Outrageous. Clean. Real.
“I strive to make every product look as real and believable as possible, which comes down to the details. Details make a product feel real and distract from obviously appearing ‘3D,’ and are a way of pushing your skills and artistic eye to their limits. I am always drawn to other artists who do the same, and to works that push those boundaries to new levels. When I see something I like, I study it to deconstruct how the artist got it to look that good.”
Herschel Hoffmeyer’s work can often be described as a creature feature. But these creatures are… different. They’re astoundingly photo-realistic, impeccably rigged and often come with a dazzling array of colors, additional materials and textures for customization, and hand-crafted poses.
These products are ready-made for the dinosaur enthusiast, and come with everything a 3D artist needs to make sensational prehistoric renders. This attention to detail goes past dinosaurs, too — Herschel Hoffmeyer’s Daz Store also features Characters, Outfits, Environments, and more.
We sat down with the up-and-coming Published Artist to get a better understanding of how and why he creates the amazing 3D Models he does.
Herschel, thanks for joining us!
Thank you for having me.
First things first, it’s pretty safe to say that dinosaurs fit into a category of things that both adults and kids find awesome. Did you want to be an artist when you were younger?
As a kid I was always into drawing science fiction and dinosaurs. I was known for being the artist at school, and even sold drawings to other kids for a little change. My dad would take me to the library to make copies of my drawings to sell. I had a lot of fun drawing as a kid. I always wanted to have a career as an artist, but didn’t know how to make that possible.
You made it work, though! How did you end up in design, art, and 3D modeling?
After serving in the military, I made use of my college aid and went to college to study game art and design. My passion for art reignited like an inferno — I was ready to learn with all cylinders fired up! From that point on, I knew I was where I was supposed to be. It didn’t take long for me to find my own path, and after just two years of college I stopped attending, so I could invest and focus all my time and effort into blazing my own trail.
Sounds like your expertise has been mostly self-directed. What challenges have you had to overcome as you’ve developed as a 3D artist, especially teaching yourself?
I think optimizing your product and taking advantage of the right tools for creating content in Daz has been the biggest challenge. Though it has tons of functionality, Daz doesn’t have the same streamlined learning resources out there for artists to take advantage of: to learn about Studio, you have to know what you’re trying to learn and then you have to go searching for that exact thing. I love the Daz software, but learning new things can sometimes be difficult.
It definitely can. What’s been the most difficult thing you’ve discovered about designing 3D models?
Getting it to behave correctly in Daz, lol. It’s easy creating a static model that truly never gets tested outside of its basic pose. Daz will test all your models to their full potential, and they have to look good in each iteration. Much of that stuff is swept under the rug in video games as they don’t expect that much attention to detail from their player base. If something doesn’t look right in Daz, someone will let you know!
What’s the product you had the most fun creating, and why?
To date, “Mystique 2” was, without a doubt, the most fun — I spent as much time learning as I did creating with this product. I had to learn RizomUV, a whole new UV mapping software, just to get the UV maps exactly how I wanted (example: the seamless texture pattern blending on the stockings and pantyhose).
I learned how to do HD morphs to get detailed micro-pressure out of the Genesis 8 Female model, and developed complex joint corrective morphs so users can get the exact look they want. There’s quite a few other small things I learned over the 3 months it took to develop “Mystique 2” to get the look I wanted, and it was a blast! Quality over quantity is a principle I live by, and I’m proud of how this one turned out.
Where else can we see what you’re working on?
All over, really! Before Daz, I steadily submitted artwork to shutterstock, many of which were rendered in Studio! On shutterstock, you don’t get to see who purchases licenses for your work, so you don’t really ever know who’s using your stuff and for what. If you search for “rex” on shutterstock, the second image to pop up is mine, as well as many of the ones that follow. I’ve seen my stuff on Shark Week, toy boxes, TV boxes in popular chain stores, DVD covers, ads on websites, in kid’s books at my kids’ book fair, and many other places. It is so cool, and very exciting, to discover your work among these things when you don’t know beforehand.
I purchased “The Jurassic Games” not too long ago from a national chain store because they used my art for the DVD cover. I wouldn’t bother, but my wife told an employee that the artwork on the cover was mine and they just gave us that look, like “uh yeah… sure.” A few months later a 65″ inch TV box has my Rex on it! Employees and customers were giving me an odd look when I was taking a picture of the tv box and all I can think was, “I would tell you why, but you wouldn’t believe me…”
I also share my artwork on a couple of more sites and I post weekly blog updates on Artstation to keep my closer fans up to date on what is happening behind the scenes. You can check me or my work out at Daz 3D, Shutterstock, and Artstation.
That’s awesome, Herschel! One last question: what can the Daz community expect from you in the future?
Oh boy! My library is still pretty small compared to many veterans at Daz. I’ve been creating content for Daz for three years now, and this party is only getting started. There are SOOO many products I want to produce for the Daz community but time is always against me… where I go from here all depends on what the community votes on. You might even see something entirely new from stuff I did in the past…
We can’t wait. Thanks so much for the interview, Herschel, and we look forward to seeing what you come up with next!
Thank you, the pleasure was mine.
To see more of Herschel Hoffmeyer’s products, make sure to check out his Daz Store for amazing Creatures, Characters, Outfits, Environments and more.