Anyone that has ever used a Reallusion product most likely recognizes the name James Martin. One-half of the extremely talented Martin Brothers, his brother John is a fixture at Reallusion, James is one of those rare breed of digital artists that defy description. Fine artist, digital 2D artist, 3D artist and as of late a VR artist. Oh and just for kicks... he's a game developer too having been a big part of developing the title Flipblade (release Q3 2016) with his brother John and coders Eduard Castillo Fernandez(logic) and Gaspar Ferrieo (Unity).
From the first time I laid eyes on iClone, version one, I've read of James and his work with Reallusion as it was prominently displayed on the website in the early days. Just seeing what he accomplished was enough to push this old freelancer into the world of iClone. That was somewhere around 2005/2006 and he has been a solid contributor to the evolution of iClone and I suspect other products at the mothership in Taiwan over the years. It is always a pleasure to see what James has cooked up next and then, sometimes in vain, to reproduce even slightly what he did just to push those same envelopes he tears open so easily.
A firm grasp of the obvious tells me James is extremely creative, talented, intelligent and while this might be an understatement, a ball of creative energy that rarely dies down. Now I also understand that a lot of us reading this share some of the same qualities but very few of us share ALL of these qualities. I get physically tired just reading about what he is doing somewhere in the world... somewhere in the USA... somewhere in VR space and so on. Not only has James been a part of 3D history in the development of rapid tools like iClone he shared many tips and tutorials when hardly any existed. Back in the day his iClone blog was a must read for any user that wanted to improve.
James' rendition of the Venom character created in Tilt Brush
Skip to the present and we find James just as busy as always. I believe he was in or returning from Puerto Rico during the writing of this article and was kind enough to answer Facebook queries. James is a very accomplished VFX freelancer and has worked in other capacities with ABC Studios, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Alcon Entertainment. James provides a wide range of digital freelance services and has presented products and concepts to audiences.
I consider my core strength to be an award winning fine artist first, trained in everything from traditional illustration, sculpture, airbrushing, character design and concept development which all start at the drawing board. - James Martin
By the way, before we finish up, I also forgot to mention one of James' other projects: Mobacap. A motion capture startup whose business model has been presented to Nickelodeon, Fox Sports South, Giant Studios, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech University, Microsoft, the Make-A-Wish Foundation to name a few. According to James "Mobacap is a company that focuses on providing 2D and 3D production art for both motion capture animation and virtual reality purposes. Their business model is based on a quick turnaround of custom animations including a high level of flexibility in the field. This solution can come to the needed location instead of the actors coming to the motion capture studio. That's right. On premises motion capture. On premises flexibility. If you are a project manager, then money is flashing before your eyes right now. Money saved that is.
James' Big Lebowski Charcoal on Canson and a capture from the Flipblade vr game.
Moving on I have put off reviewing Tilt Brush because I suck at fine art and drawing so it was with great relief that I saw James post a video using Tilt Brush to create the Venom character. Embedded in this article the video is a great example of James in action and by default Tilt Brush. I'll probably be borrowing it for the review too. Being a real time video you may want to skip around as he hasn't had a chance post a speed version and it's worth the time just to be entertained. If you haven't experienced VR yet, then you have no context to really grasp it as it is THAT different but just imagine what you see in the video and add being able to walk around it to really appreciate it.
Personally, I have not had the pleasure of really knowing the Martin Brothers but professionally I have been inspired by their drive to do something instead of just watching from the sidelines. To get involved to the point of shaping the outcome of projects, productions and software applications used by thousands. James is someone we can all identify with in terms of creativity and someone we can look to in terms of what can be done outside of the box as much as inside.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord is an international award winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. M.D. is currently working on VR projects and characters. You can learn more about MD at his website.