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 Vanishing Point team, which consists of three main members: JHoagland [John Hoagland], mrsparky [alan reed], and Helgard [Helgard de Barros].
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
JHoagland: I live in Orlando, Florida, and I've been using computers since the Apple II, back in the early 1980's. Back then, there were no paint programs, so I had to create images by writing my own program, which drew colored lines on the screen. Of course, back in those days the screen size was 39 pixels by 39 pixels, and each pixel was roughly one centimeter in size!
I started using 3d graphic programs in 1998, but even then, my computer couldn't really handle rendering even one object. I finally started to get serious with computer graphics in 2000.
In 2006, my "Tabby Portrait 3" image was chosen to be displayed in the digital artwork gallery at the Otronicon Expo (a video game/ digital art event held at the Orlando Science Center). I rendered the image at 24x36 inches, printed it at a local Kinko's print center, and then framed the artwork. At 24x36 inches, my image was the largest in the Otronicon gallery, and was one of only two images to use Poser.
mrsparky: I juggle 2 day-jobs. I work with and support learning disabled adults, and I'm an all-around PC techie, doing jobs ranging from repairs to websites.
Helgard: South African, not quite as stupid as I look, and I will sleep just after I finish the next three products. Or was that four?
Did you begin with modeling or did you begin with Poser?
JHoagland: I started my 3D career using Ray Dream Designer (on a Macintosh), back in 1998. I played around with it, but never got very far. In 2000, a friend of mine showed me a copy of Poser 4. I got hooked, and quickly found sites like the 3D Comic Collective. I downloaded all the comic book characters, created my own scenes, and wondered how the artists made things like hats and other props.
mrsparky: I started with Poser 2, which I got as a cover disc on a magazine.
Helgard: With Poser.
What version of Poser do you use, and why do you like it best?
JHoagland: I now use Poser 6 almost exclusively. I've found that this version has the most streamlined controls than the previous versions, which makes the process of creating models a lot quicker. Poser 6 also fixes a lot of the bugs and glitches found in Poser 5.
mrsparky: Poser Pro Pack. I use it because there's no material room, just a nice simple single tab.
Helgard: Poser 6. It is stable, and everything works as advertised, well, almost as advertised.
©JHoagland [John Hoagland]
You offer a lot of unique items. Where do you get your ideas from? Do you ever take requests?
JHoagland: The inspiration for my models really comes from two places: "what things would I enjoy making?" and "what things have not been made by anyone else?" I always loved the Star Wars movies and I enjoyed building plastic models as a kid. Since there were no Star Wars models available in Poser format, it was an easy decision to start making digital models.
mrsparky: Mostly a visual strong imagination. I use sketch books and I keep scrapbooks of clippings and ideas. I get inspirations from comics to fine art, from Judge Dredd to Epstein.
Helgard: I usually make stuff that I intend to use in my own animations. I do take requests, usually for free add-ons to existing products.
What was the first model you ever made? Did it come out the way you planned?
JHoagland: I don't remember the actual first model I made (it was that bad).
mrsparky: Some Dragon maps. Pretty satisfied.
Helgard: The Poser conversion of the Powerloader from "Aliens". It came out so well, I made all the other Aliens products I could.
When things just aren't going the way you planned what keeps you going?
JHoagland: If things aren't going the way I planned, I usually take a break and work on something different, such as artwork or images. If things are really going bad, I'll try working on another model. By switching to another project, I can usually figure out what's going wrong with the first project and come up with a solution.
mrsparky: A tolerant girlfriend, and too much tea and nicotine.
Helgard: Stubbornness. No computer is going to get the better of me!
©mrsparky [alan reed]
Of all the models you've made, what's your favorite? Why?
JHoagland: My favorite free model would have to be the AT-AT from "The Empire Strikes Back". This is the first AT-AT model available for Poser, it has all the expected moving parts, and it's scaled properly for the Poser people.
My favorite for-sale model would have to be the Dragonfly Alternating Robot: this is the first-ever transformable figure for Poser. It can transform from a jet fighter to a robot, and includes all the movable parts for both modes: moving flaps and canopy for the jet fighter mode, and movable head, arms, legs, and fingers, for the robot mode.
mrsparky: The Vorg. Because it's become my showcase piece. It's good enough to steal.
Helgard: The Aliens Colonist Complex. Just because it was so different from everything else I had seen before.
Do you have a favorite free stuff provider? Who is it and why?
JHoagland: My favorite free stuff provider would have to be Gerald Day. He makes a wide variety of models, ranging from Doctor Who items to low-poly objects to "crumpled" clothing.
mrsparky: Richard T. For making amazing, well-detailed, real world, industrial models.
Helgard: Ockham. His Python scripts have saved me hundreds of hours in animations.
What is your favorite image created with your free stuff?
JHoagland: It would have to be the recent "Astromech Breakfast" by CTA. He imported my Astromech models into 3D Studio Max and rendered them using HDRI. The rendered image looks just like a photograph, and if you look closely, you can even see the reflection of the photographer in the astromech's metal dome.
mrsparky: The semi-transparent Vorg, because the artist was willing to experiment with art, and not just use it straight.
Helgard: The Powerloader and Terminator picture, "I See You",by chrispoole1
How long have you been a member of the Poser Community? What do you like best about it?
JHoagland: I first joined the Poser community sites back in early 2000. Around the same time, I also created my own website to host my own items and tutorials.
In 2004, I founded Vanishing Point as a site dedicated to science-fiction modeling. Over the course of the next few years, Vanishing Point would include a large collection of military and real-world items as well.
mrsparky: Around 6 years. When it pulls and works together.
Helgard: Three years. The people who help others just because they can.
©Helgard [Helgard de Barros]
Do you have any advice for someone just starting out modeling and sharing their free stuff items?
JHoagland: First, don't be afraid of a little criticism, especially when you're starting. Try to take advice from people who have more experience. Then, just keep practicing and making models. The more things you make, the better you'll become.
And you shouldn't be afraid to make fan items. Even though some people may be overly critical of any fan item, most people would love to be able to use these kinds of items in their images.
mrsparky: Learn the basics of copyright, and always include a MAT pose.
Helgard: Sharing their free stuff items? Learn to walk before you run, but challenge yourself. If it is too easy, there is no sense of achievement. Also, make something unique that you can be proud of.
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or reproduced in any manner without written permission from their respective artists.
Lynn Gottlieb [Angel1]is a Renderosity Front Page News Staff Columnist.
If you know of a Renderosity Free Stuff Artist that you would like to have us showcase, please drop Nick Sorbin a note with the artist's Renderosity username, and keep checking the Front Page News, you never know who we will be showcasing next!