JoeQuick and his Modern Duckie land at Renderosity

3DFineries · November 20, 2019 10:01 am

Modern Duckie

JoeQuick is coming back into our vendor lineup, Renderosity excitedly announced.

Over the years, JoeQuick has released many sci-fi, superhero, and clothing products as well as real-world face shapes, but he is best known for his whimsical, anthropomorphic Duckie series.

Fans of his Duckie series are in for a real treat with his newest release "Modern Duckie" for DAZ Studio's Genesis 8 Male. The geoshell-based feather fluff renders realistic feathers quickly without the high demand required to render fiber-mesh or strand-based hair.

We spoke with JoeQuick to learn a bit more about him, his process, and his wonderful products.

We're thrilled to have you returning to Renderosity, JoeQuick. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Originally from the Chicago Suburbs, I moved to central Illinois in the late '90s to be an English major at the University of Illinois where I received my bachelor's degree and later, I picked up a second degree and teacher certification at Illinois State. Turns out a straight English degree wasn't an instant path to success and glory. It was fun though.

I've been a high school English teacher in rural central Illinois ever since, teaching a mix of junior- and senior-level classes, including journalism and Advanced Placement (we hit an 80% pass rate last year on the AP lit exam when the national average is just below 50%!).

I have a wife, a 5-year-old son, and an elderly cat named Taco. The cat is a stray my wife found on a trip to New Jersey a couple of years before I met her. The kid came 11 years later.

How long have you been doing 3D art?

I've been creating content for over 10 years. Up until my early 20s, I'd always enjoyed drawing. I think part of that came from being an only child. I could only ever draw what I saw. I'd stage photos or create collages and work from that.

I discovered Poser just after I got my Bachelor's Degree. It opened up a world of possibilities for me. All of a sudden, I could assemble whatever kind of scene I wanted. From there I discovered zBrush and began making content. I started off with freebie head morphs for Michael 3 and grew from there. Now I make much more elaborate creatures. I also do clothing from time to time.

What is your creative background?

I am mainly self-taught, but I took a few art classes at the local performing arts center where I grew up. In college, I managed to squeeze in some low-level elective classes too.

Please describe your creative process for us.

I'm always looking for inspiration.

An important change happened for me during the time I was away from Renderosity—my wife got pregnant. Up until that point most of my products were fairly scattershot. I did superhero and sci-fi stuff, trench coats, and real-world face shapes. A lot of it, I think, skewed towards the kind of tropes that appealed to nerd boy culture. When my wife got pregnant, I had to wonder, what if I had a daughter? At that point, my work took a turn toward more gender neutral and whimsical content. That's the period where I made the Genesis mice, frogs, turtles, moles and naked mole rats. Eventually I found out we were having a boy, but during that period is when I think I really found my niche, and it's a well that I've visited frequently ever since then.

In terms of actually making content, the most important stage of the process is the "looks like garbage" stage. If you look at the iterative saves of any of my creatures or outfits, they all pass through a sustained period of looking like absolute trash. Everything I make always passes through this stage, and I've had to learn to keep pushing. I'll include an example image to drive that point home.

Tell us a bit about your new product release -- title, figure, & anything you find special about it -- & how the idea originated.

This latest Duckie is for the Genesis 8 Male. Though I should mention, all of the Duckies have included morphs to turn them into other kinds of birds.

I've been making iterations of this kind of character almost as long as I've been doing 3D. The M4/V4 era product here at Renderosity, while niche, kinda put me on the map for how far I can manipulate a mesh. The M4/V4 era product was also a real lesson when it came to things like texturing and seams. It was a real struggle for me initially. The first version I submitted to the Renderosity store had a painted texture for the head but then relied on a feather tile for the body. That obviously didn't fly with Quality Assurance, so I had to really buckle down and figure out how to produce a feathered full body texture without any seams. I learned a lot from the process.

When the Genesis platform first came out, I was quick to release a version of the Duckie here at Renderosity that took advantage of the new technology. In hindsight, though, the figure was unattractive. It occupied a weird middle ground between "realistic" and "cartoonish" and didn't feel at home in either kind of scene.

The sales of the character reflected that sad reality.

For the follow up, I leaned hard into the toon aesthetic and produced the first toon Duckie for Genesis. I was proud of him at the time, but he seems so lumpy in retrospect. In capturing that kind of archetypal cartoon duck look, I didn't quite nail it until I released the version for Genesis 3. Still, it left folks looking for "realistic" duck and bird people out in the cold, and I never quite arrived at feathers that were sufficiently fluffy. As just a simple texture map, they always felt flat.

Those two deficits are what really drove this iteration of the Duckie character. I had created this family of whimsical animal creatures, but with their cartoonish eyes, the ducks and other birds possible with the Duckie packages never really fit in. This new Modern Duckie can stand shoulder to shoulder with those other creatures and it's right at home with his other fine feathered friends. I also finally found a viable feather solution.

Novastrider, over in the "Cartoons - how are you doing?" thread, had started using Dimension Theory's fluff shaders to add fluff to the Genesis 3 ducks with geoshells. This technique uses several layers with escalating layers of transparency. When combined, these layers create realistic fluff and fuzz effects without using fiber-mesh or strand-based hair which puts a high demand on resources when rendering. I asked Dimension Theory how it all worked, he taught me, and then I created this duckie with his geoshell-based feather fluff. It achieves a look I'm really happy with.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today, JoeQuick. "Modern Duckie" is a wonderful anthropomorphic character that is certain to be a big hit.

Renderosity is thrilled to welcome you back to our vendor lineup, and we look forward to seeing more of your fantastic creations!



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