SkinVue - Dave Burdick
Dave Burdick has been involved in the computer graphics field for about 25 years, as a consultant to users and vendors in the engineering and technical graphics applications area. He created SkinVue in a desire to achieve something closer to photo-realism for 3D human character type renders.
From Photo Manipulation To 3D
"When I met my new wife Victoria (who is an actress and model) in 1999, she convinced me to try and develop some cool, artistic images based on photos of her", recalls Dave. "As a geeky engineer with absolutely no artistic talent, I thought this was a rather crazy idea. But I began to play with various ways to transform photos of Victoria into something that resembled art, first in 2D using programs like Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro and then in 3D, using Poser and Vue. Initially, I started with Poser which is great for creating, posing and animating characters, but it has a number of shortcomings in the rendering area. Also, I was looking to combine 3D character rendering with a 3D landscape tool which led me to Vue. I became aware of Vue in 2004 when my son showed me some images created with it. I began using Vue 4 Pro in 2004."
The Beginning of SkinVue
"I started SkinVue about a year ago right after Vue 5 Infinite was introduced. With the new rendering engine and the new function editor, I became convinced that Vue 5 could become a superb platform for photo-real, 3D character rendering. I developed the script because I wanted to completely automate the process of creating great looking skin without any manual intervention. With SkinVue1, the process was only semi-automated and required the user to adjust the materials manually as well as swap in the original texture maps. With SkinVue2, this is now completely automated with the new VuePython enhancements."
"SkinVue was my first Python Script, but I had done a lot of programming before, so it was relatively easy to pickup. I gave myself a "crash course" in Python and then I eventually had to learn wxPython to build the SkinVue2 user interface. Python is very "C" like in many respects, so it took me only about a week or so to learn what I needed to know."
"The hardest thing to create in SkinVue was the skin specularity model. I must have tried about 100 different ways to do speculars until I finally came up with a model that produced good results on a consistent basis. The model used in SkinVue2 is actually a hybrid of the popular Blinn model and a new approach I came up with called variable wavelength speculars which provides a bit more control on the intensity, location and realism of specular highlights. I built SkinVue2 with plugin architecture so that I could develop plugins which would allow SkinVue to adapt to many different types of 3D character models without having to change the main application."
Goals For The Future
"The reaction from users has been extremely positive. I would say that about 30% of the Vue character-based renders you see on the major art sites use SkinVue. The only downside is the lack of a Mac version of SkinVue2 which probably will not happen until Vue 6." "Iím currently working on a way to simulate wet looking skin complete with water droplets and drips using a much generalized procedural method that will be added into SkinVue2 as a new Skin Type. My next major goal is to come up with a way to create and render human hair and animal fur. Iíve played with the idea of using EcoSystems to generate hair along with particle systems, but Iím still a long way from a workable, generalized solution."
The Vue Advantage
"One of the greatest things about Vue is its ease of use. Many companies talk about making their systems easy to use, but itís just lip service. Anyone can easily learn Vue in a couple of hours and start creating very cool art. My sense is that e-onís approach to designing Vue is really from the "outside-in" rather than the "inside-out". Iíve used dozens of different 3D packages, and most of them feel and behave like 20 year old computer science technology. What sets Vue apart in my opinion is the combination of very advanced capabilities in a simple, easy to use package."
"I built a website www.SkinVue.net which contains a number of Vue-oriented tutorials that users may find interesting in the areas of function editor tricks, rendering, lighting and of course how to make better looking skin! SkinVue 2 is available on the Cornucopia 3D store www.cornucopia3d.com"
"Most of my professional career was spent in Silicon Valley, California but I now live in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area of Nevada where the air is cleaner and the taxes are lower. Iím married to a wonderful woman (Victoria Monroe - www.VictoriaMonroe.com ) who is a major inspiration for all of my artistic endeavors. I have two sons who are attending college and one of them is about to make me a grandfather in 6 months! I started in 3D in the late 1970ís as a design engineer on a 3D CAD system called Anvil running on an old DEC PDP system (from the famous Dr Hanratty). I fell in love with the idea of doing engineering and graphics on the computer versus the drafting board, so I left the engineering world and joined the computer graphics world in the early 1980ís. I have spent the bulk of my professional life in the computer and engineering field. In addition to my wife, Iím also inspired by a number of very talented 3D artists such as the great Bill Dahlhauser (aka Primal Truck), Uwe Mattern, Wendy Eld (aka COA), and Paul Kinnane (aka Face Off) whose works are on display regularly at Renderosity.com"
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