I have always been interested in doing art. Anything from painting miniatures, drawing, making websites, writing stories and running tabletop roleplaying games. I have also always been incredibly self conscious (except maybe the website and GM thing) and reluctant to show anyone my art.
The last time I created visual artwork such as drawing, I was a teen to very early 20s. I would draw, mostly gaming characters or scenes, on very cheap art pads that cost way too much. I even won a trophy in high school for an anti-drug poster (it was 3 x 4 foot drawing of death, holding a staff sized needle and a list of cities on a gravestone). I even won a gift certificate for it to Black Angus (I gave that to my parents for their anniversary).
When I was 19, I got together with my hubby who is way more artistic then me. He has always encouraged me to draw, write stories, etc. I have on occasion bought an art tablet and tried to draw, but then quickly throw anything I did in the shredder. The website design and storytelling are the only things I kept up on. I always was hard on myself, especially when I saw the artwork Wolsey did. That being said, he was always supportive though and strove to get me to do more.
For the last few years I have really wanted to draw again. I tried an artpad, but that didn’t work out. Then I have played around with photoshop a bit with images that were able to be used by public. I played around with a few different things and I discovered I liked using 3d programs to create art. The fact you can create a character or scene in 3d, and then save it for future use really appealed to me.
I have considered doing a webcomic in the past, but the thought of drawing every single scene from scratch and making the characters look the same each time seemed daunting. It is why I played with photoshop for awhile, hoping maybe I could use that to cut the grind. I discovered though with the 3d programs that you can keep your assets, move them around, reskin them for different clothing, poses, etc and your initial time investment still remains. Making it easier to create scenes regularly involving the same characters. I think I like that idea.
So I have been scouting out the vast numbers of art programs. I was really surprised by it. Ranging from simple little things to huge programs that can match anything Pixar does. What really caught me off guard was the prices and what you get for them. It isn’t a straight, the more you pay the more you get. Some programs cost thousands of dollars while others are free, and can do the same things.
After a lot of looking I am focusing on three different programs. The base program for of them come free, but have various learning curves. All three use the same vein of theory though, so skills learned with one will help with the others.
DAZ3D, a free 3d art program that you can buy (or create with other tools) assets, move them around, reskin them, make them look nice and then render them into images. At first I wasn’t so sure about it because a lot of the art I have seen isn’t the level I want to get, so I didn’t think I would get what I wanted out of it. However, after looking at what people have done, I am wrong, it is a very powerful system.
Yes those are both created in DAZ3D
Poser is similar to DAZ with a few more bells and whistles. This costs a good bit more money if you want the pro version (but you can do more with it). I figure if I like DAZ and the little investment I put into there, I might consider adding Poser to my portfolio. There was a 40% sale right now which is why i was considering it immediately, but there is Black Friday type sales coming up in a few months. If I continue with DAZ then maybe I will hit a sale and get it.
Blender, a full blown 3d system that can render movies on PIXAR’s level. It is a completely free, open source software and I am blown away by what I have seen (some of the stuff I wouldn’t notice not being real).
That being said, of course it is going to have the hardest learning curve of all of them. The advantage is its free, the community is very warm and welcoming and there are a LOT of tutorials for beginners. This is my ultimate end game thing I want to use. Like Maya or other programs on this level though, its not something you get as proficient as I want in a short time period.
I figure DAZ/Poser will work well for a helping me in the beginning. It is also easier to push something out that can then be imported into Blender to do more advanced things with. So for now I think I will play with DAZ and Blender, get some tutorials going and learn this. I figure I still have a good 30+ years before I die, maybe I can get good at it.
So you will be seeing probably some horrible artwork. I normally would hide things, but I found its easier for me to post things to my website then actually show people in real space. This will force me to get better, or forever live with the starting crap I do :). So expect to see me talking about tutorials, showing my art, and maybe getting better at it.