Meet the Artist: Meats Meier

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  09 September 2005
Hi Meats.
Just to say that you have an unique style and this is what I value more in an artist. Your work transcends to the CG and raisin to the Fine Arts category.
It´s easy if you try
  09 September 2005

hi meats
saying hi to one of my favourite artists! cool art u got there!
  09 September 2005
Hi there Meats,

I'd only like to congratulate you on the huge success you've had recently! Very well deserved! Keep up the awesome work, all thumbs up, all the best!
- Lukáš Duběda | ADVERTS s.r.o. | duber's blog
  09 September 2005
Hello Meats, big fan so here goes.

1) Since you are so talented in utilizing Zbrush my question is, how much of an influence do you think Zbrush has had on your(and every other studios) work flow. I mean considering that it isn't that old of an app, what do you think are the most positive things Zbrush has to offer in pipeline?

2) What is your favorite app and why?

3) Who are some artists you look up to or use for inspiration if any?

Thanks, keep up the great work!
"Back off Warchild he's with me"- Broady
  09 September 2005
Wow, thanks for all the questions already, it's a nice thing to wake up to!
Thanks again to Leigh for setting everything up.

Here we go:


Hi Jim! First of all congratulations on everything you have achieved.

Thanks very much. The guy called "Jim" actually died in Salt Lake. Meats took his place when he moved to California. I'm actually in negotiations
(with my wife) to have my name legaly changed to Meats. I like the fact that it is a bit more memorable and a lot more unique.

- Was Cg something you have always wanted to do? How did you get into the field?

I started out as an airbrush artist. I was fairly known for that in Salt Lake City. I used to design CD covers and flyers for bands, you know that whole deal. I was lucky enough to get on the radar of a guy that was starting a video game company - Beyond Games. I worked with him as his main and only artist for a bit and he introduced me to Strata Studio Pro and then quickly talked him into an SGI and a license for Wavefronts Advanced Visualiser package. It was all 3d for me from then on.

- You have quite a distinguished style. Is this something you consciously tried to develop, or was it a natural progression?

It was a bit of both, I think. I've always had an obsession for describing forms using smaller forms and trying to get a lot of detail into my images, so it pretty much started there. I think my first 3d wire style image was put up onto in 2000. I got some really good feedback from the first few images, so I just pretty much went with it. I love the fact that people can recognize my work without seeing a signature. It's a great feeling to know that I have a style that can seperate me a bit from other 3d artists.

- Are there any major plans for after Gnomon or any dreams yet to be realised?

My main plan is and always will be to create a full CG feature completely on my own. I'm sure that it's at least 5 years away before I even start. Even so, I'm always trying to learn new things in order to reach that goal. I've got a long way to go for sure.
Currently there are exciting things happening for me at Gnomon and I don't plan on leaving anytime soon. It's one of the most creative environments I've ever experienced, and the people and artists here are just plain amazing.


- I was curious as to where this unique modeling style comes from?

It really just comes down to having a desire to let my creativity flow and to build a little on technique each time I sit down to create. It isn't an easy thing to be unique in the 3d world, I'm always hopeing to do something a little different than the guy before me.


That work is really awsome! What is your inspiration for pushing the envelopes?

A lot of my inspiration comes from just seeing some of the tests that I experiment with. Once I watch them play back over and over, ideas or ways to improve on ideas usually come to me. Mostly I just love what I do and never seem to run out of enthusiasm for it. Just trying to push todays current software always seems to lead me down some fun roads.

Do you ever have enough time to work on art work/ projects either for your own project or commisioned work?

Now that I am at Gnomon, I have as much time as I want for my own personal artwork. It just comes down to deciding whether or not I want to eat that week . My job now really is just to make DVDs showing my working methods, so everything that I do is is my own decision for style, etc. I get to make art all day as long..somebody pinch me!
I also do a fair amount of commisioned work, but I only take projects that are either high profile or something really challenging to me.


Do you consider yourself an artist with a traditional art background, and do you think it's necessary in the field of CG?

That always is a touchy question with some people, but I say that a traditional art knowledge base is very important to the success of a 3d artist or illustrator. All of the same rules apply for composistion, layout, colors, etc. I always say it's good to know the rules of art so that you can break them easier.

Another: Most CG art gets frowned upon by the traditional art community. What do you think is the way to gain some recognition and respect?

I believe 3d art will be the next big art movement. It will only take one or two break out artists to get the medias attention. They are always looking for the next new story. It's only a matter of time. The biggest problem is the digital factor, where people believe that a piece isn't as special when they aren't the only one that can possess a unique piece. I think that it will come down to mixed media, where it is apparent that each image was handled in some way and spent some time in the artists hands.

Your first name is Meats, what's the best chat-up line you've managed to come up with?

Lol! I've gone through the whole lot of them, everything from penis jokes to being a vegetarian, etc. My wife frowns on me hitting on the ladies, so I've had to retire most of them. I do find that it does help to have people remember me and my name, it just sticks out a bit and can create a conversation all on it's own.


How did you come up with the Maya 7 cover art? Did you have many other designs before the final?

I started out with 12 seperate main concepts for the design. After a few weeks Paula Suitor and Louis Fishhaulf (from Alias) settled on one concept - the fiber optic character and brain. I did about two weeks of different concepts along that path until we came to an agreement and I finished the design about two weeks later. I actually did all of the cover art when I was in Copenhagen and traveling around europe with my laptop and wacom pen.


- your still pictures are amazing, can you transfert all this to animations as you wish ? Ok we have displacement ... maps but you use a lot of 2.5d features in zbrush (like eraser brush etc...) can you transfert it as you wish to an animation package such as maya ?

It kind of depends. If I am using Maya for my art, then that is of course easy (the Maya 7 image is fully rigged and animateable. Using Zbrush it's a bit different. Part of the reason I like to create in Zbrush is because it takes away most technical limitations. I can fill the canvas with many millions of polygons and it will never slow down. The down side is that it is more or less a 2d image with depth, so it is hard to transfer that to an animation program. If I did want to animate one of my Zbrush characters, I would need to take the original geometry, make displacement maps, and re-assemble in Maya and rig. It can be done, but would take me a bit of time. Also knowing that it was to be animated, I could plan for that from the start and it would be a fairly painless process.


Thanks for everyones compliments, it means a lot to me! I will be back to answer more once I get a bit of work done at the office
Meats Meier

Portfolio :
  09 September 2005
Hi Meats, you missed my question in the middle of page 1. Not sure if you just missed it, or you didn't have time to answer, or I suppose last possibility, you didn't want to answer it for some reason?
  09 September 2005
multi-pass render work flow

hi Meats,

I had the privledge of seeing your demo at the San Francisco Zbrush user group. It was amazing to see you knock out that lush biomech creature/city in less then an hour. You rendered out several passes for further manipulation in photoshop. If you could recap your rendering workflow, that would be sweet. Thanks so much for sharing your inovative technichs.

sincerly, Greg
  09 September 2005

Sorry Greg, I did accidentaly skip over it

The first post that described you said you have worked in the gaming industry. What do you think is the best way for a student to break into this area?

Yes, I did 6 years as a modeler, level designer, a lead artist, and even worked with the programmers in creating the game engine. I had a great time doing games, I bet it's even better now that they give you more than 100 polygons for a character
The best way to break in will always be to create some models or animations that impresses the guy who will hire you and convince them that having you on their team will mean that their game gets done on time or will have great graphics. Also meeting the right people is a major way to get in, check out your local user group meetings for your favorite software, or even better Siggraph.
Meats Meier

Portfolio :
  09 September 2005
Hello there Meats!

Your work is just amazing! Hope you can answer my questions.

Q 1) Why do you do the kind of art work you do?
Q 2) What kind of art do you see yourself doing 5 years from now?
ThinkingMedia is a Visual Effects Studio in Toronto.
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  09 September 2005
Hey there, just want to say extremely unique art you make, a true artist

one question, does it scare you when you wake up and check out cgtalk and find out you have hundreds of questions to answer? I have always wondered about this about everyone we have had on meet the artist
My current projects on cgtalk:

My recently finished short, and a poster for it, hurray
My first real attempt at texturing

Work in Progress:
My office bloke
  09 September 2005
Hello Meats!

very original and inspiring work! I went through your galleries in your website and I can tell many of your digital creations are influenced by sculpture. So...

- Have you ever done any real sculpture?

- Have you ever thought, to remake any of your digital models into real objects?

- How do you feel that what you create doesnt have a physical existance?

I was thinking about that, after I finished an 8 months project. After so much time and effort, all I have is a video file in various digital formats, all dependant on a computer, with all shorts of compatibility issues. Nothing to touch with my hands, nothing to see without a monitor.

anyway... thanks in advanced for your time.
  09 September 2005
Meats, you are a great inspiration to me. I just found out who you were about a year ago and now I am hooked to you artwork. I have a few questions though:

Meats, do you write your oun software to do some of those extremely detailed models??

What traditional Artists inspire you to do your work?

Just out of curiosity ,How old are you? because, I am only 21 and am kind of worried about how I will do in this industry! I don't know where I stand amongst the elite and great artists and digital artists around the world! I am looking to become dynamite and am wanting to one of the great digital artists for the next generation to come!
steampunk legend
secret agent

Last edited by beelow : 09 September 2005 at 06:44 PM.
  09 September 2005
Hi !

Hi !!

Your artwork is awesome!!

I just had to ask something, you’re the reason I am into digital art !

Anyway, I thought of something that would be really nice to know !!

How do you make up the complex images that you have created in Maya? (Your wire style creations?)

I know that in zbrush you use texture maps and morph targets, but in Maya, the workflow to produce those images must be quite different? I am guessing splines are involved a little maybe?

If you can answer, thank you and keep up with your awesome work!
  09 September 2005

Meats, I was working in LA as a student volunteer. I wasn't able to make it to your presentation at the ZBrush area...and I was way bummed. I went the next day to see Rick Baker and low and behold...there you were.

I approached you after you were done with a conversation to say thank you for your inspirational works. You asked me if I got one of your posters, when I said no you promptly took me to the side and signed posters for not only me...but my friend and my buddy back home who couldn't make it to SIGGRAPH(he worships you and your work by the way).

I just wanted to say how really cool you were about some unknown person approaching you, and how very welcome you made me feel while in your presence. It is rare for someone who is as "livin' large" as you to be smooth with people who wish they could be you.

One day soon, I plan on making artwork which is good enough to stand side by side with I can have a little more indepth conversation with you about life, art and other things in general.

If you ever need some grunt work done for your feature film...I completely hand my soul to you and your vision. I would work for peanuts just to be a part of something you are guiding...because I believe in what you do, more and more, every time I see it.

Thanks for being who you are and producing the inspiration in people like myself the way you do.

Benjamin M. Dean

Benjamin Dean
  09 September 2005

Hello. As mentioned your style is pretty unique.. I was wondering if you'd mind sharing your
workflow (modeling wise) for stuff like the Maya 7 splash screen.
Do you have some kind of fast supertrick up your sleeves for creating all those threads and
wires or is it good old fashion hard work and headaches?

Here is the basic workflow that I use to create wire characters in Maya -

I begin by creating a rough, low polygon, character the basic shape that I want the final to be.
I make it "Live" in Maya. This makes anything that is created later on stick to it's surface.
I create many curves that follow the design form that I want to accentuate. I start to weave the curves using the CV's so they flow around each other. Once I am happy with that, I extrude all of the curves into actual nurbs geometry. I then use the nurbs CV's for even more control of each of the wires. They are all done one at a time for the most part. I use Dirk Bialluch's (sp) plug-in crv2Tube to speed up the process of converting to nurbs.

It's a very manual process of more or less digital basketry where I spend time and make sure there are no interpenetrating objects in the model. Moving one area makes it so I have to go in and make sure everything still is in it's own 3d space.

I sometimes color code the wires, it helps me to see the different sessions or stages of the model.

About half the way into the construction and a shot with how many I put in before deciding to cut a lot of them out for the final image.

The completed model. 1500 seperate tubes. The one on the right is a test image that Alias said was "creepy". I agree

An early mock up of the final image.

So the short answer is yes, it's lots of hard work and heart-aches..
Meats Meier

Portfolio :
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