"Refine What I Want to Say with CG", Interview with Roy Stanton
RenderHub's Sexy Robot Contest ran from January 25th to March 31st, 2023, and the theme was to create an original sexy robot character. The contest received many amazing entries, and in addition to the top three winners, there were eight Honorable Mentions. Fox Renderfarm, the industry's leading cloud rendering service provider and render farm, is honored to sponsor the competition and to have a chance to interview Roy Stanton, who won the Honorable Mention.
Jacked In: Data Transfer Commencing… © Roy Stanton
Fox Renderfarm: Hi Roy! We are honored to have you here! Could you please introduce yourself first?
Roy: Hi! My name is Roy Stanton, and I’ve been a visual artist working in traditional media for my whole life, and digital media for the last twenty years.
Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations on winning Honorable Mentions in the Renderhub's Sexy Robot Contest! How do you feel about it?
Roy: Very excited! I’m a big fan of cyberpunk and sci-fi art in general, and art featuring robots, in particular. I’ve also done a lot of pin-up style art, so this was the perfect blend of many of my interests.
Fox Renderfarm: Regarding your award-winning entry “Jacked In: Data Transfer Commencing...,” could you elaborate on your workflow/pipeline of it? And how long did it take you?
Roy: For me, I tend to work in thumbnails first, and often will do a quick sketch of a piece with pencil and paper, just to get a feel for the overall composition.
From that point, I’ll choose a model in the software I’m using (DAZ Studio, in this case) and do any custom work as far as shaping, texture or the addition of any assets like clothing that I think would work. The pose is worked out based on the thumbnail sketch, and then an environment is added.
I’ll then start thinking about framing and lighting, and working on arranging the “set pieces” to allow the lighting I want to use to do what I want. For this image, once I had settled on framing, I had to ensure that all the flexible pipes (which were their own project in terms of posing) entered and left the frame in a compositionally sound way.
Additional lights were added to bring out certain areas of the figure where I wanted the viewer’s eye to rest, and I utilized some very small, specific spotlights to bring out the figure’s eyes.
Once the posing and lighting were locked in, the scene was rendered and the finished image was put into Photoshop for adjustments in tonal value, contrast, exposure and gamma correction.
As for time, I think I put in about five days, working anywhere from 3 to 6 hours on the image at a time.
The wireframe © Roy Stanton
Fox Renderfarm: Can you tell us the story or the idea that you want to express in this work? And what is the inspiration for this work?
Roy: Well, the brief for the contest was “Sexy Robot”, so that is the foundation the idea is built on. In my experience, determining what is “sexy” can encompass so many factors. I wanted to show a humanoid robot in a state of sensual pleasure over the uploading of data into its system. Like that kind of situation is for a robot the closest thing to human sex. To add to the titillation factor, I’ve draped all these long, flexible pipes over and around her, and they definitely have a phallic sense to them. Where are they going? How are they plugged into the robot? In what way are they transmitting data? Through some viscous fluid medium? Also, the addition of the liquid surface in which the robot is reclining and the overall glossy appearance of the figure give it a more sensual, sexy look.
I think my primary inspiration is the work of H.R. Giger. He typically incorporated a great many objects with sexual overtones into his designs. Though my figure doesn’t have the same look as Giger’s, the notion of sexualizing a machine is in line with Giger’s imagery, I think.
Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any difficulties during this project? How did you tackle them?
Roy: I think the most challenging aspect of the project was posing the flexible pipe. It was certainly the most time-consuming. I tackled that issue as I do with any difficulty in a project: patience and diligence.
Fox Renderfarm: Why did you choose a texture like ceramics? What were your considerations for the texture of robot?
Roy: Going back to the “sexy robot” nature of the image, I wanted to represent a figure that was definitely NOT human, and the glossy off-white skin was a good way to do that. Additionally, it was a good texture for showing off all the curves of the figure against a relatively dark background and floor. And there’s something sexy in a smooth, glossy, curvy surface. It invites one to touch it.
Fox Renderfarm: How many faces does the model have? How did you handle the high polygon model and low polygon model of your work?
Roy: The model as you see it in the render has 1,047,552 faces. When working on the image, I’ll set the resolution to a much lower value, with only about 16,000 faces. I’ve got a fairly robust computer system, so I had little trouble working with a model that size.
Fox Renderfarm: How did you encounter CG and become a CG artist? Could you tell us a bit about your journey in 3D?
Roy: My first encounter with CG was with video games, and at one time I thought I might want to get into game design. To that end, I enrolled in a digital art program at the University of Washington that focused on training in 3D Studio Max and Zbrush. Before then, I had discovered Poser software and was playing around with that at home. My career trajectory shifted away from CG design, but I still liked to utilize the tools to create art, and that’s when I discovered DAZ Studio.
Elven Goblin Hunter Portrait © Roy Stanton
Fox Renderfarm: Is there any artwork or artist that inspired you the most during your CG learning journey?
Roy: I’ve already cited H.R Giger, but I’m also a fan of a lot of fantasy artists who work in traditional media. Frank Frazetta, Dave Stevens, Adam Hughes, Stanley Lau (Artgerm), Frank Cho, and Phil Noto, just to name a few. There’s also a big crossover in my favorite artists into the comic industry.
Fox Renderfarm: Do you have any plans or goals for your future CG journey?
Roy: For me, it’s about refining what I want to say with CG. At this point, I regard the software as another tool in the pursuit of making fantasy art, or even fine art. A lot of the images I produce veer out of sci-fi and into the realm of fantasy or even everyday life. It’s all about capturing a feeling and communicating that to the viewer.
Fox Renderfarm: Have you ever tried the cloud rendering services of Fox Renderfarm? If you do, what do you think of our services?
Roy: I think it’s a great set up and I’m looking forward to using it very soon!
Fox Renderfarm: As a CG artist, do you have any advice for people who are still new to the CG industry?
Roy: I think I’d say again that CG software has become a tool for any artist who wishes to produce beautiful imagery, not just for the game industry but in terms of fine art, as well. I think that as a CG artist, it still benefits you to have training in traditional art forms, as well as the conceptual basis. Whether you’re making art with pixels and polygons or oil paint and a brush, there are some basic techniques that will always serve the artist in their creative efforts.
Let's take a look at some of Roy's other artwork:
Hulk in the Aftermath © Roy Stanton
Eagle in the Cassini System © Roy Stanton
What Waits in Darkness © Roy Stanton
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