How did you get started in 3D Graphics?
I got into Poser when I was involved in an open-source 3d rendering engine (www.ogre3d.org). The original plan was to write a rockclimbing game using Ogre, using imported Poser characters. So I wrote a lot of code for rendering Poser figures in Ogre, and also did a lot of rag-doll physics work. But my interest in writing the game didn’t hold, and I got hooked on Poser.How long have you been working with 3D Graphics?
I’ve been dabbling with 3d software since uni (back in the mid-80’s). But only really taken a more serious interest with 3D graphics in the past couple of years, when I purchased Poser, and had an opportunity to use some of the highend 3d graphics packages through work. 9 months ago I decided to take a sabbatical from work (after 18 years in the IT industry), so that meant I had more time to really delve into 3d.Do you have any formal training?
No formal 3d training, but a degree in computer science and mathematics.What software do you use for product development?
I use Poser5 and a text editor for the python scripts. I get lots of ideas for achieving realism in Poser from other software packages – like blender, XSI and Maya. The higher-end packages have complex shaders that are used for realism (ie. subsurface scattering shaders), and these can sometimes be simulated in the Poser5 mat room.How much time is required for product development?
For the RealSkinShader, I starting playing in the Mat room in July 2004. By early August I had a lot of it done, although there was still something missing. It took another 6 weeks (off and on) of experimenting before I finally came up with the Incidence Effect (which was the basis for the “Real Skin Shader” image in my gallery). It took another month or so to build the python script to layout the node setup to support the maths involved. Then after a lot of fine-tuning, in early December it was robust enough to let someone else do some testing. So all up, the RealSkinShader took around 4-5 months. Although a lot of that time was R&D.Can you give a brief overview of your development cycle for a new product?
For developing the RealSkinShader and for the products currently in the pipeline, I start with a posed character, setup some basic lighting, build a starting node system in the material room and then start rendering, tweaking the mat room, rendering, tweaking, rendering, etc. Once the render looks ok, I try the node setup under some different light setups, and tweak some more. Once the node setup works for a range of lighting, I build a python script to setup that node system. Then it’s more testing and fine-tuning.Where does your inspiration come from when developing new products?
I see a photo of someone, and want to replicate that image in Poser without postwork. So the tools I’ve developed for myself assist in that goal. Originally, skin tone was the least realistic element of a Poser render – so that’s where I started. Because of the overwhelming response to the RealSkinShader, I’ve started on the new generation skin system, which uses a specific textureset (which Morris is putting together). I think with that system we will have very realistic skin, and then other parts of the image will need work (like eye’s, teeth, etc). There have also been a lot of emails with other suggestions (like “when can we have a Mac version?”), so there is no shortage of ideas…..Do you have any advice for aspiring Digital Content Developers?
It seems to me that there is a lot of competition out there, and a lot of very talented and creative developers who already have a great name in the market. So you need to come up with something different. Find something that hasn’t been tried before, and get a niche market. Also, be prepared for a lot of questions via emails and IM’s – and provide quick responses.How has Renderosity's on-line community played a role in regards to your products, friendships and learning?
As a recent new merchant, I found the Renderosity Marketplace was simple to use…and works! It enables people to offer their products and tools to a wide audience, with a low cost of entry. Through the community I’ve met people who have given feedback on my images, tested scripts, provided ideas and given advice. So the whole experience has been very positive.Do you have any final words?
I’d like to thank the large number of people who left fantastic Product Reviews and sent me emails and IM’s on the RealSkinShader. It’s also great to see so many gallery images using the script – and to see how people have used it to get different effects.