Blackhearted introduces your new neighbor
Get to know Blackhearted...
Who is Blackhearted?
My name is Gabriel, and I live in Northern Canada. Despite the fact that I make my living from digital art/3D, away from work I'm a very low-tech guy. I don't watch TV. I don't even own a cellphone. I love woodworking with antique hand tools, spending time in the outdoors, archery and bushcraft. I'd love to do the 'Dick Proenneke' thing and take a year off to build my own log cabin using only hand tools - but don't worry I'm not ready to do that just yet :P
How long have you been involved with Digital Art?
I made the switch from traditional mediums and darkrooms to digital art and photography in 1999. I got old copies of 3DS Max and Photoshop from work, and in the next few days I'd downloaded around a gig of free - mainly Star Wars - models from the web and started rendering. I remember the awe I felt looking at the meshes of space ships and figures and thought I'd *never* be able to make something like that. Not long after that I stumbled upon Renderosity and I've been here ever since.
How'd you make the leap from Artist to Vendor?
It wasn't really a leap, more like a natural progression. Shortly after installing Poser I started experimenting with modifying textures, making transmaps for clothing, etc. I'd post a render in my gallery and people would message me and ask me for my custom stuff. Believe it or not I first became a vendor because I couldn't host my freestuff - I created my freebie Angelyna morph (for Vicky 1) and it was only a meg but I just couldn't keep up with the downloads - IIRC at the time it hit over 160k - thanks again to Ironbear and Cooler for helping me out with that :)
My early products were character packs with custom morphs/textures. I then branched out into modeling: initially in NURBS with Rhino (which my work up to GND2 is made with), and then I had to relearn how to model from scratch in Sub-D because I was getting frustrated at how poorly NURBS meshes convert to polys.
What software can't you do without?
Silo: There are more powerful, comprehensive modeling suites out there - but nothing as slick, intuitive and effective as Silo. I don't have to fight with bloat or an interface and can just dive in and start modeling. The interface can be customized to work for anyone, and the latest versions have really brought some amazing improvements such as sculpting and UV unwrapping. The fact that its so streamlined makes it a great app for both seasoned pros and beginners looking for a place to start to learn modeling.
Zbrush: While the interface never ceases to infuriate me (especially the fact that the devs insist on changing it with each update - so just when you're starting to get used to it, it changes) this is still THE sculpting app.
Photoshop: Not an hour goes by without me starting this up for something or other.
What have you been working on?
I've been sidetracked for the past couple years working on everything from iPhone games, low-poly video game meshes, commissions, clothing, and learning new techniques. But the past several months have marked a return to my roots, doing what I do best: morphing. Aside from Anastasia I have several other similar projects cooking, many of which I can't mention just yet. I am working on improvements to GND4 which will be released shortly, and modeling my own original figure in my 'free time'.
Tell us about your new character, Anastasia.
Anastasia is one part personal challenge, one part trying to give Poser users another viable figure in their Runtimes, and one part having had to listen to a friend badger me for nearly 4 years now that I 'really need to do something with the Poser base figures'.
She took me months to finish because I've had to move every single vertice of the mesh, correct flaws in the base model, and do an ungodly amount of fine tweaking. She is not just a drastic resculpt of the body and head, but also of oft-overlooked details like the fingers, toes, ears, teeth, nails, irises, etc. I don't have enough promo image slots to show all of the improvements I've made but I'm sure people will be pleasantly surprised. JCMs were added so she bends better, and I am already putting together some add-ons/updates that add even more functionality and features to her.
I'm very happy with how she came out. Many people don't give the base Poser figures a chance (I'm guilty of having stripped them from my Runtime after an install), and I hope this will help them reconsider the platform. Anastasia means 'resurrection', and I anticipate that this will help resurrect Alyson from Runtimes.
Many thanks to the friendly folk at Smith Micro for working together with me on GND: Anastasia.
Final thoughts…Words of encouragement for beginning artists, etc…
If you’re just starting out here, the best advice I can give is to pay attention to the details, customize and keep learning. I started out with something so basic as adding a custom tattoo to a texture. It all snowballed from there. It’s easy to fall into the habit where you let other people make everything for you - but don’t sell yourselves short. Think of all the poser products you have as just tools in your toolbox - and learn. Make a resolution to learn how to do one new thing a week - whether that’s modifying a texture, setting up your own lighting, modeling a simple prop in a free 3D app, making a transparency map, etc. The wonderful thing about digital art is that it has so many facets - and so many places where people with totally different skills can shine.
Pay attention to the details. It’s all in the details - and this goes for both artists and vendors. If you’re rendering an image, take the time to make sure your characters' eyes are focused on the camera, that their feet are firmly planted on the ground, that their hands properly grasp objects, render and re-render those previews until you get your lighting just right, etc. Take the time and it will pay off.
Many thanks to my friend Mike at Letterworks, who has helped keep me sane and focused over the years. If anyone's played the old game 'Black & White' - Mike is the little benevolent 'conscience' advisor that sits on my shoulder and keeps me from running amok. As for the demonic advisor - you know who you are.
And many thanks to the Renderosity community.
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