Meet the Artist: Meats Meier

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  09 September 2005
Thumbs up

Thank you very much for the "quick" ( ) thorough explanation. It seems like the most
optimized flow and at the same time keeping control of the outcome.

Edit: And after browsing for a short while I see you've already explained your workflow a
few times before also. I'm sorry for draging ut up yet once more!
I guess it's part of the price of beeing unique. hehe.. well.. moving right along..
Christer Bjørklund - -

Last edited by bash : 09 September 2005 at 04:49 PM.
  09 September 2005
Red face


I'm a creative director in an advertisement agency.
What I do is to create stylish cool commercial cg films.
There are two ways to go:

- to make cool stuff which is already beeing made all over the world (its always the same u know)
- or to make independent works people are not used to see, make art in the advertisement area

which combination of two u would advise?
thanks a lot
  09 September 2005
Couple more questions

1. This question might be better for Alex Alavarez but I thought I’d ask you anyway. How long does it typically take to make a Gnomon DVD? I mean do most of em have good takes immediately? Or do you sometimes screw up so badly you have to restart? And when people make a DVD when they model something, for example, Alex’s head in Zbrush, is the model done beforehand and then re-done in the DVD? Or is it more like “I’m gonna make a model, and I’m gonna make a DVD out of it”?

2. I've tried out your technique you described on to make the wire models and it works great! But what about using an external model from Maya? Things seem to be different when I try this. When applying the grid texture, the black parts are already transparent and when trying to delete them, things get all weird. What has to be done differently?
  09 September 2005
Thanks alot for ur answer meats . really U give me a strong hope to keep it up .goodluck at all of ur life times .
  09 September 2005


Your artwork is truly inspiring. I bought your intro to zbrush DVD just to see some of your methods of working. I was wondering if you were planning on releasing a DVD that would go through completing a huge project in ZBrush? Not so much technical aspects of the program, but techniques that you like to use. For example, the robot image you posted at zbrush central; even though you gave us the zbrush file to check out, the image still boggles my mind. Thanks for taking the time to talk to all of us.

James Wilson
  09 September 2005
Hey Meats, I'm glad you finally got a Q & A session going. I haven't read all the posts in the thread yet, but I wanted to ask a simple question.

Do you think that specializing in one are of 3D is pretty much the wave of the future for 3D artists? I've been debating that question for a while now. I'd like to hear your view on it.

Thanks, and I hope you're having fun with all this attention. It's well deserved IMO, as you're one awesome fellow!

Take care,

Online Portfolio
  09 September 2005

1) What artists or specific pieces have the greatest influence on your work/thought process?

Lately artists such as Raymond Morales (intricate metal sculptor), the animator Bruce Bickford, and the director Tim Burton have been big inspirations to me. They all are artists that seem to take their own path with their art and create very special art that stands out to me.

2) What else might influence your work? (evolution of man? Darwinism? the complex, elongated musulature, compositions, and poses of Mannerism? heh i dont know anything?)

Nature always seems to be my biggest influence. It just blows my mind how much detail there is in the world, all the way down to a grain of sand. Also, everytime I see an artist having his own show I feel very driven to create more. I love to see artists just be about their art and making it happen.

3) If you could rid the world of one thing, whether it's a characteristic, behavior, phrase, tradition, holiday, law, etc... what would it be?

The ultimate for me would be to make it impossible for people to negatively effect other humans. It would be nice to live without the worry of violence or theivery. Then there's the old stand-by of curing world hunger, etc.
If I had to cut it back a little I would just get rid of any type of racism. Cgtalk has no room for political ramblings, so I won't get into the current president of the USA...

4) If you could bring back one artist/historical figure into today's society, who would it be?

Great question(s). I would just love to sit down and teach Michealangelo 3d. I'm sure he would go off on it like no other...


I'm studying to work within the paper industry. But it's so boring, I feel like skipping many classes and be at home studying 3D!

I think the good part about not doing 3d all day (like having to take regular classes) is that you can think about it all day long and plan in your mind what you want to do. It keeps the excitement for learning really strong. There may be a day when you do 3d all day every day and you dream about learning about paper again...well maybe not.

How old where you when you started 3D??

I was 23 when I created my first game with 3d elements in it. I wish that I could have started earlier (I couldn't have started much earlier, programs just were'nt available yet) but I am really glad in a lot of ways that I didn't - it gave me a chance to learn traditional art skills such as printmaking, t-shirt design, and airbrushing, which I know that having that knoweldge really helped me with the 3d skills.

Did you go at a 3D school/collage/university??

I am 100% self taught. I'm really jeoulous of the students at Gnomon, they get to learn from a lot of experienced professionals sharing their experiences and knowledge. My personal favorite way of learning is to just try and to do. I try something 100 ways before I get on the internet and search for the answer. Probably not the fastest way to finish projects, but the 100 other experiments build my knoweldge base for further tests, and I get a more in-depth feeling for the tools. Of course the rules are different in production. Stu Maschwitz at the Orphanage told me that I get one point for figureing out how to do something, but I get two points for just asking the guy sitting next to me.

What career would you choose: Cleaning/wash plates..Work with a boring job..or have fun working with 3D if your hobby is 3D?

Hmm, that's a hard one. Washing plates can be very rewarding...
Doing 3d just for a hobby would be pretty cool too, none of the stress of deadlines.

What 3D app did you use??

The five major apps that I use are (in no particular order):
Maya, Zbrush, Photoshop, After Effects, and Boujou.


How long it's take you to create sometihng like The Last Of The Leaves?

The Last of the Leaves was one of those images that just kind of "came out". I didn't even think much about it when I was making it, just trying different things, and about a day later, there it was. That is the beauty of Zbrush, once you know the program, images come really easy.


1. My first question was about your style. How did you get the idea/inspiration for such an incredible unique style?.

It was a very natural progression for sure. I think that if I did actual scultpure, It would involve wrapping wire around objects to describe the forms anyway, so I guess that's why I do it in 3d. I was lucky to find something that seperates me a little bit, so I take advantage if I can.

2. Meats Meier is a rather unique name. Is this your birthname? If not, where does it come from? And where are you from originally?

My real name is James. I got the nick name in High School because there was a restaraunt down the street called "Meiers Meats". My friends reversed it and the name stuck. Out of high school I immedialtely signed them all "Meats" and have ever since. Once I moved to California, I took it as the only name people know me by. (Except for Sean Mills, who likes to call me Jim, the jerk )

3. What exactly does resident artist mean?

It basically is an artist that is on site and is paid to do his own art. Usually the resident artist will teach a few classes here and there to justify him or herself. The artist in residency thing for me has been a god-send. I don't have any art directors or bosses telling me what I need to create (at least when I'm not doing freelancing).
Meats Meier

Portfolio :
  09 September 2005
Thanks so much for answering my questions! Those are interesting stories about your style and your name. I'll be waiting for you to answer the other 2 I posted later

edit: and please make a poster for The Last of the Leaves!

Last edited by nemesis_256 : 09 September 2005 at 05:55 PM.
  09 September 2005
Thumbs up

thanks for taking the time to answer my questions meats .......and yes......Michelangelo would tear it up. Didn't matter what that man did, figurative sculpture, painting, architecture, he was an absolute master.

"Should you ever be drowned or hanged, be sure to make a note of your sensations." E A Poe

Last edited by eric_schall : 09 September 2005 at 05:55 PM.
  09 September 2005
Hey meats,

Thank you so much for doing this. I think your work truly is an inspiration to us all - nothing original for saying that huh?

My questions are how do you go about coming up with concepts? Do u get on zbrush and just wing it and play or just keep working on maya till something good turns up or do u sit down and draw before approaching it?

Secondly, in your opinion, how would you know ones suited for this line of work? I feel very technically inclined but i value traditional art very much and wish i can be good at it...i can handle 3d softwares like maya pretty well and I have a roughly okay sense of composition, but compared to my classmates...i feel pretty darn bad.
Some of them, when they touch pencils and color pencils, they just create heaven and they do it SOOooo freakin fast...they draw nice and loose but with design in it, always comes out as a master piece. When I try that, if its loose its fun but i need to know my subject very well to have something decent, but when coming up with concepts, there is no way to study the subject well. and everything just turns up not so nice

You seem to know very much traditional and everything else...when you were younger, did u ever feel stressed out that there were so many things to learn and each of these things needed ur undivided attention if you wanted to go anywhere with it? Ive been working hard everyday while balancing art school trying to fix every weakness i feel i have but im starting to burn out. :(

Thank you meats FOR ALL your help. Big fan here. love your work very very much

- Wen Hao
  09 September 2005

what kind of inspiration (music, meditation, etc..) do you draw upon as you work?

I mostly like female singers, white rappers (that aren't eminem), and music without any vocals (when I'm really trying to concentrate on something). I like everything from Tool to the Beastie Boys. Living in Los Angeles has been great for inspiration, just so many unique and unusual things happening here.


Are you ever coming back to truemax as an instructor?

I would love to come back. I think Rashid and I spoke about me coming back for a few weeks at least next summer. We will see...It would be fun to see all the Copenhagen folks.

Btw it was great meeting you at the danish IT-university and at 3d college!

It was great to meet you to! Good luck with your Zbrush site :


Was your father a butcher?

I have to tell you that I read that to my wife and she laughed for 10 minutes straight.
My dad actually is a retired psychologist that now spends all his time on his road bike doing 100-200 mile races. He's really hard core at 60 years. He focuses on that the way that I focus on 3d...

Mecha Hate Chimp

When you first started using zbrush, can you please state what was the one tool or trick that sort of put you over the learning curve, or one tip about zbrush that you would recommend over all others to help beginners?

It really comes down to accepting the fact that Zbrush is different in almost every way from other programs. Once you wrap you head around the whole 2.5D concept it opens up a whole new way of working.

Also, I noticed you do not have an interview available on the pixologic site, yet they used your art for the cover of their zbrush guide. Any chance you’ll be doing one soon?

I'm kind of embarassed, but Ryan Kingslien of Pixologic gave me a great set of questions to answer for that page, but I've put it off for about a year now :(
I spoke to him the other day and he said he doesn't hate me bad enough yet to still put it up.


Is Giger one of your big influences?

Yes, when I was airbrushing a lot, he was my favorite artist. I actually discovered him because people kept telling me that my art reminded them of his. I went through a period that he was a fairly large influence, I think at least until I formed my own path.


I have just one question for did you arrive at your unique style ~ was this something that evolved over time, was it a happy accident, were there specific influences which you were consciously working with, or some combination of the above?

Hi Rebecca! It definately was an evolution. I started by creating individual pieces with the wire style and then eventually full images were taken over by wires. I can look at old airbrush art that I did and see that I always was into interweaving surfaces and detail. Using the 3d technology of today lets me duplicate and replicate and saves me a lot of time in the construction. It also gives me the ability to make changes, which is often the catalyst for new techniques and ideas.


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.

Right back at you Juan! I love your work as well, I can recognize your images as yours a mile away..


Thanks much!


Very nice of you to say. Makes me feel really good!


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?

The creation of displacement maps and normal maps are the benifit that Zbrush is mainly giving to the 3d industry. The tech has been used for some time, but now it gives us the ability to create the fine details directly on the surface in real time and to create the maps to be able to replicate our efforts in real time or for pre-render.

2) What is your favorite app and why?

Don't have any real favorites (at least over one another, each has their main strength), I use - Maya, Zbrush, Photoshop, After Effects, and a slew of tracking programs.

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

The list is a long one, I will mention a few. Along with the artists that I've already mentioned:

Cam De Leon ( The band "Tool"s artist.
Pascal Blanche, Linda Bergkvist, Carlos Huante, Peter Fendrik...
Meats Meier

Portfolio :

Last edited by meats : 09 September 2005 at 07:28 PM.
  09 September 2005
Originally Posted by meats: Cam De Leon ( The band "Tool"s artist.
Pascal Blanche, Linda Bergkvist, Carlos Huante, Peter Fendrik...

ooo, I respected you before, but you get a lot more points for mentioning Cam! He and yourself are huge inspirations for me.

As for questions, do you like the current state of the 3D community and the type of art that's being produced?

On the subject of inspiration, are there any authors or individual books you've connected with?

Thanks for taking the time to answer so many questions!
  09 September 2005


Great stuff, it truly gets the gears in the head turning when you look at all the detail you've put into these works.

Don't think anyone has asked this yet but you have mentioned quite a bit that you'd like to create your own CG film, what would it be like and when do you plan on doing it?

Take care.
  09 September 2005
Hi Meats!
Im Fabricio. 3D Artist from Argentina.

Im following your work since I saw your "gas mask" in some gallery. Since the first time I saw your artwork I got very impressed because YOUR STYLE. We can recognize Meats Meier Artwork everywhere...
So my question is:
1) Where that style comes from? Do you have any background that defines the particular artwork you make? Influences? What is behind those intrincated wire models?

and second...

2) I know you're from Germany. Im from Argentina, a country where 3D is in its initial stage. What do you think that is the best way to an artist who lives in a far country to be recognized? obviously, apart from the quality of his work... I mean, as important as to be a good artist, is to show it? How was the path you follow from your homeland Germany, to the "mecca" of the 3D where you work nowadays?

And finally... I want to agree with Juan Siquier (another great artist). Your work is pushing the limits of the ordinary 3D: it's in the category of fine arts, and I wanna congratulate you cause you got what you need to be there: THE MEATS MEIER STYLE.

Cheers man!!! and thank for sharing your "wisdom" with the community.
"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." (Albert Einstein)
  09 September 2005

You rendered out several passes for further manipulation in photoshop. If you could recap your rendering workflow, that would be sweet.

Here are the basics:
Create a Zbrush illustration by placing objects onto the canvas. Use different layers for more control over the individual objects.
Render a "beauty pass" by hitting the render button.
When you are finished, save out several different scene files (same scene, different names).
Each new scenes materials can be changed to create the new passes.
Some of the passes I make are:
Shadow Pass (color everything white and make strong shadows) This image is usually set above the beauty pass in Photoshop with a multiply set.
Ambient Occlusion (here is a quick download for one: ) Also a darken or mulitply.
Specular (color everything black with extra specularity) This image is placed above the beauty as well and set to screen).

Ambient Pass example

The basic theory is to give you more control by rendering different images that represent different effects in them so that you can dial them in seperately.


Q 1) Why do you do the kind of art work you do?

I try and do the type of artwork that I would hang on my wall (and do hang on my wall). I'm really only trying to satisfy myself for the most part, I'm just really glad that other people seem to like it as well.
People say that my artwork is scary, but I don't see it that way. I never have any violent or overly sexual content, I guess it's good that people can be emotionaly effected by an image that is mostly abstract.

Q 2) What kind of art do you see yourself doing 5 years from now?

I really, really hope virtual reality. I've been planning my world for sometime now. I will give you a pre-invitation to be the first to visit once it arrives.
Also I see myself really focusing on printing out my objects so that they can exist in the real world.


does it scare you when you wake up and check out cgtalk and find out you have hundreds of questions to answer?

A little, but I also really enjoy doing it. It has been a great experience for me so far, it has made me think about a lot of things that I normaly wouldn't have. The positivity has also made me feel just plain good.


- Have you ever done any real sculpture?

I haven't really done any, I would love to, although. I've had a lot of friends that were very much into it, so I've lived a bit through them. One of my friends from Salt Lake City, Ryan Peterson, did a major amount of the sculpting on the fat guy that had to eat himself to death in the movie "Seven".

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

Definately. I keep starting to do that, but then I keep not going through with it. I think I really need to own my own machine to get really into it. I'm sure once the first one is born I will be hooked and it will financially ruined.

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

In my brain it does have an existance, I can turn my models around and look at the back of them. They are there to me for sure once I've looked at it for hours on end. And to any video game player that has had his ass kicked by a polygon character can attest to their virtual "realness".


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

No, I'm no Taron (kick @ss artist and co-programmer of Project Messiah). I'm not smart enough to do any real programming or even mel scripts really. I'm really good at downloading them from and figuring out how to use them. I think that is a good enough accomplishment for a guy with my brain-power.

What traditional Artists inspire you to do your work?

Among the artists that I have mentioned already - Sid Myde, Scott Musgrove, Bosch, Naoto Hattori (, Robert Chang, so many others.....

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!

I'm 33 going on 18. Don't worry about the age thing, If your a good artist and you can gain a reputation as someone that can get things done, you won't have a problem. Just wanting to be a great artist is the first step, the next step is working harder than your competition and just going for it, not letting anything get in your way. Visualise where exactly you want to be. Now that I am doing just what I always wanted to do in life, I can't help but think there is something to it.
Meats Meier

Portfolio :
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