Computer Graphics Artist
Computer Graphics Artist Chris Ryan
Probe were located at Chilworth Research Centre in Southampton. I had never used a computer before that so was keen to learn. It literally was learning from scratch.
Drawing with a Mouse
The company when I joined had no association with graphics whatsoever. It was owned and run by Jeff Feehan who was a total genius. He had an incredible knowledge of computers. How they worked, and putting computer systems together.
We had an art software package called corel draw, which I soon discovered I was able to use and actually draw with a mouse. Once i got used to the mouse although it was still nothing like using a pencil. I was able to draw well with it…though a little shaky at first.
Artist not Operator
I began putting together menus for local pubs and restaurants. Using desktop publishing software and the limited graphics packages to create some original computer generated designs.
It took off so well that Jeff allowed me to work full time on the graphics side. He showed a great deal of trust in what I was capable of by investing in American software called lumena and Crystal 3D. It was full colour and I was working with a tablet rather than the mouse which gave me greater flexibility.
At the time there were a lot of so called computer graphics artists around. It was a new vogue. Basically they were really just computer operators who had graphics software to play with. I didn’t play – I took it very seriously. I had never seen anything that could produce such bright fantastic images without spending hours with a paintbrush.
Passion for a Stylus and Tablet
I went on to working over 12 hours a day. Sometimes all through the night as well. My work with the new software was snapped up and we attracted clients from the Daily Telegraph, major photo libraries in Germany, France and London.
They came to Southampton to view my new work and purchase. Probe Research became totally a computer graphics company. I became a computer graphics artist. nNot what Jeff set out to do with the company. I became creative director and handled the clients as well as the graphics.
Over a 4 year period my glossy images were sold around the world. 8,000 images being sold in nearly every country worldwide. At the time it was difficult to pick up a magazine or see an advertising campaign that wasn’t featuring my work. Even if itwas just a brightly coloured 3D map of the world with gradiating colours. Which is what everyone seemed to want at the time.
I produced images that were bought in advance for use in the 1992 Olympics advertising campaigns. A range of images highlighting the greenhouse effect with globes of the world inside greenhouses (nice and subtle). Liked by everyone apart from the Japanese businesses we dealt with. Strangely they had no time for anything remotely depicting eco friendliness.
I won awards for my images in art magazines and had many articles written on what I was achieving with a computer instead of the usual air brush and art board.
Probe Research gave me the first love of computers. Plus the confidence to go on to achieve other things in the art world following it. I would never have had the confidence to attempt or even believe I could do – and for that I will always be very grateful.