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 rending in the 3D software.

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Spell casting woman.


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May 23, 2011

Amanda Norman's Gothic Jewellery Box

Last week I interviewed photographer Amanda Norman about her cemetery pictures and Dark Portraits. Aside from that wonderful work Amanda makes hand crafted gothic jewellery for sale. Right now I have that part of the interview for you.

Welcome back, Amanda. Another of the projects you involve yourself in is the creation of jewellery. How did you get into doing that?

Glad to be back!

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Creating jewellery is a brand new hobby of mine and itís something that Iíve always wanted to try and itís going quite well.

You donít see much blood vial jewellery for sale over here in the UK and Iíve always wanted a blood vial necklace. Theyíre a pain in the ass to make, but worth it once finished. I also like Victorian and Gothic styled jewellery, but Iím a long way off designing pieces like that. For the time being, Iím having fun creating pieces that have skulls and spiders and creating charm bracelets that reflect my taste in classic horror, such as the vampire charm bracelet.

Tell us about the planning and design of a jewellery piece.

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Up until now, Iíve just gone with the idea in my head, but now I want to merge my photography with the jewellery.

I plan on creating some nice oval photographs in a Gothic frame setting with a glass cover to magnify the image and these can then be used as a pendant. I donít know how easy this is going to be, but I have the frames and Iím waiting on the glass pieces and glue that is required to create them. Obviously this takes time and money, but the majority of time is spent sourcing materials that are lead and nickel free, as I donít want any of my customers to suffer from a nasty rash or allergic reaction.

My thanks to Amanda for telling us about her work. If you would like to get in touch with Amanda or buy some of her work she gave me the following sites and contact information.

Gothic Horror Photography - http://www.amandanorman.com/shop
Gothic Horror Greeting & Business Cards - http://www.zazzle.com/mandy_norman
Inside the Mind of a Gothic Horror Photographer - http://blog.amandanorman.com
Gothic Jewellery Box - http://www.gothicjewellerybox.com/shop
Twitter - http://twitter.com/amandanorman


Music: The Other Side by Aerosmith.

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May 9, 2011

Grave Photos with Amanda Norman

Welcome to a special edition of Learning Dark Arts (or themalebob's Artzone Blog). This week and May 23rd I am posting an interview with artist Amanda Norman. Amanda is a talented photographer with an eye for the dark and macabre. She also has a store full of handmade jewellery. This week I asked Amanda about her photography. Next time we'll get to the jewellery.

Amanda, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Iíve always had a passion for classic horror, which inspires my photography.

The scary element of classic horror is the question of not knowing if the supernatural exists, i.e. ghosts, demons, vampires, poltergeist etc. and therefore, when the writers claim that the story is based on fact, it makes it even scarier. Thereís nothing like a good horror to make you worried about what might happen in the dark when youíre trying to go to sleep.

I have an over active imagination, which I put to good use when photographing cemeteries. I always wonder what happens in a darkened cemetery at night. Do creatures of the night roam amongst the headstones looking for a victim?

Its questions like this that I try to capture within the photographs.

You have a great passion for cemetery photos. Do you travel very far to get to them on a frequent basis?

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It's a bummer that my partner or I don't drive and therefore I don't get to as many cemeteries as I would like. If I hear about one that is easy to get to using public transport, I'll go and pay it a visit as I've exhausted my local cemetery. I would love to visit the London Necropolis sometime, as there are a number of old Victorian cemeteries that must be seen.


Where is the farthest away you've gone?

I was lucky enough to visit a cemetery in Transylvania, which was lovely due to the wild flowers, but it wasn't creepy.

Tell us a little bit about how you scout around to find the best places to shoot in any graveyard? What are the elements or qualities you are looking for during this part of the process?

Victorian cemeteries are my favourite playground due to their elaborate tombs and stonework. Some of these cemeteries are over a hundred years old and the stonework is crumbling, which adds to the atmosphere of creepiness. When I'm out in a cemetery, I always think back to the smoke filled cemeteries of Universal Horror and Hammer Horror and that's the look that I'm trying to replicate. It isn't easy!

Most times, I look for a grave or tomb that has a story to tell and try to recreate that within the photography. It's quite sad when you see a forgotten grave and it makes me question if the deceased's family are still alive and have forgotten about them.

When you're not doing cemetery photos you're making "Dark Portraits" as you call them. What do you think is the most important part of creating those? Is it lighting? Is it staging and/or makeup? Is it the facial expression and other posing?

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It's most definitely their facial expression and the lighting. I never ask my models to wear makeup as that defeats the object of them bearing their inner soul. Yes, there goes my over active imagination again hahaha!

When I started taking these portraits, I realised that the model either looks like a vampire, witch, werewolf or plain crazy hence the statement I make of them 'bearing their inner soul'. Of course it's all to do with my imagination and not the fact that the models have evil souls.

Is there a large difference between what you are seeing at the shoot and what we see in the final portrait? How so?

Do you manipulate the photos digitally afterward? What do you do to them?

There's not that much of a difference and I play about with the levels to increase the shading after I've taken the photograph. Then I add a sprinkling of magic and voila!

Is there a question you never get asked about your photos that you want people to know about? Please tell us the question and the answer.

Such a good question to ask and one that is quite tricky to answer.

I'm not sure about the question, but if fans of my photography asked if they could visit a graveyard or cemetery with me to do some photography together, I'd say yes, providing I could travel there. I would be in my element sharing my passion with others who had the same interest and it would be nice to see their work.

Thank you Amanda.

There are several options for you to get in touch with Amanda, such as...

Gothic Horror Photography - http://www.amandanorman.com/shop
Gothic Horror Greeting & Business Cards - http://www.zazzle.com/mandy_norman
Inside the Mind of a Gothic Horror Photographer - http://blog.amandanorman.com
Gothic Jewellery Box - http://www.gothicjewellerybox.com/shop
Twitter - http://twitter.com/amandanorman


Music: Still Life by Iron Maiden.

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Robert G. Male

Name: Robert G. Male
Location: Ontario, Canada

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