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Vendor Spotlight: Norbert Garaj

1) Please tell us a little something about yourself.
For example: where are you from, where do you live, do you have any formal education or are you self-taught, etc.

I am 41 year old hobby artist from Slovakia where I live with my wife and daughter and work as computer administrator.

I have always been art and fantasy/sci-fi fan. Unfortunately my drawing skills poor so when I looked at works of Luis Royo for example,

I sadly and enviously thought: "God, why can't I do something at least 10% as good as him". :)

It changed when I bought my first computer, I realized soon, that this is right way how to express my "artist inside". :)

I have no education in any kind of art, everything I know I learned by myself, staring at works of others, watching tutorials or simply with trial/error method. :)

2) What software or tools do you use?
My first steps into 3D world started sometimes in 1998-1999 when I discovered program called Teragen. It was simply and very easy to use terrain generator, but it was able produce very good looking landscapes and I enjoyed a lot of fun with it.

Because of lack of import feature, I started looking for another 3D apps and several months I spent with classic - Bryce 3D. Anyway user interface was very unusual for Windows application and I never got familiar with it. But then I found Vue d'Esprit (now it is called just Vue) and that was love at first sight :) I remember when I made my first image - small lonely island with single palm at sunset... What a great feeling. :)

3) How did you get started making digital models?
Some day I realized that browsing on internet and finding appropriate model for image I was working on is very time consuming and built own models could be better and probably faster way.

And as my images started receiving positive comments on some web galleries, I had feeling that I am not author of my images, I just assembly hard work of other people together.

I tried many modeling programs, free, commercial, simple, very complex and finally I ended with Cinema4D that covers all my needs in modeling, UV mapping and texturing. Of course I use more tools (Poser, Photoshop, Vue, Zbrush sometimes) but Cinema is my main modeling tool.

4) What experiences influenced your models or products? Where do you get your ideas for your products? Did you do any market analysis or did you make something that you thought people would enjoy?

Influences...well, as I said, I like scifi and fantasy movies and that is my ideas mostly come from. I don't like create models from real life objects. It is relatively difficult for me to create exact replica of existing object because human eye can recognize even smallest mistake / and when you look on the internet...everything is done :) That's why most of my models are pure imagination, because in fantasy, anything is possible. :)

Of course I look often at various web galleries or stores with 3d models for inspiration. And here I must mention my all time favourite artist who suddenly died these days. R.I.P. Mr. Giger.

I do not any special researches or market analysis. Like I said I am just freetime/hobby artist so I have advantage that I`m not limited by customer requests, deadlines etc. I'm just do what I like and when I like with hope that someone else will like it too. :)

5) What kind of challenges have you faced in your career?
Hard question. I always want that my new model should be better than previous one. My biggest challenge is never-ending conflict between what I want to do and what I am able to do. :).

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?
I play with graphics for almost 15 years, but I don't think that artist community has changed significantly (if we're talking about amateur / enthusiasts community, because I have no experiences with world of professionals). All over the world there are still friendly and helpful people who like art and with passion for new technologies. Big difference I see in technical possibilities as well. Computer power increased dramatically, we have new devices like tablets, there is plenty graphic tools for reasonable price or even for free so I think anyone can enter into magical world of digital art.

7) What advice do you have for new merchants who want to improve their artwork?
I'm not sure if I am right person for giving advices, I just can say what works for me. I look at images/models of successful artists and try make something similar, but with my own way and style. Then I look at my work and think: "Would I personally buy something like this?"

And first of all, I must enjoy making it.

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