Art Studio
Issue: Volume: 25 Issue: 12 (Dec 2002)

Art Studio

Hallway Window The extreme contrast between the brightly lit window and the dark hallway draws the viewer's attention to the dark corridor. To achieve this level of color ...contrast, Wessler "bleached out" the areas where sunlight fell on the wall, and added a glossy finish to the walls and radiator.

The Wellington The light patterns on the back wall of this empty restaurant were generated from simulated reflective light. This subtle light show, along with the image's subdued colors, suggest the calmness of an earlier time period.

Tools To convey a wistful mood, the artist showed the effects of encroaching darkness on tools placed against a wall. Wessler employed a combination of raytracing and mapped shadows, which enabled him to achieve the desired level of softness around the shadows' edges.

The digital images created by professional artist Frederick Wessler are often mistaken for photographs. That's because the subject matter of his 3D artwork tends to be "traditionally" realistic, with a meticulous attention to detail and lighting. "My images are created directly from life rather than from my imagination or from photographs," he says.

Wessler has spent most of his life working with visual imagery. A longtime resident of New York City, he has worked as a photographer, stage and lighting designer, screenwriter, and film director. In fact, the artist compares his digital image creation process to building a theatrical set. "First, I decide what the scene will be, and I build the major set structure. Then, I construct the furniture and props, paint the surfaces, create the backdrop, and light the entire set," he says. "I want the end result to leave the viewer with the sense that something is about to happen in the completed space."

For his digital images, Wessler uses Caligari's TrueSpace for modeling and rendering, as well as CorelDraw for object preparation and Corel Photo-Paint for texturing and bump map creation. These programs run on a Pentium 4 PC with an Nvidia GeForce 4 graphics card. "3D modeling is wonderful because it allows you to generate actual virtual objects that can be moved about like chess pieces, enabling you to shift your point of view and produce different images at every turn," he notes. "Yet, what a computer cannot do is just as important. There is nothing in a virtual 3D world unless you specifically place it there. You have to decide with exactitude what has to be included in your virtual space. For instance, you cannot suggest a tree with a few skilled Impressionistic brush strokes; you must model the trunk, branches, and leaves."

Last year, Wessler's works were featured at the Savannah Fine Arts Gallery in New York City. Recently, he presented one-person shows in Passau and Stuttgart, Germany. A sampling of his work appears on these pages. Additional information about the artist and his works can be found at —Karen Moltenbrey

No Parking A contrast in lighting played an important role in the final composition of this image. Using softer lighting in the background courtyard and harsh sunshine in the front building, the artist makes a subtle statement concerning the importance of the writing that appears on the back wall. The slightly exaggerated bare surface area of the building lends a sense of isolation to the overall composition.

Iris This image, whose textures and shapes were difficult to achieve, represents the artist's first serious use of modeling with NURBS. Rather than creating a composition that typically would have been "pretty and bright," Wessler's use of lighting produced a slightly darker feel.

Empty Room with Baby's Chair The artist created a late-afternoon lighting scenario, allowing the rays to surround the chair. He also made the room appear unusually large by using a scaled-down child's version of an adult's spindle-back armchair.