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By Design

It seems as if every 3D artist is a lonely nerd from Erik Lavoie's home province (Quebec). Why is that?
December 1, 2003, 12:00am

It seems as if every 3D artist is a lonely nerd from Erik Lavoie’s home province (Quebec). Why is that? Why are they cheesier than a Belgian croque monsieur? What horrid loser-fication happens between 2 and 3 Ds? If you’ve spent any time online looking at this stuff, then you know what I’m talking about. If not, put on a bib to catch your vomit and go to right now.

OK, you back? How about that shit? I have a theory why 3D stuff sucks. I think it’s because of the complexity and the cost of doing it. The standard for 3D design is a program called Maya (which is roughly ten times the size of Photoshop, and until three years ago, cost up to 25 times more). This makes it inaccessible to people who traditionally learned media programs by toying around with pirate copies they got from friends (evil!). Expecting to get results goofing around with an appzilla like Maya is about as frustrating as arguing with your baby sister about quantum physics, and even less rewarding. This program can be understood by only the most psychotic, antisocial computer geeks. Guys who grew up on Unix, Heavy Metal magazine, and bloodthirstily violent masturbation.


Still, there is something fascinating about the work of these recluses and misfits, so once you’ve finished washing your brain, please join me in taking a look at some of the dominant themes that exist in the lonesome third dimension.

Hyperrealism: “Welcome to Jupiter. Perrier, sir?”

What makes rendering a regular dad-like man in a sweater worthy of countless hours of meticulous polygonal sculpting? Sure, it’s a great challenge. But go easy on the details, guy. Everything is dripping with mirrors, lights, soft shadows, reflective water, and depth of field. Even when they do landscapes, it’s like Mother Nature with the “fucking weird” dial cranked up to 10.

The Favorite Celebrity: Grown people loving grown people.

I’m sure Alfred Hitchcock would be pleased that you immortalized him passed out in front of multicolored Chinese windows with his polygonal head outlined for poignant emphasis. Hold on, I think I hear Marshall McLuhan laughing his ass off from the fourth dimension.

The Nude, and General Perversions: If you can’t meet ’em, make ’em.

Almost too easy to ridicule. Seven-titted Amazonian babes atop Moogoo beasts, a perkier Xena, genuine attempts at “figure studies.” I’d have done a survey of to see what the ratio of men to women doing 3D is, but they all have inscrutable names like KarmyZ, Meats, and François. Nevertheless, I think it’s safe to assume that the third dimension is pretty much a sausage party.


He is the Rosetta Stone of 3-D graphics. His stuff is also incredibly gay, so things done in 3-D that are inspired by him are just gay in 3-D.


Characters: Be-dee-be-dee-be-dee-be-dee-be—punch me in the face!

Imagine a world where Jar Jar is the cool guy. A place where Bilbo and Gollum (the cheesy cartoon versions, even) are Biggie and Puffy. These guys remind me of that end scene from Deconstructing Harry where all of Woody Allen’s fictional characters stand around applauding him. In some cathartic dream, our 3D artist has his version of the same thing: Surrounded by the surrealistically shiny marble pillars, a slow-motion Foibblöki puts all of his eight hands together atop the sound of a traditional appreciation snort of a Toabli clansman. Little green men throw the peace sign while a gaggle of topless centaurs modeled on Susie from Finite Calc. whinny loving cheers for the man who gave them life.

Dude. Wake up.


All images courtesy, except that hilarious one with the glass.