iClone Power User and Content Creator Joe Lo is another stand-out example of not only impressive skills and an eye for detail but, as you will see when you read the interview, an artist as passionate about their work as any artist in the Renderosity community and that is saying something. You'll see some familiar tools in this creator's toolbox and a pipeline that can whip out some magical content at the end of the process.
Joe is as driven as any of us and wasn't always on this path either. Hard to see this inspirational artist in a corporate environment but you never know what seed a digital artist will spring from and Joe is proof of that.
We are so glad that Joe could take time away from his schedule to answer our questions and give us a look at the tools, processes, and motives that produce such high-quality and aesthetically pleasing content.
Interview with Jo Lo
Which Reallusion applications do you use (such as iClone and Character Creator) and for what purposes?
I use both iClone and Character Creator extensively in my 3D content creation process. With iClone, I am able to create real-time 3D animations that are not just visually impressive, but also immersive and storytelling - perfect for my work in creating engaging novel covers and compelling advertising content.
Character Creator, on the other hand, empowers me to design realistic and unique 3D characters for my projects. It's particularly useful when I'm presenting my costume designs to clients, as it allows me to showcase the designs in a dynamic, lifelike fashion show.
Furthermore, I use these tools as a means to prototype, test, and refine my ideas before going into full production. They are user-friendly and efficient, facilitating my artistic process from conception to realization.
Most importantly, these Reallusion applications are compatible with Daz characters, making the transition seamless for artists wanting to switch platforms. This compatibility not only enriches my digital toolbox but also opens up more possibilities for creative exploration.
I believe the strengths of Reallusion software lie in its ease of use, short learning curve, and rich array of
features it offers. As an artist, time is a valuable resource, and the software's intuitive interface allows me to navigate and design efficiently, freeing up more time for creativity.
One significant advantage of using Reallusion software is the abundance of preset assets including motions, costumes, and scenes. These allow me to rapidly add compelling visuals to my projects, accelerating the creation process without sacrificing quality.
Character Creator's simplicity in designing unique and lifelike characters is another major plus. The tool turns character design into an enjoyable process, and its integration with ZBrush and SkinGen means I can create hyperrealistic digital humans with relative ease.
Most importantly, the transition of characters from Daz to Character Creator 4 is seamless and effortless, reducing barriers for artists considering the switch.
In short, Reallusion software not only simplifies the intricate world of 3D design but also opens doors to a realm of possibilities for creating digital art that stands out. It's like having a secret weapon in my digital toolbox, empowering me to bring my creative visions to life in a more efficient and impressive manner.
What is in your digital toolbox? What applications do you rely on for artwork and/or 3D content creation besides Reallusion products?
My digital toolbox is a carefully curated collection of powerful tools, each serving a unique purpose in my creative process. I use AI-powered tools like Invoke AI and Stable diffusion for concept art generation, effectively providing me with a team of virtual artists to help bring my ideas to life.
For clothing design, Marvelous Designer is my preferred tool. It enables me to craft intricate details like wrinkles and folds, bringing an extra layer of realism to my characters. Blender, meanwhile, assists me with UV proportions for texturing and refining the mesh, particularly in the realm of hard surface modeling. It's complemented by Shapr3D, which is a fantastic tool for this purpose.
ZBrush is indispensable in my toolbox for sculpting organic shapes and detailing. The texturing phase involves a dance between ZBrush, Substance Painter, and Photoshop, all orchestrated with the Xpen Artist 15.6 Pro. The result is a richly layered texture that helps breathe life into my creations.
Unreal Engine is my go-to for quality control and compatibility checks, ensuring that my work translates well across different platforms. This is particularly important as I can also transfer Daz characters to Reallusion's Character Creator 4, a process that is refreshingly seamless and efficient.
Character Creator and iClone are instrumental in designing, animating, and posing characters. Depending on the project, I use iClone or Omniverse for rendering - both provide excellent quality and real-time results. Photoshop and Premiere Pro handle my final editing needs, putting the finishing touches on my creations.
In summary, my digital toolbox is a diverse and interconnected ecosystem of applications. Each tool plays a vital role, allowing me to create high-quality, captivating digital art that helps other artists see the potential in turning their hobby into a fulfilling profession.
What got you interested in digital art and creating 3D content?
My interest in digital art and 3D content creation was born from a lifelong passion for creativity. Growing up in Hong Kong, societal expectations led me down the path of an accounting career, but my love for art, specifically Japanese anime and video games, always persisted. I yearned to create my own world filled with characters and stories.
To fulfill this creative urge, I penned my first novel, 'Living in the Dream', a narrative about individuals inhabiting a dream world. Yet, I craved to give visual form to my imagination. This desire led me to discover iClone and Character Creator in 2015, which opened up the world of 3D artistry to me.
Through continual learning and growth, such as participating in Reallusion’s 3D Character Design contest in 2016, my skills in digital art began to flourish. The validation I received from award-winning submissions and the publication of my novel reinforced my decision to pursue art full-time in 2017. By 2019, I had established my own content business.
In 2020, I placed third in the Reallusion Digital Human Contest, which was a significant milestone validating my decision to fully dedicate myself to art. Seeking further growth, I moved to Bristol, UK, where my business has continued to thrive.
Although my journey into art may not have led to traditional financial success, the mental and emotional enrichment I've received is priceless. I am a living testament that it's never too late to follow your passion. My hope is to inspire others, especially hobbyists, to consider turning their love for 3D art into a rewarding profession, just like I did.
Do you feel driven by your desire to create or is it something that just pops up from time to time?
My creative process is driven by a constant desire to create, punctuated with moments of spontaneous inspiration. Each year, I outline a roadmap of various themes I plan to explore, ranging from practical occupational themes to futuristic cyberpunk, traditional motifs to modern fashion, and from fantasy to the boundless freedom of freestyle. I also establish sub-themes to inject more diversity and depth into my work, which provides a rigorous test of my 3D modeling skills.
However, creativity is rarely linear or predictable. Ideas often arise spontaneously, sometimes even overwhelming the pace at which I can bring them to fruition. When this happens, I stick to my plan while meticulously documenting these sudden bursts of inspiration. Striking a balance between structured planning and spontaneous creation is crucial in keeping my creativity flowing and preventing burnout.
In essence, my drive to create is a steady flame that is sporadically fanned by unexpected gusts of inspiration. This cycle ensures that my work remains fresh, dynamic, and engaging. It's the unpredictable and exciting nature of creativity that fuels my passion and keeps me motivated. And it's this drive that I wish to inspire in others, showing them the joy and fulfillment that can be found in pursuing a career in 3D artistry.
When did you start to realize that you had artistic/creative ability?
My artistic inclinations were evident from an early age, as I frequently represented my school in various art competitions. The recognition from my teachers and peers was encouraging, but the true validation came from the deep sense of joy and fulfillment I derived from the creative process itself.
However, the full realization of my creative potential came later. After a detour into accounting, I ventured into the realm of 3D design and began to merge my love for Japanese anime, video games, and novel writing. This exploration allowed me to not only create visually appealing images but also construct immersive universes.
My artistic abilities were further validated when my work began to receive accolades, such as awards in Reallusion’s 3D Character Design contest. My creative journey started in childhood and fully blossomed when I embraced digital art. I firmly believe that creativity is not a stagnant entity but a continuously evolving force that grows and transforms with us. It's not just about the moment of realization, but about nurturing and allowing it to thrive.
I hope that sharing my journey will inspire hobbyists or those uncertain about their own creative potential to explore the world of 3D art. You might surprise yourself, as I did, with what you can achieve when you pursue your passion.
Digital Artists and Content creators form a wide spectrum. Are you formally educated, self-taught, or both?
I'm a self-taught digital artist who continually seeks knowledge. My learning journey includes tutorials from LinkedIn, Udemy, Blender Market, YouTube, and various software's official websites. It's been a continuous process of learning and refining my skills.
Is there anything that you would like the Renderosity community to know about you in particular or a general statement you’d like to make about your digital work?
To the vibrant Renderosity community, I'd like to say that every piece I create isn't merely a digital artifact, but a narrative, a concept, or a passion brought to life. I firmly believe that the true essence of art lies in its ability to tell stories, evoke emotions, and provoke thought. This philosophy forms the backbone of all my digital creations.
To fellow creators, I would stress that our journey is one of continuous learning and boundary-pushing. There's a wealth of resources at our disposal to hone our skills. Embrace new techniques, experiment with new tools, and see every setback or slow pace as a stepping stone toward mastery. As the saying goes, every master was once a beginner, and the path we tread and the lessons we learn ultimately shape us as artists.
Pursuing your passion as an artist can be intimidating, and at times overwhelming. I've faced burnout, grappled with tight deadlines, and juggled the delicate balance between passion and livelihood. But remember, perseverance is the compass that guides us through the labyrinth of challenges. If we stay true to our dreams and keep pushing forward, we can surmount any hurdle and carve out our unique niche in this world.
Knowledge sharing and collaboration are the lifeblood of our community. We grow stronger as creators when we learn from and inspire each other. The spirit of collaboration is the heartbeat of the digital art world, and I encourage all of us to keep creating, learning, and inspiring together. Finally, I'd like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Renderosity community. This platform has been an incredible springboard for creativity, collaboration, and personal growth. I eagerly anticipate contributing more to our thriving community and witnessing its continued growth and evolution.
I hope my journey inspires those on the fence about pursuing a career in 3D art to take the leap. The path may be challenging, but the reward of seeing your creations come to life is worth every effort. As we move forward in the ever-evolving realm of digital art, let's remember to support each other and rejoice in each other's successes.