I’m delighted to announce that @rpg_digital has been awarded Member of the Month for May 2021. The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that it isn’t actually May any more. This is, of course, due to an anomaly in the space-time continuum, and in no way detracts from the fact that we have a worthy winner to celebrate, so please join me in congratulating him!
He kindly agreed to be interviewed, and it was my pleasure to have this chance to find out more about our Member of the Month.
Technobear: The standard first question! What brought you to the SitePoint forums, and what made you stay?
rpg_digital: It was a rekindled passion that went back to my childhood in the 80s and an addiction for programming on my C64 and CPC6128. In the early 2000’s my creative partner and I needed a website, so I took on the challenge and much like in my youth I was hooked.
There was a fascination for JQuery, and I spent quite a bit of time either reading through John Resig books or scanning through the JQuery/Sizzle code — much like I did with games back in the 80s.
Technobear: If we put you in charge of the forums, what would you add/remove/change/improve?
rpg_digital: Firstly please don’t.
As mentioned I joined this forum in 2008. That’s almost 14 years ago and albeit topics of discussion have moved on considerably since then, the forum is still as busy as ever.
Regarding change I think it’s a case of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. We have some great contributors who are very patient and will go out of their way to help. Any issues, differences of opinion, etc., are usually dealt with amicably and with self moderation — It’s all good!!
As far as addition, It did cross my mind that we could have the occasional SitePoint challenge post, I’m thinking in the vein of code wars. Something to do over a rainy weekend.
Technobear: Your profile suggests you like dinosaurs. Tell us more! Are those graphics your work?
rpg_digital: Actually I stepped into the dinosaur work. I joined a group of artists in London back in 98/99 working on a series of books running alongside ‘The Walking with Dinosaurs’ series.
Following that I left rainy London and moved to sunny Thailand along with one of the team where we formed a partnership working remotely on numerous book publications.
The dino models are mine, the composited shots are our creations.
I model the dinosaurs, create the UV maps, paint the textures, rig the models and setup the scenes for rendering — my creative partner then expertly matte paints them into environments and adds those little extra details, foot prints, scratches, blood splatter etc.
Regarding ownership it obviously depends on the licensing agreement we have with the client and varies from job to job.
Technobear: I notice from your website that you’ve worked on a wide range of graphics projects, from dinosaurs to technology. Which kind of project is most interesting or satisfying to work on, and which is the most challenging or boring?
rpg_digital: It’s a case of having a bit of a change now and then. The dino jobs are obviously quite different to the engineering jobs. They are organic and extinct and as a result there tends to be a bit of calculated guess work involved.
I was once presented with an illustration of an animal’s jawbone, and from that expected to build the entire animal — in that instance quite a bit of guess work.
With engineered pieces, there are measurements to follow and from the modelling standpoint I can just stick on the headphones and get into a zone. I would say one of the pleasures I get out of the engineered pieces is working on the textures/materials and lighting. It can be a real challenge looking for the subtle imperfections that make the difference between CG and Photoreal.
Technobear: What would be your dream job?
rpg_digital: I’m now 48 so maybe that should be, ‘What would have been your dream job?’ 25 years ago it would have been working for an outfit like Digital Domain modelling spacecraft and props — Those old enough might remember ‘The Fifth Element’.
Technobear: When you’re not involved with graphics or coding, what do you do? Any interesting hobbies?
rpg_digital: Sad to say, not really. Given I have been working fulltime as a digital artist, coding has been my main hobby. I do like music, a bit of cycling and along with a lot of people in my age group have a guilty passion for gaming.
Technobear: Do you listen to music? If so, what do you enjoy, and what makes you want to run screaming for the hills?
rpg_digital: Yes, love my music, predominantly electronic.
A raver back in the early nineties, I still love a bit of late 80’s and early 90’s house, acid house and electro (Chicago/Detroit/New York). I also like techno, a bit of drum and bass and given I spent a good part of the 90’s living and working in London an occasional bit of Garage.
I also like my early to mid 90s hip-hop, Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Slick Rick, Pharcyde, The Roots, etc
These days I do tend to listen to the more mellow stuff, boom bap, trip-hop and lo-fi and love a bit of Nightmares on Wax.
As for running for the hills, boy bands, ballads and pop.
Technobear: If COVID-19 miraculously vanished and you were offered an all-expenses-paid trip to the destination of your choice, where would you go, and why? (No, sorry, this isn’t the prize for winning MotM!)
rpg_digital: Back to Thailand, no question — I lived there for 18 years and very much consider it home. Love the people, the laid back and unpretentious lifestyle and of course the glorious weather.
You can make that prize a one way flight by the way
Technobear: If you could pick your own superpower, what would you choose?
rpg_digital: ??? Not sure. Teleportation? I refer to the last question.
Technobear: That sounds like the perfect superpower for 2021 - travel without the carbon footprint and while avoiding the crowds!
One last question. You’re having a dinner party, and along with friends and family, you can invite three famous people – living, dead or fictional. Whom would you invite, and why?
rpg_digital: If I was a deeper and a more cultured person I am sure I would come up with some significant historical achievers, Nobel prize winners, authors, or political figures — unfortunately I am not.
A cynical individual, stand-up comedians are like a breath of fresh to me, so I would have to say the likes of George Carlin, Billy Connolly, Bill Burr and/or the late Sean Lock.
I have to add that these comedians don’t or didn’t suffer fools gladly, so I would rather be a fly on the wall at that dinner party.
Technobear: By my count, that’s four - but I think we’ll let you away with that! Many thanks letting us get to know you a bit better with the great interview, and congratulations - finally - on the award!