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Slush Exclusive:
John Byrne In 3D
By Brian Jacks (with John Byrne)


John Byrne is one of the industry's must accomplished creators. Having illustrated such books as X-Men, Wonder Woman, Superman, Fantastic Four, Avengers, and literally dozens of others, he is recognized worldwide as one of the greats.

But while John is known as a master of the pencil, lesser known is his extraordinary talent with the computer. Using such tools as Strata3D, John Byrne has been on the forefront of computer art, having garnered both acclaim and awards for his ability to create and blend life-like computer art with traditional penciling.

Most of the public has never seen this side of John, but today, for our viewing public, he has agreed not only to display it here, but to also provide running commentary for each piece. Read along as John Byrne talks about the background of the art, as well as what tools were used and other bits of entertaining, and informative, information.

Note: the graphics below are compressed and cropped to ensure quicker loading. Be sure to click on each picture to see the art in their full glory.

Without further ado, Slush now presents John Byrne In 3D.

Article continued below advertisement


"JB: On a more or less monthly basis, Michael Luscombe, who runs the StrataCafe site, posts a "Challenge" to those of use who upload our models. In this case, the challenge was to come up with one of those man-powered flying machines that were all the rage with wouldbe aviators before people quite figured out how to make it work. This was my entry [and the winner - Ed.]."


"JB: This was the first time I tried to make a convincing superhero using a combination of Strata and Poser. Had to pick Batman, of course! Couldn't pick somebody who, you know, didn't wear a cape! Still -- all things considered, it came out better than I might have hoped. Even the cape."


"JB: After I did Batman I wondered about someone with an even more elaborate cape, something really swirling and full, and I thought of the Vision. One thing led to another, and pretty soon I had three Avengers on the set. The last thing I did was a test to see if I could make the Vision figure fade into transparency."


"JB: One of the hardest things to model is what I call 'biologicals,' a rather sloppy term I use to encompass anything that isn't entirely mechanical or architectural. This guy started as an experiment to model a face, and mutated into this."


"JB: Strata (and presumably other modelers) allows the conversion of objects into Bezier forms. This is a sculpting method that allows fine adjustments to be made the surface of an object. In this case, the explosion is a Bezier form to which I also applied a surface map that bent the thing even more out of shape, and then some transparencies and a couple of 'lightbulbs.' Makes for a very effective BOOM, I think!"


"JB: Most of my models begin as 3D doodles. This one was no exception. Playing with those Bezier forms I mentioned in my comments about 'Deep Space Disaster,' I came up with something that made me think of an elaborately carved spindle for some kind of Viking staircase. One thing led to another, and..."


"JB: The robot already existed, built about a year ago when I was really getting into the sculpting of Bezier forms. When I decided to try building some real action scenes with the Poser figures, I "painted" him gold and let him loose against Green Lantern. The glow effects were added in Photoshop."

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