If this place existed, it would be my happy space on a Halloween night in 1987.
I have never spent much time 3D rendering. I’ve done some 3D modeling in my time, in order to aid in my more traditional digital art. But creating proper, high resolution renders with quality lighting didn’t really enter my sphere of work. I don’t remember what drove me to trying it out, especially as I’ve been obsessed with AI art tools like Dall-E and Midjourney in recent months. But for whatever reason, on August 3, 2022, I decided to try the one month free trial of Adobe Substance Stager, and I downloaded a handful of Creative Commons 3D models from Sketchfab. What resulted was the following, my first low resolution render:
This first render blew my mind. From the terrazzo floor that could have come out of a Publix Supermarket to the highlights on the Atari’s faux wood grain, I was impressed with how quickly I was able to throw this together and get… results. I was immediately addicted and started adding details. The Atari set the decade. The theme was defined by my mood at the time, which like so many of you was the slow approach of Halloween, and the pleasantries of Fall. I started downloading free 3D props to help adorn the scene. The walls need movie posters! And there should be a bowl of candy for Halloween!
Then the challenges began. First, it was the realization that if I wanted this to be a realistic scene, with all the silly references I had in mind, I’d have to create a lot of stuff myself. “I have a VHS model that I can use to create stacks of video tapes, great! But I need real horror movie cover art on those videos. I guess I’ll have to learn how to create custom materials.” That took two days to get decent at. A huge shoutout to @sp00kyghoul on Instagram, who gave permission to use her amazing horror VHS collection to create the video tape covers!
Then I skinned the Fangoria magazines using reference images from Archive.org. I recreated the Pizza Hutt box art from that era as best I could and reskinned the Snickers bars with 1980s accurate wrappers. Then came all the overthinking of things. “What would a typical adult in the 1980s with a horror movie obsession be drinking? I don’t know, probably a shitty Budweiser.” Okay, got to reskin the beer bottle! Then obsessing over lighting! That hurt me the most, honestly. Lighting is hard.
Anyway, it’s a project that’s gotten away from me, but I now have a newfound investment in 3D art. I’m going to turn this one into an ambience video, similar to those I posted on YouTube last year. I envision this becoming a bigger part of my art. With everything I’ve learn in AI art, now 3D, and continuing to expand on my traditional digital art, I’m feeling really good about things right now. I hope to keep turning out creative content.
Original digital art by Jason Snyder. For the past several months, I’ve been trying to learn the art of ‘Photobashing’. For those unfamiliar, this is the technique that many designers in the video game and film industries use to whip up concepts quickly, without spending huge amounts of time creating every miniscule detail from scratch. Stock photos are chopped up and formed into new and unique shapes and compositions. This is my first serious attempt to create a sci-fi, pop culture infused, retro futuristic city scene. This illustration used elements from 43 different stock photos, plus a lot of my own unique designs. Many of the neon signs are my own designs. It took a long time to create, which kind of goes counter to the goals of photobashing, but I’m a newb, and I was sort of enjoying figuring out what easter eggs from my ID to include. I kind of like it.