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Personal Informations

Artist: Jeremy A. Engleman
E-Mail: jeremy@art.net
Homepage: http://www.art.net/~jeremy
Country: USA

View Jeremy A. Engleman's images in the gallery

The Interview

Could you introduce yourself ?
Jeremy A. Engleman, I'm 25 and have worked in the game/multimedia industry for the last 4 years or so.

What are your sources of inspiration  ?
Art of all kinds. I like classic works esp. painting and sculpture as well as comic and pop art. I have to say my favorite is probably nineteenth century work. It seems to have been a very dichotomous time when people were still very rooted in traditions, but they started breaking down and being a bit more free. I think it is so valuable to just look at art. Even if you don't formally study it, just looking at it can teach you things about what makes an image great. Just looking at ANY image made by ANY person can teach you something. They took the time to make it for some reason, and it's fun to try and figure out why.

What's your favorite genre, theme ?
My very favorite genre is portraiture. Sargent, Eakins, Cassat, etc. For themes I like  odalisques, bathing, some mythological allegory, and studious old  men.

What are your strong points ?
I think my strongest area is in lighting. I'm not a very technical modeler, and I'm trying not to use very many textures any more, but there's always lighting. Good lighting can make the simplest models and most primitive engine look great.

 

Tell us a little about "Old Man". 
The old man is really my first try at facial modeling. I wanted to convey a fragility behind a somewhat imposing presence. 

How did you model the old man  ? 
For the head, I began in Softimage, just pulling points. When the mesh got too dense, I converted it to polygons and finished all of the detail in polygons. I usually do that with  figures. I find polygons more able to produce details and they are usually easier to work with. I also like the rough quality I get from them, kind of like  chipping away at a bit of marble or clay. The drapery and chair are modeled from splines. 

How did you draw the skin textures ? 
Just painted  from scratch in Photoshop. 

Could you give us some tips on how to give them such a realistic aspect ? 
Just be aware of what you are trying to do, and above all know your subject. I spent a lot of time looking at old men's hands and pictures of old  men's hands. Don't assume you know everything about your subject and just start out doing it from your head. There is a lot of detail in the world that you probably haven't paid attention to yet. Look at it, and pay attention to it. 

How important are the bump and shineness maps in the realistic aspect of the old man ? 
Very. Of course the bump map is crucial, as it is with almost everything. But specular and spec. falloff settings are often overlooked and not used to their fullest. One way I get the kind of look I do is through use of off color specular settings-yellows and oranges for example. The right specular settings/maps/colors can give a material a lot of depth and character. 

What's the modeling/textures ratio in the realistic aspect of the character ? 
Actually it's about 50/50. The very fine wrinkles are texture map, but all of the major detail, including the larger wrinkles, is modeled. 

What kind of lightning did you use in this scene ? 
I  used about 4 point lights, one primary, and three colored to simulate reflected  light. There was also one distant for reflected light, and 2 or 3 spots to  highlight certain areas. 

 

Tell us a little about "The  Bather". 
The Bather was a scene designed to showcase the torso. It is built of polygons, and contains virtually no texture. All of the details you see are in the geometry. The only texture is a 10 by 5 pixel bitmap with  Lightwave's pixel filtering on. This is just to give it a slight color variation. 

Is everything 3d in this scene ? 
It is. Though  this image is my most post processed. I did a lot of dodging and burning, as  well as cleaned up one bad seam. 

How did you model the woman ? 
Basically with her, I was still trying to develop my modeling method, so how I did it then isn't how I would do it now. I started out with a dense mesh and pulled out points and polygons, just like a bit of clay. This however, resulted in a model that was quite a bit denser than it needed to be. Now I would have started out the other way, with a very rough shape, approximating large planes, and refining and subdividing as I go. 

Is the other side completely modeled ? 
No it isn't. 

In "Old Man", you used Softimage, in this one, you  used Lightwave 3D; What's your favorite one for character modeling  ? 
I would say Softimage. Lightwave being split into two separate applications and it's implementation of bones isn't really condusive to my method of working. I love it for modeling (Lightwave's metaform tool provides a beautiful patch of polygons), but Softimage's skeleton system is much deeper. 

Which one is the best for character modeling ? 
Wonderful work can be made with either, it's all very personal. But they are both very full featured and someone with the knowledge can get wonderful results from  either. 

How did you texture the woman ? 
As I say, she contains very little texture, just a couple of color splotches. But I used Photoshop... 

How did you model the drapery ? 
The drapery was modeled mainly just pulling points, though I did make good use of Lightwave's twist and bend functions. 

What  king of lightning did you use ? 
The Bather has about 17 different lights. Some are main light sources, some are reflected light sources, some simulate interreflected light, and some just bring out certain areas. 

Could you give us some tips on lighting ? What kind of sources to use for the different natural effects ? 
Basically the best thing to do is to really observe light and its character. Set up some simple lights in the real world and look at what happens. Some of it gets bounced around and diffused, it reflects and takes on colors of its surroundings. It is almost always a color (other than white). Is it diffused through something (ie, is it a lamp?-what kind of material is between the source and the world, a plate of glass, the bulb itself?). You don't need radiosity or a fancy renderer to simulate natural light (or other effects for that matter), you just have to be observant. 

How  did you create this atmosphere ? 
The volume atmosphere is created by Steamer, a plugin from Lightwave 5.5. 

 

What was your job in the development of "Riven: The Sequel to Myst". 
I was simply a CG artist. I came on later, so I built a few things and put together a few key areas, but in the scope of the whole thing my contribution was fairly limited. But I am very proud to have played even a small part in that wonderful epic. 

How did  you model the trees ? 
Actually I didn't model the trees. They were already part of the world at the time I did the lagoon. I'm not sure who modeled them exactly, but it is really a very simple model. There is a trunk with a very nice trunk texture, there are several spline surfaces wrapped around the base of the trunk with transparency maps on them for the fuzzy bits at the bottom, and the leaves are just simple spline surfaces with texture and transparency maps. 

The water looks very realistic. Which settings did you use for  the map ? 
The water is made up of two parts. The open ocean uses Lume shaders to get those great waves and fading. The shallow lagoon water also uses Lume shaders for the depth fading, but much of the color actually comes from the bitmap in the bottom. There are several layers of spline surface with transparency maps to fade from the underwater texture to the wet sand texture to the dry sand textures. 

How did  you make the rock, sand, trees textures ? 
Some were scanned photographs  from Cyan's photo library, and some were taken myself. 

 

What's  your favorite image beetween these three ?
I think I like the Old  Man the most, mainly because I feel like it is the most successful realization. Compositionally and thematically it just jives with me. I like how looking at him (for me) almost gives a sense of persona, which is very difficult in 3d, or any medium for that matter.

Do you only work on stills or do you  also animate ?
I do animate, but I am still working out how to bring animation to the type of work I like to do. I like the idea of the still image better, and my mind doesn't see in terms of motion as well as it does in stills.

Do you prefer Softimage or Lightwave ?
It's a toss up. I love to model in Lightwave, and I love to surface in Softimage. I find that Lightwave is more condusive to doing painterly work, it feels freer to me.  Softimage is more condusive to doing photoreal work. It's method of surfacing and lighting yields more "realistic" results. It is also a bit more of a technical modeler than Lightwave, though not as much as Alias.

What are the strong points of Softimage ?
Softimage  is a great surfacer. The method it uses of applying materials and textures is great for doing complex surfaces with many layers. It is also a great modeler.  It is freer than Alias, not as wrapped up with technical perfection. It is more like having a bit of clay and squashing it around. And the mental ray renderer is one of the most beautiful I have seen. It is realistic and warm, not as metaly and harsh as Alias.

What are the strong points of  Lightwave ?
Lightwave is a great modeler. For point by point, polygon by polygon editing, you can't beat it. It is also very freeform and rough. I like that. The Meta- functions also produce beautifully divided geometry.

What are the most important points in a scene to make  it look good ?
Look at the world. Don't assume you know what a thing looks like because you are probably missing a lot of details. Look at things. Study them. Study the way light affects objects and the world. Look at what it does. Great lighting can make a box on a plane look good. And you don't need radiosity or fancy plugins or brand new rendering engines, you just need to be observant. If you're not observant about the world, all the technology in the world is not going to help you.

How important are sketches,  drawings, ... to your artworks ?
For me, very. I always do many sketches, of individual objects, compositions, whatever. It helps me know about things, and about images. Sculpting in clay also helps to get a sense of an objects volume, and it will help figure out how to build it on the computer. I also do digital sketches. I build something very quickly in the computer (Lightwave modeller is great for this), just to get a sense of it. It also helps me to develop my skills with the tools.

What will be your future plans ?
I will just continue to make images. I would like to see if I can push the medium more and more, and see what develops. I would like to push it beyond the realism I have been doing, but I felt that being able to achive that realism was a necessary step.

Thanks.



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