...three things Uncle Arthur (arthritis), the Sabrinno, and the Shadowrun RPG.
I actually started back in the1980s with a course in Computer graphics (old school) where everything needed to be programmed and plotted. Just to model and then “finish” (texture) a three dimensional letter (like “e”) was a painstaking challenge that took a couple days. Very “math intensive” (one of the supportive courses was matrix algebra). Didn’t feel really “creative” so dropped out of that and went back to paper, pencil, and pen.
Then along came PixelPaint for the Mac II, a 2D drawing/painting programme which approached the task from the artist’s rather than mathematician’s perspective. Still it was a lot of work to draw and paint a single character but no plotting, no calculations, and waiting to compile (and usually debugging several times) to see the results. The downside figures were static and could not be posed plus Macs (especially the new colour ones) back then cost more than a year’s tuition and books did. Actually managed to finish a wonderful pic of my Champion’s character Amber and several planetary scenes for my S-F graphic novel idea. Only made it part way though the first Sabrinno (a feline like race from my story) before I left school. Still have the pics on floppies somewhere (Amber had to be split into two files as her pic was bigger than what a single 3.5” floppy of the day could store).
So back to paper pencil and pen again. I could see the that a programme which allowed you to save characters and pose them would be a huge benefit to comic and graphic production work but at the time such applications still required the resources of a Cray II.
As I kept working on the story I realised it was bigger than one person could handle. I would have to hire other artists to help, meaning I would become more a business person/manger than a writer/artist. There was also the fact that others may (and reasonably so) want to put their own “signature” on the work thus visually changing things from the original concept (one of the big critiques I received from many in the comics field was that the females had no breasts) I ended up shelving the idea indefinitely
After that I became more involved in RPGs, and GM’d a campaign based loosely on the storyline for nearly three years using an S-F RPG system. I also developed an offshoot of the main race in a friend’s long running AD&D campaign. This got me into doing scene and character sketches/illustrations related to the games I was in (still have a most of them, a few of which were scanned and uploaded to my DA gallery).
Then I was introduced to Shadowrun™ which I enjoyed for its rich background and settings and more “contemporary” feel compared with high fantasy worlds. It still had the “classic” races and magic, but mixed with high technology and set in a modern urban setting (my icon Kyoto Kid was my most successful and long running character who’s career spanned four editions of the game). I became even more involved in doing sketches and illustrations (some for campaigns I GM’d) but by this time arthritis began to take away my dexterity and grip in my hands. It eventiually became difficult to do even a simple pencil drawing without downing Advil like M&Ms;. I could see the image I wanted knew what I needed to do but due to my stiff shaky hands it had become difficult to hold a pencil steady enough to draw clean lines anymore (which is why a tablet is of no use to me).
Then I saw some really cool fan art pics on the Dumpshock (Shadowrun RPG) forums that rivaled those in the published rule books and modules. At first I thought they were paintings but learned they were actual 3D CG images done not on a huge mainframe, but home PCs using one of several 3D software applications. I was already working with Gimp and Inkscape, but like Pixel Paint, each pose had to be recreated as a separate pic.
One of the artists posted a list with links to the various sites including e_frontier (Poser) e-on (Vue) and Daz3D (Daz Studio/Carrara/Bryce). Being on a tight budget Poser and Vue were pretty much out as I really didn’t want to plunk down a fairly large sum of money for something I was not sure may or may not fit my needs. Oh there were the 30-day demos, but I found them hamstrung with many features I was interested in being locked. On the other hand DazStudio (1.5) was free and a fully functioning application with no expiration date. To have something to play with Daz offered a free content bundle (the old 3D Bridge Pack) which included Aiko3 LE a few of the Daz animals, Mil Dragon some clothing, hair and a few props. There was also the Daz Freepository, as well as the weekly freebie and other sites with freebie content like ShareCG, Rendo, and the old Content Paradise. This offered me enough to put the programme through its paces and see just what it could do.
Well that as they say “is history”, I was hooked. Here was what I had been hoping to see for over two decades. A CG programme that allowed you to not only pose, morph, texture and save characters, but even animate them as well without having and worked on my duo core notebook. Yes it would require leaning to model and/or digitally sculpt to create the characters from my old S-F story, but once that was done, it would be time to dust off the old storyline and finally finish it.
Then, from a Shadowrun campaign I was in came a little red hared teenage orphan named Leela Groznek with her own story to tell.
At this stage making a living from this isn’t important anymore, I just want to tell a couple stories.
..and now I have the means to do it the way I dreamed about.