Meet the Artist: Steven Stahlberg

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Old 04 April 2005   #61
S.s.

Hi mr.Steven...
Thank u for your availability on CgTalk! Thank u still for your work in Cg... All artists Can give a hand to all others, simply with an image submission, and u give us this kind of emotions a lot of time, and it's special...
Now...
I have 2-3 questions about your work...

1- How do u rig your models? Do u paint weights, in Maya, or u make all skeleton and singles muscles? Paintin'weights is not so simple if u want to give a real deformation with all moviments without influence objects... Tell us...

2- How do u work with clothes? How do u model them, and how do u animate them?

3- Are your eyelashes fur or what? They're wonderful

Thank u for all and sorry 4 my bad english...!


Francesco G. (Italy)
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Last edited by neofg : 04 April 2005 at 02:23 PM.
 
Old 04 April 2005   #62
First of all.....Stevie!! *Hugssss* I adore your arts.....You sit together with my idol, Boris Vallejo................there up there......so peaceful.

Quote: 2. I deal with stress from deadlines by not thinking too much about it, focusing on the road just under my feet and the next step, not on the big hill I have to climb... Also, I know my speed pretty well, so I will not agree to do anything now that I think I can't do.
I want to say this to everyone: it's a matter of our sanity and our health - the most important thing we have. Don't let a boss or client bully you into getting an ulcer and a nervous breakdown just because he's a moron and can't plan ahead. Cover your ass by putting in writing from the start that the timing is too tight, then do your best (without worrying, learn to be fatalistic about it). If you miss the deadline, you were right and you have it in writing. If you get fired, so be it, in some countries you can sue the boss or client for that though. If you make the deadline, well everyone's happy. But sometimes in these cases, it might be better for you if you didn't make the deadline, because otherwise there's a big chance the client or boss will make you go through the same thing again and again...


I couldnt agree more on the above, Steven...I had a lot of bad experiance working with impossible people doing impossible things.....but now with you saying that...i know that i wont be doing the wrong thing if i come across the same situation again.....

I have one question though, Mr. Stahlberg.

I have always dream to do an artwork that can change how the world goes....for the better. Arts that make people change the way they live....the way they build policies. Like an illustration showing a contrasting situation in the dying Sudan and some food-wasting festival in some countries at the same time at the same moment.....and do it so effectively....people will stop wasting their food and start turning serious head towards feeding this dying people in sudan......

The question is, Mr. Stahlberg.....Is it possible?...now? with what we have now?

Maybe its just me with my impossible dream....i just want to know what you would say.

Thank you Mr. Stahlberg and CGTalk for this opportunity......
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Old 04 April 2005   #63
Thankyou Mr. Stahlberg and cgtalk for the chance that we talk with you.

This is my first year working in the industry. Truely find out that what I need the most important in the industry is networking, talent is always as a backup. I am totally lack of social skills. Mainly because I am full of the shadow of chinese and HK life style. Alittle strange and quiet. Love playing video game soo much. I just don't know what should I do. Parents and ppl keep saying that i should go out more. But I have a huge barrier in emotion that I don't want to hang out with the ppl that I don't feel comfortable.

Everyday after work, I just don't want to see anymore XSI or photoshop interface. Do you ever have this experience? Although I understand that i should always keep up my own work and update my own demo. But it is just imposible.

Im happy with my job, I am happy with my pay check. But it is very depressing with my lifestyle. I feel something is missing. Maybe is the meaning of life. I can't find a definition on that.

I am not sure..... kinda lost here.
 
Old 04 April 2005   #64
Talking Appreciation of CG

Hello Mr. Stahlberg,

I must say that after coming to CGTalk a few ago, I have nothing but the most respect for your work and everything (I loved the giant woman concept). After I recently graduated from college with a degree in Computer Animation (I am only 21, and self taught in 3D modeling and animation at age 11), I still have the love of computer graphics and want to keep learning. On the side, I am also a screenwriter and novelist trying to make my first CG short. And like you, photorealism is not a goal for me.

My question is do you believe Computer Graphics will be fully appreciated amongst the generated public as a legitimate art form? After watching alot of CG films, like Finding Nemo (which Pixar is a source of my inspiration) I feel that some people of the general public do not appreciate it enough yet.

And also do you have any advice for young indy filmmakers like myself using CG as a medium? But also to have a localised CG business?

Thanks for your time, and you ROCK!!
 
Old 04 April 2005   #65
StephanD, I've been influenced by many many artists, some I don't even know the name of, and some who have deeply impressed me but who haven't influenced my work much because I simply consider them masters of a style I just can't do (Zorn would be a good example). But the most important ones that have actually influenced my own work, would be - not in this order -
Herge (his Tintin series)... because it's just so damn unique, decorative yet clear and precise
Moebius... not a fountain of creativity - a supernova. Plus an amazing draughtsman.
Miyazaki... a film-making genius, as well as a designer of the coolest characters and hardware and worlds anywhere
Roger Dean... unique style and design that transports you to a strange, magical, silent and totally beautiful universe
Frank Frazetta (pre-illness)... master of exaggerated anatomy, color and wild brushstrokes - I never saw anything with more energy and emotion
Many others I love: Wayne Barlowe, Adam Huges, Arthur Rackham, Sorayama, Rhodin and his wife, David (the painter), and all the others I mentioned earlier, and many others...

Nightwing, 1. for skin shading in 3d I've found that the most important aspect is Hue, and how the Hue changes across the surface (from the shadow to the light). Saturation is also important, but it comes second. Last is Value, which is automatically fairly okay by default.
More in my skin shading tutorial, and a greatly expanded version of it will appear in the D'Artiste 2 book I'm working on now, with Pascal Blanche and Fransisco Cortina.
2. I would use it for modelling, including morftargets, then bringing that back into Maya on the low-res cage, as a normal map, perhaps with a displacement map fading in from the edges (as explained in the Maya rendering forum, I don't remember the thread now but do a search on normal mapping there). And I'd also use it for textures of course. Detailed shaders, I guess you mean monster-skin or the like... yeah, sure, why not.

wumanrui, Pencil and charcoal is great, it's all you need if you want to draw, and not color. But - if you want to sketch in a public place, with a smaller more discreet notebook, then charcoal can be a bit messy. A few pencils, H HB and B and an eraser, can certainly be enough then.
Drawing should be fun, draw things you like, anything from real life, humans are the hardest so maybe start with something simpler. Carry a notebook with you all the time, for those sudden ideas, or when you see some weirdo you just have to draw... If you find you have trouble remembering to draw, make a decision to draw a certain amount of time every day, at the same time, so it becomes a habit - say half an hour in the morning, or evening. This is where a regular class can be helpful. It also helps to see other artists struggling with the same issues, and if you have a good teacher, even better.
Try different things, try really fast sketches, and more detailed ones.
Check out the VERY useful links in the "Art Theory Links" in the Art Discussion forum here. Especially read the Loomis books.


Admiral Ra: "when you were around my age (17) and growing up in the industry. How did you become what you are? Most people say practice, which i don't doubt, but, was there more?"
First of all, I didn't grow up in the industry. I wish... When I was 17 there was no industry, this was 1977, in a small town (or large village)... I was a pimply nerd sitting in my bedroom drawing awful derivative comics with really stupid dialogue. I applied to an art school at 18, and didn't get in, that's how bad I was. So I practised... and at 26 I finally made it into the best art school in Sweden. Then, of course, more practise - that's what school is after all. But I didn't get into cg until I was around 34. Again, my first efforts were awful, as you can see on my website > tutorials > evolution. But again, practise practise. And here I am, 11 years later. Sorry to say it, but - no, there's not much more than practise to it.
Although I probably had a tiny little advantage: my mother, and her father before her, were both quite artistically inclined at an early age, as was I, which seems to indicate I probably inherited something from them. Still, it's not so much what you have but what you do with it.

neofg, 1. I don't paint weights. I hate that, it's so tedious and so easily ruined, then you have to redo it. I don't use muscle systems either, not yet, and no Wrap deformer anymore. Instead I just use Blendshapes to control all joint deformations of the body. Blendshapes controlled by the joint rotation, applied to the Smooth Proxy.
2. I model tight clothes. Easiest way is to copy the body, cut it up and expand it a bit, then use it as a base to model from (deleting and adding edges, moving vertices). As for looser clothing, well I try to avoid that, haven't had time to mess too much with Syflex.
3- Are your eyelashes fur or what? They're wonderful
thanks, they're a mix of simple polygon cylinders (single strands), and bigger wider shapes that represent several strands (transparency mapped). None of them attached in any way to the lid, just made to follow by paying attention to the respective Blendshapes. This method gives richness and variety and control, is lighter than all polygon cylinders, and still casts some shadows.

maranello55: "Is it possible?...now? with what we have now?"
Maybe, but being an old cynical man I suspect not... But you should definitely try, don't listen to me, your energy may help someone even if you never know it.
 
Old 04 April 2005   #66
Hi, Steve

I'm a 17-year student from Oulu, Finland and I'm heading for some kind of an art career and studies (graphic design, advertisement). I find it really hard to arrange time for improving my painting/drawing skills. School and hobbies take so much time .

These are actually the same questions I asked from Linda Bergkvist in the previous thread, but I think these are the main things (besides the painting technique of an artist, which you've already explained well ) which I'm concerned right now.

1) When did you start to paint "seriously" and how did you find time for it then?

You know, art/painting isn't something you just can arrange time, like "I have 50 minutes between this and this, I could practise then". Art (at least for me) is something you just should have a LOT of time for. Some people already asked about combining your work and family life, but I would like to get a student's viewpoint (if you remember when you were about 17)

2) Could you recommend some book/author regarding human anatomy?

I would especially want to learn about drawing faces and hands. Also, proportions/perspective is something I quite don't handle yet. Your own tips are also OK if you prefer .

Hälsningar från Finland
and keep up the good work

PS. Wow, these threads are so great, especially how the artists answer to everyone so carefully.

EDIT: I just saw your latest answers and you basically answered the first question. You also mentioned Loomis and the Art Theory thread here on CGTalk (just like Linda). Any other books/authors you could recommend?
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Last edited by jtuulos : 04 April 2005 at 05:56 PM.
 
Old 04 April 2005   #67
Mr. Stahlberg,
Andy H asked a question along these lines... and I'd like it answered more thoroughly.

Respectfully,
How do you defend your work as ART against critics who might take a passing look and dismiss it as titillation, derivative, flashy, hollow, formal, stale, et cetera?

Kind of a tough question, I know. I wouldnt relish the thought of answering it myself and it's more than okay if you can't to sink a bunch of hours on one guy's post.
However, I've been very curious lately about CG's place in the larger art community... and about how people like you, the greatest practitioners of our time, will go down in art history.

-henning
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Last edited by HenningK : 04 April 2005 at 12:35 AM. Reason: too long
 
Old 04 April 2005   #68
Hi Steven,

I sometimes agree on your points and others I don't, but I always enjoy the firey passionate tone when you address your point in the art forum.

I have two questions about your work:
  1. Your concept seems to be well established (designed) at an early stage, and the final work is finely tuned in every aspect of the painting or the rendering. In many ways, I compare your work to a building designed with a clear form and function. While painting usually is very forgiving to the 'accidental' and unintended effects along the way, do you tolerate such accidents in your work, or you are strict about getting the intended effect, regardless of what it takes?
  2. This industry is attracting a lot of young guns for whom their career will be shaped by the achievements of artists like you, leading edge if you will. How do you see yourself taking a leap into the next level where not many have been before? i.e your future objectives.
Thanks for the opportunity of one-on-one Q&A, and wish you the best,

ashakarc
a.k.a. Ali Shakarchi
 
Old 04 April 2005   #69
HapZungLam, many people feel like you do, kind of anti-social, more comfortable alone or with closest family... including me. I think a lot of artists are like that. I don't think there's anything wrong with us. I think we're just different. I'm a lone wolf, quite content to spend weeks just talking to myself (or I was; now I'd miss my family).
It's not that I dislike people, I don't, I like almost everyone I meet. But in a social situation, with strangers, I just have a tendency to either be too quiet, or blabber on, which of course embarrases me. I don't know, maybe I'm too sensitive as well.
That's another thing that causes a lot of stress for many artists, being too sensitive. A walking bundle of exposed nerves. I've learned to hide my feelings, I had to, you know how cruel kids can be. I did it so well the kids used to call me 'Stone Face' - but of course it doesn't make the feelings go away. You just have to realize that you're different, not screwed up, and look at it as an advantage instead of a liability. Which it is, on the whole, once you're an adult. Today, most of my ultra-cool bully class-mates are nobodies with dead-end jobs, some are even alcoholics. (I recently met them, it was really sad.)
Don't let it get you depressed. Networking is not THAT important, trust your feelings and don't feel guilty.

HaloAnimator (thanks): Yes, I'm sure CG will be seen as a legitimate artform by everyone one day, definitely. It has to. Of course it could take quite a few years.
Advice for indy filmmakers who use CG? Hard, a field I don't know much about. Okay, some ideas - but you probably thought of this yourself already... if budget is a huge concern, try open source software. CGTalk has forums for most softwares. It also has a forum for indy projects.

jtuulos, 1. I started drawing 'seriously' probably when I was 3. Remember how I said I'm a loner... I have AD/HD, under control now but not so much when I was a kid. Also, we moved around a few times, which doesn't promote socialising for children. After school, I used to spend all my time indoors, either reading, building plastic models, or drawing. Well, at least before puberty. After that, I tried to get out a bit more, if only to meet girls. But I still drew and painted all the time, I kind of "knew" that I was destined to be an artist. Hard to explain...
2. Anatomy is very hard to learn from a book. I never managed to learn the name of every muscle, no matter how good the book was. And those drawings, rarely as accurate as the real thing. Best is study from real life. Bodybuilder's magazines are great for this. You want to know what the body looks like with the skin still on...
Still, if you really feel like you want a book, check these out, I don't actually own any of
them but many look promising. The first one there, for instance, after reading the table of contents, seems very thorough. The cover also is promising, using a photo with a drawing on top, instead of a plain drawing.
http://store.doverpublications.com/...or-artists.html
Another link, again the top one seems very promising:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/s...8563942-8808736
About some tips on drawing hands, I have some on my site, tutorials section

HenningK, I'm not sure I entirely disagree with critics who might say that... so it's kind of hard to defend it. I'm working towards moving away from all that, perhaps not entirely successfully, perhaps I'll never be, but hope springs eternal. Still, I could defend it this way: At least it's 100% honest and true to myself.

ashakarc, cool, thanks, 1. It depends. 99% of the time I'm very strict as you say, but accidents will happen and I always stop a moment to consider - is this helpful or not? Sometimes - rarely - it is, and then I keep it. There's also the matter of shortcuts... perhaps I planned to have 10 buildings in the background. But it's a lot of work, it's taking too long, and I notice that it looks just as good with 7. Like that.
2. Future objectives, hm, tricky... I'd like to direct my own short to start with. But I'd have to win the lottery, or software has to be a lot more powerful, to be able to do that. I'd also like to be able to render more painterly in the future, or at least less 'computery' and photoreal, but as we know there are many technical issues to be resolved. It makes it hard to make longterm plans regarding artistic goals. Plus, I mean, I'm just a guy trying to do cool stuff, really.
 
Old 04 April 2005   #70
Think someone mentioned wanting to see early work, they probably meant 3d but here's the earliest 2d work I could find - 1979. I was 19. Note the general crappiness... it started out in oil, but at the end I was using ballpoint pen and correction fluid! The clouds are ok, because I had reference for them.


 
Old 04 April 2005   #71
Hey Stahlberg. I'm a bit late on this one, but hopefully my questions haven't been asked yet.

For starters, do you find that you still learn a lot from CGTalk? For me, its been one of the greatest resources in learning CG. I learn a lot just by helping other people here and following along with WIPs. And seeing other people's work certainly serves as a major source of inspiration. But it seems that there would be a certain point where you wouldn't learn a whole lot more from a community like this. There's always more for all of us to learn (a LOT more) of course. But would you say that you keep hanging around here more to learn more about CG, or for something else perhaps?

Quote: apZungLam, many people feel like you do, kind of anti-social, more comfortable alone or with closest family... including me. I think a lot of artists are like that. I don't think there's anything wrong with us. I think we're just different. I'm a lone wolf, quite content to spend weeks just talking to myself (or I was; now I'd miss my family).
It's not that I dislike people, I don't, I like almost everyone I meet. But in a social situation, with strangers, I just have a tendency to either be too quiet, or blabber on, which of course embarrases me. I don't know, maybe I'm too sensitive as well.
That's another thing that causes a lot of stress for many artists, being too sensitive. A walking bundle of exposed nerves. I've learned to hide my feelings, I had to, you know how cruel kids can be. I did it so well the kids used to call me 'Stone Face' - but of course it doesn't make the feelings go away. You just have to realize that you're different, not screwed up, and look at it as an advantage instead of a liability. Which it is, on the whole, once you're an adult. Today, most of my ultra-cool bully class-mates are nobodies with dead-end jobs, some are even alcoholics. (I recently met them, it was really sad.)
Don't let it get you depressed. Networking is not THAT important, trust your feelings and don't feel guilty.

I think this really gets at a good point. When you browse through all of the threads around here where the 'pros' give tips to the new guys looking to break into the industry, one of the most common things you hear (second only to pure skill) is people talking about the importance of networking in this industry.
Though I've never let the thought hold me back from pursuing the career I want, it's one of those things that has always kinda been at the back of my minding, worrying me a bit. I'm an extremely shy and quiet person (the most timid person you'll ever meet, many people would say). I wasn't bullied as I was growing up or anything, it's just the way I've always been. People can change a lot of things about themselves, but I've come to believe that this is just one of those things that's always going to stick with me. It's not completely debilitating; give me a couple months with someone, and I'll open up. But it certainly worries me as far as getting contacts and whatnot in the industry goes.
You suggest, though, that "networking is not THAT important." So I'm curious, is that just the way that its managed to work out for you, or do you have an experiences that really show this as the truth for the industry? Would you say that for a more competitive location for CG (the San Francisco bay area, perhaps?) this great emphasis on "networking" is being over-exaggerated?

Lastly, we all know how well-informed the average joe is on the way that CG works. Half the population thinks there's a magic "make real" button on computers, and that computers can really do virtually all of the work by themselves, so it's really like us CG artists just play games all day. Do you encounter people expressing these views very often, and if so what's your usual reaction? Can you just shrug it off, or do you feel the need to 'educate' them? I always find it to be quite frustrating, since I know all too well how much work really goes into a well-developed piece of CG art.
 
Old 04 April 2005   #72
Hi Steven,it's great to have u here..i remember seeing your work 5 years ago..i think it was 3d cafe..i was blown away by your artwork and had to try 3d myself..i found out that 3d isn't really for me though..lol..well may be in the future

i'm with apZungLam and Vormav about the networking issue and the importance of knowing people in the field..i'm also very quite type except that i'm not even in the field yet but would like to get into it someday
i'm the only one in my family that is into art and none of my friends are into art..but i'm starting to wonder how i'm gonna ever get a job someday doing art (illustration specificly) when i just have zero connections..i'm wondering if u have some advice on how to make that first step


i also have another question about school..i took few basic classes before like drawing and design and they helped me a lot and i'm planning to continue my art education..last year i applied at ringling school because i know it's an exellent school and it will also help me to know people in the field and stuff..i got acepted but i changed my mind at the last moment and went back to community college..i just felt it was too expensive and i was doing a big mistake..at the end they will only instruct me and i'll still do all the work to improve myself..
i was wondering what's your advice on getting good traditional art education..besides teaching myself,reading books and practice of course..do u think expensive schools really worth it or a public art school is a better choice..or is there are any other options u can suggest

thnx for your time Steven, i apreciate it and wish u the best in your future
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Old 04 April 2005   #73
Thank u for your answers...Very thank u!

Now I must find a tutorial for how assign blendshapes to joints modifications...

Good art Steven!
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...... O L D F U T U R E d i g i t a l ......
 
Old 04 April 2005   #74
Hi, just wondering where in Adelaide you studied? At one of the Universities?
 
Old 04 April 2005   #75
Hi Steven, I have a couple of questions. Your work is quite awe inspiring, having just recently come across it since joining this forum. I've always been exceptionally fond of painters who use little reference, using only their imagination. How much do you experiment in the process of an image? A lot of what you do will come through years of practice and hard slogging, I understand, and though I'm still young (only 26), and my art has come on so much over even the past year, I wonder do you still learn from every painting you do, still discover things as you paint?

Your skills with colour and light are stunning considering you use no reference. Was this just learned through trial and error? Are there any sources (such as books, article, other artists) that helped you understand colour better that you could pass on to a novice?

And one final question. I currently work as a graphic designer, but I really would love to get into a more artistic (in the traditional drawing sense) job. I'm working towards putting a portfolio togther, and I'd like ask your opinion of whether developing a style is important, or whether it would be better to try and encompass many different styles. I've always loved trying loads of different media and styles, but I feel like I'm not developing something I could call MY art style, if that makes any sense, because I'm trying to broaden my horizons artistically.

And I'd just like to say thanks for giving some of your time to help us out. Being the obviously busy man you are, it's a great gesture that shows you sincerely care about your trade.
 
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