|Each month we showcase a Renderosity Free Stuff Artist, in appreciation for their thoughtfulness, and countless hours spent creating free items for the Renderosity community. This month we are proud to showcase the works of Joe Kurz, better know to his Renderosity fellow artists as jenay.|
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Josef Kurz, I live near Munich, Southern Germany. My real life job is … hmmm — IT related. My friends call me Joe. I am now a grown-up forty-four year old, but I still feel much younger. [laughter].
In my spare time, when I am not modeling and rendering, I love motor-biking and spending summertime in nature at the lakes. I also love all the many Bavarian beer gardens here and there. [more laughter]
Did you start with modeling first or Poser first?
I did my very first steps with POVRAY some years ago, but that was not really modeling. I started with Poser first and soon noticed the lack of good models. So I started creating my own stuff (very clumsy in the beginning).
What version of Poser do you use and why do you like it best?
I am thinking of upgrading to Poser6, however, I am still working with Poser4, and I like it because it's the best version I have. [laughter]
Where do you get your ideas?
I get my ideas from everyday life, visiting historic places or museums, especially on holidays. Many ideas I get from other pictures — here in the community, but other places as well. I love historic sites, archeological ruins, old cultures, castles, temples, hidden crypts and such locations.
Is there a genre that you prefer to work in such as futuristic, fantasy etc.?
I like Sci-Fi environments, especially dark, rusty and abandoned sets that have a scary atmosphere. My idea is combining fantasy with Sci-Fi elements to create something new that can be addressed to both fantasy and Sci-Fi genres (and a bit of Goth or horror as well).
For example: I have a project (Temple of Orondâne) that is a fantasy environment that I have been working on over the last years. I am creating objects, buildings and posting images that are situated in this temple environment. But, the temple is more than a simple building out of stone: deep beneath the surface there is a hidden and forgotten core, a spaceship, that wrecked thousands of years ago on a lonesome dusty planet. This brings the Sci-Fi element into my fantasy setting.
An Assortment Of Free Stuff Items © jenay [Joe Kurz]
What was the first model you ever made? Did it turn out the way you planned?
Hmmm ... I think it was a simple pyramid or a stub pyramid. I needed it for a scene I was creating. There was nothing simple like that in the Poser library — only a cone, a cube, a cylinder — nor was there anything like that in all of the Free Stuff area. So, I created it with a simple text editor. Yes, I know it sounds funny.
I started by drawing a sketch on paper, labeled and numbered the vertices, and built a new OBJ-file (I had read a tutorial about the OBJ-file format of course). Then I created the UVMap with UVMapper and imported it into Poser. It turned out a bit strange: there are two sides visible, the other two sides were invisible in the Poser preview. At that time I had no clue about “reversed normals.” I was just happy that the rendered image looked OK. [more laughter]
When you're working on something and it's not going the way you would like, what keeps you going?
I have many projects that are unfinished (and may stay unfinished). Sometimes it's better to leave them alone, and — one day, maybe — you get a new idea and start over again. Or, use a different approach — and it works!
Of all the models you've made, what's your favorite?
Hmmm ... that's difficult to answer. Let's ask vice versa: what is my most popular model that users love most? I think it's the vaulted hall prop, inspired by the mines of Moria in Lord Of The Rings. I published it about three years ago, it's very simple, but effective. It's not among my favorites, in fact I tried several times to improve it (I published a much improved version on my online shop, but it didn't sell very well). But it's still around. When I search the galleries I find it used by many, many people.
Vault Hall Property © jenay [Joe Kurz]
Do you like doing single props or full scenes better?
Mostly I create single props. I love the idea of having a complete construction kit to build my own scenes. I try to scale my objects the same way so that the user can interchange them, and also, I try to give them matching and properly scaled textures. I published two or three complete pre-assembled scenes (for example: my tower's chamber #1 and #2). They were a great success. I think in the near future I should spend more time in creating complete easy-to-use scenes. I have the idea of a Sci-Fi set.
Tower's Chamber Part #2 © jenay [Joe Kurz]
Can you give us a hint on what your next item will be and how long do you anticipate before it will be out?
The mentioned Sci-Fi set is composed of primitives. I want to re-use my stuff as much as possible, add pipes and engines. I am not sure how it will turn out, maybe a kind of corridor/engine hall with pipes and tubes that can also be used as a Sci-Fi set skyline.
SciFiWall with Fan © jenay [Joe Kurz]
Do you have a favorite free stuff provider?
Oh, I have and had many. Sorry to say that many of them are no longer active. However, I do have a few names I would like to pass along: Kozaburo (excellent hair props, better than some items that I purchased), marforno (great store, but great freebies as well), mapps, studio maya, as shanim, 3dmodelz, specs2, etc, etc ...
What is your favorite image created with your free stuff?
That's difficult to answer. From time to time I perform a search in the galleries to see who used my stuff and add some comments as well. I have a nice collection of images now. Sometimes I am very surprised how my stuff is used in ways I never thought of — but at the moment I can't name a favorite one.
How long have you been a member of the Poser Community? What do you like best about it?
I have been around here since late 2000, at that time I only looked at the galleries. In early 2001 I bought Poser and started to look for freebies and tutorials. I found tons of stuff on Renderosity and was totally overwhelmed. Half a year later I posted my first images on Renderosity.
There were some periods I was less enthusiastic, but I am still here. I love reading the forums as well (although I am not as active with posting), and I am studying the tutorials — many useful hints. I found some very nice friends. We teamed up together to work on some projects, like the Old Cloister Library and The Old Vaulted Hall (both once sold at my online store, but now only available upon request).
Do you have any advice for someone just starting out modeling and sharing their free stuff items?
Start with simple things. You do not need an expensive 3D modeling tool, just start with small free programs (like Wings, Anim8or, or Amapi) and see, how they work. Create things you'd use in your own scenes and promote your stuff with own rendered images. This is the best way, before considering to become a merchant one day — Ahhh, and don't forget to have fun! [much laughter]
Lynn Gottlieb [Angel1]
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November 21, 2005