Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou, June 2006
Published by: Ballistic Publishing
Requires: An interest in computer graphics and digital art
MSRP: US$49.00 (softcover)
As an avid collector of art, design and photography books it has been my pleasure to own many excellent publications over the years. Every year I look forward to collections from several of the very best in fantasy and comic art but only recently has this included volumes which collect the very best of computer graphics (CG) and digital art. Ballistic Publishing is a company which has done a fantastic job of putting together collections of the state of the art in this field.
Exposé 4 is not about teaching you how to illustrate or render. It will not walk you through the step-by-step process of modeling, rendering and sketching or show you how to use the tools which facilitated all of the works featured in the book. It is however pure inspirational eye candy, food for the imagination and something which will hopefully inspire many of tomorrow’s artists to create a body of work that is featured in future editions of this book and others like it.
What I particularly enjoyed was that the standard of work in Exposé 4 is high indeed. The grand master selected for Exposé 4 is Stephan Martiniere, who is one of my favorite CG illustrators. His work displays a luminous and techno-organic quality which is almost sketch-like.
I was really bowled over by the architectural exteriors and interiors sections. The quality and depth of detail in the renderings is such that I defy anyone to tell me that they don’t find them convincing. I also found the standard of the painted portrait division was incredible. Many of the pieces featured here would compete with traditionally produced art in the same genre. Whilst the figures in the rendered portrait division still, by and large, have that artificial look to them, there were a few which you will swear are exceedingly good photo manipulations.
As I went through each section there were a great many surprises and best of all was the realization that the book contains a truly international sampling of talent. There were a great many artists whose work I was familiar with and there were equally as many whom I felt the urge to look up on the internet after I’d finished my first couple of passes through the book. This search was aided by the URL’s posted next to the artists’ names in the index at the back of the book.
Cons: Price might scare off a few folks. I’m going to have to wait another year till the next title is out. In my opinion, one of the selections for an excellence award was a bit of a stretch as it looked like a poorly cropped and processed Photoshop image, but this was really the only exception in an otherwise amazing presentation.
Pros: Excellent production values. The artists represented in this book are all first class. Exposé 4 is a publication aimed squarely at collectors of CG, fantasy art and illustration. This book is a must-have as it sets the bar for what is currently accepted as the state of the art in the field of digitally created art and computer graphics. As I’ve stated in previous reviews, Ballistic Publishing has consistently produced publications which hit the mark. If you are an artist who wants to see the best examples of what is possible in your craft, a fan of digital illustration, or just want to look at some amazing art, this book should be on your short list. Highly recommended.