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Octopus' Garden

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Dave Nighbor Pic

The Artist

Dave Nighbor

Dave is a digital artist, graphic designer, and web developer. He is the owner of 9 Lives Design, an award-winning agency achieving recognition from the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) and Graphic Designers of Canada. His company won Northern Ontario Company of the Year in 2018 for its achievements in business, design, and community involvement. Prior to transitioning into design, Dave cross-country skied for Team Canada in eight world championships. While building his business, he earned a Bachelor of Design from York University and Sheridan College in Toronto with formal training in fine arts, graphic design, and interactive media.


Northern Ontario Business Association (NOBA) Company of the Year 2018 AWWWARDS GDC National Scholarship Awards 2013 Winner

Intoduction to 3D Digital Art

The Art Form

I have been an artist as long as I can remember. I started drawing and sketching, which evolved into painting with oil, acrylic, and watercolour. I decided to pursue my artist and creative talents by entering the graphic design program at York University and Sheridan College, which is how I got my start in digital art.

In 2015, I had the honour of meeting Beeple (Mike Winkelmann) at FITC Toronto. I was volunteering on the tech team which allowed me to chat with him before he started his presentation. I wasn’t sure how or why he belonged at this conference as he fumbled with his oversized gaming laptop and self-deprecating humour. He asked Ash Thorp to present with him because he was “too much of a pussy” to speak alone and claimed that he didn’t know how to deliver an inspiring presentation. You can actually watch this presentation (with the back of my head at the bottom of the frame) on his website. I felt bad for him as he clumsily started his presentation until he showed a reel of his work and my mind was blown. His work was like nothing I had ever seen before and this changed my career path. Prior to that day I had little to no experience with 3D software with my artistic focus on 2D graphic and web design. I’ve always had an interest in learning new art forms by studying the work to understand how it's created. This proved to be quite a challenge when studying Beeple’s work because it was far more advanced than anything I had worked on before.

My first everyday picture at FITC Beeple Workshop

My first "Everyday" designed alongside Beeple (Mike Winkelmann) at his FITC Toronto workshop on April 8, 2018

Fast forward 3 years to 2018 when I revisited FITC Toronto to do a workshop with him. In the three years leading up to this conference, I spent some time learning Cinema 4D and applying it to client projects. My major limitation at the time was not having the proper hardware in order to perform the heavy-lifting of rendering 3D graphics—I am an Apple guy like most other graphic designers out there. I didn’t know the ins and outs of realtime rendering with Octane and it felt impossible to design something of quality by using my MacBook Pro. This workshop was very inspiring and fast-tracked my learning curve. It was very interesting to understand the various pieces of software used by Beeple and other 3D artists in order to get these multi-layered graphics that, at first, seemed like an impossible feat to accomplish.

Since that workshop and after investing in the proper tools and hardware, I’ve gone in and out of doing “Everydays” to a point where I call them “Somedays”. I’ve produced hundreds of renderings over the past few years but work and life tend to take the lion’s share of my time. As I transition into the NFT space, I’m dedicating myself to the campaign of solely becoming a 3D Artist with support from the NFT community. Having the opportunity to design in 3D everyday will allow me to explore the art form that I love so much.