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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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