Each month the Renderosity community votes on the Renderosity Artist Of The Month [AOM] ... November's AOM is gillbrooks!
Who is 'gillbrooks' ?
What you see is what you get! I am Gill Brooks! I live in a village in Staffordshire, England along with my husband of 25 years (will be our anniversary on the 19th of this month) and our beautiful border collie, Maya.
How long have you been working in digital art?
The first digital art I dallied with was fractals way back in about 1999 when I had my first PC. Bryce was my first 3D programme in around 2001/2 and I used it to make my own original wallpapers, screensavers and desktop themes. Terragen 1 was another early software which did great skies and water but at the time was lacking in other content. Poser followed not long after (which I got mainly to add dragons and unicorns to my scenes). I discovered Vue 4 in 2002 and the rest is history.
Do you have any traditional art experience?
In my late teens and early 20's I did quite a few paintings using oils at first, then later used acrylics. I painted mainly landscapes copied from either personal photographs or the odd greetings card! I also recreated the cover of my favourite album cover at the time - Imperial Wizard by David Essex, and a copy of the Esso Tiger! I had no formal training - just went along with the flow.
What are you currently working on?
I love Autumn and Winter scenes, so artistically, I'm working on several of those at the moment. I'm also working on a new Winter themed scrap booking kit, re-rendering and reworking a lot of my old Vue scenes. Fortunately, I keep most of my saved scenes on my hard drive.
Who, or what, inspires you?
Nature mainly. I live near to a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (the smallest in the UK) and we go there often to walk our dog. I always take my camera with me for inspiration, and it's also useful for textures for my plants and trees. I especially love going up there in the Winter when all the trees are showing their 'bare bones'. Wales is another great source of inspiration, it's such a beautiful country. I must have gigabytes of photos I've taken every time we go there.
I also like to do fantasy scenes and my all time favourite fantasy artist has to be Rodney Matthews, who over the years, has done most of the album cover artwork for Magnum (English rock band).
What software is in your digital toolset aside from Vue, and why?
Photoshop has to be my main other tool. A lot of people like to do images with no postwork, but, for me, the individuality comes from the postwork. Maybe it's because I was used to working with traditional mediums, but I love to paint in extra bits or tweak the lighting here and there. In addition to that, I do like to paint using Photoshop. Flowers are one of my favourites - I find it very relaxing.
I also like my scenes to have more of a painted look, rather than a digital render, so I use other tools such as Filter Forge for creating that look.
Sometimes, if I don't have exactly what I want for my scene, I use my limited modelling skills to make them. For that I use Hexagon.
Other plant creation tools are XFrog and Onyx.
My newest tool is right up my street, too - The Plant Factory from E-On Software, the makers of Vue. It's so good to be working on a scene, decide I want a particular tree or plant and be able to open TPF and make it from scratch rather than having to work within the constraints of Vue's plant editor. "Sweet Harvest" was one of the first serious plants I created. The fruits were modelled in Hexagon and I was able to get the leaf textures from the plants that were amazingly still going strong in our garden.
What do you enjoy most about Vue?
What's not to enjoy? Even in the early days when I first started using it, it was the best programme around for creating the scenes that I love to make. Over the years, the enhancements that E-on have made to the programme keeps it the best around. Though, it's not just for nature scenes as the Vue gallery here shows. It's a great tool for many different genres. There are some wonderful Sci-Fi Vue works out there and I do admire them. I'm just not that good at them as it's not my cup of tea.
What do you think your best piece of work is and why?
From a technical point of view, I think that "Dovedale" is the best I've done so far as it looks almost like the photograph that I used for reference. One of many I've taken there as we're not that far away from Derbyshire here.
But, my personal all time favourite would have to be "The Passing."
Do you have any tips you would be willing to share on the software you use?
I have done a handful of tutorials and "making-ofs" on my blog but haven't done any recently. I really should do more !!
If anyone is new to Vue, take time out to learn the programme and discover the many things that it can do. There are many great tutorials around. One site in particular, is geekatplay.com, where I'm always popping over to see if Vladimir has posted something new.
I've heard some say that they don't like the default 4-screen layout, but just because it's default, you don't have to keep it that way. I found it strange at first, but very soon realised it was great for precise placement of elements in a scene without the need to keep changing camera. I do go for one view when I'm working very close up, which is done very simply by double-clicking that view, then the same to revert to 4 views when I'm done.
Save often! There's nothing worse than losing your work if the software crashes.
How has this online community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?
In the 11 years I've been a Renderosity member I've made many wonderful friends. Most of those I've never met but there's still a strong sense of friendship there. You've only got to look through the forums to see that anyone who posts a question will almost always get a response to help them, even if the person doesn't know the answer. I've always found the members here helpful, and when I can, I like to help others.
Do you have any parting comments, or advice for other artists?
Always do what you're doing because you enjoy doing it! Don't be afraid to ask, even if you think it's a dumb question, and for me, definitely - don't take yourself too seriously :)
Not forgetting, thanks to all those who voted for me, and also to those who didn't. The list of nominees are all great artists and all winners in my opinion.
We invite you to have a further look at gillbrooks' Gallery!
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Artist of the Month is highlighting a talented Renderosity artist that has been nominated by mods and admins, and voted by the community. Recognition is given to this member for their collection of works for that year.
Since we only select one AOM per month, it is not about their works for that particular month. Instead, it is about highlighting a talented artist's works for that year, and they are recognized during that month.
To learn more about Renderosity's Artist Of The Month [AOM] award, and to view our past AOM's, please visit the AOM page.
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