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Vendor Spotlight: mrsparky

1) Please tell us a little something about yourself.
Based on the south coast of the UK, currently my main role is a mix of carer and working as a 3d artist and photographer.

I've got a wide variety of formal qualifitions in art, ceramics, photography, computing, even Martian geology! Plus I hold a degree in IT and Business Management. Though it's not all academic stuff, workwise everything from chicory shed cleaner, community graphic designer, shop keeper to over 25 years practical experience in computing and repairs.

I also frequently self learn as well, especially with 3D models and all the stuff that goes with it, such as UVmapping and texturing.

2) What software or tools do you use?
To make 3d stuff, Carrera 5, and an assortment of tools from UVMapper,Lith, EmbedGeom.
For rendering and creating 3d video the core applications are Poser (from 4 Pro Pack through to PP2012) and Vue de Esprit. I've also used Keyshot, Max, AC3d, Sculptris.

When making and editing images, Paintshop Pro 4 is the main beastie with a dash of Photoshop at times.
Along with open source and freeware software like IfranView and Gimp.

With video it's a mix of, flip, mini dv and HD camcorders edited mostly in pinnacle studio.

Photography is mostly shot with Sony SLR's with specialist tools such as JP2Video or Hugin to make timelapses, HDR and panoramics.

3) How did you get started making digital models?
Pure By chance. A friend introduced me to poser and one day I made an extra texture for John Hoagland's X-Wing model. We got talking and that eventually led to 3 of us starting Vanishing Point. Later I self-learned model making and started a personal 3d site.

4) What experiences influenced your models or products?
Inspiration for models can come from anywhere, anything from TV shows, cartoons, politics, retro stuff, kids toys, even observing the cats!

While I do undertake the occasional market research, usually the majority of work produced is what interests me and how I feel at the current time. Which can be anything from a machine to splat bankers to a highly detailed fully working sci-fi military vehicle.

Though some things such as including silly injokes, and subverting and reflecting popular and poser culture are constant trends.

5) What kind of challenges have you faced in your career?
Coming from a working class environment sometimes meant getting formal qualifications where a struggle rather than an accepted given. So sometimes things took longer. Being a carer also means lack of funding is commonplace. Which often forces an artist to be more creative in how something be achieved.

6) You've been involved in the digital artist community for a while now. Do you have any thoughts or opinions about how the community has changed?
Changes by the bigger sites, often in response to financial pressures, has led to a change in how independent artists are treated and seen. Which at times has lead to increased personal attacks on artists.

Another recession led cultural shift is the massive increase of artists who can't afford content, which leads to more need for free items. Which also shows the most positive aspect of the community hasn't changed greatly, despite the minority that demand everything for nothing, the majority of artist continue to work together.

7) What advice do you have for new merchants who want to improve their artwork?
Don't assume fame and fortune will be instant. It takes time and practice to create nice things.
Also don't be put off by the naysayers, these are just a vocal minority.

mrsparky helped found Vanishing Point in 2004 and has gone on to create two successful sites of his own: Sparkyworld and PoserDirect. (links open in a new window).

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