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Additional Article Information: =============================== 1003 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line Distribution Date and Time: Thu Mar 23 18:27:07 EST 2006 Written By: Jim Coe Copyright: 2006 Contact Email: mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] Article URL: http://thePhantomWriters.com/free_content/d/c/art-for-the-beginner.shtml For more free-reprint articles by this Author, please visit: http://thePhantomWriters.com/free_content/d/index.shtml#Jim_Coe --------------------------------------------------------------------- Now You Too Can Make Art - Digitally! Copyright © 2006 Jim Coe Art Head Start http://www.art-head-start.com If you've been frustrated trying to find the right outlet for your visual creativity, give some thought to the new hobby of personal Computer Graphics. Maybe you're one of the many creative people who don't have the time or the manual dexterity to learn traditional art tools - brushes, paints and all that. The good news is that you no longer need those to make compelling visual artworks! EVOLUTION SO FAST IT'S A REVOLUTION You've seen what the Computer Graphics (CG) industry has done for Hollywood special effects and the cartoon business. But you might not know that most of those stunning 3D graphics tools have already seeped down to the consumer and personal computer level! Yes, the Web, rapid expansion in PC power and volume pricing of software has combined to launch a new wave of popular do-it-yourself art. This revolution is much like the one when photography was invented. Suddenly anyone with a camera could make interesting images, whatever their painting or drawing expertise. RIDE THE CG WAVE Web sites like Renderosity.com <a href="http://www.renderosity.com">Rendersosity</a>, the young granddaddy of this new digital art hobby, are the hang-outs of the 3D computer art crowd. Their free online galleries are the hobbyist's new showplace. Their public forums come in flavors representing all the brands of 3D graphics tools. The discussions range from digital art criticism, to free contributions of tools and materials made by members, to troubleshooting software bugs and the problems of stuck novices. You'll even find online stores with these galleries, where CG artists do a brisk business selling their 3D creations to others who don't want to make everything from scratch. Like much of the Web, there's an international flavor to the membership and the art and many friendships are formed across many borders. WANT TO GET INVOLVED? Do a Web search on "3d galleries" and you'll see everything from salty amateur soft porn to work that's sweeter than Norman Rockwell's. Science Fiction and Fantasy themes are fashionable too. But this is basically popular art, and other than the minimum online limits on nudity, sex and violence, anything goes and there are no controls on image quality. So don't be surprised to find lots of images that - well, let's just say they could use some more work. Invest a bit of time though and you'll find many outstanding works. You'll discover some online artists that will thrill and inspire you time and again. WHAT'S IT TAKE? IS IT EXPENSIVE? Most personal 3D digital artists want to make photo-realistic images with human figures in them. You'll find this requires a minimum of two software tools and a fairly new computer -one with lots of memory, 1GB at least, and plenty of storage space. Both Mac and Windows systems will work for you, but as usual, the Windows world has more available software and far more users. You'll need a program that creates 3D poseable human figures and animals (think 3D dolls). The most popular is Poser 6 <a href="http://www.e-frontier.com">Poser</a>, by e-frontier, for about $250. But you're in luck, because another company, <a href="http://www.daz3d.com">DAZ</a> is giving away their fine new DAZ Studio, in order to gain market share for this new product. And you'll also need a software tool that's something like a stage, where you assemble, light and render images of your 3D actors, along with your props and environments to create complete scenes. A favorite tool for this is the top-of-the-line Vue 5 Infinite, from e-on Software <a href="http://www.e-onsoftware.com/products/vue/vue_5_infinite">Vue 5 Infinite</a>, which has atmospheres, vegetation, water, various types of lights, editors where you can apply or create materials, and much more. You can even animate your scenes and produce high quality short, movies! Check the Vue 5 Infinite demo reel link for examples. As Set Designer and Director, you build up your scene's environment, for example including forests with thousands of trees, or highways packed with cars. Then you become Lighting Director and add dramatic lighting. Finally, you're the Camera Operator, locating your virtual camera for the perfect shot. Then you render your camerawork as a 2D image or a movie clip. But all this creative scene power will set you back almost $600. However, e-on Software, has recently released Vue 5 Easel, for less than $100, to get people started. Naturally it won't do everything their top product can. No massive forests or battalions of marching robots in their light weight product. With just those two software tools and a broadband connection to the Internet, you can launch your digital art hobby and start uploading your artworks to the online galleries. For even more creative power, you may eventually want to buy and learn a 3D modeling program, so you can sculpt your own unique 3D objects from scratch. But there's no rush to accept that rather formidable challenge, since you can buy most of the clothing, hairstyles, props and other objects you'll need at the gallery stores. And the two basic programs come with many free objects and materials to get you started. A 2D image processing program is also a handy addition. The pros use Adobe Photoshop, a $650 tool. But Adobe Photoshop Elements <a href="http://www.adobe.com/digitalimag/main.html">Photoshop versions</a>, under $100, will cover 90% or your 2D editing needs. THE LEARNING CURVE Just how difficult is it? If you can spend, say one or two hours a day, you can probably master the most important features of those two tools in one to three months. You certainly don't have to be a CG expert or a software engineer. Many thousands of last year's novices are producing near professional results today. FIND OUT MORE The best way to find out what it's all about is to sign up for a free memberships on a few of the online 3D art galleries, like Renderosity, or e-on software's Cornucopia 3D <a href="http://www.cornucopia3d.com">Cornucopia</a>. And be sure to ask lots of questions - the digital art forums are very friendly places. Here's hoping to see your work online soon! © jim coe 2006 --------------------------------------------------------------------- Jim Coe is a 3D artist, photographer, writer and former art college instructor. His web site, Art Head Start ( http://www.art-head-start.com ), features his new 'Art Head Start' ebook for learning both art and digital art skills. The site also offers free Vue 5 3D tutorials, models, textures and articles. --- END ARTICLE --- ..................................... 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