September 2007 Vendor of the Month - Blackhearted

Related: Blackhearted, VOM
September 2007 Vendor of the Month - Blackhearted | Blackhearted, VOM
Who is Blackhearted?
I'm horrible at writing BIOs so I'm going to take the easy way out and do this in bullet form:

Name: Gabriel
Age: 30
Where: the boonies, in northern Canada
Favorite Movies: The Warriors, Yojimbo, Shichinin no samurai
Favorite Bands: Insomnium, Carcass, Anathema, Dark Tranquility, Government Mule, Iron Maiden
Favorite Artists: Igor Amelkovich, Craig Morey, Szász Endre, H.R.Giger, Brom, Bisley
Favorite Writers: King, G. R.R. Martin, Ludlum, Coleridge, B. Cornwell
Hobbies/Interests: leatherworking, sculpting, hunting, photography, collecting and restoring things


How long have you have you been involved in digital art?
I've been a merchant here since 2001, starting off with light sets and textures. I started modeling around 2003.. but only got seriously into it in 2005 when I created the Irina Adventuress pack. Before becoming a merchant I dabbled in creating textures for freebies under another username. All of it was for Posette and, later, a character called Eve (which was a collaboration improvement of Posette if I recall) - not for Vicky 1.0 (because I couldnt afford her - prices have come down a lot over the years, some things used to be $70-100+). Most of my modifications were either fixing seams and adding detail to freebie textures for my own personal use, adding tattoos, freckles and blemishes, or making high-res (which back then was 2048x2048, heh) transmaps for freebie clothing. I remember what a big deal it was when I finally got Victoria 1, heh. At some point I put together a morph for V1 called Angelyna, which I submitted to freestuff. Looking back on it it was somewhat primitive compared to GND2 or Irina - there were very few people working on custom morphs at the time (only a handful of people like Traveler and Jim Burton were releasing them) - but it was a step in a new direction for Vicky. An ungodly amount of people downloaded it - enough to put me near the top of the freestuff providers for a while and leave me scrambling to find hosts for the file (it was 1.1 megs I believe, back in a time when most people had a 2 gig/month upload cap). Cooler hosted it for the longest time (thank you again). Consequently, several people started pushing me to become a merchant. I messaged Magnet - who had won merchant of the month recently - and asked him a a bunch of questions about being a merchant and the marketplace. Turned out that it wasnt as daunting as I'd imagined. I had quit my IT job a month before this and was working part-time welding in a bodyshop, so I figured I'd give it a try because I could really use some extra money. And here I am...
I remember my early influences quite well:
SnowSultan and his amazing 'vickybuster' free textures are what made me want to texture, and breathed new life into Posette. Jim Burton's early work on Supermodel Vicky and Traveler's custom morphs/tweaks are what made me want to do custom morphs. Wyrmmaster as well - although I'm not into the 'mega-boob' thing, his work with Vicky1 along with Jim's Supermodel Vicky gave us all hope that we didnt have to settle for Vicky's default body - that the possibilities were endless. Xurge, Billyt and Moebius87 are probably most responsible for me wanting to learn to model.

What are you currently working on?
GND4 for ages now.... Its taking a lot longer than I anticipated, and I'm a nitpicker for detail so I refuse to release something that isnt to the absolute best of my abilities at the time. Her morph and some initial clothing are done, just working on her texture right now. She has the usual mesh refinements and bang-up body customers expect from my characters, but this time (especially with the texture) I've decided to go in a different direction than the current trends... hopefully it will prove a refreshing change for customers. I'd go into more detail but I like to stay pretty tight-lipped about my upcoming products until theyre already uploaded to the store queue.

What software do you use and why?
Texturing: Photoshop. I'm still using version 7.0 since I really havent found much of a reason to upgrade. Since the introduction of the healing brush in version 7 nothing i really need has been added to it, so I'll probably save my money and wait for the next version. Modeling: Silo. Silo is a stripped-down sub-D polygon modeling app that dispenses with all of the BS bells and whistles and just gives you powerful modeling tools in a light, small, inexpensive program. Unfortunately it has a few problems with exporting poser-grouped meshes, so i still keep an ancient version of 3DS Max around to make changes I cant make in Silo. Morphing: Zbrush. The least intuitive interface ever made, but still the best app for morphing out there. There are also a handful of small utilities I use that make Poser content creation a little less of a headache, most of them are free: Cr2Editor, Morph Manager 4.0, UVMapper, File List Maker, and of course Notepad.

A couple of years back I jumped all over any new developments in the 3D world, but for the past couple of years I've just been trying to simplify my workflow and get back to basics -- cutting off all the 'fat', so to speak. My focus on modeling and texturing lately has been to make things as 'clean' as possible. I used to model in Rhino - a NURBS modeler. It was very intuitive and by far the easiest modeling app for an artist to learn because everything was created from bezier curves such as those used to make paths in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop (in fact you could sketch out curves in either of these apps and then import them directly into Rhino - this is how I made my old faerie wings), but it gave you very little control over your final exported mesh. So you would spend all this time creating a nice, detailed model and then when you exported it as a mesh you would either get something crazily high-poly or end up losing a lot of your detail in the conversion. After I transitioned to polygon modelling I had complete control over my meshes. There is a sense of accomplishment in creating a clean, detailed, ordered mesh that I never felt with NURBs.

Where do you find inspiration for your products?
All around me. Not from TV: I havent watched TV in over 5 years now, just movies. But I can be inspired by something I see in a movie, in a shop window, a model, or even the girl standing in line in front of me at the grocery store. When it comes to my morphs I consciously try NOT to draw any inspiration from the mass-market media (and believe me, not watching TV helps). It should be glaringly apparent that I'm not a fan of the stereotypical big-breasted blonde bimbo, nor do I much like the stick-thin supermodel look. A nice set of legs, hips, and a cute behind... along with enough muscle tone to show it all off are more my style. While the initial GND4 will sport a body more to my tastes, I promise that this time around there will be alternate bodies that should meet every single taste. Unfortunately for me, most of my earlier conceptions rarely made it to the marketplace... theyre gathering dust on work in progress CDs or they lose momentum from the constant concessions I have to make due to Poser limitations. Lately I've been trying to remedy this by getting more organised and actually following a strictly ordered workflow. With a more structured product conceptualization->workflow hopefully I'll no longer get 80% along on a product only to realise 'oh god, this cant be done in Poser', or something like that.

Do you have any advice for aspiring Digital Content Developers?
Yeah,
  • 'Good Enough' should not be in your vocabulary. Your reputation is your most precious asset in this business, so keep working on something until you get it just right.
  • Create something different, or create something better (aim for both). If there are 1000 merchants all releasing nearly identical caucasian 'big-breasted blonde bimbos™', for example, then either make a big-breasted blonde bimbo™ that completely and utterly blows all of theirs away, or make something different like a petite native american.
  • Give the customer more than they expect. Above average quality/detail, friendly and thorough customer service, providing extra content (such as some clothing/props in a character pack), or following up with a solid product update that they didnt expect all fit the bill.
  • Dont be afraid to ask for help. No matter who you are, in a community this size there is always someone who knows more about something than you. If you are stuck or just need advice, post a question in the appropriate software or technical forums. There are always friendly, knowledgeable people around the site that are willing to help -- the true value of the 'Rosity community is the vast collection of knowledge and experience of its members. On the flipside of this, try not to waste peoples time asking questions whose answers can be found with a 30 second search of the Poser manual or that come up as the first result of a Google search.
  • If you ask for feedback from someone, make sure they understand that you want hard, constructive criticism rather than back-patting. Its very easy - and safe - to say 'wow thats beautiful!!!', but this type of feedback doesn't make you a better artist. If you find people that will actually give you honest criticism, give it serious consideration - but learn to differentiate between feedback that is a result of personal taste and those which are solid ideas for product improvement. If you make every change suggested to you then you are no longer creating your products; on the other hand if you are oblivious to all feedback and suggestions then you may just be acting like a typical hardheaded artist - try to be more receptive to feedback. Another, different perspective is invaluable to an artist since you end up staring at what you are creating so long sometimes you miss glaring things. Another thing that helps is to periodically invert/mirror your work either in your application or with a hand mirror so you get an alternate view of it -- Its an old sculptor's trick, I spot so many things this way.


How has this online Community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?
Lately it hasn't since I haven't been around. Rio and I have been remodeling my mom's kitchen from scratch, including gutting walls, drywall, new ceiling, new plumbing, new slate tile, all new handmade custom cabinets, etc. Its taken up basically all of my free time for months on end. The good news is that its almost done - just rubbing the last coats of tung oil onto the cabinets (argh my arm is so sore), then tiling the countertop and we're finished. You'll be seeing a lot more of me in the Poser and Merchant forums soon. This is also why I've been somewhat of a hermit for the last several months... and I apologise again to anyone who I havent responded to in a timely fashion - sometimes a week or more went by without me being able to check my email. In the past few years however, the 'Rosity community has been invaluable in my work. There are a ton of knowledgeable people here (especially the brainiacs in the Poser technical forum) that are always happy to help you, the staff is great, and the community on the whole is very positive and encouraging.

Do you have any final words (any info you want to share with the community)?
Just a thank you: to my customers for supporting my work and allowing me to continue doing this, for the community for getting me started and invaluable knowledge, to people I've worked with over the years, to Clint and Debbie and the rest of the store staff - you guys are marketplace ninjas, and all of the people here at 'Rosity who still count me as a friend even though I've been off the map for the last year. Thank you Ana (Arien) for your wickedly sharp eyes and honest feedback (that stuff is pure gold), and Mike (trav) for enduring my ranting and 'rasslin with poser limitations with me for countless months now, and Rio of course for her helping hand in everything and putting up with me for 5 years now. cheers,
-gabriel
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Make sure you stop in and visit the V endor o f the M onths: 

Store in the MarketPlace
Free Stuff
Home Page
Art Gallery

GND: Anastasia by Blackhearted
GND: Anastasia
Tyler Essentials by Blackhearted
Tyler Essentials
GND: Shae by Blackhearted
GND: Shae
GND4: Bikini 01 by Blackhearted
GND4: Bikini 01
Irina 2.0 by Blackhearted
Irina 2.0



Member Opinions:
By: dhama on 9/3/07
Quality stuff but just too expensive for me.

By: msebonyluv on 9/3/07
Congratulations!!! Your stuff is amazing and so well made!! Thank you!!

By: Kinouk on 9/4/07
Congratulations...way to go Gab!! hugz

By: Vremont on 9/4/07
V4 please! Soon, please :-)

By: ramhernan on 9/4/07
Congrats mate! a well deserved reck, your stuff is just top class, and even more, you give to V3 and SP3 a shape that will be hard to beat, perhaps only you with V4 :)

By: waningmoon on 9/4/07
congratulations! your modelling is top notch.

By: moogster on 9/5/07
Congratulations and WELL DESERVED!
GND 2 was the best thing to come along for V3 and I anxiously await what you have in the making for V4! ;)
You are an extermely talented artist!

By: Artemis on 9/5/07
congrats! well deserved!!

By: nortalf on 9/6/07
My absolute favourite vendor, Irina,Irina the adventurist and the GND are the bar which I weigh all other products against,when all 3d content equals in calibre and ease of operation 5 year olds will be workin' for Disney, they'll be runnin it.

By: Posermatic on 9/6/07
Such quality and devotion to your products has it's rewards.Congratulations BH!

By: crossbowstudio on 9/6/07
Well deserved! My favorite vendor as well - first class all the way. Congratulations.

By: MichaelsWisdom on 9/6/07
Brilliant figure anatomy and postures - well done. Looking forward to your new creations

By: Arien on 9/7/07
Very well deserved! Congratulations!

By: r.zekri on 9/7/07
Congratulations BH :)

By: FutureFantasyDesign on 9/7/07
Way to have V3/GND kick V4's booty! Well deserved...excellant stuff! ;)
HuggerZ!
Ariana

By: calico1 on 9/8/07
Your work is awesome. Congratulations. Stay with quality...for our sakes. :)

By: BigRedKane on 9/10/07
Congrats Gabe...much deserved. Your products are always very well made and I find the price affordable and worth every penny. Take care and good luck with your future works. :-)

By: brynna on 9/10/07
Hey, you forgot "Toy Story"... or is my memory fuzzy on a certain "Buzz Lightyear" hanging out of your car window? ;-)

Of all the merchants I've had the good fortune to know, you are one that will work an item to perfection and beyond, soaking up feedback like a sponge. You're dedicated to doing your absolute best (sometimes to the point of self-torture *g*) and will accept no less from yourself.

It's been a priviledge and an honor. I hope we cross paths again when RL doesn't have you so bogged down.

{{{ HUGS TO GABE }}}

Linda, aka Kerby

By: marforno on 9/10/07
Congratulations Gabriel...!!!

By: Renaylor on 9/10/07
So nice to know that GND4 is in the works. I love your work, well deserved. Congrats!

By: Klutz on 9/10/07
Fair recognition of top quality work...Hope to see much more from you :0)

By: Turtle on 9/10/07
Congratulations, I liked your interview, I have Angelyna on a CD somewhere. :O)
Your Mom is Lucky sounds like you and Rio are doing a Wonderful job with the Kitchen.

By: Syyd on 9/10/07
Gabe, wow, its nice to see someone who has really put in the time to develop and learn his craft, hone it to a "t", and garner the success you have. Congrats. PS, your product renders are non pareil.

By: luciferino on 9/11/07
Congratulations Gabriel.. well deserved ^_^ smack Orietta

By: luciferino on 9/11/07
Congratulations Gabriel.. well deserved ^_^ smack Orietta

By: Danie on 9/11/07
Congrats Gabe ... well done! :)

By: JurgenDoe on 9/11/07
Congrats to you Gabriel :)

By: fabriced on 9/11/07
you are I believe one of best the artists on this site, and there is
not much I like much the attention with which you realize your
products, I am never disappointed. all my congratulations.

By: SomethingStrange on 9/11/07
Congratulations and well deserved :)

By: SWAM on 9/12/07
Congratulations Gabriel! VERY well deserved. Hurry with that kitchen ;-)

By: BonBonish on 9/12/07
Congratulations ....

By: Rodma_Hu on 9/12/07
(I've) never been a customer, but have spent hours clicking those banners and studying your product catalogue. Impressive craftsmanship and style. Guess I should just buy some one day.

-Anonymous Consumer

By: DarkStarRising on 9/12/07
no one could of deserved this more so! your products are amazing, and the continue to amaze me. i cant wait to see what you have planned for V4, as she is an ugly moo moo, and hopefully, when i see what you have done to her, itll change my mind.
Congrats again :D

By: the3dgm on 9/13/07
It's been a long time BH. Congratulations! Well deserved(and about time)!!

By: Bellonna on 9/13/07
Congrats and very well deserved! Love your stuff :0)

By: alltheoriginalnames on 9/13/07
You do outstanding work on your products. You should be proud man. Looking forward to more from you. Congratulations.

By: DancingCat on 9/13/07
What a great interview! It's nice to read about the real person behind the products, especially when those products are among my favorites. Also hearing about how (and when!) you got started... As someone who's only just joined the community with aspirations of selling, it's interesting to hear some of the history.
And, wow! 5 years with no TV! In the boonies of northern Canada (where you must be stuck indoors all winter). Good exercise for your imagination! ;-)

By: SnowSultan on 9/13/07
Wow, I was surprised to read that I inspired you in some way. :) Staale had a lot to do with the Vickybuster texture too, and I'm sure he would be happy to know it helped inspire other great artists like yourself. Congratulations and take care!

By: mglant on 9/13/07
You are a great artist and your guiding priciples clearly show in your work. Some have noted your prices are "higher", but I buy a lot of stuff (I have over 50 gig of content...virtually too much to even know what I have) and yours is in the top 5 of hundreds of artists I have purchased from and use on a regular basis. You have achieve the status level in my "rule set" that it is not whether I purchase your items, but when. Anyone out there that has not purchased Gabriel's products are truly missing using the best there is. So as you wait of an hour to hours to get that stunning render, with Blackhearted products the wait has always been worth it and often has exceeded expectations. I need to take your approach and get back to lean and mean. Have just started learning Silo and am looking forward to using the new beta.
Keep up the great work for your help set the bar of excellence that helps move the field forward.

By: loraxz on 9/14/07
i'm in love with your product line and look forward to more from you...my own work has greatly benefited from your own work and dedication--for which i thank you...

By: SkoolDaze on 9/14/07
As a consumer of your products for years now, you always produce top notch, well thought-out character packages which are always a cut above and well worth their price.

Congratulations and continued success in the future...

By: Yanelis3D on 9/14/07
Very well deserved.

By: Lisbeth on 9/14/07
Congratulation..and vey well deserved :o)

By: Giana on 9/16/07
congrats, Gabe.
integrity & work ethics, for me, are extremely important and do factor in to the equation of deciding where i spend my money as much as looking at/evaluating the quality of an item... definitely not things i need to even question when it comes to your work & your shoppe...

By: Richabri on 9/16/07
Congrats on a well deserved distinction.

By: Ravenhair on 9/16/07
Congratulations BH!!! And hope to see your net GND4 hitting the stores anytime soon!!!

By: FALCON2 on 9/16/07
An extremely well deserved bit of recognition! You do fantastic work, and I am waiting eagerly to see your incredible V3 work updated for V4!!!

By: drifterlee on 9/17/07
Fantastic work!!!! I have Irina and GND2. Great products! I did not know you were so young. Kudos to you for starting out knowing what you wanted to do with your life!!! Hugz, Sherrie

By: Synpainter on 9/19/07
I have purchased some of BH's products and must say they are worth EVERY PENNY paid! The morphs and textures totally RAWK! Your works are absolutely fantastic, and set a very high standard for other products out there. Keep up the meticulous work and I'll be a far and patron forever, or at least as long as my eyes hold up!.

I must say Congrats!
(Heh, good to see another hunter too! ,Upland or Big Game?)


By: matt1 on 9/19/07
Glad to hear you're still around, and looking forward to GND4. And a personal thanks for the several times you've helped me with Poser issues. -Matt

By: 3DSublimeProductions on 9/20/07
CONGRATS!
You helped me a while ago, and I appreciate it so very much! I cannot WAIT for GND4, I just know she is gonna be absolutely breath-taking!

By: CeeBeeVFXG on 9/20/07
Congrats for a very well-deserved honor - your products are top-notch!!

By: SaintFox on 9/20/07
My heartfelt congratulations!! To me your careful made products have become a kind of standard for quality - and each new one raises the bar a bit higher!

By: chimera46 on 9/20/07
"make a big-breasted blonde bimbo™ that completely and utterly blows all of theirs away" LOL great advice! And slate tile, you've got a lucky mom! Seriously though congrats on the award, it's definitely well deserved, keep up the great work!

By: ExprssnImg on 9/20/07
You diserve it captain. I find it amazing and strange how this particular software we have made content for has such a loyal dedicated community. It obviously runs much deeper than the code that governs it

By: Greybro on 9/21/07
Love him or hate him, this guy is undeniably a prolific artist setting the standard which others aspire to.

Congrats Gab, on the much deserved recognition.

Regards,
Brent

By: StevieG1965 on 9/21/07
GND4?? Ooooooo, can't wait...drool uncontrollable...hurry...please! Congrats on the award.

By: 3rdimension on 9/21/07
why does Black hearted look like Ben Stiller? is he related to him?

By: kaosnews on 9/25/07
Congrats!!! Love your work...

By: dorkati on 9/29/07
Gratulálok!!! MEgérdemelted, az már biztos :)
És nagyon kíváncsi vagyok a GND4-re! Már fenem rá a fogam, szeretném felöltöztetni :)))


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