Learning Dark Arts

Come learn the art of 3D computer generated art and animation. This blog deals with the lessons learned and the art created by Robert G. Male using DazStudio from Daz3D. Also covered are the ancillary software, tools, techniques, and processes needed both before and after rendering in the 3D software.


Spell casting woman.

R.M.T.P. Co.


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February 10, 2007

Something in the Dark to Fear

Today I'm stepping away from Derek Riggs just as Iron Maiden did. The next album cover I wanted to talk about came two albums after Seventh Son. The album was Fear of the Dark. This time the cover artist, according to the sleeve notes was Melvyn Grant. I refer to it as The Tree Eddie. This is the way I see the story unfolding. Eddie comes and goes, maybe sometimes he gets "killed" maybe sometimes he just lays himself to rest. The missing cover between Seventh and Fear is a mouldering Eddie breaking out of a grave.

So, the thinking is that sometimes the "death" Eddie is subjected to is say burning or some other form of near to total obliteration. In which case a more drastic form of resurrection is required. That leads us to Eddie growing out of a tree. For this cover it appears that is what's happened. He's grown as a part of this tree and now it's time to tear himself bodily away from the trunk. This is definitely an eye-catching visual and this is one I thankfully have a poster for to see it in all its gory… err I mean glory.

February 9, 2007

Too Many Progeny

Fans of Iron Maiden will notice that the Derek Riggs album covers I'm speaking about are in chronological order, a live album not withstanding. I am doing it not out of chronology's sake but more out of how deep an impression the cover left on me. So today I have the next one in line, and it is the one with the biggest impact. The album is Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. It was the first concept album they did, though I feel all of them are pretty tightly tied together albums. I similarly feel that the different albums are tied together loosely, and to me the album covers bear that out fairly implicitly.

The Seventh Son cover is much less detailed than the previous two covers, but I feel it is much higher in concept, which can be just as breathtaking. If the Somewhere cover was fantastical this cover is downright out of this world. Cyber-Eddie has been stripped down, reduced to a torso and cut down spine. He hovers over a region neither water or ice in a frozen wasteland. Across the sky and trailing around to the back cover-it's another wrap around-are sheets of ice floating in the air with lights dangling on chains depending from them. I cannot help but associate these with church lights the way they are shaped. It certainly brings a new direction and dimension to the image's feel. It is probably what draws me.

February 8, 2007

Caught Now in Two Minds

The next Derek Riggs album cover for Iron Maiden that I wanted to talk about is the cover for Somewhere in Time. If the Powerslave cover had a lot of detail to it, then the Somewhere cover-what I'd describe as a wrap-around cover-is just bristling with it. Not only is it insanely detailed, but it's also chock full of homage, and in-jokes. There are references to important and memorable venues the band played at, favourite sports teams, songs from previous albums, the band themselves lurking on the reverse side, Eddie of course, and the "famous" Charlotte, plus-and this cracks me up-what looks like a Tardis.

Speaking of Eddie… After a number of covers with our favourite zombie-man at various times in his lengthy history this cover marked the start of sweeping changes in the character. Of course with a title like Somewhere in Time it's obvious why that is. We have here Cyber-Eddie. He looks particularly raw and yet also somehow more vital, cybernetics aside even. He's just shot some other cyborg, who lays "off-screen", only a hand visible, leaking vital fluids, flames rising from his body. Above the mostly unseen body is, of all things, an Iron Maiden poster, which proclaims, maybe only through graffiti, that Eddie Lives. Indeed he does.

February 7, 2007

In My Last Hour

The first cover art from Derek Riggs that I want to talk about is the cover of Iron Maiden's album Powerslave. As you can see I misspelled his name in the first place thanks to my own ideas of how it was spelled and several websites that showed up in Google backing the mistake up. Sorry Derek. Anyway... the Powerslave cover is a wonderful piece. The band's mascot is the venerable and enigmatic Eddie, whose story unfolds slowly with little hints here and there in the albums. Riggs, to the best of my knowledge, is responsible art-wise for Eddie and his art as much as the music tells the dead man's story.

A good description for Eddie is zombie, if you ignore the Romeroan movie type. Powerslave brings to us an Eddie story set in the times of the pyramids in Egypt. The cover depicts a pyramid and the elaborate edifice in front of it. It is just stunning architecture. There are Sphinxes and Jackal-headed statues, and seated upon a giant stone throne is the gargantuan figure of the Pharaoh Eddie. A funeral procession makes its way up the stairs, birds wheel about over one of the two garden terraces. The top section of the pyramid glows and crackles with energy. It is just a tremendous scene, full of detail, full of symbology. It's too bad I've never so much as seen a hint of there being full size posters of the scene.

February 6, 2007

We Interrupt This Blog to...

I'm sorry but today I've blown all my time and can't properly do the blog that I intended to do. In lieu of that please check out this news story. It's about a kind of tribute to fantasy artist, and favourite of mine, Keith Parkinson. The story is available at... Tour honours fantasy, video game artist

February 5, 2007

Something to Talk About

Upon considering what other sources of art that I have readily at hand I lighted upon the idea of talking about something more commonly available to be seen. The problem is that it could range from hard to impossible to determine who the artist was, and if anyone would actually know any of them by name. It might require a certain level of art geekiness beyond the norm of the geeky goodness I called upon with the RPG art. The art in question is the cover art for music CDs. I have enough to choose from.

There is a further problem. That would be that I don't know of very many that I like well enough to talk about in any fashion worth bothering with. Also when I tried to think of what some of my favourites are I'd have to say that any I can point out as above the rest of the crowd would more likely be because of the music or the band as opposed to real artistic merit. One notable exception might be some of the works from the one music cover artist I know by name, a man by the name of Derek Riggs. So, tomorrow look for me to talk about a couple of his most excellent Iron Maiden covers.

February 4, 2007

Next Time I'll Use Crayons

I did a meagre bit of physical artwork last night, merging computer style visuals with hand drawn pencil and ink work. Namely duplicating a font style by hand. I started the project by pencil, sketching out everything, and then inked it. The final result was excellent for someone like me. It was word art, but I won't complain. What I might complain about is that this is the kind of art I should have been doing at the age of like seven or eight. I can't knock the purpose of doing this little project though. After all, I was making a cover for a birthday card for my mother.

A few years ago I gave up on the mass produced cards and started making my own. The bought sentiments were never quite right, the costs were exorbitant, and at the time I have a colour bubble jet printer. The cards I made, putting images and poetry or verses (some mine, some not) together were really good. Since then the bj printer ran out of ink and I switched to a laser jet I borrowed permanent-like from my brother. The laser was necessary to stop the swimming of letters on the page. For a document that's a page or two it's okay, but for a full manuscript it would be murder. I might have just done this card's cover in the laser but I didn't feel like wasting a lot of paper to get everything to print where it belonged, on both sides of the page. Still, it's the thought that counts and me doing something by hand counts for a lot.

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Robert G. Male

Name: Robert G. Male
Location: Ontario, Canada

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