3D Source Interview – Dec 22nd 1998

Please you introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Neil Blevins, I am 22 years old, and I am current a student at Concordia University in Montreal, studying Design Art.

How did you started being a 3d designer?

I started back in '94 with Pov-Ray, after a lifetime of drawing and painting, and other forms of traditional media. I started using 3dstudio and max a few years later, and have been hooked ever since.

How did you became interested in 3d design?

It was just a natural extension of what I wanted to do. I wanted to make very detailed monsters and scenes, and 3d graphics let me do that easier, faster, and with better results than with any other medium.

Lets talk about some of your work..

Lets start with "Nightmare2".

Where did you get the idea to create this scene?

Reoccurring Nightmares I had as a child. Originally there was Nightmare 1, and then I had an idea for a similar image, so I decided to turn it into a series.

What methods did you use to model this scene?

The main body is just a set of cylinders which have been bent using bend modifier. The top of the mouth was made by booleaning spheres together and then applying a relax modifier.

Did you use any plugins? Were they helpful?

I used RealLensFlares, which you can see quite prominently in the scene. I find RLF a very useful tool, because it adds those little extra touches of realism and life to an image. A little bit of flash, although I also use it subtly, so the flare or glow doesn't become the subject of the piece.

Can you tell me the steps you took to model the stone hedges?

Those are some more spheres booleaned together. The rock is just a texture I made using some nice rock bump and texture maps I made in Photoshop.

Lets talk about "Ancient EVIL" now.

Where did you get the idea for this scene?

The inspiration for this image started from "The Odyssey", a made-for-TV movie that had lots of cool monsters. One was the hydra, which is a multiple headed snake of myth. When I saw the hydra, I thought it was cool how all the teeth were growing this way and that, they weren't all lined up.

What plugins did you use to model the scene?

I used metareyes for the main organic part of the head. I also used Digital Forest Max to quickly make the trees in the foreground.

How did you make the waterfall in the background? Did you use a plugin?

I used outburst for the water behind the head, since I was testing a new particle trail function. It made really nice sheets of water I think.

How did you model this scene?

The head took the most time, with lots of metaball manipulation. Then I just kept adding elements until it looked just right.

How did you map the creature? How did you create the maps, what program?

The maps were created in photoshop, and mixed using a mix material.

How much lights did you use? And how did you get the realistic look?

One main light from the front with raytraced shadows, and a few fill lights from the top and bottom to add some extra color. As for how I got it realistic, that's an impossible to answer question, I just kept tweaking the scene until I was happy with it, and that's how it turned out. It's all about observation and constant improvements to the scene.

How about "ECLIPSE"

Where did you get the idea, for the eclipse?

During a Babylon 5 episode ("Falling Towards Apotheosis"), I was watching this wonderful segment with a giant ship eclipsing a sun. Since I had just recently bought a new lens flare package (RealLensFlare), I thought something similar might be a good test of the program's abilities.

How did you do the long model?

It's just a variation on a cylinder, with a bend modifier. The windows are a simple self illuminated material. 

How much did it take you to render the scene?  The little parts in the background there is so much of them.

It didn't take all that long, there are lots of ships, but each ship is just a copy of each other (I did this using particle cloud). The scene probably only takes about 15 minutes to render on my P100. 

How did you create the light in the back ? (THE ECLIPSE)

Using RLF. This was one of the few scenes where the focus is the lenseflare itself.

Did you use Genesis? What plugins did you use?

No, I have never used Genesis. Really the only plugin I used was RLF, and particle cloud to copy the ship into a whole fleet of ships.

What environment atmosphere did you use?

None.

What are your plans for the future?

Working in California for a few years in the studios, and eventually going freelance full-time doing CD covers, books, posters, etc of my own evil beasts.

Thanks for the interview Neil. Lukas