Trevor Nelson, 3D Illustrator

Trevor Nelson is an Toronto-based (Illustrator/Designer) with a focus on advertising and conceptual illustrations. During his 17 years of design experience, Trevor has worked with such high profile clients as Starbucks, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Purolator, Canada Post, The Hudson's Bay Company, The Government of Canada, and more.

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» How did you get started in the graphics industry?

I originally started as a Painter, studying art at York University in Toronto then went on to study Commercial Arts at the Ontario College of Art.

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

I had always been interested in 3D (since visiting the Alias studios here in Toronto, as a student). A friend mentioned that Strata was coming out with a new version of its software, and was giving the old version away for the cost of shipping. That was Strata Studio Blitz.

» What other applications were part of your workflow, and how did Strata 3D work with those applications?

As far as illustration goes, I also use Photoshop and Illustrator. I usually do all of my profile work in Illustrator. Then import them into Strata. From there I will do my extrudes, revolves or skins, convert them to Bezier or polygon shapes and go from there. Photoshop I use for textures and retouching after rendering. I often will render separate pieces in strata and assemble everything in Photoshop.

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

Mostly by reading the manual and experimenting. When I started to learn I didn't have an internet connection, there was no StrataCafe, and I didn't know anyone that knew the program. I would recommend reading the manuals, but also there are so many more online resources and tutorials out there now (StrataCafe, Strata.com, SimplyStrata). These are an invaluable source.

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

Very definitely. 3D Animation, high realism, technical and architectural illustration. I've done all of these, and probably never would have if I continued with traditional illustrative methods. I will use Strata to quickly map signage or displays into a 3D environment. I find it's a great tool for doing great quality mock-ups as well as finished illustrations.

» Have you tried other 3D applications? How did Strata 3D compare?

I have. Infini-D, Lightwave, Pixels 3D, Cinema XL. I always seem to come back to Strata. I just haven't found another package that is as user friendly.

» Do you use any other applications to compliment Strata 3D?

Sometimes Poser, A bit of Wings, but mostly just Strata as far as 3D goes.

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

I can now do far more precise illustrations, High realism is now an option. I do far more sequential illustrations. Different set ups of the same models, or different angles and lighting. I can create an environment and then play in it. It's truly exciting.

» Was there anything else regarding your experience with Strata 3D that our readers would find interesting or useful?

Learn about Modeling, texturing and lighting. It is fun to create a really nice intricate and accurate model, but always keep in mind that 3D can be an art form as well. Put things in an environment and try to create a mood or a story. I know I too will go to great lengths to create a nice model then just slap in a background, but I find I'm most successful when I can create an environment with a mood. Where I'm not obsessed with whether or not I can see all the details of a model or models that I've spent the last 2 weeks creating.