Julian_J -- February '03 Artist Of The Month!

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Who is Julian_J?

Hello there, Julian_J is Julian Jeremy Johnson-Mortimer, I'm a 28 year old watercolour artist who lives a nice quiet life in the small seaside town called Ramsgate in Kent, England.


How long have you have you been rendering/doing computer graphics?

Hmm, I have been doing 3d now for about 18 months. I fell into doing 3d by accident really, I have always been interested in computer graphics because I was quite an avid pc game player years ago. Plus also, like most people I've always loved watching the special effect in movies and seeing how they have progressed over the years. And I have always wondered how it was made. And it was about a year and a half ago I was making a few simple flash
animations for a website and I wanted to include a moving figure of some kind, And someone said I should try the program Poser, so I did and I found the program very interesting.

It was the first time I had tried any kind of 3d software; I went on to make a few flash movies using Poser, a friend of mine saw these, and he said maybe I should have a go at a higher end 3d program like Maya. It was a program I had never even heard of before. Well I found the Maya website and read what the program was about and I ordered the trial CD, then once I started learning Maya I never really looked back; I loved the challenge of learning a high-end 3d program and finding out how effects like you see in the films were made.

Of course before buying the full program I did first have a look at what else was out there, I also tried 3dsmax and Lightwave. I really liked Lightwave and it was also a lot cheaper then Maya at that time, but I just could not really get on with the menu system of Lightwave and the layout -- I did try. I know most people would probably find Lightwave easier to learn then Maya, but I just found Maya so much easier to learn and I felt at home with the program. So I picked Maya and have not looked back since, and it is the only 3d app I use, apart from some frustrations like Maya does tend to crash a lot, but I have really enjoyed learning 3d.


Do you have traditional art experience?

Yes, that's my background and it is still my main job, 3D is mostly just a hobby for me; you could say I fell into painting by accident as well, though I did enjoy Art at School I was never very good at it. However I left school when I was 15 for different personal reasons (no I was not expelled ;-)). I know it was quite young to leave school and I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I left school before any examinations, I had no qualifications so I did not really have a bright
future I guess on the job front.

My parents would ask me, what I wanted to do? or what I was going to do? I had no real idea, but one day my younger sister was painting and I was bored, I guess, so I borrowed some of her paints and started painting a picture myself. I can still remember the first picture I painted, I copied it from an old book. It was a rather gruesome picture, it was a picture of the Pirate Captain Kid after he had been hanged, and from that day, I started painting every day. And after a few weeks of painting, I painted 2 pictures of an old cottage that a friend of my father owned, and I was surprised when framed how good they were.

And they were the first pictures I ever sold, they were not even painted with proper watercolour paint, but from then on I started taking painting seriously, and I would paint almost all day every day. I painted from 9am in the morning to 10pm at night, almost every day. Maybe it was because I did not want my parents to think I was lazy, I guess, plus also I did really enjoy it and it was a challenge.

Well I got better and better, I studied mostly old master paintings, my favourite artists were Constable, Turner and Leonardo de Vinci, and by the time I was 17 I was making a good living from my paintings. I had a whole floor of a antique and art shop full of my work in a town called Deal (near where I live), I also had my first exhibition when I was about 18 I think.

The pictures I mostly sold were actually copies of old master paintings. I found I could copy any painting or drawing so most people would not be able to tell the difference, and these were sold as just copies of old masters. Strangely enough I have always sold more copies, then my original work, but I don't mind, it's nice to be able to make a living doing something that you enjoy. But I would not say that I have very much artistic talent, I think anyone can learn and become good at art, 2d or 3d, it's just the amount of effort and time that I put into learning something.


What are you currently working on?

Well, I'm not currently doing any 3d projects, I'm busy doing something else at the moment, but the last 3d project I did was based on the Gollum creature from LOTR, but I wanted mine to be more human like, I'm not sure if it really worked. I liked some bits about it, but I'm not that happy with it. I think I rushed it a bit, I think I should have planned the character out more beforehand, for a character I would normally sketch lots of ideas for the character beforehand, but for this one I never bothered, I just had the idea in my head, I think it could have been better.

The next 3d project I will do, when I get the time will probably be an animation of my weird looking Gollum type creature, but I might wait till I get a new PC for that. Another project that I my might do soon is I had a idea for making a character from the third Harry Potter book, called The Prisoner of Azkaban, which they're going to start the of filming soon. There are characters in the film called Dementors. They are rather gruesome creatures a little bit similar maybe to the black riders in LOTR, the interesting part will be their faces because they don't have any eyes, just a big mouth for sucking the life out of people, I've got a few ideas so far ;-)


What software do you use and why?

Well I answered this one a bit earlier on, I use Maya probably just because it was the first high-end 3d app I tried, it's not really any better then any other high-end 3d app out there, all of the high-end programs are very good I would say, but all have their good points and bad points. I would love to try and learn some of the other programs out there sometime. I would like to really try the modelling tools of Lightwave, as well as the great renderers that 3DSmax has, also I would seriously like to learn XSI, it seems to be jumping far ahead of Maya in some areas. I have the free trial CD, but it still costs way too much for me to even think about buying it. As for other software I use Deeppaint 3d for painting some areas of my textures, and Photoshop which I use for painting my textures, compositing images and some post work.


What do you think your best piece of work is and why?

Hmm, that's a hard one for me to answer because I'm never really happy with anything that I do, I'm always trying to improve myself and when I finish something I normally just focus on the bad points and just try improve upon the areas which I was not happy with, in whatever I do next.
I think some of the work I've been most happy with was some of my early projects, I felt less pressure to produce something really good. I think the work I think I've been most happy with at the time of making was a Sewer Scene which I made for an animation -- some pics of it can be viewed in my gallery. Also, it's one of my free scenes now for Maya users. I would not say it's my best, far from it, but at the time of making it I was very pleased.


Why do you like to work with 3D software?

Well, I think making something in 3d is much more rewarding then painting a picture, for example, it usually takes a lot more effort and time, and I think learning 3d is harder to learn then painting and drawing. There are so many more aspects of 3d to learn, from Modelling to Texturing, Lighting, Shader design, Rendering, let alone animation. My animation skills are still quite poor and they need to be improved. What I like about 3d is the endless possibilities, you can create whole 3d world and make it come alive.


What inspires you?

That's kind of a hard question to answer, I think lots of things in life can inspires you, just seeing what other artists produce can inspire you, seeing something in a movie as well or reading something in a book for example, it could be anything. Sometimes though I just can't think what to do, whether it's a painting or a 3d work, it has to be interesting whatever it is. But something usually always comes along; all of a sudden you get a idea for something.


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

Well, I've always found Renderosity a very interesting site, I posted my first ever 3d work I did in Maya on Renderosity, which was of a train, and I have posted almost every piece of work since then. It's nice to come and browse other people's work and see what other people are up to.

I've seen some really great work on Renderosity. It's nice to see what people are up to with different applications, which I probably would not have seen otherwise. And I've met quite a few fellow Maya users as well. The Maya section is still quite small, but I think it's slowly getting more users, Maya is becoming a more popular program which is nice.


Parting Comments / Advice to other Artists?

Hmm, I'm not sure what to say here? I guess just remember that you can accomplish anything if you set your mind to it, all it takes is time and effort, I don't have any qualifications, or degrees in art or math, they do certainly help, but it all comes down to effort.

Thank you very much to the people out there who voted me Artist of the Month, and thanks to everyone who's commented on my work.

Best Wishes

Julian_J

Click here to visit Julian_J's gallery!



Click here to learn more about the Artist of the Month and to view our past winners.
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Member Opinions:
By: Shademaster on 2/5/03
Congratulations man! You make wonderfull art that is full of detail. I look forard to your next piece.

By: Crasher on 2/5/03
Congratulations on your accomplishment. You deserve it, I've seen your gallery. :)

By: GrayCloudDesign on 2/5/03
Congratulations Julian, your artwork is just wonderfull:-)

By: linkinpark on 2/5/03
Congratulations Julian, your artwork is amazing, wonderful, awesome, outstanding, I have never seen such realistic characters done in Maya.I hope we all will see your another masterpiece very soon!!!!

Best wishes to you!

LP

By: RayTraz on 2/5/03
A hug and a tap on the back for you my friend :D. Anyway that's such a great hairwork Mr, did you use Joe Alter's Shave & a Haircut or the new PRMan 11 fur?P

:beer:

Dave

By: TheVelvetFoxx on 2/5/03
I'm adding my congrats to the heap! Your art is fantastic. That Gollum is breathtaking! It's nice to know that there are other artists out there without much of an art background, yet they are still able to produce wonderful work! Many Congralutions!!!

By: Mixednutt on 2/5/03
I am very happy to see you finally won this honor. Congratulations.

By: Kev3D on 2/5/03
I have been interested in your work for a while. You are truly a master of the many pieces that make a realistic scene. Congratulations...

By: ajollyjedi on 2/5/03
Congrats Julian, Your work inspires me and keeps me focused on learning Maya. Keep it up!
Post some tutorials!!! : )

By: rkamil on 2/6/03
Hey.. Congratulation, Julian. I have always enjoyed your works. Your models and textures have always been outstandingly real. Looking forward to see more of them, J :)

By: Cada on 2/6/03
Congratulations Julian, It's a pleasure to view your galleries, you have exceptional talent and your work is an inspiration to us all, best wishes for the future!

By: Razorcut on 2/6/03
Wow, just checked out your gallery. Some very impressive work. I think modeling people in 3d is something that takes some real talent and effort.
I enjoyed reading your bio too, it was very interesting.

By: dandavis on 2/6/03
I've admired your work for quite a while now, Julian. I have to disagree with you though, I don't think that anyone can model like this, it takes real talent, which you obviously have an abundance of. Congrats!

By: frndofyaweh on 2/6/03
Agree with, Dandavis! Whenever somebody new comes over, to check out my artwork and wants to know what is possible; I go right for your website and show them your animations, Julian. I still enjoy watching them myself! Like an old classic movie, you never get tired of. I'm absolutely glad for you, man! congratulations are in order and well deserved.

By: coolj001 on 2/6/03
I can't believe how realistic some of your Maya art is. It is almost scary how real it looks, but obviously that is good. I think you are very talented artist is why you so good(u forgot to mention that in what i just read i think.. :-)

By: Lon Chaney on 2/7/03
Your painting are fantastic and your 3d work is just as good. Congratulation, well deserved

By: Julian_J on 2/7/03
well what can i say, thankyou very much everyone for all your great comments THANKYOUUUUU!

also just for people who sent me a email, I've been having problem with my PC over the last few days and I had to do a format, once back online I received some emails, then I had trouble with the harddrive again. and I had to do another darn format, so I lost some emails and never had a chance to reply to them so anyone who sent me a email on Thursday, please send again thx

By: kkaufy101 on 2/7/03
congrats Julian,
You really deserve this recognition. Your work is really amazing.

By: stealthman on 2/9/03
Congratulations Julian - Your work in 3d realism has always been extremely exceptional. I will always seek out your work and support you in any way that I can... - stealthman

By: Syyd on 2/10/03
Julian, I wrote you a long time ago about how inspiring you are and what you are accomplishing, its just GREAT to see you up here! You truly are an inspiration.

By: Bobasaur on 2/10/03
Very Nice Work!!!!

[I'd love to see you add links to it in the Renderosity Animation Section of the Free Stuff area so more people can discover it!]

By: euology2000 on 2/11/03
yea julian!!!! so glad you finally got some recognition for your amazing work!!!

By: b-lame on 2/13/03
hey julian.
i knew your work from cgchannel when i stumbled across this interview. i like it very much.
you do all this, because you really like what you do - that's the most impressive thing about your work.

By: derjimi on 2/14/03
Congrats, Julian!
You deserve this so much because you're a wonderful artist and you do really, really amazing work!

Greets,
Jimi

By: catlin_mc on 2/16/03
Your work is outstanding and a joy to behold. The heads were the first pieces I saw and had to look closely for a while to see they weren't real people. Everything you do is wonderful and you deserve this and more. Congratulations.

Catlin

By: CptPlanet on 2/16/03
Julian! I'm thrilled for you! I've known you were gonna get AOM ever since the first peice of yours that I saw. Good job.

By: jacobs2ndladder on 2/17/03
Your a talented bloke Julian just one question though, where is the Maya web site? I tried but failed to find it

By: Julian_J on 2/19/03
hi there, thx again everyone for all your kind comments.
to jacobs2ndladder the Maya website is

http://www.aliaswavefront.com

By: mailbong on 2/22/03
The first time I see your pics I think this where photos but...

I like your artworks, excellent work.

By: ChaosFish on 3/1/03
You've won, congratulations!
I voted for you, and I LOVE your work, especially Fred! :)

By: angieb on 5/9/03
Brilliant refreshing work.


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