Japanese Inspiration

May 2013 Power Artist Naoya Kurisu brings anime style to life with LightWave 11.5

Posted: Fri 31 May 2013

Based in Nara Prefecture, Japan, award-winning Artist Naoya Kurisu is a freelance “CG Creator” who relies on LightWave to create visually stunning works of art and animation. Before leaving the corporate world behind in 2003 to become a freelance artist, Kurisu’s primary focus was producing CG for architectural engineering firms. Now he focuses on everything from storyboarding to 3D animation for both clients and personal projects. Just one look at Kurisu’s stunning artwork and it’s easy to see why this talented artist was selected as our LightWave Power Artist for May 2013.

Can you describe your career aspirations as a 3D artist or animator?
When I work with clients, I do all the related work necessary to deliver the final 3D CG project—start to finish. For example, I direct, write and create the scenarios, storyboards, models and animation for everything.

Can you tell us about the subjects you feature in your illustrations, such as the young girl or children pictured in many different situations?

I am always focusing on how to create beautiful CG ladies—and using the tools in LightWave to transform those ladies to cute girls. And I am constantly searching for ways to create characters that do not look real but yet maintain a realistic beauty that is somewhat coquettish in appearance.

What inspires you to create 3D?

Using the techniques and features of 3D CG gives me great creative inspiration and expression. 3D solves most of the restrictions that exist in a lot of other physical mediums like painting and sculpture. With 3D CG, I can use the features of LightWave to sculpt, paint and render my 3D models to a create photorealistic anime-style results of my work. I want to create an illusion of reality that can only be expressed with 3D CG.

What LightWave tools, features, or capabilities particularly appeal to you?

VPR (Viewport Preview Renderer) in LightWave is the most helpful tool for me currently—it lets me quickly see how my creation is evolving and materializing onscreen. The implementation of the VPR in LightWave allows me to move my art to an entirely new dimension. I often use the Borderline plug-in by D-Storm when creating characters and was very glad to find this plug-in is supported in VPR.

Can you describe how you use these tools in your creative pipeline— and the steps you take to do your illustrations from concept to finish?

To create still images, I first sketch a layout by hand then create a 3D model based on the sketch. Previously, when I needed to adjust a character’s textures in the illustration style only, I used painting software. But now, thanks to the VPR, I can finish the work in LightWave!

Why do you choose to work with LightWave and how is it beneficial in your work?

The first version of LightWave I used was version 7.5. I was looking for a Mac-based professional CG software and LightWave was one of the programs I investigated.
After testing the trial version of LightWave, I felt it offered the best tools for me when compared to other 3D software programs. LightWave’s fast startup and quick performance helps feed my creativity. For example, when I am inspired, I want to get started right away. If I am waiting on the software when I want to make something, I can easily lose my creative momentum. But with LightWave, I never have to worry about that happening. And the depth of LightWave’s feature sets help me create things I previously thought impossible.

Is all of the work you do “still images” or do you also do 3D animations?

In addition to my art, I have been creating opening title animation for broadcast and the web, as well as character animation for real-time content, too. The breadth of my work is expanding thanks to the power and new features in Lightwave 11.5.

What is the most challenging aspect of creating your art and how do you solve it?

Sometimes when I try to produce a 3D CG image or scene it becomes far different than what I envisioned. When this happens, I often create a hand drawn image of my character or scene with all the necessary elements, composition, character poses and so on. Then I load the image in the background and recreate it in my 3D work space.

Do you use tools like surface textures, lighting, or rendering and if so, how?

I often use 3D-COAT for my texture painting—it is very compatible with with LightWave lwo files. I also sometimes use BodyPaint3D for painting, too. For plug-ins, I frequently use DP_Kit, DP_Filter, db&w Tools and AE Link.

What are your future goals and aspirations for your art?

In the future, I want to create my own 3D CG animated movie, which is why I have been recently focusing on creating animated short films. My goal is to create art (both still and animated) that evokes sympathy and understanding from the viewer.

Some of the many awards Kurisu has received include:
- 2006 Grand Prix at the TSS Short Movie Festival
- 2006 Grand Prix at the AQ Contents Contest
- 2005 Excellent Animation Award at the Tokyo International Anime Fair
- 2005 Won at the 17th DoGA CGA Contest
- 2004 Best Picture Award at the 16th DoGA CGA Contest2004 NHK Digital Stadium Nakaya Selection Award

Visit Naoya Kurisu’s web site at www.hand-to-mouse.jp.