Whenever I launch Poser or DAZ Studio, I'm amazed at how much fun it is to create photo-realistic images without cameras, lenses, studio strobes, backdrops--and perhaps most amazingly, without props and models.
Because I come to 3D from a photography/Photoshop background, I usually render each figure in a scene separately and composite them in PS. I'm envious of artists who can compose a complex scene in a 3D app and then create a final image in a single render.
I’ve been dabbling in Poser since about 2003, and added DAZ Studio to the repertoire a few years ago. I tend to bounce back and forth between the two programs, since each has distinct advantages and disadvantages depending on the project.
For digital painting I use a Wacom Ituos 3 Tablet. I recently added a Wacom Cintiq 13HD Touch Display. The Cintiq is, in effect, a Wacom Tablet combined with an LED screen. When you paint, you can actually see your stylus as it lays down a paint stroke--which is very cool! Unfortunately, because of graphics card issues, at the moment it only works with my MacBook.
Aside from MacPaint on the Macintosh Classic, my first true digital paint program back in the day was Corel Painter X. I've regressed to the easier to use Painter Essentials version.
A couple years ago, I discovered Studio Artist 4, a strange and immensely complex digital paint program. It has hundreds of presents, a handful of which are actually useful. SA4 can “auto paint” a scene in a brush-stroke style that you create, then allow you to step in and manually rework important areas.
I’m also constantly experimenting with other digital paint and rendering software, including Snap Art, Topaz and Filter Factory 4.
Another reason I work in layers is that I collect my projects and publish them in limited edition (i.e. half-a-dozen copies) vanity-press books that I circulate among friends and family. These are printed at very high-resolution requiring images that are 5000 x 4200 dpi. By rendering in multiple layers, I can apply higher shading rates and raytracing only to the key visual elements in a scene.
Before retiring a few years ago, I worked as a UPI wire-service photographer, a photojournalist with a couple hundred national magazine cover credits, a computer book author, and for nearly 20 years, a special-projects editor at Newsweek. I also spent some time on the faculty of an art school near NYC where I taught Photoshop part-time.
Back in the very beginning, in the Summer of 1967, while working as an intern in NYC, I stumbled into a major retrospective exhibit of Surrealism at the Museum of Modern Art.
I never really left.
Whatever else I do in art, I keep circling back to Surrealism, especially as expressed by Magritte, Ernst, Di Chiraco, and Delveaux. Not wholly unrelated to Surrealism is a fascination for the Steampunk aesthetic.
Poser/DS rendering is strictly a hobby. Working to deadlines and rigorous specifications would ruin the fun of it. Plus this is pretty much a Winter activity for me. My dedication fades as baseball season and bicycling lay claim to more and more of my time.
I've participated in a several different art sites, but find the supportive, rather laid-back atmosphere at Rendo to be the best match for me.
You can find a portfolio of my photography (last updated in 2006) at http://photo.net/photos/jimmcnitt. The online photo/art book printing service I use is blurb.com.
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