3D Ark Interview – Dec 17th 1997

Could you say hi to the folks and tell them a little bit about yourself:

Hello, my name is Neil Blevins. I don't have a job in the CG field yet, but I hope to once I finish school.

Can you tell me a little bit about your background and what influenced you into getting into 3D in the first place?:

Well, I've always been a SciFi fan. I was drawing highly detailed Star Wars "Snow Walkers" since I was 4 years old. Star Trek, Star Wars, and all that. I've been drawing and painting my own creations for most of my life, and happened on computer graphics by playing around with POV-Ray. I discovered that I could express with the computer all the ideas I had in a very realistic manner (much more realistic than with my drawings), so I was hooked.

What would you say some of your artistic strong points are? (modeling, texturing, animating, composition, lighting, etc.)

I haven't had much experience with animating yet, which is something I'm working on now. If I had to pick one strength, I'd have to say it would be a tie between concept (the original design of the scene) and lighting / texturing.

Where do you see yourself heading with your art and your abilities? (ie. where would you like to be in 5 years or so, etc.)

I'd like to work in several studios making special effects and characters for films and video games, then a bit later on in my career I'd like to make a go at selling my freelance talents, as well as selling my art in the form of posters, books etc.

Can you talk a little bit about your work that's being showcased in the Artist's Spotlite? (Tools used to create it. What you had in mind when you were working on it? Things other might be interested to note about the work? Etc.)

Factory was an image I made whose sole purpose was to be a modeling nightmare. I really like highly detailed work, stuff where you can stare at it for hours and still not see every detail. I used just about every free plugin I could find, strong volumetric lighting, and a very soft RLF lense flare. But mainly it was a lot of modeling and texturing.

Nightmare II was an experiment to test out a new version of RealLensFlares. It's also the second in a series of Nightmare images I'm working on. I spent a lot of time tweaking the atmosphere of the image, which is volumetric fog with opacity and color maps. These images are based on a set of nightmares I had as a kid.

Are there any reoccuring themes in your work?

Big, scary, nasty monsters. When my life becomes happier I'll start rendering big, happy, fluffy bunnies.

Do you work outside of the digital medium as well?

Yes, I draw and paint. I really couldn't make a living off of that stuff though, but it's still fun. I'm also a musician, which is also just a hobby. You won't see me on tour anytime soon.

Do you have any particular artistic goals you'd like to share?

Lots of detail, lots of mood and atmosphere.

Any interesting "art" stories to tell? (One day your teacher said... blah blah, or an apple fell on your head or whatever)

I can't think of anything off hand, except I'm going to a university where a plate of puke or a blank canvas can be considered art. I've been there for a year and a half now, and they still haven't converted me, but I'm having tons of fun.

Any claims to fame? (Meeting important people, winning awards, etc.)

My shoe size is 11, I listen to really fast and brutal music, and I can recite the script to just about every Simpsons episode there is.

What would your advice be to folks just starting out in 3D? (Any tips or pointers?)

Lots of practice, have a firm vision in your head of what you want to do, and do it. Try and get as much of what's in your head into your image, compromise as little as possible. Go see lots of films, and study how they do things. Life drawing and other basic traditional drawings skills will help, but don't feel depressed if you have no formal art training. I haven't had any until very recently, I was a Computer Science major.

What would you do with 1 million dollars? (Silly question, I know...)

Lets see, a new computer, a really nice guitar (Ibanez) and amp (Marshall), then I'd invest the rest in a reasonable house with a kick ass art studio in the basement.

Thanks for your time Neil!

No problem. Hope you don't mind some of the silly answers, it wouldn't be a real Neil interview without them.