Rian, or as she is better known on Renderosity, Pepsel, is a wonderful artist who creates both in and outside of the digital realm. When she is not creating gorgeous portraits and poses in DAZ|Studio, she is adding her special touch to furniture and found objects in beautifully unique style. Though Rian's been a member on Renderosity since 2012, I only just recently delved into her wonderful gallery and had to reach out to find out a bit more about her.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Who is Pepsel?
I am Rian Bergwerff, 57 years old, married, no children...and two Guinea pigs as pets. My nickname Pepsel was the name of one of my Guinea pigs we had some years ago.
How did you become interested in digital art?
I became interested in digital art a long time ago… When I was young, I loved to draw, horses and dogs, and female characters. My father also liked to draw, and he learned how to get the right proportions on horses (I was a real horse girl). I also liked making clay figures, horses of course, but also other animals. My parents still have a clay fish in their living room.
When I started to work, a colleague pointed me to a program with which you could make scenes yourself with photos: Photoshop. A whole new world of possibilities opened up for me. I could make beautiful scenes myself! After enjoying Photoshop for a while, I also saw work on Deviantart that was made with a totally unknown program at the time: Daz|Studio.
Curious, I went looking for more information on the internet and came across the official site of that program, and saw you could download and use it for free! That's interesting! So I started working with Daz, read a lot on the forum, and watched tutorials on the internet/YouTube, and learned a lot from it. The content makes as much as possible, and of course your own fantasy to be able to perform the scene you have in mind with Daz.
You've been a member of Renderosity for quite some time and have a great assortment of images in your gallery. How has your experience been in the Renderosity Community?
My experiences with renderosity have always been positive. It is a nice community, which offers a lot in terms of content, and the people are also very nice and friendly. Good vendors, and also a nice offer with different types of content.
The image that first pulled me into your work is your latest piece "Big Smile," as I love black and white portraits. The realism, especially in her smile is incredible. Can you tell us a bit about how you achieved this?
I'm on Daz almost every day. It is my moment of relaxation. It is not that I always want to make a scene or portrait, but I am also often involved in learning processes: what does texture look like when i use this or this light, or should i grab another combination? I also love making morphs for faces. Poses can also take quite some time, although that is less for portraits of course. And I also practice with dForce.
The Daz program still has so much to offer, and I still have so much to discover. “Big Smile” was also started in this way, as a test for myself to get a natural smile, and the result was so beautiful that it was further processed to become a real render. So, I added light, hair, clothes, and voilà, a new render was there.
As you post in the Daz|Studio gallery, I assume this is the main software you use. Do you utilize any other software for postwork?
Yes, Daz is the program I use to make the renders. I also used the Reality plug-in for a while, and thought it was a really nice program, because I wanted to make more realistic renders already, and this program was ideal for that and also gave that realistic effect.
Unfortunately, my laptop was getting slower and slower, and I really needed a new one. So, when I finally got another laptop, I was able to upgrade to Daz 4.10 right away. And then I could start working with Iray for the first time, because it wasn’t available in version 4.6, the version I worked with at that time. And immediately I found Iray very pleasant to work with, and gave great results (however, I don’t have a nVidia video card, so my renders still take longer to render, but quicker than with Reality, so for me it was a step forward). I'm still working with version 4.10, although there have been several upgrades since then. I still feel comfortable with this version.
Do you dabble in other software or art forms? Any traditional art experience?
At the moment, I am also working with molds and clay to refurbish cupboards, candlesticks and chests, and make them look old/vintage, or colorful with painting and decoupage. I love doing this. To make a second-hand cabinet completely different, and give it a second life... Unfortunately, I can't put all these refurbished things in my house for myself, but family and friends are happy with them, and I can even give them as presents.
Here are some pictures of little projects I have done. I use molds for clay that were originally for making soap or chocolate figures. The molds are made from silicone.
For example (pictured above), I have that baroque candlestick and a bell jar. They matched right up at the top. I thought it would look funny and original together, so glued them together. Molds were used to make the case fit, so you cannot see where the jar was glued to the candlestick, and then painted to get an old look. This way you can make original things from old stuff! I know, it can be over the top, and very kitch, but I love it.
|The transformation of a cabinet...|
I especially love your close portraits in your gallery. Some favorites of mine are: "Green Eyes", "Young Queen", "Staring...", "Brianne", and "Roses." But, what do you feel is your best work, and why?
Thank you for the nice compliment! I myself also like the renders in that list. Often the last render made is the favorite at that time. But when I go through the gallery and look at what I have made in recent years, there are several that I am very satisfied with, and can say that they belong to my top favorites.
From the most recent, the work "Sofa2" I like very much. I like the textures, the light is nice and soft, and really gives that painterly feeling, which I had in mind. Another big favorite is "Fairy and butterfly." I thought the face morph turned out so well, so sweet, and her expression, too. I made this one using an existing painting as a reference, which I saw on the internet. But, there are many more I like very much, and it's difficult to make a choice.
Your use of lighting works really well. Do you have a process that works for you, and are there any tips you can share about your work?
When I worked with Reality, I always used a HDRI, and that is what I do now with Iray to. It adds just that little more to a scene. Sometimes I combine it with other light sources, such as point light, or distant light. I love the lights from Fabiana, they work so good, and I use them often.
I love to play with the lights, the values of the lights, and colors. It can make a scene look totally different. Light can make or break a scene, which is why adding light is the most time consuming for me, because if it's not right, you will not see the best of your textures.
And the position of the lights is also important, turning a light, adding one or two more, or less, trying different hdri, it can all make a big effect on the end result of your render. And test renders... Oh my, those test renders, so many! But, when I finally have the result I was searching for, it was worth all the frustration and time.
Who or what inspires you?
I can get a lot of inspiration from photos, paintings, films... In fact, inspiration can be found everywhere, if you just look around you. An expression or feeling can already trigger something to do something with it. Paintings are currently a great inspiration for me. Vermeer, with his beautiful use of light and colour, just like Rembrandt, great artists! John William Godhard, love his paintings, so colorfull! And also John William Waterhouse makes gorgeous and mysterious scenes.
What do you enjoy outside of creating art?
I like to read and binge series. For the rest, there is, of course, the garden where we like to sit, and enjoy the birds that come there, and take care of the plants that are there.
|Fairy and Butterfly||Young Queen|
Do you have any advice for other artists?
When you start with Daz (actually, any new program you've never worked with) it can be exciting and overwhelming. But there are many tutorials to be found, and also people on the forums who are happy to help you, just ask. They also had to learn it all from scratch, so there are no silly, or weird, questions.
And if you want to experience the great adventure Daz gives, a big world will open up to you. Embrace it, and just get on with it. Try something simple, and render... Try some more, play with light, and render... Add some props, try poses, and render... And before you know it, your first official render is made and you cannot stop working with it, and you’re gonna love it just as much as I do!
Nick C Sorbin (Nick Charles) is a former Managing Editor of 9 years for Renderosity's CG Industry News. By day, a mild-mannered Certified Pharmacy Technician working in both home infusion and a hospital ER, contrasting creative outlets as a digital artist, sculptor, musician, singer/songwriter, and Staff Writer for Renderosity Magazine. Read his articles