Interview with Danny

by 3D Addict

    As you may know Danny is considered as one of the best scene graphicians.He have been involved in the scene since the days of A500, and still uses his Amiga to create graphics.Make sure you see his personal gallery, which contains some of his best images.Anyway, here comes the interview with one of the best scene pixeller :)

    3D Addict


    Hello Danny, please introduce yourself.

    Hi 3DA, well my name is Danny Geurtsen and I was born on 22-02-1974 in Utrecht giving me the Dutch nationality.
    At the moment I work for a big software company called Eidos Interactive whose most prized release so far is Tomb Raider. I guess I could entitle myself as an allround graphics artist. I do both 2D and 3D, altough I prefer 2D.
    To start working for Eidos I had to relocate and start living in Wimbledon UK where the main offices are located. So far I can say that I'm having a good time here and enjoy the work. :)

    How nice :)Please describe yourself as a person.Are you a cool type of a guy or more funny one?Do you take life seriously or are you more relaxed and live the life without thinking much about the future?

    I'd have to say that I TRY to be a mixture of cool, funny and relaxed. I take life quite serious and am happy with myself. However I always strive to better myself on any point I see necessary. I try not to think too far ahead into the future because I am a bit impulsive with what I want to do in life. There's some things I KNOW I wanna do. I want to see the beauty of life in all it's forms. Someday I want to give up all my computers and high-tech equipment and live in Alaska or Canada and be surrounded by Nature itself!
    If reincarnation exists... I'd like to live again as a Humpback Whale. Weird you say? I dont care. :)

    Weird? not at all, I guess we have one thing in common, as living sorrunded by nature is something I want to do too. ;)Jungle and heat seems to attract me at most, though.Being sorrunded by wild animals, insects, plants, or simply by "raw"(raw is getting everywhere) nature, and being able to really feel all the life around you, must be an incredible experience;) Anyway lets, leave our dreams and jump back to reality :)
    Ok, what was your first computer, and what computer do you use now?Do you also miss the the good old days of c64 and A500?

    My very fist computer was a c64 yes, with one of those data-recorders hooked up on a Black adn White TV-screen. Playing games and later watching demos. Later I bought an A500 and went with that machine for some years. Then an A1200 with fast mem 030 blah blah came along. I still have both Amiga's. In 1996 I purchased a PC with loads and loads of Ram, HD space, speed and colors.
    Do I miss the old days? Not really. It's nice to see some old demo stuff or play old games sometime, but miss? No!

    I sure do :) How and when did you become involved in the scene and when did you start drawing?

    I did some coding in Basic and found out that what I wanted to do was to powerfull for Basic. Machinecode went too far for me.
    I had made some sprites (by drawing them on paper and writing down the data numbers for the appropriate colors) for my Basic game and found out that drawing on a computer was quite nice. So I moved my drawing from paper more towards my C64. I did spaceships (after being blown away ;) by the awesome gfx in Armalyte, shoot-em up from Thalamus) and even a full screen picture in a package called Amigo paint from Oliver Stiller. Before I got the chance to do more stuff I had collected enough money to buy an A500. For quite a while I went on producing shitty little things. My first serious gfx however didnt see the light of day until the early 1990's.
    I became involved in the scene in 1992 when I released my slide show called 'Forgotten'. I did some gfx here and there for Diskmags, demos etc. and here we are..

    Ok, which hardware/software do you use for drawing, and where do you get the inspiration from?

    On the PC front I have a P166, 128MB, 4MB Matrox SVGA, 17" IIyama, 5GB HD, 8sp CDROM and a Wacom A4 Ultrapad. At work it is pretty much the same except the PPro200 and the HD's are SCSI. Software I use is mainly Photoshop for freehand painting and LightwaveV5.0 for 3D. Other packages I use sometimes are Adobe Premierre, PaintShopPro, Fractal Design Painter, etc.
    On Amiga I use Brilliance2.0, Adpro and Ppaint. I get inspiration from litterally everywhere. Things around me, people I meet, work from other artists. Anything, from something as clear as a a beautifull girl to the weirdness of patterns in the sky.

    :)How many hours a day do you spend in front of your computer, and how many of those hours are used on making gfx?

    Well, because I work professionally now, it's quite a lot, around 8 or 9 hours a day. But I must say it varies quite a lot. Most of it is spend on doing graphics for the Game Project I am working on with my team. When I feel like it I do some scene graphics or personal stuff in my spare time. Needless to say that you're not always inspired to do 4 hour drawing session when you come home after a long day at the office.. :p

    Right :)When drawing, do you have a perfect vision in your mind or do you draw more freely, by letting your image evolve in whatever direction you may feel like it.

    The visions I get actually start long before I begin on a picture. I see something and an idea pops to mind. Usually these ideas are frightingly clear and realistic. It's a neverending challenge to get as close as possible to that idea.. Any good artist can say that the battle is always lost. You never get the picture the same as the original idea/vision you had. Sounds very depressing, but it isnt always.. Sometimes pictures work out better than I had expected, other times worse..
    I'd like to say I draw with a controlled feeling.. I try and draw what I FEEL is right within a certain margin. Feelings can be deceiving sometimes. I think when I draw and not necessarily about the picture, how strange that might sound.. :))

    hmm, you really think when you draw? That's definitely new ;)) You must teach me this trick sometime, ok?:)
    Anyway, please describe in steps how do you create an image.Do you start by making a sketch on paper, or is everything done on the computer.

    I follow my ideas and try not to deviate from them, I start thining about, do some small sketches and gather reference material where needed. After I am happy with a certain element of the picture I put it down on the canvas in sketch lines, refine them until they are perfect. I allow myself as little errors as possible here. Then I start working on an area which has lots of detail, color and contrast. I work on that area very long to get it the way I want it before end a drawing session. It HAS to be right! If it's one thing I find depressing is when I get of on the wrong foot and the beginning looks shit. When the specific area is right, I feel I have a strong basis to continue to work from. With that I mean I know how the rest of the picture should be drawn in terms of color, Light and Shade balance and level of detail. Bit by bit I work on areas of the picture usually expanding outward from the area I started off at.. When I come across a part I have problems with, I leave it alone (often until it's the last part :) and come back on it later. Most of the time I get it right. Almost always I do foregrounds first and start on bits of the background half way through to make sure the two match up.
    I always keep looking at areas I've already done to see if I can improve it. I can 'hang' around small parts sometimes for days and days tweaking them. It has to be perfect!

    As I'm getting near to finishing a picture everything falls into place and I hardly ever have to correct major things. Once the picture is finished I look at it for some days (no, not nonstop :) if there's time and make small adjustments and sign my name.. :)

    Ok.How long does it take to draw a good picture for you, and what are the most important aspects of making a great image?

    I've been asked this question many times, and I just cannot give an accurate awnser. I once did a picture's in 2.5 days together with Facet (Tarnsman of Gor). And I done pictures over the course of many months.. It's very hard to give estimates as I am not a person that likes to work within predefined hours. But in all, yes, a good picture takes time.

    I agree.Tell me what do you find the most difficult to draw, and which phase of your drawing do you enjoy most. Personally I like mostly making the finishing touches when the image is about 95% complete.

    The most difficult thing would have to be human hands, especially fingers. There's very few artists who are capeable of doing perfect hands. Very few. Hands are not simply sausages hold together by lumps of meat. They have extremely subtle features. And you have to get them correct, otherwise people are gonna notice. I find that I have to pay extreme attention when I am working on hands and sometimes I have to put it aside and come back later to finish. Ironically I personally find the hands I've drawn in some of my pictures to be the thing I am most proud of...

    hehe :) Ok, what about techniques?Do you use any special techniques, and which drawing tools do you use mostly?

    Well, in Brilliance my favorite has to be the Darken/Brighten tool. I've used that A LOT! The technique I use when in Brilliance should be called the Danny technique?? hehe. I dont know, I draw the way I want to. In Photoshop my fave tools would be the Brush, Fingerpaint, Burn and Dodge. But I use a number of tools as I see fit.. Airbrush, Blur, Sharpen, Pencil. I try to stay clear from the more Photo-retouche orientated tools. So for pictures I never use the Rubberstamp for instance.
    I'm not that fond of all those painterly (or whatever you want to call them) shading techniques a lot of people are raving about. Drawing all sorts of doodles and swirls inbetween colors is nice once or twice, but it get's boring very quickly. I'd personally like to focus on what I'm trying to portray in the picture, to make the subject look as good as possible, not fondle around with fancy stuff distracting the viewer.

    Which of your own images do you consider as the best one and which was the most difficult to draw?

    My best I consider usually my latest, but the one I like most was Angelic Particles I did together with Louie/TBL. The work Louie had done on the wings is marvelous, and I think I got the most out of myself when drawing the woman/angel.

    Strangely enough I wouldnt consider this picture to be the hardest to draw. I think that honour would go to the picture 'Wild Impressions' which featured a nude blonde against a colorfull sky in TBL's Tint. I've spend ages working on her hair hanging over her right shoulder (left for the viewer). It was an area that showed a LOT of detail, diffirent colorshades and had to remain sharp without jaggies. It took some reworking... But I pulled it of the way I wanted. :)

    Tell me, is drawing in 8 bit color mode a limitation or a challenge for you?

    A limitation yes.. ofcourse. You have less colors to deal with. A challenge, not really. Drawing in 8 bit mode has some serious advantages over 24 bit, and vice versa.
    I've developed some special techniques over the years to get the most color out of a limited palette. At the point where I started doing my first 24 Bit work, I came to find that the work I had done in 8 Bit was pretty much the same looking as I would have drawn it in 24 Bit.
    But I am a perfectionist, I want to draw things better and better. I hate limitations, even the smallest ones, and when I dont have to deal with them, I wont. I think I pretty much have proven myself capeable of drawing in 8 bit. I wanna move on.

    Yeah, I guess that you have proven yourself capeable of drawing in 8 bit:)You want to move on, well 3D needs lots of colors.What do you think about raytracing?

    I think it's a great form of art. A lot of people say that with raytracing, hardware and software do most of the work. In a way that's true, people without skill can create reasonably nice looking pictures or anims by hitting certain features in certain programs. It can be compared a bit to Filter-plugins in programs such as Photoshop. It doesnt take an expert to put a lens-flare (or whatever) on a KPT-texture-filled Postscript font. BUT, it does take a skilled person to come up with something filters or other forms of Software cannot achieve. Same thing goes with raytracing. It's a true art form that gets more and more recognised and respected as it should.

    I couldn't agree more :) but what's the deal with redrawing?

    Redrawing can be benificial in more than one way. It can be a very good way of learning to draw a certain way. But unfortunately, there are still some artists in the scene that keep copying images from other painters longer than simply to learn from it.
    I used to copy paintings from artists I admire to learn something, not to benefit to become famous or anything.

    I see.Well, being an active scener for some time now, you must have seen a lot of pics made by other graphicians.Who is your favourite graphician?

    There is really not just one favorite artist. I know several artists I admire for several reasons. I'll give some examples. Louie for his ideas and subjects, Cyclone for his nice use of color, Lazur for his attention to detail, Destop for his 'I dont give a damn what everybody else thinks' look, Visualize for the fresh technique and coloring, etc..

    The pictures I like... MeAndMyLittleSister/Louie for the great idea and technique, FloatingOnAir/Prowler^Electron for the idea and atmospherical look.

    Yeah, Floating On Air by Prowler and Electron is a true scene masterpiece :) Do you have any favourite groups, musicians, coders, diskmags?Favourite demo?

    Well, I always like to see demos from groups such as CNCD, VD, Pulse, Essence and other groups, though I cant really say I have a favorite. Musicians: Slice, Azazel, Substance, Radix, Vesuri Coders: Eq&Offa (best as a team), Nix, Balance, Jayce (again best as a team), T-Stone (TBL's biggest fan :), etc...
    Diskmagz: ROM, RAW online, Eurocharts, Oepir Risti, Trashcan... Demo: Captured Dreams and Astral Blur (sorry but these demo's are close to my heart), some PC demo's whose name I forgot... :)
    But dont pin me down on these names... my taste is very broad.

    Ok, ok :)What are your future party plans, are you heading for Remedy'97 or Weird'97, other parties?

    I'd like to make an appereance at TP7, dont count on me attending Weird, asm97 because I am far too busy to take days of from work.
    But TP7, yeah, I wanna be there and enter some compo's!

    Me too.Tell me, what does the scene mean to you, and which aspects do you like/dislike about it?

    The scene is a hobby for me. It's a place where I can have lots of creative output. I like the positive responses I get from people on my work. There's a lot of fun to be found, talking to friends, competing with the rest of the scene in making the best productions. Things like that. I DONT like being accused of scanning, I dont like the people using racist remarks, I dont like the appreciation simple productions often get...

    I know what you mean...Lets talk about your work.You said that you are working as a fulltime game graphician at Eidos Interactive, tell me about it.

    I am currently working on a PC strategy game called Plague. I cant tell much about it as it's in a too early stage of production. I try to get my foot in on another Eidos title soo to be released to do some nice imagery. The work is very nice and I have a good time. The team I am in really fits well together, we respect eachother and get good work done.
    The Eidos mainbuilding is situated in the heart of Wimbledon and it's really a pleasure to work there. Also becos it's just a stone-throw away from where I live. :)

    Well that's pretty close, I guess:)How did you got the job anyway?

    I was working for about six months in a computerstore. I deliberately chose this job, because at the time I was reluctant to go and work for a Games company. I thought I would be forced to draw from 9 to 5 doing game-graphics. It was about august when I decided to visit my friends Tim and Lowlife/TBL who where already working for Eidos in time for the ECTS game show held every year in the heart of London. Just out of curiousity. I had a fun time in London. Some time after that Lowlife called me and said that he wanted to introduce me to some of the people at Eidos. I was a bit keen to get the professional opinion about my work from a games company such as Eidos. So I took a second flight, this time carrying both a disk with digital work, and a portfolio with paper drawings. I also visited Team17 on a less serious note (visiting Eq, Louie and Rodney who where still working there at the time). The people at Eidos apperantly loved my work. I was offered a job as an in-house artist on one of there top-teams. I went home to think about it. The offer was too tempting to let go, so I quit my old job, packed my most precious belongings and migrated towards Wimbledon. :)

    :)Was there anything which really surprised you when you begun working as a professional game graphician?

    Yeah, the fact that the BIG boss of Eidos (all of Eidos> BIG BOSS-> President) had been shown samples of my work. The very first day I was there he came down and greeted me. I showed him some more graphics. He loves it! :) One day he even brought in Gillian Bonner, (a former Playboy Playmate) who is know also in the games-industry, to see my work. :)

    NOT bad at all(hey, I want to work at Eidos too!), hehe.
    What are your other interests/hobbies, besides your scene activities?

    I love a good movie, read SF/Fantasy Books, spend time with friends and family, ride my Bike (tacky! :) etc...

    Who are your favourite artists outside the scene?

    There's a couple...
    Glen Keane, James Baxter (Disney)
    Louis Royo, Tim White, Michael Whelan, Boris Vallejo, Burne Hogarth, but also work of companies such as Foundation Imaging (B5), Pixar and WestWood Studios.

    I like Tim White and Louis Royo too.
    Now, do you believe in God, and what is the meaning of life?

    I dont believe in God in the sence of Christianity, or the Islam, or the likes.. I think it's either much more simple simple than that, or infinitely more complex.


    The meaning of life is more life...


    The meaning of life is the awnser that the creator of the universe is trying to find by letting the universe run and evolve until it has reached it's final state where the position of all the matter in the universe displays the ultimate answer to the one who really wanted to know... whoever that may be. (and that's not a quote from a book or something)

    hmm, interesting point of view.But since the creator is capable of creating such infinitely complex things like life, and all the aspects of it(emotional/physical feelings, infinite(?) amount of living organisms, the ability to coexist, etc ) not to mention make the whole universe, he'll most probably know the answer to "the meaning of life" question.Furthermore, the creator would have to create time as well, which means that, seeing what happened when the universe has reached it's final state, would have no meaning to him(if he's male :))The question is, why did he create life? hmm...? dunno ;)
    (and that's not a quote from a book or something, either)

    Oki, doki.Let's leave our "wannabe wise/pretend to be" syndrom, as we are getting infinitely close to the end of this interview.So, here is the 24bit question: how did you come up with your handle/alias?

    hehhee.. My parents thought I should go by this handle.. :)

    Ups, stupid me.I forgot to remove this question from the interview.Anyway, would you like to say Hello to anyone?

    Okay, here's a small list to the ones that pop into mind, ALl my TBL friends, Probe, Sofia, Unreal, Lazur, Scorpik, the COOL ones on #amigascne (you know who you are), Sylly (will you even read this? :), Teun de Haas, Hein Holt, Lars Verhoef, Ray Vink, Simon Posford, Avi Nassim, Yaniv Haviv, Lior Perlmutter, People from 'The Plague Contingent', Andy from Team17 (no more Yoguhrt :), Made (where the hell is the picture??), Facet (dead or alive :), Snao (same :) and those who I forgot ofcourse. :)

    Ok, thank you for your time, and best of all in your future plans as a graphician. :)

    check out Danny gallery

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