terms of CG, How did it all begin for you?
CG began for me at school, Northern Arizona
University. I studied Astronomy for 2 years
as I found it very interesting and seemed like
a fun way to get my first two years rolling
and decide exactly where I want to go with my
schooling. I was always and artist and decided
to study graphic design. I also knew that "flying
logos" were getting real popular on tv
and saw dollar signs so I decided to take any
computer graphics I could. Well there were only
2 so I took them and realized that I'd better
do something on my own if I want to pursue this
career. So I set up independent study courses
and continued on with my CG education. I was
able to work in the Engineering school using
an I-Twixt system, at least I think it was call
I-Twixt perhaps it was K-Twixt. Anyway we worked
on an amber terminal plotting the xyz of individual
points and assigning them a color. We had to
move to a different room to see out renders,
that was a long time ago... 1989. We then got
a Wavefront system and everything changed, the
first thing we did was model the campus... that
was a lot of fun. Took all semester to do what
I can do now in one day... crazy. The rest is
history, I never let up and still push has hard
What was your very
first CG project? was it a success?
As I mentioned above the first real project
was to create the NAU campus using Wavefront
back in 89. It was an awesome project and very
changeling. Everything was so simple, no textures,
no real detail, just the basic shapes in the
right place and the right size. We actually
use USGS data for the terrain to get it just
right... kinda funny the piece, we did not know
this at the time, but it was being used to show
where the new freeway was going to go, so it
went to good use.
long have you been in CG and what is your current
I've been working in CG since 1990 so 11 years
For the past 4 years I've run my own studio
out of my home. I keep very busy and out source
a lot. Having said that, if you think you've
got what it takes, and really do have what it
takes (do you compare to the top 5% of artist
out there?) then feel free to contact me, there
is a good chance that some day, I'll have a
project that I can use you on. That goes for,
animation, modeling, surfacing, character work
(especially character work) and design... never
underestimate the importance of design.
What has been
your greatest accomplishment in your career?
Not taking a full time job for the past 4 years....
really, it's tempting to say yes to many of
the offers I get, especially the ones overseas
that pay outlandish salaries. It would be fun
to work on a big project again like LOTR or
Starwars as many of my friends do, but I really
like working for myself and working out of my
home... and I can do better financially this
way, just takes a lot of self discipline.
Of all of your
artwork, which piece is your personal favorite
That is a tough one... I'd have to say
it's between the Rockford Fosgate Wolf for 2001
and the Postman Caterpillar I did way back,
1998 I think...
I love them both for the same reason... they
capture the mood I was after. Neither one is
terribly complex or has amazing textures or
amazing lighting... but they do capture a moment
in time and a mood, that pleases me and it is
what I look for in other artists work.
is one piece of advice you would give to the
The age old question, how can I do it. There
is no short answer, no magic formula. Actually
it's different for everybody. The best thing
you can do is set very high standards for yourself
and don't stop until you achieve them. Realize
that when you see something as incredible as
the "Balrog" from LOTR don't think...
"my god... there is no way I can do that,
I wouldn't know where to start" Instead
think, now they did it so it can be done, I
wonder how it was done... then research, research,
research... Trying to emulate realism is a great
way to shape your attitude toward production...
the simplest thing, say a bus stop... is actually
program(s) do you use for your CG and why?
I use Maxon's Cinema 4D and Discreet 3d Studio
C4D because it has some wonderful tools and
incredible rendering fx... and Max because it's
Max, I mean there is no doubt about it, that
program rocks. And it is so expandable a great
base from which to build. I highly recommend
it. I've only been using it for about a year
and I've a lot to learn about it, but I really
love the depth it offers.
What are your
plans for the future?
Hard to say... more of the same, might start
up a game company, might put together a production
studio and do tv and film projects and might
start directing and producing music videos.
All of the above are on the table and I just
might end up doing them all.
you working on any projects currently? If so,
what are they?
Yes and I cant really talk about my current
projects but I did just finish up another round
of designs for the 2002 Rockford Fosgate literature.
Rockford took best of show at CES again this
year, mostly due to the fact that there products
rock, they are extremely edgy and know how to
build amazing show cars. do check out their
you give away one of your CG secrets to success?
CG secrets to success... um... take little steps?
No really, set small goals that you know you
can achieve, then achieve them and move on to
the next. This holds true across the board.
Take lighting for example. You can use one light
to light a scene and try for hours to get it
just right... works here, does not work here...
Or you can use several small lights and have
fewer headaches. Lots of small goals are better
than one large goal and in the end your work
will not only look better, it will be easier
to go back to and adjust.
Many thanks to Frank for sharing his advice,
inspirations and brilliant artwork
See more of Frank's work at his website