Saturday, September 12, 2009

Owen Demers

Owen Demers graduated from ACAD in 1983, then called ACA. Currently he works as a visual effects artist in the film industry on films such as this summers G-Force as well as Watchmen, Monster House, and the Matrix sequels among others. He has also written the industry standard book "Digital Texturing and Painting".

I was introduced to Owen Demers work when a fellow classmate of his was visiting the art college. It was during one of those where are they now conversations. It's always fascinating where people end up after art school. In Owens case, initially it may not seem that far away, he is very much in the arts. But, when you start looking in more detail, he has travelled a long and fascinating journey in his impressive career.

Below is a portion of Owens biography taken from a show in 2008 titled "Visual Amalgam Show, A Film Industry Artist Gallery Event"
About Owen Demers:
I grew up in Calgary, Canada and attended the Alberta College of Art and Design. There I studied painting, printmaking, graphic design and illustration, obtaining a BFA. Since then I have explored a myriad of mediums and messages through theater, performance art, film, graphic design, freelance illustration, CD Rom games, writing and music…(see above note about distractions). I now find myself in the film industry as a senior painter working on projects such as the Matrix Sequels, Constantine, Monster House, Beowulf, Eagle Eye and presently, Watchmen, to name a few.
When I am not painting I am usually reading or drawing in my favorite cafe, playing guitar or fast asleep on my couch in a pile of candy while the TV flickers light across my head.

Beyond his impressive body of work, Owen Demers is highly regarded as an educator through his influential book "Digital Texture and Painting". Below is a description of the book from Amazon.

This book takes you outside the studio and walks you through the museum of life. This full color book combines traditional texture creation principles with digital texturing techniques to enhance your scenes and animations. In the first half of the book, you will learn about the history of textures in fine art and in the second half, how to apply these principles to your 2D and 3D digital scenes.

If you are involved in the world of 3D in any way—or even if you're simply a student of art and design theory—please take a look at this book. It's an amazing piece of work, exploring the theory and practice of applying texturing maps and paint effects to models and scenes. Yet somehow that doesn't do the book justice, possibly because author Owen Demers grounds his discussion in such solid fundamental ground that the book comes off as equal parts museum catalog, art school text, and industry profile. Face it, most 3D students and professionals have limited skill sets in art theory; yet these people are expected to turn out ever-higher quality work to keep up with audience expectations. We're beyond the days of dancing gasoline pumps... the release of Final Fantasy signals a new benchmark for mass-audience expectations of realistic quality in 3D. Want to know how to do this stuff right? Check out [digital] Texturing & Painting. Each edition of the New Riders [digital] series addresses a distinct discipline: Character Animation; Lighting & Rendering; and now Texturing & Painting (editions on modeling, compositing, and more are in development). What makes Owen Demers such an expert? He's the guy behind the incredible surface texturing in Bingo, the proof-of-concept digital short made with Alias|Wavefront's Maya when it first released. I still remember people walking out of the theatre at SIGGRAPH shaking their heads in disbelief after seeing the hair, the pores on the skin of the characters... "How did they DO that?" Owen teaches you what you need to know before you fire up your software.

This is a link to an excerpt from his book found on the IT University of Copenhagen website:
Philosophy of Color

Here is his Owens full film credits at IMBD:

This is the Amazon page for his book:
Digital Painting and Texture by Owen Demers

View the entire biography and his artist statement at the website for the Visual Amalgam show here:

And last but not least, here is a link to his website: