Featured 3D Artist of May 2006 – Ralph Manis

Below you can read the interview with the 3D Valley Featured Artist of May 2006. Ralph Manis is a professional freelance painter, digital 3D & graphic artist. He is specialized in many disciplines of art and uses pencil, paint, pen & ink, and 3D graphics to create his art. Personally I think his portraits of Rock & Roll legends are the best I ever seen.

3DValley Featured 3D Artist of May 2006 – Ralph Manis. Ralph is a professional freelance painter, digital 3D & graphic artist. He is specialized in many disciplines of art and uses pencil, paint, pen & ink, and 3D graphics to create his art. Personally I think his portraits of Rock & Roll legends are the best I ever seen. Please read our interview with him below to get to know him and his art a bit better.

Gallery album of Ralph Manis
Website of Ralph Manis

Can you tell us a bit about yourself: Who are you and what do you do in your daily life?

Ralph: I have been an artist all of my life. I live in the beach resort town of Rehoboth beach, Delaware with my wife Ellen, five cats and our dog Sadie in our ocean front home with the Dolphins and Sea Turtles. I spend my days creating digital art and Websites for people from all over the world. I am usually at my four computers 14-16 hours a day and the work just never ends. In my spare time I love to work in our gardens and create 3D art with Maya and Photoshop.

When did you first notice you had artistic talent?

Ralph: When I was four years old I mad a sculpture of a pink and purple Elephant that won an award and was displayed in the Chicago Museum of Art. At that point I think is when I started and never stopped.

Do you have traditional art experience?

Ralph: Experience? Yes. Training? No. I am a self taught artist although I did apply and was accepted into Cooper Union, Purchase, Parsons and a few other fine art schools. Before I purchased my first computer I had been painting and printing silk-screen art for thirty years.

Carlos Santana Princess

Which software packages do you use for your artwork?

Ralph: My favorite is Maya. Although it is very complicated, it is the most versatile and has the most capabilities of any 3D animation software package on the market today. I still like to use Bryce for quick and simple creations and renders. And of course Photoshop. Where would we be without Photoshop?

Can you tell us a bit of the way you work on your art?

Ralph: The first stage is the concept, which is of course the most difficult. But, once I have an idea of how I want a particular image to look, I usually start with the main character or subject matter and then just do whatever comes to mind at the time. Very freestyle go with the flow kind of working.

Lynn’s Patio Love gun

What and/or who inspires you?

Ralph: Just about anything can inspire me at different times. I usually just get an idea that pops into my head and take it from there.

Do you have a favorite piece of your own artwork and if so, why?

Ralph: If I had to pick just one as a favorite it would have to be the “Girl on a Cliff” because of the tranquil yet precarious danger of sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking a beautiful mountainous valley, waterfall and rainbow filled sunset.

Girl on a Cliff

What is your goal as an artist?

Ralph: To learn and share knowledge as much as possible and create as much as possible before I go blind staring at art.

Besides 3D Valley, which other CG sites do you visit regularly?

Ralph: I spend a lot of time absorbing info at: Highend3D.com, CGChannel.com, CGSociety.org, 3DBuzz.com, 3DCommune.com and Renderosity.com.

Space maiden Britannia 55 BC

Do you have any tips for the artists who admire your work?

Ralph: Do every tutorial that you can find and never stop learning new tricks. I highly recommend that every artist at sometime in there artistic endeavors take a live figure drawing class. Just you, the model, a pencil and a pad of paper will teach you more about all aspects of art than any other practice!

How many years are you working in the art/ CG industry?

Ralph: I have been a professional artist for 38 years and have been working in the computer graphics industry for the past eight years.

You have worked with many famous musicians on designing projects. Do you have a favorite project and if so why?

Ralph: I would have to say that working with Bill Graham Presents in general was a highlight in my life due to the exposure of the music business as well as some of the world greatest musicians. Besides that, I did enjoy creating the tour shirt for Jerry Garcia back in 1991. It was a very different design for me to create.

Jerry Garcia Band

Which area of your work do you enjoy the most?

Ralph: Definitely 3D modeling, animation and special effect! There are just no limits to what can be done these days and the possibilities are expanding every day. I only wish I had more time to educate myself more on the depths of animation. It is very time consuming.

Is there any personal or work related project you are working on right know which you can share with us?

Ralph: I am always working on about ten projects at a time with a lot of them being websites for artists, musicians and businesses of all kinds. I just finished one of my favorite 3D works. A 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 428 Super CobraJet. And a Website for my dear old friend Désirée.

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1
428 Super CobraJet

Your online gallery shows you use different kind of tools to create your art with. You use pencil, paint, pen & ink, 3D graphics. Do you prefer one above the other?

Ralph: I do love creating 3D and CG artwork the most these days but, I really love the capabilities and fell of using a pencil and smudging for shading. I have a passion for photorealism and with pencil you are creating and shading on a very personal and natural plain. With 3D and computer graphics programs you are creating on a very realistic visual level and in color.

Your image Angie is famous among the web. Why do you think people find her so attractive?

Ralph: I think it has a lot to do with the expression in her face. The gritting of the teeth, extension of her lower lip and raised eyebrow give her a much more realistic feel than the 3D models and images that have mirrored construction of one side of the face.


You do a lot of different things. You create Fantasy art, Sci-Fi art, Erotic art, Rock & Roll portraits, and more. How would you describe your art/ style?

Ralph: I think you just did. Much of my early work has a lot what I call inner space in it which is a combination of outer (solar systems) space and inner (human micro biological) space. So I guess you could call it a kind of Cosmic, Surreal Photorealism with a splash of Sex that Rocks!

If we would follow you for one day on your work, what would we see and/ or learn?

Ralph: You would see a very mellow madman sitting in front of a computer working at hyper speeds using every trick in the book to get the job done and you would learn to keep your cool when traveling at hyper speed or you will crash and burn!

When you are not working or creating something what do you do?

Ralph: I love gardening, planting flowers mostly, we have extensive gardens at both our country home and beach house. Going to concerts and local live music events, having dinner with friends (we have a lot of gourmet restaurants around here), walking on the beach with my wife and throwing ball with my dog.

Christa: Thanks for the interview Ralph!

Gallery album of Ralph Manis
Website of Ralph Manis

Interviews with other artists

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