Meet Calum Andrews [calum5]
November 7, 2007 2:14 am
Tags: Kathy Poche
Individual artistic expression is greatly shaped by the events the artists themselves have endured. Life altering events from the death of a close friend to the birth of a new baby. Calum Andrews (Calum5) is a great example of how life affects a person's creative direction. His works of art can be called both beautiful and horrifying. They are a bold, visual representation of the events that have shaped his life. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to get to know this talented Renderosity member. It is with great pleasure that I introduce to the community, Mr Calum Andrews.
What is your name, and where are you from?
Calum Andrews, born in London in the early 70's and still living in Central London with my partner for 18 years and mother of our 2 children. Jake is 16 and Amy is 7. We have a dog who's nearly 2!
How did you first get interested in 3D art?
I grew up with little in the way of toys and discovered a pencil! I used to draw monsters and beasts, probably a reflection of the adults /people around me. I lived most of my childhood in local authority care. Drawing became a hobby, creating things that have not been seen before. I don't have issues with the creative process and feel flooded with too many ideas for the time I have to make them in my work (Museoverload). I have had a lot of monsters around me in my life and I guess in some form they have something to do with my art. I guess boredom and an escape from reality while stroking ideas onto scraps of paper was my way into art. I love creating images.
What programs do you work in?
I got my first PC in april of 2000, and after couple of years wanted to add more depth and water like effects into my work like I'd seen on posters. I discovered Jasc Paintshop Pro 7, and soon after, Bryce 5. I have some work still made in my Rendo gallery from back then. After joining bryce5.net (now closed), I discovered Renderosity and all the galleries! New programs and artwork that blew me away.
Poser had my main love early on and I saved for it : Poser4, then P4 Pro-pack, Poser 5, and now I have Poser 6 but will be getting poser 7 at some point. I added Photoshop and Coreldraw to my tools as I learned more. I use Apophysis and Universe Image Creator for some minor post work effects.
I have now jumped into Zbrush 2, thanks to being shown it by Ron Harris, a member here. It's my favorite program ever (version 3.1)! You can create anything in your mind from scratch, and having the model sculpted personally means more to me than adjusting other peoples' models as I do a lot with Poser. It's my model and my detail, my texture and lighting, etc. I feel free with Zbrush. I have also bought Softimage XSI 6 for rendering purposes, but haven't gotten round the complete work flow as of yet. I teach myself everything and read as much as I can. I have Shade 7 and Hexagon, but after they both crashed on my first look, I haven't opened them again yet.
The fact that you are self taught is amazing. Do you foresee yourself ever going to school to learn more?
Ideally, I'd love to go back to school to learn with hands on help. I left school at around 13 with no qualifications or purpose in life. Only after meeting my partner and having our first child my life then changed. I had responsibilities and...Love! Things I'd missed throughout my young life. I work 6 days a week mostly, and have since 1991 when Jake was born. I work every minute I can to keep all of my family with what they need. I buy occaisional tutorials, but learn mainly thought trial and error. I feel you find what suits you in your own way. Generally, adjusting little bits of what good artists state in tutorials is not a bad way to acquire your way. Then try different things along the way throughout the process.
I'd love to go to College to learn more one day. I'd recommend learning that way to get a good understanding of all the areas in art, and especially if your into 3d work. My way has taken a good few years and I'm far from having all the answers. Maybe I'd be doing better work if I could have saved time on the methods to achieve where my work is now.
Images used to take me around a day...those images I'm really unhappy with, but they all helped me learn something I feel. As artwork for me, I really don't like anything that is over 2 months old in my own gallery. Some pieces do have parts that I like, but on the whole I'm never happy. The light or post work, the POV or theme; something always bothers me as I learn more and look back. I know what I want to do but simply can't ever get there, or the bar keeps being raised in my own perceptions.
A lot of the friendly people in the galleries enjoy my work and tell me things that are very flattering, and I'm very grateful to them all. I especially appreciate the remarks in regards to improving. It's good to get suggestions from how other people see your work. That's a good way to learn, too.
Images now, I spend over a week to 2 weeks on. If I'm using a Poser fig base, then I can save a lot of time, but get left with a numb feeling that it's not all my work. So for me in my art, to be creative and to create from scratch is what makes me feel more happy with myself. Saying that I thought I was brilliant when first rendering in, say Poser, I hadn't done anything apart from set up props, poses, morphs, lights and hit the render button. I'm moving very fast away from that side of things these days, as I've found a way to do it myself to a reasonable standard. I do enjoy immensely what people create with programs like that, but my path has changed. Respect to everyone who creates beautiful images in any program. I will still work on occaision to make a nice image quicker with the likes of Poser and Bryce, etc.
Do you do any sketches before you begin in 3D?
I don't draw out concepts. I just get in front of the computer with an idea. As I work, thoughts begin to float into my mind to help make what I see better or more enjoyable as the image develops. No limitations to hold me back, just free flow and use what I have available in mind and tools.
Have you done images professionally, or are they all for your enjoyment?
I made some characters for the Battlecard table game last year. That was a great learning curve for me in regards to finding ways to get what was required. Thankfully, the gentleman I was doing the work for was very helpful with the concepts I sent and the time allocated to make them.
I have been recently asked by Chuck Russell ( Director, The Mask , being his best to date), for some concept pieces and he said he was happy with my images, would use me again in the future and I'd be recommended to groups by him for my work and ability to get something done fast . I was amazed/honored to be contacted by someone in such a position. To have communications with Mr. Russell and see how the concepts to film creation are set about was very interesting for me. I had to work on a very short deadline which was one thing that I wish I could've changed. My work I like to take my time on but had to get things done and make a few changes on the way as the hours ticked away. A minimal sleeping moment in my life.
I have been offered work abroad with my art/characters, but couldn't take it up due to leaving the family not being an option. A Wii game designer recently asked me about my status for working in France. I'd love to have done it, but my path seems to be taking me another way.
I have joined some ventures with artists, but not for profit, except in knowledge, but some are ongoing. I have one venture that involves me learning UV mapping, but I never seem to have enough time to really learn all the tutorials I've purchased.
I sell the odd item on cafepress, but hardly worth mentioning. I need to update it by a couple of years!
I created a lot of items, images for friends of their kids transformed into fairies, characters, etc. Another don't get rich scheme (LOL). It was great to do and I still do the occasional one.
So, I guess my images are for my enjoyment, but perhaps to one day maybe make a little more from my years of doing what I love.
I can't say an individual artist has inspired me, no. I can say images by some great artists have. I surf the web, look at images that I feel like I'd want to be at a level with (first impression, and then the enjoyment of a well done image). I enjoy work and look at how it was done. All the elements of any image I scan for what works and what I feel doesn't. The light, textures, pov's, and composition are some of the things which I look at after the initial feel of the image appearance/theme.
Have you ever created something in Zbrush and thought about having it rigged so that it could be used in Poser? Do you want to?
Yes. I want to rig Zbrush models to work in Poser, but haven't had the time yet to learn how. I spend my free time, if any, making images as it's something that I enjoy and relaxes me after work, kid and home duties, dog walkies, etc, leave me with minimal time, but I will get to it soon. I might be moving soon possibly, and have been researching the new area.
In Zbrush, it's easy to create high poly models and paint directly onto your models. For the conversion to Poser, I need to keep the polys a lot lower, generate displacement and texture maps amongst other things that I will deal with in the future. I got Zbrush 2 last year late and recently upgraded to version 3.1. Learning my current work flow has taken all my free time so far, but I learn what I can when I can. If I was trusted enough to take more time off my current day Job, then I'd do it now, even to break just under even.
Is there one aspect of your art that you find you have the most trouble with?
The thing that troubles me the most I'd say, is the initial render's appearance, the backgrounds more so. The creation process I find fun, but compositing to a level I like, I find is what I want to improve upon.
I recently purchased Softimage XSI 6, so I can hopefully soon take my work to another level on the character side. Backgrounds I tend to build and render rather than paint, but I hope to get Painter one day to get more ink flow to my image scenes. I love the look of light blending in vibrant effect. You can't render what I'm speaking of. It's like smoke brushes, but more intense. Just my own preference I guess, a deep love of semi-reality fantasy styles and worlds.
What kind of computer are you using all your software on?
I work on a 4300 Multi thread Mesh power station. 2Gigs of Ram and a decent Nvidia graphics card (Windows system).
What are you working on currently? Can we get a sneak peek?
Any advice for those who admire your work?
To get better at what you do, practice a lot! I'd recommend looking at images you really like and try to emulate them. Look at what makes images look good, and implement those things into your work in your own way. It could be as subtle as back lighting on your character, or depth blur. Sharp edges, focal points with blurred backgrounds. There are many things that make an image, depending on what type of image you're doing. The elements, light and shadow, detail and theme. You need to get all aspects looking good for a better end result. The more you create, the more you'll pick up and learn what's going to work or not.
We invite you to visit:
Calum Andrews was the Grand Prize winner in the 2D/3D section of 2007's Renderosity Halloween contest!
copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission of Calum Andrews.
November 5, 2007
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You are the man! lov all your material I look it over and over and get so inspired by your unique touch,you inspired so much to run out and buy Zbrush but let me tell you there is a lot to learn to get to your level,but seeing your beautiful work I know it's possible.Thank You for being you,and being a part of this community it's a blessing to have you. Later........
Hi Calum, I am pretty new to digital art and like you never really satisfied with my images at this point. Your art work is on a level all its own, and is very inspiring to someone like me who is just starting out. I always look forward to your new works. Your characters are wonderful, a bit dark and frightening, but beautiful just the same. I hope that you can eventually do your art work full time, as it is pretty easy to see that it is something you love. Best of luck to you and your family!
I've always found that your gallery has some very original content, scenes that show a lot of planning even though you may have done it as a quickie. Your journey into zbrush is a brilliant leap as the results show. Me hopes your mark in the professional arena will be a strong and memorable one. You certainly have the talent for it. Hats off and two thumbs up.
Hi Calum, congrats there mate - some excellent inspirational stuff your doing - you have come a long way in a short space of time and in many ways we have both walked the same path and faced similar journeys along the way! Although I don't get much chance to drop in on the galleries now, its refreshing to see some of the outstanding work done by talented individuals such as yourself - good luck for the future mate, I may be seeking your ZBrush experience and advice at some point in time; if I ever get around to understanding the multitude of other programs I use! Regards Cada aka David
I met Calum5 a few years back as Gwenhwyfar & I wish to say his art is fantastic and an inspiration. I loved reading the interview above and wish to say it was well written and very informative, way to go Calum & Kat Kat! Your both wonderful and friends! Lots of huggles, Gwenny/Spunkymama
hey man, I'm quite impressed with your work and progression over the years. watching your work all I could think was "man I wish I learned that fast" lol your work is very very impressive and that's a compliment at the bottom of my barrel. i truly enjoy your work, my friend, very inspiring!
OMG Calum your interview is so full of emotion, i love you a lot you know how much, i'm very happy to can have a friend like you, because you are marvellous person that i admire and love a lot, you are a great artist, a great friend, father, husband and man. You are mine Calum, ti voglio bene baci baci meaaoooo your furball LOL Orietta
You know life is hard on some of us, mine has been not that bad. I am sad to hear yours but at the same time I can see that has made you humble and it is nice that Art found you to channel those emotions and experiences through pixels. What I like most about your interview is that you put your family (Wife and kids) before anything. I have admired your work and now I admire the artist. Keep bringing the monsters out. (Juan aka Gaspar)
Hi Cal! I for one know personally how giving and wonderful that you are to anyone who is willing to learn! Your insights and advice are always with me, and maybe one day I too, will get ZBrush and you might be there for me on that! (*hint!!! LOL!) In the meantime I am very pleased to be able to say ThanX and always look forward to each new work you post! Your conceptualization and efforts are Outstanding! As Ron says...You the Man! :) HuggerZ! Ariana
Hey Cal, I favoritized you as one of my favorite artists last year. I lost my job and knew soon I'd be losing my home and internet. I shut off all my favorite artists notifications. I moved. When I came back to renderosity, their foremat was changed and I fogot how to activate the notifications. I've always felt you were one of the top dogs here, after you winning Dinner with the Dead, I have to tell you I seen it coming. You mentioned you never won anything before, I found that hard to believe. When I saw your art in the contest, I knew it was yours... I'm disappointed mine picture did not get any awards, but at least I feel you deserve it. great work and I hope to have you back in my notifications soon.
Hi Cal :-) I have been in awe of your art from the first day I visited your gallery. Your work in modeling is magnificent and I love when you show the step by step progression of a character you have created..I loved the interview and look forward to seeing more of your work...Much love and success to you in your future, Carol
What a fantastic and candid interview! I'm very happy to see Calum in the spotlight and recieving accolades from his peers that he so truly deserves! It is true being said that his work is 100% his own creation and that really sets it apart from the standard. I don't think I've ever seen anyone take to such a complex program in so little time and excel at it the way Calum has, and the level of artistic and technical creativity he uses to express his visions are second to none. I'm very proud of you for reaching the level of excellence you are at currently, but I know this is just a passing stage of something even greater! I look forward to your future endeavors and creations, as does everyone here, and my greatest admiration of your work and unique kindness makes you shine in my eyes! Keep up the outstanding and stellar work, Buddy! Claps
Thanks for a very interesting and inpiring interview! I am just trying to get to grips with ZBrush 3 and love it. But there´s noting to show yet... I have several tutorials but get frustrated over the "hopping/switching" between them... any advice? Some day I may be able to get a second screen, but not now, since I just got a new, much better comp. Great to hear and "feel" your compassion and dedication to your family - very good of you! I would like to send you all (inkluding the dog) a Blessing - May your life together be long and full of joy, love and success... Witchy Blessings /Isis
Calum, in some respects we are alike, I too had to learn art on my own. But I had my family there for me when I needed them. However, you do so much better at this than I do. I can only hope someday to acheive half the ability you have. Your work is always an inspiration. :) BluEcho
In my eyes, this is so well deserved. Calum, you know you have been an inspiration to me for a long, long time. I well remember you back when bryce5.net was still around. I admired your work there and continue to admire it here today. Bravo to a strong, talented individual.