Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fractals and Renders and Bryce... OH MY

Back in 1998 I was working in the digital imaging department of a large commercial photolab (one of my favorite jobs ever!) We did a lot of display work for trade shows. While I was testing some new applications to use for a creative project I discovered and got hook on Bryce ( a 3d terrain program). Hooked is the only word I can think of I spent hours at night rendering fantastic worlds and scenes. Bryce was used to create the world in the original Myst game. When I moved into the systems engineer side of my career I sort of ran out of time for Bryce. I was very busy working on certifications and keeping networks and servers from crashing. Gradually I came back around to art. I started painting and picked up my camera again (thank god. I need the balance in life. all work and no play makes me grumpy!) As you have seen over the past few months my digital addiction is rearing its head again. my photos and paintings are competing for blog posts with Fractal images I am creating... The other day I wondered whatever happened to Bryce? It had been purchased by the makers of Word Perfect and I never heard from it again. Well i did a little search and found version 5.5 is free on the Internet. There is a version 6 you can purchase, but I just want to play for now and downloaded the 5.5 version. The interface was always a bit involved and maybe even a bit clumsy. I found that to be part of its charm. I started playing and came up with this image I am calling Mystery in the Ice.

So there are even more digital distractions for me to contend with! What are your thoughts on digital art versus traditional techniques. You are still being creative, using your design skills and sending a message. So for me while the tools are different I fully embrace these newer digital art forms as completely valid.

As an interesting aside. Back in '98 I had a start of the art imaging workstation and Bryce images like this would render for hours over night. Now on my laptop the rendering takes only minutes. Isn't technology amazing!

Keep Makin' Art

PS - I am turning on the heater in the studio now. I feel the need to paint.



Janice Thomson said...

I've never used Bryce but I have used Terragen - in fact I have one in a folder that needs finishing. It's so amazing how computers have added to the world of art in such creative ways. I get lost using some of these programs because they allow so much freedom yet save time structurally.

Carl said...

I am teetering on the edge of needing a 12 step program for digital art applications. I was tempted to setup a second computer the other day just for rendering! The only cure is to get a paintbrush in my hand. Maybe drop back into a watercolor class and hangout with painters for a while.