Sean Kennedy (Treybor)
Author Specs at a Glance
Home Page: http://www.seansgallery.com
Locale: Califonina --SF Bay Area
Occupation: Software Integration Engineer
In the first of the Sci-Fi 3D Author Spotlights, we speak with the creator of the popular Millenium Falcon Interior mesh.
Sci-Fi 3D: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Sean. Can you give a little bit of background about your path of study as an artist?
Sean: I started drawing when I was 6 years old. My first two drawings my mother kept were a picture of the old Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise and a portrait of Charlie Chaplin. In my early teens I spent a lot of time drawing and building models from model kits. When Star Wars came out I was enthralled by the film. Great music, great story great visual effects. I bought every bit of Star Wars art memorabilia I could find. I spent hours studying every little aspect of the film and how things were created. I actually attended Pacific Northwest College of Art for a year, but ran out of funds to continue. I learned more there in a year than I did through my entire previous high school art curriculum. I decided to learn everything I could about production design, and movie art. I still one day would like to break into that field.
Sci-Fi 3D: I understand that you have a love for Science Fiction literature and theater. What book or film would you say influenced you the most, and how?
Sean: The Science Fiction film would be Star Wars. It was so revolutionary for it's time and it came out when my creativity was just getting started. It changed how I looked at the world. My favorite Science Fiction authors are Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein. My favorite Science Fiction book is "Friday" by Robert Heinlein. I would someday love to work on a motion picture based on that book. It tackles a lot of the issues of racial prejudice. Only the race being prejudiced against are the genetically engineered people. It makes you stop and think. Which is especially important now, when cloning and genetic engineering of humans is on the scientific horizon. I think any science fiction story that makes you think is a good science fiction story.
Sci-Fi 3D: What inspired you to include 3D in your already impressive artistic repertoire?
Sean: In 1995 some friends put together an old 386DX computer for me for Christmas. I did some pretty basic stuff for a long time, until I found Lightwave. I knew it was a powerful tool, but learning all the ins and outs of it took some time. Every once in a while I find some thing new about it that make me say "Cool"! I like 3D art because it allows me to create sci-fi art quickly and accurately. My greatest passion is still to draw and paint, but when I'm stifled for ideas on the 2D palette, I can almost always come up with something new on the 3D palette.
Sci-Fi 3D: I know you initially started with MS Paint to illustrate with a computer. What paint program do you use now, and how has it assisted you artistically?
Sean: I use Lightwave to create the models and Adobe Photoshop to create the textures. Photoshop has allowed me to create more realistic textures than I ever dreamed possible. New plug-ins allow me to do different special effects that add realism to the surfaces. Sometimes I use 4D Paint when I need to gauge the size of a texture and where textures need to be modified.
Sci-Fi 3D: What tools do you work with to create your 3D artwork? What was it about the software package that made you decide to include it in your toolset?
Sean: Like I said before, I use Lightwave to create the models and Adobe PhotoShop to create the textures. I think Lightwave is the best 3D-modeling tool out there. It has the ability to create models on a scale of 1 Nanometer to 500 Megameters. Lightwave 5.5 does have a limitation of 65,500 polygons or points per model. However, breaking them into sections and modeling each section separately can aid in the creation complex models. A friend who has been asking me to learn MAX4 recently got me a copy of it. I'm working on learning it, but it slow going. I have had numerous requests for help with fan films and I'm trying to do models for three of them. My first model is complete. The Imperial Star Destroyer Bridge posted at http://www.theforce.net/scifi3d/.
Sci-Fi 3D: Describe your creative working environment for us.
Sean: My creative working environment right now is my home. I have an art desk and a computer desk. Both are surround by items, books, paraphernalia, and reference material. All designed and used to enhance my creative juices. The most important part of my whole artistic environment is my wife, Rebekah. Without her love, encouragement, and support I would not be where I am now. (Which is a trillion times better than it was when I met her 12 years ago.) She likes to joke about writing a book on the proper care and feeding of an artist.
Sci-Fi 3D: What has been your most challenging project to date?
Sean: My most challenging 3D project (that is actually complete) was the Millennium Falcon Interior. My most challenging 3D project (that is not complete) is my 3D Human model. I have been working to perfect that for two years. Human modeling in 3D is not hard to do, it's just hard to get accurate. Most video games have character models with 100-1000 polygons. For the most realistic of human models (like the ones in the Final Fantasy movie) you need over 1 million polygons. I hope one day to get to a photo realistic level. Right now I'm fighting to create the perfect ear.
Sci-Fi 3D: What are your strongest talents in CG, and how do you perceive this will change, if at all, in the future?
Sean: My strongest talents in CG right now are in modeling. I can model anything inorganic with a high level of accuracy. I have spent a lot of time recently developing my texturing and lighting skills. I am always working on improving all my CG skills. In the future I would like to be able to sit down and do anything my heart desires from animation, to organic modeling, to 3D landscapes, etc, etc. I will always be learning and evolving my talents into something better. An artist has to do that if he or she is to remain productive and creative.
Sci-Fi 3D: Your Millennium Falcon has undoubtedly gained you many fans and admirers of your work. How do you identify with this popularity, and have you received much feedback regarding this model?
Sean: I can't lie. I like the ego boost. It helps build my confidence. To date I have received close to 100 personal messages concerning the Millennium Falcon Interior model. 99% of the feedback has been good. I thought that was incredible for my first serious interior construction. Then I started work on the Imperial Star Destroyer Bridge. I have received nearly as much e-mail on that as I have on my Millennium Falcon Interior, and in about 1/3 the amount of time. It seems like every other day or so, I'll get a message from someone who wants to use one or the other of the models in a fan film. The attention inspires me to keep improving my skills.
Sci-Fi 3D: What process did you use to construct this model?
Sean: I spent a lot of time gathering as much reference material as I could find. Then I began work. I would model each portion and texture it. Re-building and adding new textures to each section as I saw changes that were needed. I wanted to make the model as accurate as possible, but the sets of the Falcon changes a lot between movies. What I ended up with was a model that was transitional between SW:ANH and SW:ESB. I built the entire model in Lightwave using floor plans and photos from the "Star Wars: Behind the Magic" CD. All the textures were done in MS paint and Adobe Photoshop.
Sci-Fi 3D: How long did it take you to complete the Falcon mesh, taking into consideration research, preparation, and modeling/texturing?
Sean: I actually started work on the model about 2 years ago when I first started using Lightwave. At the time I wasn't proficient enough with the program to do it justice so I stopped. In the meantime I did my Medical Frigate model (also at http://www.theforce.net/scifi3d/). At first Zoo told me the textures on the model were too crude, and I had to agree with him. So I took the time to completely re-do the model. When that was complete I felt much more confident in my abilities. I decided to take on the Falcon interior. I spent about 1 to 3 hours a day for 5 to 6 months on actually building that model.
Sci-Fi 3D: What do you, as a CG artist, get the most satisfaction from?
Sean: Creating images and ideas that people will enjoy and talk about.
Sci-Fi 3D: If you were given a choice, which CG production house would you like to work for, and why?
Sean: To be honest, I would like to work for any of them. It's always been my dream to work for ILM so that one is at the top of my list. Although, after "Shrek", I see Dreamworks as a very close second.
Sci-Fi 3D: Finally, can you tell us a little about any future projects that you are currently, or planning to work on?
Sean: I always have twenty or thirty little projects going all at once. My imagination never seems to stop flowing so I find it's good to have several outlets for my art. On the CG front, Zoo has asked me to help with a Bespin Carbon Freezing Chamber scene. I am also working on two other models for fan films. One is a protocol droid and the other a shuttle. On the personal side, I have been designing several spaceships, working on 3D human models. I have been using Lightwave to build an old style Klingon Battle Cruiser, an old style Federation Star Ship, and a Blade Runner Off World blimp. Meanwhile, I've developing logo and icon ideas for Sony computers, creating D&D modules for the people I game with, submitting monster ideas for Bastions Press' new monster compendium, and drawing and painting in every spare moment I can find.