Friday, March 7, 2008

Giving visual interest a boost

One cool thing about working in 3D is that it's a sort of hybrid between painting and photography. On the one hand, you can use as many "realistic" lighting scenarios you want; on the other, you can play with light in the most unrealistic, yet pleasing ways possible.

In the 3D world, there is a full spectrum of artists - those who want everything to look as it would from a camera, those who want everything to look as computer-generated as possible, those who want nothing more than a completely stylized, imaginary effect, and so on.

Regardless of the look you are after, the first step is to learn the tools. You can't really enforce a style without understanding how to express that style through your tools in *any* scenario your brain can think up.

So, my tip of the day for 3D artists is this: As you learn your 3D software, try as hard as you can to build up a visual toolkit of style and imagination that will pair nicely with your software-user skills. Put in that extra bit of energy to make an image into a story, or something that excites the mind.

When I look at the render above, I think of ways I could make it tell a story. There are countless ways - a handwritten letter, stained with blood, sitting opened on the table beneath the candle, that sort of thing - that require minimal effort compared to the potential increase in interest.

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