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As is pretty standard with interviews, would you care to introduce yourself?
I am Jason van Gumster of Hand Turkey Studios, author of Blender for Dummies and GIMP Bible, and a general goof ball.
You have been a successful Blender artist for quite some time, can you give us a little insight into what you do on a day-to-day basis?
As an artist, you surely get the standard questions of “where do you get your inspiration?”, “how long did you spend training?”, etc. But looking past that, what would you say your understanding is of what you do? What makes everything tick?
At my core, I am an animator. That moment you can see something come to life and move, gain a personality. That is the payoff. Everything that has to do with animation, teaching and recently book writing, is all very tedious and time consuming. But that second where you see your character come to life, that moment where the student finally grasps a tough concept and when someone comes to you and says how your book has helped them. It is a small payoff but those are the moments that make everything worth while. It is very gratifying.
Like many of us, you have been using Blender for a long time, if you had to pick one (or two, three) of the most revolutionary feature upgrades during that time, what would it be?
The physics and fluid simulations have been huge. Not only is it super-cool, but it is also one of those things that lot of programs don’t normally ship with.
Next, the UV Unwrap is a huge one. When the LSCM unwrapping got implemented into Blender it was revolutionary. Before this system UV unwrapping was my most dreaded task, as was the case for most people. And while it is still not my favorite thing to do, at least now I can unwrap without wanting to throw my computer across the room.
Over the last two Summers you have taken part in the 48 Hour Richmond Film Festival by producing an animated short in just two days. That is a huge undertaking! Can you give us a little insight into the process involved? Just how hectic was your make-shift apartment studio workspace?
Haha, well first off the second one was much more successful than the first. The first time around we were way too ambitious and had too high of expectations. A animation in this amount of time is very daunting, so needless to say things were very hectic.
I understand you are in the midst of several new book projects, can you tell us anything about these?
Of course! I recently finished GIMP Bible, which should be out by the beginning of March. And then I am getting started on updating the Blender for Dummies book to its 2nd edition; covering features in Blender 2.5. Blender 2.5 isn’t quite “documentation ready” yet, so I’m in a bit of a holding pattern. In the meantime, though, I’m trying to do my part by dutifully submitting bug reports. Hopefully, if I can make the time, I’ll also find parts of the code that I can contribute to as well.