Who is 'Lahl'?
Well, thats a difficult one to answer. I'm 31yo, I've been around a fair bit, seen the darker side of life, been burned, but still here. Different than most, can have a unique outlook on things.
The nick "Lahl" was in reference to the character on STNG, Data's daughter, who managed to overcome the limits of her programming, but in the end it destroyed her. Seemed appropriate. (though the correct spelling is 'Lal', when I first started using it on IRC, that nick was already taken, so I added the silent H. Stayed that way ever since)How long have you been rendering/doing computer graphics?
Well, if I go way back, I progressed from tech drawing in highschool to autoCAD on old XT's in the late 80's, and AutoCAD later on with 386's and 486's when I tried to study mechanical engineering in 1990. It just wasn't my thing.
I then started work with video production but quickly got involved in CGI in 1991 when we were shown the amiga500 in some dark corner and told "thats for graphics" and nothing else. This was also the time that Terminator 2 first came out and CGI in film was really thrown into the spotlight. I was instantly hooked.
I learned all I could and taught myself. I started out with a little program called Sculpt/Animate4D on an Amiga500 with 2.5meg RAM and no HD, just a DD Floppy drive. I then moved on to an Amiga1200 and came across Imagine 2.0 for the Amiga on the coverdisk of Amiga Format magazine. There was no manual, so I had to learn on my own.
Eventually progressed through Imagine 3&4, Imagine4DOS on a P133, then Imagine for Windows 1&2. from there I progressed onto 3DSMax, had a little experience with other packages such as Lightwave and Cinema4D etc, but despite Imagine falling behind in its development, I have a special place for it in my heart, and always try to push things to the limit, to do the impossible 'just because I can'. :)Do you have traditional art experience?
Well, traditional art experience? Not in the typical sense, no.
I began as a model maker when I was young, and was eventually an 'A grade' model maker in the IPMS (International Plastics Modellers Society). I was what they called a "superdetail freak". No matter how small the detail I wanted to make it as accurate and detailed as possible.
My interests ranged from sci-fi, figures, aircraft etc, and it gave me a good foundation for real life model making, painting, weathering etc. My dream at the time was to work for ILM, and was very well studied up on techniques, motion control systems, optical compositing, rotoscoping etc.
When I started doing video production in 1991, graphics and 3d seemed like a natural progression. Forget the expenive motion control and film compositing. I could render and composite on the computer. My video training was in traditional tape editing systems, and the advent of NLE systems was perfect. I built broadcast NLE systems and started my own video production and effects/graphics company, which unfortunately went under before it really got off the ground due to a messy marriage breakup etc.What are you currently working on?
Currently, nothing much. I have quite a few unfinished projects that I eventually get around to finishing off. Quite a few of those lying around. I think I need a major computer upgrade first before I work on them again :)What software/equipment do you use and why?
Well, I still have my old Amiga1200, but I ended up with a celeron500 which I guessed I pushed too hard and I fried it (oops). Replaced it with a celeron 1300, but it really needs an upgrade.
Most of my work I do in 3dsmax nowdays, it has features I want and can use, and its fast, tho I would like to try out some of the higher end packages such as Maya and XSI, though I still like to support the Imagine community, as its the one package I know inside out, after all the work I had to do to learn it, plus I like a challenge, making Imagine do things it wasn't designed to do, such as allowing Imagine to use HDRI images and fake Image Based Lighting (however slow it may be).
Photoshop, premiere, afterFX and other programs are also in my toolbox, photoshop being used the most for creating textures and for postwork on images.What do you think your best piece of work is and why?
My favourite would have to be "Resistance is Futile", as it is a very personal and difficult image to work on. Has a lot of meaning to me. But that was rendered in max, so my favourite Imagine render would have to be "Sweet Music". Again, a personal picture, simple but elegant, and the flute took a long time to model accurately. I regret its loss to a nasty virus in early 1999.Why do you like to work with 3D software?
It allows me to recreate reality, and the same as I was in model making, a superdetail freak, I am still a perfectionist in my work and renders, so nothing is ever quite good enough for me. Photorealism is my goal. Always. Tho I rarely succeed or get close (at least in my opinion)Who/what inspires you?
Many things inspire me. The mind's eye series was very inspirational to me. Movies, others artwork, a book I read etc, but also the very simple things can inspire me.
I can spend hours staring at something, looking at its every detail, the way light plays on the surface, or even something as simple as the steam from a cup of coffee. Looking at all these things and wondering "how do I reproduce that in 3D??"
Simple observationHow has this online community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?
Its been great to be able to see a range of work from so many different people, using different software, different styles etc. And feedback is always welcome.Parting Comments / Advice to other Artists?
Parting comments..... Although Imagine has not progressed much in terms of development, it is not dead. The IML is still up and running, there is still a wide userbase, ranging from hobbyists to professionals. I'm sure many people started out with Imagine in one form or another. I'd invite them to come visit and take a look. Imagine is not dead :)
As for advice.... well, my first advice would be to make sure you back up your work regularly. Losing years of work really sucks. I found that out the hard way.
Second, no matter what others say, no matter how much or how little you know, never ever stop learning, and never let go of those images in your mind's eye :)
Be sure to check out Lahl's gallery
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