Clara.io INSPIRAT.ioNS shines the spotlight on a talented member in the Clara.io community and highlights the phenomenal work that's possible to create in Clara.io. In this feature we're lifting the veil on self-proclaimed "man of mystery and citizen of the internet", Abel M’Vada (aka AMV).
Abel is a self-taught artist who has amassed an portfolio of astounding digital artwork that can be found on his Tumblr page. Many of the looping animations he creates started out as a blank canvas in Clara.io. His work is multifarious, futuristic, and thought-provoking, much like the artist himself. Are you an INSPIRAT.ioN? Get in touch with me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org!
From humble beginnings in front of a mid-1990s computer screen, Abel was captivated by the modest 3D models found in the computer-games: Stunts and Star Wars: X-Wing. Fast forward two decades later and Abel is still in front of a computer screen playing with 3D scenes, but the fascination now takes the form of GIF artwork—short looping animations— that are far from modest.
Embracing the Blank canvas
As a self-taught artist, Abel embraces a blank canvas, as it provides the opportunity to explore the application, improvise with scenes, and challenge new ways of doing things.
"I'm self-taught and still very much learning — something that using Clara.io has helped with greatly."
The scene above, ETA ∞, began as a simple idea: “a ship flying over a low-poly terrain”—it’s easy to see that Star Wars: X-Wing continues to influence his art direction some 20-years later. Nearly the entire scene was completed "in camera" (within Clara.io itself); the moon is a mesh light, the stars are randomly placed spheres with a white emissive texture, and the jet exhaust is made of cylinders. Only some light glow and the sky gradient were added later.
Influenced by Features
The freedom to experiment with program features allows Abel to take his science fiction-inspired art in new directions and further develop his skills as an artist, modeler, and animator.
“Having a powerful set of tools at your disposal greatly influences the style of the finished work and what I think can be accomplished using Clara.io.
I really do like the way everything is set up, the interface is put together sensibly enough that I can learn through logical inference.”
Abel set out to liven up his bot @ work scene by creating “a simple, yet interesting moving background using the [animation] timeline.” Adding movement provided the scene with a certain “ambiance and high-tech sheen.”
“So, why does that robot look so defeated? 'Cause he's still trying to figure out [the Other Guys' software].”
Despite being a digital artist, Abel still subscribes to the idea that some of the best designs are started using pencil and paper. Unlike ETA ∞, the previous scene, “this came about by sketching out the idea of a bored robot” Abel remarks. He divulged his offline approach to 3D modeling in an interview with Macho Zapp, saying “most of my ideas usually come about away from the computer, so a pencil sketch is the best way for me to remember them. Often those sketches serve as a pre-visualization and reference point [and they] make life a lot easier — it’s like having a set of instructions to follow”.
Observing the Real-World
The key to developing as an artist is to remain in a perpetual state of learning, constantly adapting and enhancing your skillset. Each month, Abel participates in a monthly challenge facilitated by the GIF Artists Collective on Tumblr.
The scene above was the product of a simple ‘low poly’ challenge, which became the iconic scene from the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Notice the intricate details of the scene—the swaying gondola and the realistic ambiance of a crisp, winter’s day. Abel described his process when creating the meticulous details of the scene: “I want[ed] to recreate the particular look of cold winter light — I learn[ed] about ambient lighting settings. I want[ed] a ski-resort gondola to sway subtly in the wind — I learn[ed] how to make use of the sliders on the timeline.”
“Here's the key to learning CGI, observe things in the real world and then try to recreate them. Since the Clara.io interface is so intuitive, it doesn't take long to figure out new things in the software.”
Abel M’Vada is constantly experimenting with his GIF artwork, you can (and should) check out his Tumblr page. A big thank you goes out to Abel for sharing some of the methods to his madness.
If you still need inspiration, you can read our last INSPIRAT.ioN feature here and share the love with Pixelfordinner!