Dan Jonsson, Interactive Designer

Dan is an Interactive Designer based in Stockholm, with a focus on advertising for the web, working in Strata and Flash. During his 11 years experience, Dan has worked for clients such as: Microsoft Worldwide, MSN Sweden, Vin & Sprit Sweden, Canon, Heinz, MTV Scandinavia, Levis, HP and many more.

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» How did you get started in the graphics industry? Did you start as a traditional illustrator?

From childhood I have been playing the guitar and composing music. It was around 1994 that I made the decision to study multimedia at the University of Stockholm. It was an education that made me a philCand (bachelor of art) in communications at the pedagogic branch.

It was aimed at making me a project leader. I did not like that role and looked towards graphic design and 3D. I got a job at a WebAd company that lets me use all of my different skills.

I make music, edit film, do some programming in Flash and javascript, make graphics and all you can think of when using a computer as a grapic tool.

» What made you pick up Strata 3D? Was there a specific problem/need that caused you to seek out a 3D application?

The aim of my work has always been reality. Like making a graphic that could make an impact on the viewer that could make a meaning and a sense. Sometimes this is making a realistic rendering, sometimes creating a realistic feeling for the viewer. As I work, there is always a fascination for techniques, how things are done.

Sometimes it's figuring out how to make a fake solution look real, sometimes making a copy of the real world look real. The possible solutions to problems is never ending. In the music world it is all aimed at feelings and abstract experience. In the graphic world sometimes your goal is to make something look real, but sometimes its just a feeling you are looking for. Strata offered the right tool to make realistic renderings!

» How has your workflow changed since learning Strata 3D?

I often test out solutions in Strata instead of looking around for photos of the objects or the needs I have! It gets me deeper into the the task I'm performing. Sometimes I end up with a photo and sometimes with a rendered picture.

» What's a typical day for you? What other software do you use on a regular basis?

I work from 8 - 5 at Joy the WebAd company. It usually starts with a meeting in the morning to go through the days work. Then I make music in Cubase, edit film with Final Cut, do programming in Flash, make graphics in Photoshop, or create some translations for adapting campaigns in different regions.

» How did you learn 3D, and would you recommend your method to new users?

My main learning tool for 3D was the late Strata User Magazine! A wonderful magazine which I miss very much. Get ahold of that magazine and you will learn a lot! Nowadays it's Chris Tyler's tutorials that are the best around. The Strata PodCast is also something to look into. The best way to learn 3D is to be open minded and try many different modelers and packages til you find what suits you the best. I do much of my modeling in Silo which I recommend to everyone that likes organic modeling. But nothing beats Strata when it's render time.

» Has the introduction of 3D into your workflow caused you to branch out and explore opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise?

I'm looking into animation right now, which I think is a very interesting science. So hard to make things look easy and natural when animating. I don't think I ever would have been interested without the 3D world. Like I said before, I often try out graphical solutions in 3D to get the right feel in the final work. Sometimes ending up with a normal photo instead of 3D.

» Do you try to fit your personal style into your Strata work, or do you find the technology dictating your style?

You can go your own way when using Strata. Strata is like Photoshop in 3D: an interface that you already know makes it easy to experiment!

» Any advice for new users? Where to start, what to avoid, creative advice?

Look around the wonderful StrataCafe and download models there, dissect them to find out what lies behind the wonderful renderings people make at the Cafe. The Cafe has a great texture library which I use every day to make fast previews of the final work. Sometimes it's just small adjustments that make what I'm after!

The only limitation to success is your imagination!

» Thanks for your Time, Dan. We look forward to seeing more of your work on the Cafe!