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Vendor Spotlight: Staffan Melin

1) Please tell us a little something about yourself.

I currently live in Gothenburg, Sweden. I live with my cool 7 year old daughter who likes fossils and Harry Potter. I am a journalist and also have a Master's Degree in Engineering so I work with both content and the technology that provides it.

2) What software or tools do you use?

My 3D career started with Poser 6, and I immediately started to produce content using Shade. While Shade is pretty cool it wasn't the best option for Poser polygon modeling, so -- as an open source buff -- I switched to Blender.

My workflow looks like this:

a. Modeling in Blender
b. Unwrapping in Blender
c. Rigging in Poser 6
d. Texturing in Photoshop (I really should switch to GIMP)
e. Putting it all together and testing in Poser 6

I have also made some stuff for Genesis using Daz Studio Pro 4.5, which I find very easy to work with.

3) How did you get started making digital models?

My main interest in art lies in telling stories. Therefore I create content that I myself would like to use.

In the beginning I had the ambition to make a living out of it, but the truth be told I make very little money out of my 3D efforts. I therefore have released some of my stuff as free items. Nothing makes me happier than to see other artists use my models (well, there are, but not in the 3D world).

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?

I create what I myself would like to see. I'm a science fiction guy, so scifi stuff is what I create.

5) What kind of challenges have you faced in your career?

Putting together a functional workflow is one. As I started using Shade (which is not targeted for polygon modeling) I had a bit of a rough start making content for Poser. Blender on the other hand, is perfect for this.

Making money is the main challenge.

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 think there is too much focus on making sexy stuff for V4. It seems like content for people that want to render pin ups of V4 is the way to go, yet that is not what I want to do.

When I make an armor consisting of 15 pieces -- like my Assault Armor -- I can maybe (hopefully!) charge the same as someone who makes a skimpy "fantasy" bathing suit consisting of...well, not much. Polygon-wise, scifi is obviously not the way to earn a decent hourly wage!

7) What advice do you have for new merchants who want to improve their artwork?

I'm not sure. I'm thinking more and more about this as a labour of love, and not as a way to earn money, so maybe I'll release everything I make in the future as free stuff.

For me, being true to your values is very important.

8) Is there anything else you'd like to share with the readers? Do you have any thoughts or ideas about models or products or anything else in the digital world?

It's hard to predict where the 3D content world is heading. As Daz and Poser seem to be heading in different directions, “static” content -- vehicles, spaceships, starship bridges etc -- things that any character can use, seems to be the way to go.

Or you create what you like, make your money in some other way, and follow your inner self.

Finding "a home" as a merchant is also important. The support I have received from John Hoagland of Vanishing Point I haven't found anywhere else. Thanks John! I don't like companies -- or persons -- that don't answer emails.

If you can afford it, be true, create awesome stuff, share it. That way we can all grow.

Some links that you as a reader might find useful:
• My stuff at VP: memberpage.asp?memberid=6060
• My 3D stuff: http://oscillator.se/3d (link opens in new window)

I'm happy to answer any questions! Just e-mail me at staffan.melin@oscillator.se


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