Who are you, and what do you do?
Hello, my name is Auriea. I make interactive art and design, mostly in collaboration with my husband Michael: on websites as Entropy8Zuper! and on video games and other projects as Tale of Tales. We have a studio in Ghent, Belgium where we live and work. I personally am more on the visual side and consider myself to be foremost a 3D artist. But I draw quite a lot too, and that's a real passion.
What hardware do you use?
What I like most is my everyday kit, which is the stuff I have in my bag almost constantly. I consider this to be my 'portable studio' equipment, so even if I'm travelling I could make a masterpiece if I'm feeling it. This consists of:
A sketchbook, the most important thing. I've kept sketchbooks since I was 13, so I've got this wonderful library of my life and each book is made in a different way, given my skills and interests at any given point. These days, they are usually about the size of a Moleskine, but since I make them myself it's filled with whatever paper I fancy at the time, plus extra sheets if I'm going someplace specifically to draw. And I have a really nice leather book protector cover that can also hold pencils and pens that I found at Sennelier in Paris. I never go anywhere without at least one sketchbook.
There is a baffling array of pens, pencils, waterbrushes, old Altoids or Partagas cigarillo tins filled with halfpans of watercolors, Pentel ink brush pens, Artgraf water-soluble graphite sticks, Generals charcoal and chalk pencils, Silverpoint styli (no joke), sandpaper, x-acto knife, KUM long-point pencil sharpener, Faber-Castell colored pencils.. whatever(!) I can stuff into the oversize pencil case which always threatens to leak substances into the bottom of my bag.
My iPhone 5c. It's a pink one with a black case, and is my first real smartphone (because I was never really into the idea of 'mobile phones'). But it's kind of changed my life. I take photos of everything, having given up on "real" photography years ago - the my phone is my camera and I find myself using it all the time. I also like being able to jot down my ideas and have them sync to all my computers.
So ditto my iPad Mini. The 1st gen one, which I'm so glad I got because it's black and they no longer have the good sense to offer them in that color anymore. I recently got a Quirky Web Case. I store a very small Moleskine notebook with a clip-on pen I found at a great little stationary shop in Carrousel du Louvre called Delfonics (recommended) and an iPad stylus (a Wacom Creative Stylus 1) on the back of the thing.
I like to record sounds around me, I find its as evocative as a photograph, so for that I have a RØDE i-XY microphone I plug into my phone. I'm a multimedia person, so making notes with my camera and microphone has become a wonderful part of my life.
A maxed-out 11" MacBook Air that I love. Seriously, it's the best laptop I've ever had, and I have had many of them. Hall of Fame. It may not have a graphics card, but it makes up for that failing by being so light that I can take it with me anywhere. It runs Blender 3D and ZBrush if I'm not working too high rez. I can do anything else I need to with it. I put a matte black opaque Speck case on it because I'm not too fond of that Apple logo.
For work in the Studio I have a 27" iMac on a Ergotron arm so I can swivel it any way I like. A Wacom Cintiq Companion Hybrid that I hook up to it if I'm doing more precision work. But mostly I'm using the mighty and huge Wacom Intuos Pro Large - I actually like the mouse it comes with. I have several Wacom pens but I especially like the Art Pen because it has rotation as well as tilt. And when you have different pens, you can set them up in Corel Painter to each be a different material, and make a different mark.
Oh, and I guess I like my scanner - it's an Epson Perfection V500 Photo, so I can scan all those old photo negatives I have from the past.. which I do look at when feeling nostalgic.
And what software?
- The usual suspects: Photoshop, Safari, etc. boring.
- I use Fission and Sound Studio for audio editing.
- I like the Procreate painting app on iPad.
- Autodesk 123D Catch for quick 3D captures on my phone. When I get home I download the source photos and use a program called PhotoScan to stitch the pictures into more detailed 3D models if I want a different result. Photogrammetry is surprisingly simple and very fun.
- One of my favorite programs for playing with software ideas is Max/MSP/Jitter. Visual programming is the best! There should be more of this paradigm.
- For 3D I absolutely love Blender, because it's so lightweight and keeps getting better with each new release. I've used it almost my entire career, so I've grown along with it. I use ZBrush, though it drives me crazy.. it's amazing software.
- I have no idea how I managed before Evernote, Dropbox and Things. I shudder to think what my life would be like without them. Add to that the stock OS X Calendar (with alarms!) and Mail – there's my portable brain. I have them synced and ready. I need them to be there, or all is lost.
- Oddmuse Wiki, created by Alex Schröder. I have used this wiki script for many, many years for all kinds of purposes. It's simple and flexible. Easy to program for if you need to alter or expand it.
- But let's not play, sometimes I gotta FTP so I'm all about Panic's Transmit. For some reason I started using MacRabbit's Espresso for HTML and I still think it's great for its CSS editor. But TextWrangler is great for HTML too - no fuss, no bells, no whistles.
- I have some time-management issues :> So I use Pomodoro Timer if I need a procrastination-free day.
- I have Twitter (@auriea) instead of a real social life. Tweetbot, over the stock Twitter app.
What would be your dream setup?
I most wish I could have a small laptop like the Air but with a monster graphics card inside, a touchscreen with pressure sensitive pen input and a built-in high-quality video projector so I could work seriously on 3D anywhere. I'd like a 3D printer in our studio that outputs to wax, plaster, marble and bronze.