welcome. I speak for the entire 3D community when I thank you
for your contributions to the Digital Art World, providing the
most well known site in computer generated graphics,
Digitalblasphemy, and a wide range of graphics for our
For those who have not read
your bio-page, tell DA about Ryan Bliss.
29 years old and I have been running Digital Blasphemy for the
past 4 years. It's been my full time job for the past 2 years.
I spend most of my time learning how to become a better 3D
artist and corresponding with people about my work.
I've always had images and stories floating
in my head. When I was very young my father and my grandfather
would make up bedtime stories to put me to sleep.
My older brother
Eric liked to pretend he was a teacher. He would come home
from school and try to teach me all the stuff he had learned
Maybe that's why I had a hard time paying attention in grade
school, I had heard most of it before. I was a real daydreamer
in grade school, always drawing pictures or staring out the
When I was in the sixth grade my brother introduced me to The
Odyssey. I was fascinated by greek mythology and I read
everything I could on the subject. That got me into reading
other works of fantasy like "Dune", "The Lord
of the Rings', the "Belgariad", etc.
I spent a good portion of my early teenage years either
reading fiction or writing it. I wanted to be a writer when I
"grew up" and I chose to attend the University of
Iowa so I could work with the Iowa Writers Workshop.
Unfortunately, my experience with the workshop was less than
successful. Mostly because I wrote potboilers and they seemed
to be looking for the next Joyce. I graduated in 1995 with a
degree in English.
My mother had purchased my first computer for me as a
graduation present. She always spent money she didn't have to
feed my creative side. She gave me the old type-writer on
which I wrote my first stories, and she bought me an
electronic word-processor which got me through college.
The idea with the computer was that I could write my first
novel and store the whole thing on disk. The computer was a
486/66 with 8 MB of RAM, 14" monitor, 350 MB hard disk.
It didn't have a modem. It did, however, come with a copy of
Aldus Photostyler and Kai Power Tools. Whenever I made a
picture I would set it as the wallpaper on my machine so my
roommates could see it and give me feedback.
Since I liked playing with my computer so much, I decided to
try and make a career out of it. I'm not sure what kind of job
you can get with an English degree these days, but back in
Iowa City in '95 my choices were limited. I worked at a
bookstore for a while and took a job working as preschool
teacher. I was working 70 hours a week for around $6 bucks an
I took out some huge college loans and went back to school for
a Comp Sci degree. I struggled with the mathematics at first,
but I finally got a handle on it. I enjoyed writing code, but
I enjoyed making computer graphics more. When I finally got a
modem for my computer I posted a few of my graphics on AOL :-)
In 1996 I met Jessica. She was a coworker at the preschool and
I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world. I got
up the nerve to ask her out, she accepted, and we've been
together ever since. She's now my fiancée and my #1
fan/critic. I'm a very lucky guy.
we get to the art, lets talk about Digitalblasphemy. Tell our
viewers how DB got started and what do you think is the root
to the success of your site?
got started when I got turned down for a job. After
a year of computer/math
classes I wanted to get a tech job.
At one of my first interviews
they asked me if I knew HTML. I admitted
that I did not and I didn't
get the job. So I decided to learn by posting
a web site. I had 15 or
20 wallpapers that would be my content. I
bought a copy of "HTML for Dummies" and
downloaded a copy
of WSFTP. I converted
all my BMPs to JPGs and uploaded them to my
ISP account web space.
I coded up a simply gallery structure (which isn't
much different than
site looks today). I called my site "Digital
after a name I had
used in some of my early "logo" attempts. That
was in February
I posted samples of my work on windows95.com, nonags,
and some other sites.
That brought in the first visitors. I also noticed
that the AOL wallpaper
section had a link to a single wallpaper website.
I contacted the owner
of that site and we exchanged links.
After a month or two I had about 50 people a day
visiting. I got a
ton of encouraging
email so I kept making more wallpapers and
adding them to my gallery.
People told their friends about me and I got
more and more traffic.
I honed my web programming skills while working
on my site. I learned
a great deal.
I graduated with my Comp Sci degree in late '97 and
took a job as a web programmer.
I worked a full day writing code and then
came home and worked on
artwork for another 7 or 8 hours. The more pictures
I posted to my site, the
more people came. I really enjoyed the attention.
There came to be so much
traffic that I got kicked off
of my ISP account. I
bought the digitalblasphemy.com domain name and moved
I kept working on my artwork and people kept telling
their friends about my
site. Traffic really picked up when I started putting
my domain name on
all my wallpapers. Someone suggested I start running
banner ads to pay for
the bandwidth, so I did that. I made a little money
and started thinking
that it would be nice if I could just work on
my site full time.
After all, at that time around 12,000 visitors per
day were browsing
By December 98 I knew I had to make a decision. I
could no longer
work 8 hours
days and 10 hour nights. I was either going to
quit making wallpapers and
shut down my site, or quit my day job and work full
time on DB.
I chose to work fulltime on DB. But I didn't want
to hitch my
fortunes to ad
banners. Instead I started a subscription service
whereby people can support
So far it's worked out great. Thousands of people
have signed up and
renewing their subscriptions. I've been doing this
for 2 years now and
I love it.
The root to the success of my site? Probably the
fact that I specialize in
wallpaper. That makes my artwork "useable" and
it gives people
"take home with them" from my gallery. Also,
wallpaper is highly
People see my work on their friends
and coworkers computers.
Most of the artwork I see on the internet is too
small to use as
provide hi-resolution graphics for big monitors.
I once did, people flip through your images with jaws hanging
low, in wonder and in awe. How do you keep up with all the
letters you must get. Do you have help?
I get a ton of email every day and
there's no way I can answer them all.
Still, I can't imagine someone else reading them or answering
them for me. I love reading all the emails I get from people,
but answering them all is too great a task. I can only hope
that people understand that, and don't think of me as some
kind of jerk.
Rising. Can you remember that far back? I do. Awesome
Now its Oasis,
of Capricorn, and Glenwood.
Besides the software changes that have evolved, why do you
think your style has taken such a turn? Is it experience, or
just a change in taste?
I don't like using Poser figures
as a centerpiece any more. Someday I'll sit down and spend the
time to learn how to model and pose an accurate human figure.
Until then I choose to use Poser figures simply to show scale.
Poser is a very cool program, but it's just not for me right
Besides that, I think the works you mentioned are very simple
pieces. They all feature one or two objects and a flat
infinite plane. It was all I knew how to do at the time,
but it looked cool to me. Nowadays it takes more than that to
flip my switch.
I think my landscapes became more dense when I started using
Vue d'Esprit and World Builder. Both apps have awesome
vegetation capabilities, a feature which was sorely lacking in
Bryce at the time.
Ryan Bliss is staring at an empty WorldBuilder screen, what
gets the ball rolling? Where does the inspiration come from?
Most of my work is accidental, is that true for you too?
work is definitely accidental. Sometimes I start with a theme
in mind but not always. A lot of times I'm just trying to
learn a feature of my software. This is one of the
reasons I don't do a lot of tutorials. I don't use any set
your opinion, not your hit counters, what is your very best
piece of work?
question. Kind of like picking your favorite child. If I had
to choose though, it would probably be "Song
of the Sky".
I think its a very soothing image.
know you have abandoned Bryce for high end software ;
understandable. Do you think the new Bryce by Corel will lure
doubt it. I'll probably buy it just to check out the new
features, but I don't think it will ever be my primary weapon
again. It's still a nice tool to have though.
is your favorite digital artist, your favorite artist of other
media,and your favorite work by another artist?
Right now my favorite digital
artist is Dmitry
He's one of the best
Lightwave artists out there, IMHO.
media I would have to choose either Craig
Whelan... I'm simply in awe of their work.
It's difficult to pick a single
work as my favorite.
does Ryan Bliss do when he's not reading emails or creating
spend time with Jessica, my lovely fiancée. We just purchased
our first house and most of our free time right now is spent
turning it into a home.
I enjoy collecting DVD movies. I also enjoy taking photos with
my Nikon digital camera. Someday I'd like to travel, but right
now I don't have the time.
the techies, describe your system.
Right now I'm using 4 different
My main machine is a Dell Precision 620 Dual PIII 1.0 GHz with
1 GB RDRAM. It has 1 18 GB SCSI drive spinning at 15K r.p.m,
and a 36 GB SCSI drive spinning at 10K r.p.m. The graphics
card is a Fire GL2 connected to a 21" Trinitron.
I use two of my older desktops as render nodes. I have a Dual
PIII 600 MHz with 1 GB SDRAM and a PIII 550 with 768 MB SDRAM.
I also use a Dell Inspiron 8000 notebook. It has an 850 MHz
PIII, 256 MB of RAM and a nice big 15" screen.
All of my home machines are running Windows 2000 right now.
sites come and go. Artists loose interest, or time, or cant
keep up with the software. Where do you go from here, Ryan? Is
DB a career? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
can say where they'll be in ten years. I don't see myself
quitting DB anytime soon. I'm having too much fun. I love
learning the software and I really enjoy my creative freedom.
I still consider myself a beginner artist, so there is much I
have yet to learn.
DB is only part of my career. I'd still like to write a novel
or two someday, or maybe a screenplay. I'd like to try my hand
at photography and I'd like to direct a feature film before I
I want to have some children too.
But for now I'm happy making wallpapers for the whole world to
enjoy. I consider myself very fortunate to make a living doing
what I love.
Ryan, I cant begin to tell you how elated I was when you
accepted my offer for this interview. Imagine me, with Blue
Rising on my desktop, interviewing it's creator, who would
From Digital Artworks and the entire 3D community, Thank you
very much !!!