Ronald Texier, 3D Illustrator

Ronald Texier lives and works in Poitiers, France. He has 10 years experience in the publishing and publicity area. He is currently a writer and graphic designer for a publishing company, and recently became a freelance 2D/3D illustrator. He is working for Sid Presse and two advertising agencies: Projet Atlantique and Effet Papillon.

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

I have been drawing since I was very small. My curriculum was influenced by that. During my three years in publicity school, I have made roughs, studies, paintings and some aerographer. It's only during my last year of school that I took my first steps with a computer, with Illustrator 3.2, one hour per week. It is thus with no real knowledge that I was hired by an advertising agency in 1996, and I started then to use a computer. If you must know, I got my first Mac last year!!!!

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

At the time, in this agency oriented in the events business, I was drawing booths using Illustrator. But I was yearning for a more realistic environment: a more sophisticated lighting, shadows, etc. The agency owned Bryce 3D and thus it opened the 3D doors for me. I became quickly comfortable with it but became also aware of its limitations. Soon after I met a friend who was using Strata, which I did not know before. What a big mistake! And so much time lost!

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

When I am brought a new illustration to make, I always see it in 3D! Alas, the deadlines are often to close, especially in the press business, so I am using 2D, telling myself that it will be for next time. However, my colleagues are starting to accept the 3D style, for my greater pleasure.

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

First, some good coffee ;-) Then I start with the ongoing tasks, either publishing or commercial mailings, where I use regularly Xpress and Photoshop. I devote the remainder of my time on illustrations that will be used on articles or products, using Illustrator, Wings and Strata. Back home, the freelance illustrator takes over from 09:00 PM through the wee hours: 2-3 AM.

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

I don't think I am the perfect example. I was self taught without the handbook that I did not own back then, six or seven years ago. Then, I got the upgrades, with the handbook this time. Then, thanks to internet, I discovered many tutorials and advices on websites that helped me to evolve rapidly. The forums are an invaluable source of information. I learn every day, and with the software evolving continually - I am waiting frantically for version 5.0 - I can't wait to discover even more.

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

Images close to reality where everything is allowed since we can control everything: modeling, substance, lighting, camera angle .. This is what I like. If I manage to reproduce the image I had in my head, then I really have fun.

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

Both. When a subject comes from illustration, I often have a precise idea of what I will represent. Then, I draw a precise rough, with a certain camera angle, and I model it using Wings, Illustrator and Strata. It's after in the adjustments and the small details that Strata brings all its power and seems to tell me: "you see, without me there is no way you could have obtained such results!", and it is right !

» For your magazine illustrations, do you normally get the article to read first, or just a brief on the type of illustration required?

I am lucky to have all the journalists in the company building. We meet and we review all the headers that will appear in the upcoming magazines for the next month. Then we decide which will have a picture or an illustration. I make a sketch, most of the time precise enough, and I propose it. If I think I have enough time, I make the illustration in 3D.

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

To own a Mac. No, more seriously, to own a good machine is an asset and brings a lot of comfort. First, discover the essential handbook, follow it step by step and get familiar with all the tools. Strata 3D's interface is really user friendly and easy to use. Then, on the internet, discover the Strata universe, in particular thanks to the StrataCafe gallery - which gives a good idea of what can be done - and the various tutorials, forums, advice from advanced users, without talking about the famous "Art & Science" of the incredible Chris Tyler. And finally, be patient. The rendering can be long, and it's not easy to determine the perfect lighting or to make a perfect model at first sight. But once an image is finished, it is such a pleasure to contemplate it.

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

Merci á vous.