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info@neilblevins.com


Updated: Feb 23rd 2019

1) Who are you?
I'm an artist who specializes in scifi and fantasy artwork. As well as professional work, I do lots of personal art when I find the time. I also wrote a bunch of Scripts for 3dsmax. And like Teaching Art and Computer Graphics. I also run a metal webzine called Soul Killer, where I review new metal and have a news section.

2) Where have you worked?
I am currently Senior Concept Artist at Monolith Productions. Previous to that, I worked for 16 years as a Senior Digital Artist at Pixar in Emeryville California, and 3 years for Blur Studio in Venice California. I also run my freelance Soulburn Studios, where I do Art Direction, Concept Design and Previs.

3) What are your professional areas of expertise?
I mainly focus on Concept Design / Illustration, Art Direction, Modeling / Sculpting / Texturing, and Digimatte. As far as industries go, I have done Feature Film Animation, Feature Film VFX and Videogames.

4) What software and computer do you use?
My main piece of 3d software for my personal work is 3DStudio MAX by Autodesk, I also use Adobe Photoshop to paint, Vray for rendering, Mudbox for sculpting, FilterForge for Pattern Generation, Magic Bullet PhotoLooks for compositing, and ACDsee for image viewing.

Home Computer:

  • ???? - 1998: P100 with 64megs of RAM
  • 1998 - 2001: PII333 with 128 megs of RAM
  • 2001 - 2005: AMD 1800 with a Gig of RAM
  • 2005 - 2008: Dual Opteron 248 with 2 Gigs of RAM, nVidia Geforce 6800 Ultra Extreme 256MB
  • 2008 - 2011: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450, 8 Gigs of RAM, nVidia Geforce GTX 280 1GB
  • 2011 - 2016: Intel i7-950 3.06Ghz Quad-core, 24 Gigs of RAM, nVidia Geforce GTX 770 2GB
  • 2016 - ????: Intel i7-6700K 4.0 GHz Quad-core, 64 Gigs of RAM, nVidia Geforce GTX 1070 8GB
Home Laptop:
  • 2009 - 2014: Intel Pentium Dual-Core Mobile Processor T4400 2.2 GHz, 4 Gigs of RAM, 15.6" 1366x768
  • 2014 - 2017: Intel i7-3740QM 2.70 GHz Single-core, 16 Gigs of RAM, nVidia Quadro K3000M 2GB, 17.3" 1920x1080
  • 2017 - ????: Intel Core i5 2.4 GHz Surface Book, 8 Gigs of RAM, nVidia Geforce dGPU 1GB, 13.5" 3000x2000

5) What graphics card would you recommend? What computer should I buy?
I really don't know much about hardware, I just ask friends what they recommend and I buy it.

6) What school should I go to? / How did you learn?
I'm not well acquainted with digital art related schools, I am mostly self taught in the digital realm, although I went to art school for drawing / painting and design. My best school advice is go to a school that has a strong art concentration. Don't go to a school that only teaches you which buttons to press in software. Without a good grasp of basic artistic skills (color, composition, form, etc) no matter how skilled you are with the buttons, you'll probably have a hard time landing a good job. So focus on good art fundamentals.

7) Where can I get cracked versions of software? Can you help me use my cracked piece of software?
I buy all of the software I use. If you choose to illegally use the software instead of buying it, that's your decision, I am not going to play police, however, I can't help you pirate stuff. The people who wriite this software need to pay their rent, and I will support them in that cause.

8) Do you use instant messaging?
Afraid not, I only have limited time during the day and so have chosen not to use instant messaging software.

9) Why didn't you answer my email immediately?
I promise I will answer all email as promptly as I can, but due to high volumes, I cannot answer everything instantly, so I ask for your patience and understanding.

10) The images on your website are small, why don't you release larger ones?
I used to release larger images in the past, until some nasty people printed those images and started selling them without my permission and without any credit given to me as the original artist. I have also had my artwork appear mysteriously in magazines and on cd covers without my consent, so now I only release smaller images so they don't look good when printed.

11) Can you send me the max file for your artwork?
Giving someone one of my original max files means I no longer have control over it's use, distribution, and it's the only concrete proof of ownership. So I'm afraid the answer is no. However, I have been known to give materials and pieces of max files away in the CG Education section. And I'm willing to answer specific questions via email.

12) Can I use a piece of artwork that already exists on your website for our band's album cover? Can you make me some free artwork?
Sorry, but no. The ability to make artwork is a skill that should be valued, just like any other skill. And hard work and time devoted to making artwork for someone else's project should be rewarded with some sort of monetary compensation. I'd be happy to discuss my rates if you have a small project that needs some art.

13) Can I include some of your images on my online art gallery, as part of an article?
Sure, I'd appreciate it! All I ask is my name is with them, a link to my site, and send me some email when they're online so I can make sure they're represented properly. Thanks.

14) Who are some of your influences?
While I've been inspired by so many people, places, and things in my life, this list is just the people and projects that have had a direct traceable influence on my artistic style. I've also limited it to visual influences, for example, music has also been highly influential in my work, but is not included in this list. Early influences are thing that influenced me before I started professional work. Please check them out, hopefully they can be inspiring to you too.

Early Influences (1976-1997):

Projects:

  • Comics: Blade Of The Immortal, Brass, Cyberforce, Darkness, Pitt, Spawn, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Weapon Zero, Wetworks, Witchblade
  • Film: 2001, 5th Element, Alien, Clash Of The Titans, Dune, Forbidden Planet, Predator, Robocop, Star Wars, Starship Troopers, Terminator, The Dark Crystal, The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad, Transformers
  • Film Short: Seafari
  • Games: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG
  • TV: Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, Mazinger Z / Grendizer, Space 1999, Star Trek, Transformers
  • Videogames: Doom, E-Swat, Phantasy Star, R-Type, Space Gun, Strider, Truxton

Artists:
  • Alan Lee, Brian Froud (The Dark Crystal), Chris Warner (Darkhorse's Aliens, Predator, Terminator), Dale Keown (Pitt), Dan SeaGrave, Dave McKean, Eric Talbot (TMNT), Go Nagi (Mazinger Z / Grendizer), H.R. Giger, Heidi Taillefer, Hiroaki Samura (Blade Of The Immortal), Jim Lawson (TMNT), Jim Lee, JMW Turner, Joe Benitez (Weapon Zero), Kevin Eastman (TMNT), Luis Royo, Marc Silvestri (Cyberforce, Darkness), Meats Meier, Michael Turner (Witchblade), Pascal Blanche, Paul Klee, Peter Laird (TMNT), Phil Tippett, Ralph McQuarrie, Ray Harryhausen (Golden Voyage Of Sinbad, Clash Of The Titans), Renate Heidersdorf, Rob Liefeld, Sam Keith, Stephan Platt, Syd Mead, Timur Baysal, Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Whilce Portacio (Wetworks)

Contemporary Influences (1998-present):

Projects:

  • Art Books: Exodyssey, Robota by Doug Chaing, Star Wars Ep 1-3 Art Books, World by Alec Gillis, World War Robot
  • Dimensional: Five Star Stories, Hyperweapon, Maschinen Krieger, Sideshow Weta, ThreeA (World War Robot, Evenfall, Adventure Kartel, Popbot)
  • Film: Avatar, District 9, Lord Of The Rings, Matrix Trilogy, Pacific Rim, Riddick Trilogy, Wall-e
  • Film Short: Keloid
  • Software: Brazil RS, Darktree, Filterforge, Groboto
  • TV: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Samurai Jack, All Is Full Of Love
  • Videogames: Destiny, Gears Of War, Gradius, Gratuitous Space Battles, Halo, Homeworld, Ikaruga, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Journey, Lost Planet, Mass Effect, Quake, Shadow Of The Colossus, Unreal Tournament
Artists:
  • Aaron Beck, Aaron Sims, Alexey Pyatov "KaranaK", Alex Kozhanov "Gutalin", Alex Roman, Andree Wallin, Ansel Hsiao "fractalsponge", Aris Kolokontes, Ashley Wood, Ben Mauro, Ben Proctor, Bill Cone (Pixar), Brian Sum (Halo), Bruno Gentile "Hydropix", Carlos Huante, Cedric Seaut "ced66", Chris Cunningham (All Is Full Of Love), Chris Foss, Christian Grajewski, Christian Pearce, Constantine Sekeris, Craig Mullins "Spooge Demon", Daniel Dociu, Darren Bacon, Darren Quach, David Levy "Vyle", De Gerardo, Dominic Qwek, Dorje Bellbrook (Destiny), Doug Chiang, Doug Williams "Dougbot", Dylan Cole, Erik Tiemens, Eyvind Earle, Fausto de Martini, Feng Zhu, Francis Tsai, Frederic Edwin Church (Hudson River School), Furio Tedeschi "FoOD", Geof Darrow, George Hull, Georgi Simeonov "Calader", Gerhard Mozsi, Greg Broadmore, Iain McCaig, Ian McQue, Jama Jurabaev, James Clyne, James Paick, Jaime Jones (Destiny), Jesse van Dijk (Destiny), John Harris, John J Park, John Wallin Liberto "Capt FlushGarden", Jon McCoy, Jordu Schell, Joseph Cross, Juan Gimenez, Kazutaka Miyatake (Macross), Kekai Kotaki, Kenneth Rocafort, Kow Yokoyama (Maschinen Krieger), Kurt Papstein "KPtoons", Levente Peterffy "SamsonsReaper", Lou Romano, Maciej Kuciara, Makoto Kobayashi (Hyperweapon), Mamoru Nagano (Five Star Stories), Mark Goerner, Martin Deschambault, Martin Johson Heade (Hudson River School), Mathias Verhasselt "M", Matt Allsopp, Maxim Revin, Michel Gagne, Mike Nash, Mikko Kinnunen, Neville Page, Nicolas Bouvier "Sparth", Nicolas Ferrand "Viag", Par Olofsson, Paul Chadeisson, Paul Lasaine, Paul Richards, Peter Gric, Philippe Bouchet "Manchu", Prog Wang, Raymond Swanland, Reza Ilyasa, Rob Cunningham (Homeworld), Robert Simons, Robert Stromberg, Robh Ruppel, Rodney Matthews, Ryan Church, Sam Brown, Scott Robertson, Sebastien Larroude "rainart", Shi Kai Wang (Halo), Simon Lee "Spiderzero", Stephan Martiniere, Stephen Zavala, Steve Burg, Steven Messing, Sung Choi (Destiny), Tanoo Choorat "rossonerixx", Thierry Doizon "BARoNTiERi", Thomas Pringle, Vitaly Bulgarov, Wayne Barlowe, Wayne Haag, Wes Benscoter, Xueguo Yang, Yanick Dusseault "Dusso", Zdzislaw Beksinski


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