kromekat - November '02 Merchant Of The Month

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kromekat - November '02 Merchant Of The Month
How did you get started in 3D art?

My awareness and fascination for computer art started in the early eighties with films like 'Tron', and 'The Last Starfighter', and when I first saw a series of short animations demonstrating the 'state of the art' at that time, one of which is the now legendary 'Luxo Junior' by Pixar. Sadly, at that time, one needed a Cray supercomputer the size of an apartment, something that was a little beyond my financial reach as an art student! :) - But as a child, I was always drawing something, and I have vivid memories of sitting down with my father, armed with pencils, tackling the intricacies of perspective and foreshortening on all sorts of shapes, which obviously began my awareness of 3D form. Recently I also realised what an incredibly educational and creative toy Lego was for me! (no, seriously!), as now, while I am rotating one of my models or scenes in virtual space, and adding little blocks here, and a cylinder there, I recognise that same childhood fascination I had with balance, construction and form.

In 1995 I got my first Macintosh, and began experimenting with Photoshop and a 3D app. called 'Infini-D', which made little sense to me at the time, and I only ever got as far as rendering some primitives with glass and metallic textures on. A friend of mine had an early incarnation of Poser, and although I didn't see any real use in it's abilities to render a good human likeness, I started playing with its basic deformation tools to make some odd looking aliens that I composited into photographic backgrounds with Photoshop. I didn't really explore digital art much beyond an occasional doodle in between my traditional painting work for a couple of years after that, until In 1998, I began working for a publishing company as an in-house designer/illustrator. I used Photoshop and Painter for almost every kind of imagery needed, but when another artist (Pete Hill aka Curio) joined the team complete with his own copy of Bryce 3D, I quickly realised how much the software had moved on, and the potential art that could be created with these new tools. We persuaded the boss to buy us Bryce 4 and Poser 4, and did our damnedest to answer as many of the briefs as possible using our new 3D toolset, effectively allowing us to experiment, have fun, learn and get paid for it! Some months later, I went freelance, and just happened to be visiting a company about some other design work, when a guy walked in and asked if I knew whether it would be possible to create a set of images of winter athletes, looking like they were clad in chrome!! - I eagerly volunteered my services for the job, only to find out shortly afterwards, that they were being commissioned for a Visa advertising campaign for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics!! - I knew then that there might be more of a future for me and these tools in 3D graphics! :)

What software do you use and why?

Well I think people know me best for my Bryce work, it's still my preferred software for scene creation and rendering (despite the wait time!), One of the great things about Bryce, particularly for beginners, is how easy it is to get a half decent looking scene together, and that definitely entices you in, making you want to delve further. In experienced hands It's capable of incredible realism, yet it can also have a beautiful illustrative quality that I personally keep coming back to, time and time again.
I have been using Cinema 4D since late last year, after seeing demos of all the major modelling apps at a digital arts exhibition. The whole idea of actually making my own meshes was very daunting, but I knew that if I wanted to progress, and overcome the modelling limitations inherent in Bryce, I had to jump in with the 'big boys toys'. Of all the demos I saw, Maxon's Cinema 4D looked like the easiest to follow, and now after a lot of experimenting and head scratching, I am starting to feel comfortable enough with it to get some nice results.
I use both Poser 4 & ProPack for all my figure work, and find it particularly useful to have them both installed when creating Poser related products for the MP, to iron out any compatibility issues. Photoshop is the one program that rarely gets closed down on my machine, since I am constantly jumping in and out of it to create and edit textures as well as all the final post-work touches.

Any advice for getting started in selling 3D work?

Whether you are planning to sell products for other artists to use in their own endeavours, or create models and images for commercial projects, you must love what you do! - you will be satisfied and more dedicated, which will show through in your work. Try to create products that you actually really want to own yourself, based on things that you have a passion for, it will make you more conscientious, and keep you inspired!
Everything I make is something I need for my own artwork, and sometimes, I feel like I would like to keep hold of them longer before I make them available to others, but that's a natural emotion to have when you put a lot of time and love into something! - I am sure It will be the same with my daughters when they come to fly the nest! :D

Where do you find inspiration for your products?

Everywhere and in everything!!! - My problem is having the time to keep hold of all the inspiration and actually put it into reality (albeit virtual!).
Growing up in rural England, surrounded by beautiful countryside has obviously made a lifelong impression on me. My family have always been 'country folk', so even when we went away, it would be to the mountains & valleys of Wales or the ancient forests of Hampshire, and I guess I just soaked all of that in. I have always loved woodlands, so It was only a matter of time before I tried to recreate some elements of that for use in my own CG work.
In my personal artwork, sci-fi & fantasy has nearly always played a part since I was a child, and as I developed as a painter, studying the images of artists and illustrators like Magritte, Dali, Maxfield Parrish, Jim Burns, Boris Valejo & Tim Hildebrandt (amongst others), as well as the literature I read and films I watched, I recognised my love for creating things as realistic as my skills would allow, but with a twist of improbability or fantasy.
When I was painting traditionally, I would be constantly observing anything and everything like it was already a painting. I'd always be watching the way light fell on or around things, how the shadows fragmented a clean line, and be mentally transposing the process required to re-create those elements with a brush and pigment. I do a similar thing now, except that I am thinking about polygons and pixels!
Of course, there is always that inspiration we call 'a bill' to motivate the completion of a new product too! :)

How has this online community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?

Being a member of Renderosity has had an enormous influence on my work, both in terms of motivation and development. There are some very talented artists here whom I admire and am constantly learning something from. I have to moderate my daily consumption of the galleries these days however, due to work and family commitments, as I was spending far too many hours looking at 'all galleries' both in the morning and late at night, but I still trawl through as many of them as I can or have a keen interest in.
As well as the obvious visual stimulation the site provides, the forums and tutorials have been essential in my acquisition of new skills and techniques for creating my products, especially the Poser related ones!, and I am very grateful to all who have shared their knowledge over the last couple of years.
It's debatable whether I would have created so many new images or realised so many old ideas in CG without this community here to share them with. I never could have imagined how big a part this 'concoction of html, database code and server bytes' would be playing in my daily life and routine two years ago, and I find it fascinating that despite the great distances, and technical nightmare that separates us, we all come here to express our emotions, both good and bad, and in so many forms, all (or mostly!) in the interest of our mutual love of the image, technology and communication! - *sniff* ;)

Ahem!.. anyway, it would appear that this is the bit where I thank everybody, so here goes!:

To all those who have taken the time to look at my artwork, comment and critique, to all those who have shared their knowledge freely, to all those who have created their own products with care and attention to detail, to all those who have believed in my products enough to part with their hard earned cash, to all those that have taken the time to provide useful feedback on my products, either privately or publicly, to those select few who I entrust to test my products, and give me honest, constructive feedback, to the great artists here that use my products in their renders AND grace me with a credit!, to the admins that keep this place in order, and ticking away as it should, to all those in the forums that have either agreed OR differed in opinion to me over the trivial to the philosophical, to the great artists here that constantly push the envelope, making us ALL try harder, to the staff that have made some amazing opportunities available, to the person that posts the merchants cheques each month!, to those who have sat and read this neverending monologue and remained awake!...

...to the whole community for making this place a REAL one to come and hang out!...

Thank you all very much! :)

Adam Benton aka kromekat
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Member Opinions:
By: Eowyn on 11/1/02
Wow! Congratulations, Adam! :) Your work is always top notch so this is definitely a title well deserved! :) [BIG HUGS]

By: Lucy_Fur on 11/1/02
Way to go Adam!! Thank you for your high-quality items - I love them. :) You deserve this *hugs*

Warm regards,
Michelle
aka - Lucy_Fur

By: AGOR on 11/1/02
Congratulations Adam!! I think you deserve also the "AOM"!!
All the best to you!

By: LadyJaiven on 11/1/02
Yay :) Congrats Adam! Your products are wonderful and you deserve it ;) ~hugs~

By: linwhite on 11/1/02
I think ya picked a good one....I love all of this guy's stuff. It's quality...

Congratulations, Adam. I always look forward to your next offering. You very much deserve this. Linda White

By: bluevenus on 11/1/02
Congratulations Adam! Your texture packs are simply inspring :)

By: Rhiannon on 11/1/02
Congrats Adam, for some quite well-deserved recognition!

Only one of your many fans,
Rhi

By: Curio on 11/1/02
That was a good read! :) Congratulations Adam! Your products are some of the finest, most highly finished offerings in the MP - ah, and those days at grosvenor.... I hope I never have to relive them! lol! you know what i mean... ;) well done!
_ _ _ Pete

By: Tammy on 11/1/02
Congratulations the woodlands texture pack and ultimate coastal remain 2 of my favorites today, a well deserved honor.

By: holyforest on 11/2/02
congrats, Kromekat !

By: TheWingedOne on 11/2/02
Adam, my congrat for becoming the AOM. Very well deserved IMHO. I just love your works! Just keep more of this awesome stuff and artwork comin'!

Phil aka The Winged One :)

By: GrayCloudDesign on 11/2/02
Congratulations Adam, you deserve it:-)

By: Sacred Rose on 11/2/02
Congrats Adam!!!

By: ronmolina on 11/3/02
Hey great going!
Ron

By: Shademaster on 11/3/02
Congratulations kromekat! Your work always leaves me in awe and anticipation to what you will make next. It's always a pleasure to browse through your gallery and market place!

By: tricksta on 11/3/02
U deserve it! Well done Adam

By: deemarie on 11/3/02
As a long time admirer of your Gallery, as well as your Market Place Textures, I too wish to congratulate you on this well deserved honor!

By: magnet on 11/4/02
Hey! Congratulations! You already know how I feel about your design work. You are a simply amazing artist with incredible vision!

Well deserved Adam! Nice work!

By: davidm on 11/4/02
Congratulations Adam! Love the fabulous detail in your work! :-)

By: dalinise on 11/4/02
Congrats Adam!! Although I have gotten to know you very recently, I have come to greatly respect you and your work!
Thanks for your kindness and awesome products!!!
Hugs, Dal.

By: jgmart on 11/4/02
Congrats Adam!! Your Woodland Textures are my favorites.

By: jeweldragon on 11/5/02
congrats!!! you well deserve this :)

By: Dejah on 11/5/02
Well deserved, congrats Adam!!!

By: TheVelvetFoxx on 11/5/02
Congrats Adam! Reading your bio was like reading a study of my own reasons for working in 3D and Bryce. I simply love what I do. So do you and it shows! Bravo!

By: RobStone on 11/6/02
I recently purchased a couple of the Woodland texture Packs and the IvyTree created by Kromekat. All Top Quality products to work with. Congratulations Adam and sincere greetings from a Dutch 3D Artist!

By: Sking on 11/8/02
Adam, congratulations on becomming a MOM. You have derserved this honour and I wish you all the best for the future. Great stuff. ----- Scott.

By: Richabri on 11/8/02
Congrats! It is a well deserved distinction :)

By: Doran on 11/8/02
Congratulations! Your work is VERY respectable and your bio is an excellent example of how one can produce thier dreams through hard work and study. You are definitely a role model for the 3D community.

By: andix on 11/8/02
Congratulations, it's good to see yet another Brit get the MOM. With the quality of your work, it appears well deserved.

By: Spiritbro77 on 11/9/02
Congratulations! I have long been envious of your work!

By: foleypro on 11/10/02
Ahhh Excellent my friend you do deserve this...BTW Excellent Textures

By: keihan on 11/19/02
Gratz Adam! Your work is deserving of all the credit you have received here, plus! Good going and keep up the good work.

---Will

By: kromekat on 11/25/02
A big thanks to you all for your feedback! :D


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