April 2, 2010

By Belinda Chun

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Ray Caesar

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The Process – Ray Caesar


My work is entirely digital, from its creation to its method of printing. I create models in a three dimensional modeling software and cover these models with painted and manipulated photographic textures that wrap around them like a map on a globe. Each model is then set up with a invisible skeleton that allows me to pose and position the figure in its three dimensional environment. Digital lights and cameras are added with shadows and reflections simulating that of a real world.

First the models are sculpted similar to pushing and pulling the surface of a piece of clay. I am often reminded of being in preschool with my huge chunk of plasticene. I once modeled a plasticene shoe but my father forbade me to wear it in public. I then create an inner structure of joints similar to a skeleton that allows me to pose the figure with a spine, shoulders, elbows and even finger joints. Many heads are modeled with many a different expression and these can be blended to create a subtle look similar to the one my wife has when I have done something suspicious.

I color the models first in a very simple way, then each surface in the model is wrapped with a texture that may be painted digitally such as a flower petal or from a digital photograph such as a wood surface. I collect textures the way some people collect little silver spoons and I have a story about each texture in my collection such as the one about my father’s hip operation scar or the picture I convinced my gastroenterologist to give me of the inside of my colon. My favorite textures to collect are skin textures, as I have a legitimate excuse to ask people to expose large areas of bare skin.

Lights are introduced with casting shadows and cameras with all the properties of real world cameras can be set up and positioned. Atmosphere and fog fill the environment. Grass is grown, leaves sprout from the limbs of trees.