About Me

 

You want to know about me?


If you would like to contact me, please send me a message here.



As for me? Where do I begin?

 

My name is Gary Parkin, and I am married and live in New Jersey, which is in the eastern part of the United States, where you can usually find me spending too much time on my computer, behind my camera, or watching Pixar movies.

 

From the time I saw Star Wars back in the 70's, I have had a love affair with digital special effects and because of the changing technology, and I can now pursue my dream. Working for Industrial Light and Magic was always my dream career, but I'd more then settle for doing architectural camera fly-through animation.


I started my movie making career at age 15 with an old Brownie 8mm movie camera.

It had a thing called stop action photography, and my friends and I made a lot of movies. Stop action graphics were used by Ray Harryhausen, who was probably one of the most influential special effects artists ever. His creations include King Kong, Clash of the Titans, Sinbad, and a ton of movies.
He used a technique called stop motion photography where he had a clay model, photographed it, and then moved it a tiny bit, and photographed it again. He then compiled all his frames into a running movie.
Today, we have a lot of programs that create animation exactly the same way, starting with a large group of pictures.


When I was in my late teens I started messing with computers. I bought a Commodore Vic 20 and connected it to my TV - “What a great machine. 4k ram, I'll never need more then this…”

It also hooked up to my VCR and camera. I used to use type characters to create moving titles for the video stuff I shot.


The cameras back then were cabled to a two part RCA VCR that you had to carry along with you. The camera weighed in at about 5-10 lbs., and the recorder part was heavy too. Because it wrote to a full size video tape, it did not have stop action photography.


Next I purchased a Commodore128 - “What a great machine. 128k ram, I'll never need more then this…”
Got tired of that really quick so I purchased a real IBM PC.

It had no hard drive and only 1 floppy. The floppy was a 5 1/4 inch monster that took up a lot of space. Next was a 286 processor, then a 386 processor, then a 486 processor, then a Pentium I, II, II, VI. Where does it end?
Graphics cards got cheaper too.


I got addicted to video games. Not playing them, but tinkering with them.
I started in 3D graphics back when the DOS version of Castle Wolfenstein was big, back when you had to get your games either shareware or from a BBS.
I built a level editor for it and made additional levels for the game.


Anyone remember DOOM? I built levels (or worlds as they were sometimes called) for DOOM I, DOOM II, Quake I and II, Duke Nukem, Heretic, and Serious Sam, which I won the privilege of having my level added to the game CD.

 

I was going to school for drafting and design at the time so it was easy to create buildings and places.


It seems that Serious Sam has gone "cartoony", but if you are looking to get into this kind of thing, Serious Sam’s world builder is one of the best I have seen. It’s all done in real time with lights, and moving cameras. It was created by Croteam over seas, and it’s as close to a modern day DOOM as you can get.
I may be using the world builder for some backgrounds for my movies. I checked with them and they game me permission.
(Always check with a software vendor before using any game footage for other projects.)

 

I'm also involved with Auran's Trainz Simulator, where I modeled some of the content for their train simulator. I have a web site dedicated to my Trainz models called Gary's Trainz.

 

A while back I purchased a digital video camera and taught myself blue screen compositing techniques.

This is a lot of fun and it's so inexpensive to get started with.

I also mastered a few special effects, but I was looking for something other people did not have.


Maybe a 3D character that I could composite over an existing live film?

While looking for something interesting, I stumbled onto the DAZ3d site while looking for a CGI character for my video production shop. I fell in love with the DAZ characters and what could be done with them.

I bought a program called Poser which allows you to pose and animate the 3D characters. But I really like using DAZ Studio, which give me more flexibility. And you can’t beat the free price.

They start out as a simple mesh or 3D model. You then need a skin or texture as it's called for them to look real. And believe me, they do look real.

Next is clothes. You can't have a bunch of naked, digital people running around unless you're making an animation of a nude beach.

Shoes, clothes, hats, beards, and a lot of other accessories later, you'll have a complete person, right down to his or her toe nails.

 

So what do you do with these digital people?

I created a number of animations from a simple wink of a pretty girl to a gorilla and a tea party. (No, the gorilla doesn't drink tea, it's two separate films).

 

I was also interviewed by Steven Oberbeck of the Salt Lake Tribune for my work in 3D animation. You can read his interview here.

 

I am also fairly skilled in 3DS Max, another really great program, so I am now working on creating models to bring into Poser and DAZ Studio. I still love to tinker.

3ds Max, by Autodesk is wonderful for creating models and animations. Everything from smoke to water can be done.

 

I also purchased Bryce 5, Vue Espirit 5, and Carrara.

 

In my early 30's I worked as an AutoCad draftsman. I got a job with a company that produced refrigerated cases, here in Philadelphia.

I was designing Godiva chocolate stores, and Sears optical departments.

With the advances in CAD, anything is possible.

 

Architect's can now, not only design you a building, but you can see it as a 3D model before the first nail is driven.

Now, that is too cool!

 

That’s about it for me. Now you know my background.

Computer graphics can be a great hobby, and for me, I'm hoping to make it a second career.

 

There are many uses for CGI characters from advertising to children’s programs at Churches and schools.

 


See you next time.

 

~Gary