I've started doing an 8 week course with TDU on photoreal lighting, and for the first module we've been asked to consider images and artists which inspire us. The following is a collection of works from a few artists that have inspired me throughout my time as a 3D artist (and some of them before I'd decided on pursuing 3D as a career).
I've been drawn to Fabian Perez's work since I first saw some of his paintings in an art gallery in Exeter whilst I was still deciding what to do after my GCSE's. I went on to do an A-level in art and a foundation degree in illustration before moving to 3D animation at university, and part of what drove me to pursue a career in art was certainly some of the artists work's I'd been exposed to up until that point.
Perez's images have a decidedly film-noir quality to them for me, and he tends to use a bold but limited colour pallet, with strong blacks and use of lighting to pull the viewers eye where he wants. What most excites me about Perez as an artist is how he suggests a photo-real image at a glance, with well considered lighting, form and colour - but at the same time his painting style is expressive and loose with clearly defined brush strokes and texture in the painting.
I'm a huge fan of the Studio Ghibli films, and have been for many years. I love that Japanese animation studios can tackle themes and stories which wouldn't generally be done in Western studios, as well as the overall aesthetic of the films themselves (particularly the backgrounds in films like Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle and Porco Rosso).
Cory Strader is now the art director at the Canadian indie studio Unknown Worlds, but when I first saw some of his artwork it was before Unknown Worlds had formed, when he was working on a popular mod for Half Life called Natural Selection (early 2000's). The Natural Selection team were very active within their community site, and frequently posted up works in progress and concept art as they were working on them, which was probably the first insight I'd ever had into how a final 3D product was formed from concept to completion. Even then I found it fascinating how a concept sketch could be fleshed out into a fully 3D environment, and today environment modelling and lighting is probably my favourite part of my job.
I've always admired his ability to capture an ambiance of a scene so well, with good use of lighting, material and space whilst also giving enough information in the image to allow a modeller to recreate the environment in 3D.