August's Artist of the Month - voodoo

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August's Artist of the Month - voodoo
Renderosity: Who is voodoo?

I'm just your average, lucky, 40 year old guy who has a passion for trying to get the visions in my head down to the screen. I've been married for over eighteen years to a very understanding (you've seen my pictures, right?) and wonderful best friend of mine. We have two children, Jeff, 13, and Rachael, 17 (ouch!). My day/night/graveyard job for the last fifteen years has been spent as an air traffic controller. Please don't think it's too stressful. Try kids. It's a great job, but I'd love for my art to allow me to retire as soon as possible.

Renderosity: How long have you have you been rendering?

I've been using digital art as a medium for about five years now. At first, all my art was all 2d; playing with photos, and working on my first website dealing with philosophy. Later, I created a couple sites for friends. The first time I ever got the idea that the computer could be useful for almost all my art was the day I bought a pen tablet. I used the pressure-sensitive pen, and it was- oh man- am I going to have fun with this!

The first 3d program I got was Bryce 3d almost three years ago. Then Poser 3 a few months later. Once I found a tutorial on how to export the figure to Bryce, and there was no stopping. This was just too cool. Aaahh... but of course there were a few problems along the way...

Getting the figure to look like I wanted it to. Tough. We all know how different body types would stretch the mesh in Poser 3. And I was never satisfied with mesh hair. I think I tried one render before I said "this just ain't happenin'" and decided to paint all the hair on my renders. And it was only a couple more renders before I decided to paint all the clothes too. Trying to get the clothes with all the same morph targets as the body... well... too painful. So I never really considered doing much of a picture without post-render painting the hell out of it. "Render only" just did not fit in to the game plan of the picture in my head. I'm glad it didn't. Although I don't know much about 3d, I know much more about general art and traditional painting theory as a result.

Renderosity: What are you currently working on?

I'm thinking about getting in the circus as a juggler. But seriously, I've got about a half-dozen pictures in various stages at any one time. I'll start one, get an idea for another, and work on the idea while the idea is fresh. Some of my pictures always end up different; some are more 'painterly', and others more realistic, with sharper edges, rendered skies, etc. I never know until I start which one it will be.

I recently finished getting some of my images and tutorials ready for two book projects coming out this fall. I'm always eager for more work of this kind, but I'm also glad to get back to my work and just get the digital brush moving again.

A good percentage of my time I spend experimenting. I try new brushes in both Photoshop and Painter. Different colors, new overlays... And Painter is both wonderful and a pain in that respect. You have so many options, yet there is still the wall of limitations you hit whenever you attempt to simulate natural media. But I've been entertaining an idea lately: Is it necessary to simulate natural media so well in digital art? Do I need to see a canvas texture? I'm thinking color and the flow of the paint are much more important than what the surface looks like.

Renderosity: What software do you use and why?

I still use Bryce 3d. I may eventually get version five, but haven't yet. As my post-render work increases, I find the need to render rocks and skies lessens as I learn more. I also use Poser 4, of course. You just have to give DAZ credit for the Victoria figure. Wonderful. But of course, the figure was based on a real model. Not a real, more average woman's figure. Too bad. I've talked to them about it a few times over the last year or so, and I was very happy to see them add all the new full-body morphs to Victoria 2.

Of course, that's just my opinion. What I want to see. Kind of funny how everyone wants unadulterated realism when it comes to rendering objects and their textures, but when it comes to the female figure our minds shut down and the hormones start to scream. Hey, I know how it is... I'm a guy, remember? But I've always liked curves... and besides, any kid growing up who thinks he'll wake up in bed next to Miss October has another thing coming. Ain't happenin', pal. (Sorry for the digression.. what was the question?)

Just one more thought on that: I believe that media has the ability to create expectations. If we change the media (images), we change the expectations. It's unrealistic to think that 100% of the men will meet and fall in love with 1% of the women. So maybe there's more to some art after all... (dammit, is he done yet??)

Ok, additional programs I use are Photoshop and Painter. Couldn't live without 'em. I got trueSpace a while ago, and have only used it to model a few objects in a couple pictures. Again, it's only because I'd sometimes rather paint. I'll wait for a faster computer to really get into the guts of radiosity.

and why don't I paint the figure? It's not like I haven't tried... still getting there. But so far, Curious Labs, and DAZ have provided a very nice guide for me to work with.

Renderosity: Why do you like 3D art?

The undo. CTL-Z, baby. Like in one Ren & Stimpy cartoon: "the history eraser button". The one thing we will never have in real life we can at least have in digital art. Those CTL and Z keys on my keyboard are worn smooth, shiny, and are oh so attractive.

But in other ways, it's great to know I've got my studio right in front of me. I'm typing on it now. No mess, unless I spill the coffee. If I'm in Poser, I can change the view, the lighting, the focal length of the camera. You name it. In Bryce, you want more clouds? There. More clouds. You want a mountain? Boom. Mountain. Done. In Photoshop, there's no problem correcting color, trying different layering modes, changing the brightness and a gajillion other things.

I need to watch out though... there's a trap. It's too easy. We've all seen the "chrome balls over water picture". Not cool anymore. Along with the ease of creation comes a responsiblity to be ever more creative. You just can't grab a chair mesh in free stuff and render the same thing that 4000 others have downloaded. You better use it in a new way... get something else out of it. Tack it to a ceiling or something. Change the texture. Or let your virtual figure sit in it while she wonders how she ever got this thin while her chest got larger.

As far as true "render-only 3d art", there's this thing on the end of one strand of DNA in every male that makes them jump up and say "COOL!!" when they see things like Final Fantasy. You can argue the story, but stuff was cool. If I'm on the computer and want to relax, I'll check out what the really high-end Matrix and Star Wars people are doing. I'll never learn Maya, but ya gotta admit... it's neat stuff. (That's the part of digital art my wife just doesn't understand :))

Renderosity: What inspires you?

The idea that a created image can tell more about a scene than a photograph or even a scene from real life. We are able to create moods with images. I've said before and I'll say it again, as it's central to my mode of thinking when I work: I want the viewer to see a figure on a mountain top and feel the wind blowing through their own hair... to see a woman in a stream, and feel the cool wetness on their back. Pavlov's dog? Sure. But that's the power everyone has. To be able to create images and illusions that make people dream, to have them feel good that they are have them exercise the senses... that's the challenge.

I've seen this work in others: Frank Frazetta, Jeff Jones, Michael Whelan, Keith Parkinson. The colors of Maxfield Parrish. Others less known in fantasy, but on the web as figure artists: Edson Campos and Steve Hanks. It would be tough to list them all (hundreds of bookmarks), but the one thing they all have in common is the ability to create an image that immediately draws us into their world. We feel the atmosphere, the flowing action of the scene, the blowing wind, the crashing waves, or the soft filter of dust above a desert floor, right below the shininess of skin. I know I'm being manipulated; I'm buying their illusion and dammit, I love it! Because they are taking me on a trip to somewhere I'll never go in real life. It's a vacation. What power they have. What power WE have.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention one painting by Frank Frazetta: "The Egyptian Queen". I've stared at this for a long time. Find this image. Take a look at it. Because it works in every way. Lighting. Atmosphere. Softness and tension combined. And the most amazing thing to me? The woman in the picture. I know what you're thinking, but here's the thing: If you saw her walking down the street today, you would be thinking, "man, she needs to lose some weight". Just like most of the women in his paintings. But he has taken this woman, and made her look like the most desirable and sensual human on the planet. I could go on a rant here, but I'll just say this, like I said above: Media creates expectations... if our expecations are whacked, what does that say about our responsibility as artists?

Frank Frazetta has taught a lot of lessons to many people, and not just about painting, my friend.

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

I've met a lot of great people; eager artists who share a passion, searchers of both technique and scene. I've been inspired by the imagination seen in all the pictures here. Having so many people around, I don't have a problem if I want to post a question in the forums; I'll get an answer pretty quick. We all check the galleries, that's the real fun. I love seeing what people are doing, sometimes to my delight, and other times not. That's what makes it interesting. We all have so much to learn... people spend a lifetime at say, drawing the figure, and never get it just right. It makes me chuckle when someone says they know Photoshop backwards and forwards. Not possible, my man. No way, girlfriend. There's always more. Always.

I've been around here for over two years, before the big changes took place here. It was smaller then, and it's been nice to see the growth. My only hope is that we all give our best to our images. Go the extra mile. Experiment. Give your scene everything your imagination deserves. Oh- and have fun. 'cause I said so.

ok.... I'm done. (I thought he'd never shut up!)

View voodoo's gallery (click here)

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Member Opinions:
By: voodoo on 8/6/01
I'd like to thank the Renderosity community and everyone who voted, regardless of who you voted for. Everyone else was very deserving, and I'm sure we'll see them in the running again very soon. Hey- I'm just happy to be here doing what I love to do... anything else is pure bonus :) Thank you :)

By: archetype on 8/6/01
I'm glad you were chosen voodoo. Your skill as an artist is only surpassed by your generosity in creating such wonderful tutorials. My art is better because of you.

By: Archangel_Gabriel on 8/6/01
Heartfelt congratulations to you Will. Your work here and at Earthcurves is an inspiration to everyone here. Best of luck. Daniel

By: trevor3000 on 8/6/01
congratulations Voodoo!

By: picky on 8/6/01
I guess congratulations are in order! I was kind of expecting you to be AOM long time ago... but it's never too late. If it wasn't for your artwork in Computer Arts magazine, I would of never known this site and all these members. There are so many things I should thank you for but I would probably run out of writing space. So I will leave you to your glory, fame and well earned title! All the best to you:)

By: InDepth on 8/6/01
If anyone deserves this it is you Will. Congrats!

By: februus on 8/6/01
Will-great work and congratulations-you rule, man!

By: ronmolina on 8/7/01
Nice to meet ya! Always love to hear about people.

By: Antoonio on 8/7/01
You are one of those who deserves this AOM title maybe more than others.

Thank you for your wonderful images, and your toughts too. I could spend about 5366323 adjectives to describe your works, but I think you, and rest of us know how beautiful work you do.
The most important point, like you said, is that we actually can change world with our works. Even turn little stone upside down or force one person to spend his/her toughts to certain matter for few seconds, but still, we can. And I thank you also for that.

I can relate to those words of yours 110%. Hopefully there will be lots of renderers reading what you say up there.


By: dalinise on 8/7/01
Congrats my friend, you are always an inspiration to me but you know that already :-)

By: desdemona on 8/7/01
I have to thank You for all Your artwork and inspiration You gave me, I think I would never be here where I am right now without it.
Big Fan

By: AGOR on 8/7/01
Great artwork man! You are a real master at poser and photoshop!Congratulations!

By: dolly on 8/7/01
Hey there
i have just been through your work and i must say you truly deserve this award.
Although i voted for someone else i agree you deserve this as your work is fantastic so well done

By: audre on 8/7/01
congrats! and very well done interview. i agree about the unnatural-ness of most 'ideal' people (men included) you see round here and eveyrwhere. and, am looking forward to seeing your new posts.



By: Luis on 8/7/01
Nice tutorials, voodoo. And amazing art. Very nice interview too.

Keep the good work,

By: wiz on 8/7/01
Hey, wasn't this guy just banned last week?

By: lynde on 8/7/01
Congratulations Voodoo...I had only recently become familiar with your artwork but i must say it's very inspiring and amazing:)...I also really love your tutorials on your website, your contributions are very much appreciated..:)

By: nytefall on 8/7/01
Congrats Will!! I've been a big fan of yours for a while, and you are a huge inspiration to me. I'm so glad to see you get recognized. :) Congratulations again!

By: TLFPoet on 8/7/01
Congrats Voodoo/Will. As you know I am a big fan of your work and love your tutorials. Thank you for sharing them. You are a great inspiration to this newbie!

By: Papu on 8/7/01
congrats voodoo! you are an inspiration!

By: Bia on 8/7/01
great interview. I feel like I know sound alot like me! I feel better hearing that someone else actually LIKES to do post work on their images. My education is in the traditional/classical arts. (BFA painting/MFA printmaking) so I still feel too comfotable with a "brush" or a "needle" in my hand. I enjoy taking the base model, composing a basic scene and then working it after in photoshop or corel too! Thanks for giving me a bit of a lift!

By: Stormi on 8/7/01
Congratulations Will you are an inspiration
to everyone. *smile*

By: hobbit on 8/7/01
Great to see you up here,,, well deserved for your inspiration works Will. Keep up with the great post work.

By: cariad1021 on 8/7/01
Great to see your work. You're one of the 2 or 3 folks here that make this place shine. Great job!

By: Sking on 8/7/01
Congratulations Voodoo. Your artwork is very inspirational as was reading the interview. Thank you for sharing and again, well done in becomming AOM - you deserved it. ---- Scott.

By: jaydiva on 8/7/01
Congratulations Voodoo!!
you are one of my favorite postworkers ;) and becoming AOM is well deserved. Keep up the good work !!


By: emorin on 8/7/01
I am one of your fans and did Vote for you, I agree this is a long time coming and those that have not viewed your beautiful creations in the past will now have the opportunity to see the talents of a true artist. Congratulations - Ellie

By: Ironbear on 8/7/01
Cool interview, thanks. And congratulations. ;]

By: sirkrite on 8/7/01
Congrats! About a year ago I saw this Image on some web site I was visiting with this woman in tatard clothes and a American flag for a cape. You know the one! :) (Liberty 2100) I didn't know who did it, but I knew I wanted to do work like that. Up until then I was doing Pastel portrait and metal sculptures. Needless to say I got into Bryce 3D and Amorphium and Poser4. And just recentily was looking throw your gallery here and found, that your the reason I'm doing what I'm doing know. :D Thanks!

By: laetia on 8/7/01
Congrats! Your images are always so nice! When I look at them, I start daydreaming of becoming that good someday. :o) You're really an inspiration!

By: Helen on 8/7/01
Congratulations.. :) Your work is exceptional and this is a well deserved accolade.

By: Seven Wolves on 8/8/01
Congrats Man!
Have to tell you I was just about to give up creating with the Poser/Bryce combo. Just couldn't seem to get anything that looked even remotely decent. Cruising the net one day I came to a place called Renderosity and clicked "Most Viewed" images and the very first one up was "revised and final Morning Swim" by someone calling themselves Voodoo. Talk about an epiphany! That was the first example I saw of the awesome potential of using these proggies in conjunction with each other. You inspired me, and in some ways created a monster - LOL! Having spent hours and hours in the galleries here at Renderosity I have seen many other wondrous pieces of art, made several friends, gotten loads of inspiration, and had a lot of fun. But you my friend are the one who started me on my way!

By: josiahpugh on 8/8/01
Well spoken Will. The words of a true artist. You've inspired us all to work harder to achieve a better sense of our talents and abilities. It is my fondest wish that I be able to acomplish even half of what you have. Thank you.

By: Usurer on 8/8/01
Hey well done sir. I liked reading your interview and your images are wonderful. BLESS THE Ctrl Z key :) and pen tablets :) Congratulations!!

By: kromekat on 8/8/01
Congratulations! - ironically, I just browsed your gallery to find the first pic you posted 'Morning Swim' was in fact the first ever pic I had seen using Poser and Bryce professionally, that convinced me there was a lot more possibility with these tools than I had first imagined, so big respect and thanks for that!! - great interview and great work! :)

By: henriqueaguiar on 8/8/01
Congrats!Great to see u up here:)

By: Giana on 8/8/01
Last September, and I hadn't heard of Renderosity until many months later, a friend online gave me a link to EarthCurves. As she hunted for it, she was describing how your artwork made her feel, how it moved her so. And I listened to her for about 5-10 minutes, and then she sent me the link... and I stopped listening. I was too entranced and caught up. I remember just tracing all the details in "Wrapped" with my eyes, being held by that image for a very long moment...

It is so nice to read a bit more about you in this interview, your ideas & philosophies, the sense of humour that shines through... Thank you.

By: Ionah on 8/9/01
It's nice to meet the person behind the art,
and I must say, I am impressed about the depth of
thoughts.... Thanx.

By: Morris on 8/9/01
You are an artist extraordinaire! Congratulations on this well deserved honor! You’re a great inspiration to me, and obviously to so many others as well. It is really nice getting to know more about you and thank you so much for sharing your tutorials, and your talent, with all of us.


By: dragongirl on 8/9/01
I always enjoy hearing artists talk about their work and their process. Thank you for all that you shared.

What you said about the figure in art and real-world expectations was very important. Real people in art are especially interesting!

By: Syyd on 8/9/01
I have to echo Krome's sentiments. When I was a veritable newbie, I found this site, and saw "Morning Swim". After monkeying with these softwares, I was convinced work such as yours was an impossibility, and for me it still is :-). You give encouragement in all your work, by setting such a standard of achievement. Your work is extraordinary, your representation of the female human form is my favorite, lush and sensual, your ideas and style unlike anything else I've ever seen. Congratulations on all your achievements and one hell of a body of work.

By: Tammy on 8/9/01
Congratulations and I really enjoyed reading your interview. Your work is excellent.

By: lopsided on 8/10/01
VooDoo - Your work is some of the most admired work on this site. This is not a small proclamation! There are thousands of fantasticaly skilled artists that belong to the Renderosity Community. There are only a few that define it. You are one of those few. Congratulations on your AOM and may God Bless and Keep you and yours! Be Kewl and keep on renderin' - lop

By: islandgraphics on 8/10/01
I enjoyed your interview very much. To spend long moments just looking at your work is truly a pleasure. Thank you for sharing your wonderful work and technique with us! Congrats on being AOM! -Nathalie

By: Ecstasy on 8/11/01
Your art has inspired me,when you look at the world today somanythings can bring one down,an when one can find escape for just a short period of time ,it like breathing and sometimes we forget to breath,thank you for reminding me to breath and thank you agin for inspiration.

By: kaiservr on 8/11/01
Great interview..very inspirational..congrats and be blessed.

By: articolour on 8/11/01
I love your work reminds me of Boris Valejo ... which is a good thing in my opinion =) Congrats on AOM you deserve it.

By: remo on 8/12/01
I've been admiring your artwork for a while now and have enjoyed your tutorials. Congrats and thanks for sharing. Looking forward to see more of your terrific art.

By: Debbie M. on 8/12/01
What an incredible interview! Thanks Will for an interesting read. An honor very much deserved for such an incredible artist. Your artwork has been an inspiration to me from the first time I seen it, and each new piece continues the inspiration. Thank you! Congratulations my friend!!

By: KAP on 8/14/01
I get it...I just looked at Frank Frazetta's "The Egyptian Queen", Your 100% todays standards she would be considered chunky....kinda makes you think. Great interview and your images are fantastic. Have a good day.

By: Taura Noxx on 8/14/01
congratulations, your interview was great reading. It is always good to get a behind the render view on the artist, and I have admired your work greatly. Your style is very inspirational, and quite stunning overall.
....Thankyou for sharing them with us.

By: SkoolDaze on 8/17/01
As one of your many fans, congrats! You desire the honor! Your work is incredible as well as inspiring. Great interview!


By: Daffy34 on 8/18/01
Just wanted to say that I adore your work! I've been to your site over and over just to look! ;) You are so talented and I would strive to achieve your level, but I doubt it! But thanks for the tutorials...they will help me a great deal :).


By: wgreenlee1 on 8/19/01
morning swim is one of the first pics i ever saw from a poser artist and it was truly a insiration for me,one of the steps to getting poser and getting on with it

By: dv_video_guy on 8/19/01
Well done!

By: frogman on 8/20/01
Congratulations...!!..certainly a well deserved honoring of you and your work...!!!I have always been a fan of yours and you have offered so many of us such inspiration.!!! From your artwork to your tutorials you have inspired so many with you excellent skills and compositions. I still remember the first time I saw your works (especially revised 'Morning Swim') and how deeply I was struck by the power of these tools we are learning to use. Thank you for that and for everything else you have given us.


By: jasminre on 8/27/01
Your images are very inspirative, you deserve to be here...

By: Bliss875 on 9/3/01
Congratulations Voodoo!

I have always been in awe of your work. You have done a great job as an artist, creating women who are beautiful, sensual and full figured! More power to you! What an entertaining interview as well!

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