Congratulations on being voted the Artist of the Month! Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Who is mermaid?
mermaid: I was born 1958 in Germany and lived there with my parents and 2 brothers and a sister until my family moved to Switzerland in the early 70's. I went to school there and studied afterwards in Zurich and Frankfurt . In 1993 I met my husband – I guess we were one of the first couples who met online. When my parents were in need of care we moved back to Switzerland in 2000 and since then we live in the village between the lake of Constance and the Säntis mountain, where I grew up. 14 years I took care of my parents and could so give a little bit back of what they gave to us children. Now I am enjoying to have a bit more time with my husband and for working with Vue or taking shots of our beautiful landscape and the flowers and plants around. My big family is also a vivid part of my live as I am 13fold aunt and twofold grandaunt and of course my own two little green winged children – we have two hawkheaded parrots – take their time too.
How long have you been creating art, and do you have any formal art education?
From childhood on I worked with clay and loved it. And I liked to draw, sometimes even on paper napkins with a ballpen, when nothing else was around and something caught my eye. Photography was also one of my very early interests and I have taken tons of slides and later digital shots from places I have been, around the house, on road to work or while travelling. So you will find in my gallery a bit of everything too, photography, modelling both digital and with clay, and Vue renders.
As to a formal art education, yes I have had that too. After I finished school with "Matura", which is equivalent to the senior high school degree in other countries, I did a year of training at a school for art and design in St. Gallen, learning a variety of basic techniques as drawing, painting, modelling with clay and other materials, photography, writing essays and so on. After one year I went to the university and studied art history. But for me those studies lacked the practical part. Hence I went to Germany as there it was possible to study art pedagogy and therapeutic pedagogy, which had the practical part included. My main subjects were sculpting and modelling. The way life goes, I didn't work in an art context after finishing my exams, but rather in therapy working with severly handicapped children and afterwards in HIV prevention. Working in HIV prevention for an NGO not only included the counselling work via phone, personal advice and in school workshops but also designing websites, designing leaflets and brochures from scratch until ready for print. As the NGO I worked for naturally hadn't much money to spend for professional work in design, I had to learn the basics myself mainly from books or online. I learned HTML from books and layout by having a look at how other people did it.
What do you enjoy most about using Vue as a tool for your work? What other applications do you use on a regular basis?
Vue gave me the chance to do what I always wanted and where I lacked skill in the traditional way: Getting my ideas in color out of my head and into something I can share with others.
I knew I had some talent in drawing and modelling but not in painting and so I asked my sister, who studied graphic design, if there would be a software to create the images I have always dreamed of and she recommended Vue to me. From 2005 on I worked my way up and into this powerful tool and enjoyed how quick I could create landscapes and moods and even create my own content. I am somewhat special there I know…lol.. because Vue isn’t intendede to be a modelling tool, but to me it still is my favorite modelling tool too - although or maybe because it restricts me to primitives and Boolean operations and Vue’s own baking possibilities, the metablob. But together with the mighty material editor I can create a lot of wonderful things for myself. Examples of this modelling in Vue you will find in my gallery too : Little things like the log with jigsaw figures in this render:
As to other application I use regularly there are Poser and Daz, Sculptris for doing my own figural modelling like the heads in this one or the torso of darkness from one of my favorite movies "Legend" by Ridley Scott from 1985. Incendia for creating f3d fractals which never cease to fascinate me and find their way into my work in several ways like for instance the derelict ship in this one here where the shiny ship is a model made in Vue, or another fractal used in this one as an alien tower or another fractal used as an alien being like the one below. Worldmachine and Worldcreator or other programs I use regularly to create terrains for my renders.
ThePlantFactory and Zbrush are the newest additions to my application zoo. While I get along with ThePlantFactory quite well already, I still have to wrap my brain around Zbrush – which means a lot of learning from tutorials and so on to get used to a completely different but nevertheless very powerful and intriguing application. And again I am somewhat strange here, because the most things coming out of the plant factory are not plants but other interesting things…lol.. like the Chrystal ships in this render
Who, or what, inspires you?
Experiments in learning or trying out something , moods, little shiny details, documentations about nature, works of other artists. Most of my renders in Vue are growing out of tryout for a new terrain, loading a fractal I have done in Incendia or a gift I got by a friend to have a look at it, trying to create special materials or lighting. So it is a small nucleus which free flowing grows into something new without having intention. And even the stories which sometimes go with my render are impromptu creations out of my very vivid imagination.
There are other inspirations too, like seeing documentations about nature where some scenes just stay in my mind like a screenshot and need to get recreated in Vue. This one is an example for it:
Furthermore there are some sweet gifts from other artist which inspire me to do renders with them, because I admire their skill in modelling. Examples of that are
- The Venus Seedpod
- Processing facility
- Manta Ray
- Recharging in the energy chambers
- He is watching you like you are watching him...
- Steve's fence
One of your most popular pieces in your Renderosity gallery is "Dreamland". The composition is just so great! What was the process in creating this piece?
Oh, that’s an older one and the first one I tried to make a more wide view into a landscape. I found that especially challenging to me but inspired by Andrea Horvaths beautiful landscapes in Vue I set myself to take on this challenge at least one time. I think I even read one of her great tutorials in the classroom area at C3d to get going with it. The main process was starting with different terrains which are set one behind the other to get the wide and deep perspective. The central terrain with the river in and the castle was hand modelled in terrain editor, the other just random ones. Populating the hills with proper vegetation and material was next. Now middleground and background were created but the foreground needed some more attention - which it got by creating the rock with the tree and grass right in front of the camera. The castle was posed as the eyecatcher leading the eye of the beholder from foreground to background in a pleasant way. And finally the atmosphere was created with the light and the clouds adding to the special mood of this render.
How has Renderosity made a difference in your growth as an artist?
Renderosity was the first site I found and joined when starting my “ artist online life”. I deeply cherish the community of likeminded creative people all over the world sharing their work with others. It really is a wealth of inspiration and a wonderful place to meet again with now old friends and make new ones. Yes it definitely has made a difference to me as it gave me company of likeminded, critique and help of friendly people and a well of inspiration.
If you had any advice for a beginning artist in Vue, what would you say?
Just start, experiment with the possibilities and let your creativity flow. There is some really fine help out there to get you into it like the wonderful free video tutorials by Vladimir Chopine (geekatplay.com) or you can take a look at the classroom at Cornucopia3d, where artist explain in detail how they did a render in the series “The making of …” and of course you can join a community like Renderosity or the Vue galleries on Facebook to get advice directly from the well and some really wonderful contacts to others on top.
I guess everybody learns in his or her own ways. For me looking at other peoples work in CG or photography, trying to find out, what makes an image special and trying to recreate something similar for myself in Vue is one great way to learn. There are basic rules for composition in art, which you can look up on the net and read about and this might be a way to learn too and do not be shy to ask in groups when you are stuck with a special problem.
Most important, have fun in finding your own way of expressing yourself in your creations, be it showing just a particular detail of the world or a big overview picture, or be it in pictures almost like reality or pictures right out of your imagination... and every so often take a look beyond the rim of your teacup, because what others do, might inspire you.
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_It's a well deserved honor that they picked you as artist of the month. As I told you, your work is amazing and has that great final touch, that makes it different from all other work. Enjoy and hopefully we can look fore ward to many beauty ahead. _