. Not all of my Work In Progress makes it as a product. I aim to release only the best of my work, so if something is not the best it could be, I prefer to just let it go. Currently, I am in the middle of a new character, hair and lights. It remains to be seen which will finally make it to the MP.
What software is in your digital toolset and why?
I use pretty much the same things I have been using from the beginning. Photoshop and 3ds Max are my staples, although the versions I have are ancient. I am also considering trying out other software that is free, like Wings, and simpler applications like Hexagon. I find it hard to change software though, because I get all cozy and comfy in a working environment and then get really anxious when I am using a new one. I hate feeling a stranger with a new app and can literary sit for days in front of my computer until I learn how to get comfy again. The only problem in this is that there is never enough time in a day to get all the things I want done. Having a toddler around instantly makes me a super multi-tasker, and learning a new app becomes a trial in working under noisy and chaotic conditions. It literally feels like trying to solve a complex math equation while sitting in the middle of a New York city street construction site. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way!
How would you describe your creative process?
I have an idea of what I would like to make, and then I start thinking of how I am to approach it. I look at my photo references and search for any new techniques in lighting and shading. The creative process entails that I have 2 or 3 software working together at the same time. When I am creating a texture in 2D, I am frequently checking how it is looking in Poser or 3D. You never know for sure when something gets “translated” well in 3D, even if you believe that your texture maps are super detailed. I have also noticed that there is no recipe for a good texture or a good model. Subtle changes, like in skin tone and overall coloring can make such a difference, and what worked in one model does not work in all models. A lot of scrutiny, going back and forth, correcting and enhancing takes place. It can literally make you a bit crazy. Just when you think you are at your wits end and you have something you are happy with, the dreadful “Pozerizing” process needs to be dealt with. Making the Mats, correcting the File references, missing windows, missing textures, missing brain cells. But, when you have the final product zipped and tested and ready to be released, I think it all becomes worthwhile.
Where do you find inspiration for your products?
Inspiration comes from the things I feel I would like to see and use for renders. From the things I see around me: in Art, in films, from the books I read, from photos I see.
Have you ever created product in response to customer feedback?
My biggest wish is that all my customers can be satisfied. I always take under great consideration all their feedback and their suggestions and try to include them in my next product.
Do you have any advice for aspiring Digital Content Developers?
Make things that you would like to buy and use. Find a niche. Do not make things that are already in abundance. Take pride in your work and value your customers. Take time in trying to learn new things, read forums and tutorials. Study other people's work and see how they get it done. Try to become better with each product and do not settle down with just one way of doing things.
How has this online Community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?
The online community is full of knowledge. I am forever grateful to the people who try to push the limits and find new techniques and post them on the forums and in FreeStuff. This community has so many people willing to help and teach you new things without asking anything in exchange. I have met some wonderful people here, and despite being on the other side of this planet, I feel as if I have known them forever.
Do you have any final words?
I want to thank this community and all the people who have taken the time to write or send a message. A huge thank you to all the customers who have honoured me. I feel lucky to be a part of this community. Thank you to the site team for always doing such a great job, and a personal thanks to Debbie for being such a great person. And thank you husband George and little Serge for being patient with me.