Daniel Bel - Beowulf

Discover the inspiration and processes behind Daniel Bel's gallery award-winning image, Beowulf July's character category winner...

Discover the inspiration and processes behind Daniel Bel's gallery award-winning image, Beowulf July's character category winner...

Daniel Bel's Beowulf image won in the character category for the month of July, amassing 941 points, and now sits in the heavens with 5 stars. Find out more about the process of Beowulf's creation from Daniel himself below, and for more information about the gallery awards, check out our page.

3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Daniel Bel: Im an Argentinean 3D artist, born and raised in a little town called Escobar, in Buenos Aires. Nowadays, Im art director at Waypoint Studios, a growing company of which I am co-founder too. I work doing advertisements for different types of audiovisual media, as well as giving 3D support for many other types of projects related to the field.

Besides working as an art director and 3D artist, I occasionally do some commission work in digital and traditional sculptures.

3dt: Tell us the story behind your recent gallery entry, Beowulf: What inspired you to create it?
DB: Well, the true story behind my last artwork lays in my wife. Some months ago, she was working with the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, and she asked me to make a digital sculpture of one of his battles. The paragraph in which Beowulf describes his battle against the sea monsters was what finally inspired me do to this piece:

'Fate saves the living when they drive away death by themselves! Lucky or not, nine was the number of sea-huge monsters I killed. What a man, anywhere under heaven's high arch, has fought in such darkness, endured more misery or been harder pressed?' (Beowulf)
Besides, I love working on figures where the anatomy is the main feature, and Beowulf was an ideal character for that reason.

3dt: What software did you use and do you have any tips for using this software, or any other software that you use to create your art in general?
DB: The software that I used to create this piece was mainly ZBrush for the entirely modeling process, but also 3ds Max and V-Ray for rendering and Photoshop for composition. Here you have some tips that work for me:

Always use references. No matter what software you use, keep references at hand. That will help you achieve more credible creations.

Have deep knowledge of proportions and anatomy. Knowing the correct proportions, skeleton and muscles gives you a very important tool for creating natural and dynamic poses.

Know the possibilities of your software. If you combine the correct tools and methods, you will achieve better results without losing your time.

Keep your scenes clean and tidy. Naming the objects that you have in a scene will optimize your workflow and will help you work with other people as well. Be neat!

3dt: Would you consider yourself to have a particular signature style, or techniques that you use often?
DB: I usually use one technique that I happened to call be your character! Seriously, this can sound a bit crazy, but it works for me. What I do for my artworks is to act as if I were the character, trying different poses and taking photos of myself from different angles until I finally find the pose that I want. Then, I use the Mannequin tool of ZBrush (preassembled character with ZSpheres, with correct human proportions). Thus, using the Rotation tool, I manage to put my character in a pose in a quickly and simple way, adjusting and refining it to my liking. After this, I put the characters basemesh previously created in 3ds Max over the mannequin, and using the Transpose tool, I copy the same pose. The use of the mannequin is a quick and effective way to test poses using only the Rotation tool.

3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?
DB: Three years ago, Id have answered ZBrush, haha! Nowadays, Id like to learn Maya because of its physics engine, hair and clothes simulation among others. Another software that Id really like to learn is NUKE, an amazing post-production tool.

3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
DB: Well, Im my opinion, this is a difficult task to do but, at the same time, its one of the most important things for an artist. I always try to do something that I really like and enjoy because I am not always lucky enough to work on profitable and nice projects at the same time. Thats why I use part of my free time to work with all my passion on personal projects such as Beowulf.

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
DB: Beginning with traditional artists, I love classical sculptors like Michelangelo, Bernini and Rodin, among others. And why is very simple. They were geniuses. With a very limited amount of tools in comparison to the ones we have available nowadays, they managed to create impressive pieces of art that remain unsurpassed throughout the centuries. As regards contemporary traditional artists, my favorite ones are Martín Canale, Simon Lee, Trevor Grove and Adam Beane among others.

In connection with the digital ones, I have a lots but I choose Martín Canale again, Scott Eaton, Ryan Kingslie and Rafael Grassetti. And the reason for my choices is obvious, just take a look at their works and you will see.

3dt: How do you like to unwind after a hard day's (or night's) work?
DB: Working as a 3D artist, you never have the possibility to unwind. Haha, just kidding! While working, I like taking a few breaks to play with my two dogs and have a little walk. After a hard days work, I usually go out with my wife. I like eating out and going to the cinema. And obviously, I play videogames!

3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
DB: I love powerful characters like Marvels, DCs and other superheroes. So, my next personal pieces will probably be dioramas like Beowulf, that will show these characters in dramatic scenarios, and with those expressive and dynamic poss that I love and enjoy to do.

Soccer player for a History Channel documentary, <em>Gladiators of Soccer</em>

Soccer player for a History Channel documentary, Gladiators of Soccer

3dt: If you could choose any superhero power, what would you take?
DB: This is a difficult question, cause I love superhero powers but if I had to choose just one, Id definitely choose flying at the speed of light, like Superman. Just imagine, no more traffic jams, no more bus or plane tickets, no more late arrivals and whats best, Id be able to visit any place in the world...

Work done for AXN <em>Criminal Mind</em> series

Work done for AXN Criminal Mind series

Related links

Beowulf earned 941 points in July's gallery
Visit Daniel's website for more
Try our ZBrush eBooks for more help and advice

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