Who is 'Shana'?
Well, what can I say about myself? Let's see, I live in Portugal, I work as a freelance graphic designer/artist, although my main focus at the moment is Poser-related. In my free-time (when I get some), I love to read. I have a huge book collection, although I hardly pick up an actual book anymore, it's more iPad and Kindle these days, lol. I also enjoy watching a good movie. I'll watch almost anything, just not drama, there's already plenty of that in real life, but as long as it's a romantic comedy, action, adventure, mystery or musical, count me in! Other than that, what more can I say? I really like playing on my xbox and ps3, I love to shop, but doesn't every girl ? :D I LOVE music, I can't do anything around the house without having something playing in the background, especially when I'm working, and that's pretty much it, I wish I had something really amazing to share here, lol, but I'm just pretty much your average girl next door I guess :)
How long have you been involved in digital art?
It has to be about 12 years now, or more. It actually started with me coloring my drawings in Photoshop. I've been drawing for as long as I can remember, so I began coloring my artwork with that. A couple of years later I got into web design, nothing professional yet, just little websites for me and my friends. I eventually got good enough that it actually became my full time job, that's how I started with digital art.
A couple of years later, when I was working on something for a website, I ended up googling on how I could render a 3D girl for an image I needed. I stumbled onto Renderosity.com, then I quickly found out about Poser. I tried it out with V3 back then, it was so simple and easy, I was instantly hooked :)
What made you decide to become a Vendor?
Actually, it was never my intention to become a Vendor. Back then, when I was just rendering for fun, I started creating content out of necessity. When I wanted something that I couldn't find, sometimes I would end up making it myself. I was encouraged to try and start selling my own products, and so I did. I didn't think I would end up as a full time vendor, web design was really what I thought I would be doing for the next years, but I'm so happy that I was wrong. Becoming a vendor turned out to be much more fun than what I was doing :)
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 texture artist, I will always be working on more texture packs. Right now, I'm working on a couple of products with outoftouch. If you follow both of us on Renderosity, you have probably seen some of the products we have made together with our SHOOT series, that's what takes most of my time at the moment. Expanding that line of products and planning our future releases for it is my priority right now.
What software is currently in your digital toolset and why?
Nothing out of the ordinary. Right now I'm using Poser Pro 2012 for all the rendering, posing and promos, and Photoshop CS5 for everything else - no particular reason for these, they're simply the best applications for this sort of work.
Where do you find inspiration for your products?
This is going to sound so cliche, but really, inspiration is all around you. I get mine from so many things. From regular fashion, to movies, TV shows, magazines, video games, anime, comics, music videos, everyday life, I could go on forever... Basically, anything around can give you an idea for something, even for things you would normally not think of.
Could you list any current favorites among the products you've created and tell us a bit about their creation?
I have a few favorites I have made over the years. For example, there's the "Inked" series of products I created. That idea came about when I saw some people having a tough time adding little extra details to their characters, just like tattoos. For someone who is not experienced with image editing software, even just placing a simple small tattoo on V4's body can be a real challenge. So, I started looking into easier ways to do that, how could I apply textures to any character without having to edit the original character's files, that's how "Inked" was born. Later, it also spawned my "Scarred" and "Attitude" products, which follow the same basic concept, adding extra details to characters without having to actually edit the character's texture.
A more recent example is "SHOOT 05: Spirit Squad" that me and outoftouch created a few months ago. The idea behind that one was to expand on the classic cheerleader idea, there are have been so many cheerleader outfits that have come out over the years. They always sold well, which means people always liked them, but what could we add to that? We basically came to the same conclusion that we should create more than just the same top & skirt uniform, re-invent the traditional, different top and skirt, we added the high heel sneakers (btw, those exist in real life, I'm not sure why some people think we just made that up, lol). OOT created that awesome hair to match everything and we did the pose package to complete the whole idea. That was a real fun project.
Another one I'm really proud of is "SHOOTBabes Nikita." That one follows the same concept we had for the Cheerleader outfit, but this time applied to character creation. How could we make a character that was more than just your average V4 girl? Don't get me wrong, there are so many good artists out there creating "average" character packs at the moment (Freja, rebelmommy, godin, addy, sabby, and so on), and there's nothing average about them at all, they are fantastic in they're own right, but what could we make that would be different and new? The idea we had for Nikita was for her to be really sexy and sensual, but at the same time, also really strong and athletic, which is not very common. We added some unusual options to the character so we could highlight both of those ideas. Using the same python script I have to overlay textures over V4, we made some bruising and some wounds, some cool tattoos, the wet shader, we also included poses and lights. OOT made that fantastic wet hair, all of that together makes one of the best products I have worked on in recent memory :)
Do you have any advice for aspiring Digital Content Developers?
There's so much that can be said here, but I'll focus on what I think is the most important thing. This is what worked for me when I started out, and that was to be unique and original. This is an extremely competitive business. If you don't stand out from the crowd, then no matter how talented you may be, you'll end up being just one more and getting lost in the mix. Customers should recognize your work without even having to look at your username. Just think about it, there are a lot of amazing and talented artists working daily on creating digital content on this website. The more you develop your own style and make it recognizable, the more you increase your chances of succeeding. Other than that, the only other advice I have is what can also usually be applied to everything in life, and that is to always try and do better next time, always put quality before quantity and just do what you love and be happy :)
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: hongyu, who has been a close friend who has helped me out a lot since I started as a vendor; _Al3d_, who is someone I have worked closely with, too; rebelmommy, who I still remember for getting me truly started in all of this (she was the one who actually taught me how I could render something decently, lol), a very special friend that was crucial for all my Inked products; and, of course, outoftouch who has been great to work with and was the one who gave me the chance to really see my ideas come to life in the marketplace.
And, finally, I would also like to thank Jennblake, the entire Renderosity Staff, and the Renderosity Community, for giving me this honor for the third time :)