Meet our AREA January Artist of the Month, Dan Rodgers! We love Dan's playful and colourful renders and hope that you will too. Read on to better get to know him and his incredible work.
Hi, my name is Dan Rodgers. I am a self-taught 3D artist from Yorkshire in the UK, currently living and working in Melbourne, Australia.
By day I am creative lead at Mr. P Studios in Melbourne, working predominantly in architectural and product visualisation. And then in my free time, I collaborate with designer/illustrator Ilana Exelby where we create fun illustrative and character-based images under the handle The Stompin’ Ground.
How did you get started in the 3D industry?
I had always enjoyed creating fun little projects on the computer, from websites to Flash games. But, it was during my mechanical engineering degree, that I found my love for 3D with software such as AutoCAD and Solidworks. At that point, I decided to switch to an architecture degree and spent most of my free-time learning 3ds Max.
After I graduated, I was lucky enough to get offered a job with ArcMedia, a small studio in the north of England.
What inspires your work?
There are so many things that inspire me. Film, photography, art and illustration are probably my biggest inspirations. With my character/illustration work, I really want to make cute and cheeky images that will put a smile on your face.
"With my character/illustration work, I really want to make cute and cheeky images that will put a smile on your face."
What do you love about your job?
Problem-solving and learning new software/techniques. As much as I love the more creative aspects such as lighting and creating materials, I get the biggest kick out of being completely stumped by a problem and finding the best way to work past it.
What's your least favorite part about your job?
Trying not to burn out. Having a senior position in a small studio whilst working on private commissions and trying to find time to work on personal pieces can be really hard.
What project have you worked on that you are most proud of?
Probably the latest image we did for The Monster Project. We have taken part in the project (as The Stompin’ Ground) for the past 3 years. Each time, we try to push our concept and quality more and more. It's always super rewarding to see how well our images are received.
What are some of your favourite animated movies?
There's sooo many to choose from! I love pretty much anything Laika Studios create, the mix of real and CG assets looks amazing. I have always been a huge Pixar fan too with films like The Incredibles 2 and The Good Dinosaur sitting near the top of the list.
How do you use Autodesk software?
I have been using 3ds Max professionally every day for just over six years, I think it sits really well with how my brain works. I have tried a few other softwares over the years but I always find myself coming back to Max.
What tips can you give to artists who strive to achieve a signature aesthetic?
Personally, I would try not to worry about creating a set look or style, at least not straight away. Experiment and expose yourself to lots of different artists/styles/mediums and it will come naturally. The Stompin’ Ground's work was never intended to have a specific style and it has evolved quite a lot over the years as our tastes have changed and as we were exposed to new art/film/illustration etc.
What projects are you working on next?
I am currently working on a few personal portfolio pieces to improve a few skills. I really want to go back to basics this year and work on pushing some fundamental skills such as lighting and composition.
Want to see more from Dan?