Jack Moore, 3D Illustrator
Jack Moore is a New Jersey based Illustrator/Designer with a focus on advertising and packaging illustration. During his 25 years experience, Jack has worked for clients such as: Heineken USA, Warner Lambert, M&M Mars and Pfizer. Most recently he is concentrating on creating digital fine artwork combining 3D and 2D digital techniques.
How did you get started in the graphics industry? Did you start as a traditional illustrator?
After graduating from art school, I worked at ad agencies. Next I started my own graphic arts business specializing in illustration and photo retouching. My medium was a combination of brush/airbrushed acrylics, mostly for advertising and packaging. I had been working like that for many years when computers were first introduced. I resisted at first, but after seeing what a friend was doing using a Wacom tablet with Photoshop & Painter, I realized I could use a computer to produce the same quality artwork that I was creating with traditional media. After that I really started to see what a powerful tool a computer could be for an artist. After taking the pixel plunge into the deep end, I discovered the seemingly endless new possibilities 2D & 3D graphics applications would afford me. This would forever change my creative process.
What made you pick up Strata 3D? Was there a specific problem/need that caused you to seek out a 3D application?
The first 3D application I used was Ray Dream Studio, a decent application to learn basic 3D concepts. I started creating some of my illustrations in 3D with a lot of post work in Photoshop. Ray Dream’s next upgrade became Carrara 1, but its initial release was so buggy, it was unusable. While shopping for a better quality 3D application, I saw a full page Strata ad in a magazine featuring an amazing illustration created by an illustrator friend of mine, Andy Lackow (also a former traditional media artist). I checked out Strata’s website and discovered some really high quality work by some very talented artists. I have been using it ever since.
Out of curiosity I did get into Lightwave 3D for a little while, but I found its interface and workflow scenario unnecessarily complicated for even the most simple tasks. I’m sure you can get used to anything, but I was anxious to create artwork, not spend a lot of time on the steep learning curve that was apparently necessary with that application. That experience made me appreciate Strata’s well thought out workflow and interface even more.
How has your workflow changed since learning Strata 3D?
Working realistically, as I do, 3D has freed me from relying on detailed photo reference.
My initial pencil sketches are very simple now. I often will explore my compositional options in Strata’s 3D space. In addition to my commercial illustration I have recently started working on a series of fine art images, mainly landscapes/lakescapes inspired by the North Eastern area where I live. My final image is a combination of rendered 3D image and digital handwork using a Wacom tablet with Painter & Photoshop. I have made these into limited edition Giclee prints on either canvas or watercolor paper to display and sell at art galleries. Working this way, I can set up an environment and create interesting lighting situations that would occur in nature only for a fleeting moment, if at all.
What other software do you use on a regular basis?
I use Strata Design 3D, Silo, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign.
How did you learn 3D, and would you recommend your method to new users?
Back then (my first version of Strata was 2.5, I think) I read the great reference manual plus a book with tutorials that came with it. The familiar Adobe-like interface made learning both inviting and friendly. For new users today I would recommend the many options that weren’t available when I first started. Visit the StrataCafe site daily, for both information and inspiration. I have found the Strata community members to be talented, friendly, smart and very generous with their knowledge. I have learned much from them. Also Strata’s tech support is the best.
I am a perpetually a student, always looking to improve my skills.
Has the introduction of 3D into your workflow caused you to branch out and explore opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise?
Definitely. Some of my illustration projects now require creating photo-real visualizations of products that don’t exist yet. I can take a client’s simple pencil sketch and, using my Strata workflow, I can produce an image that looks like it has already been manufactured and photographed. This is often done for market testing purposes.
Do you try to fit your personal style into your Strata work, or do you find the technology dictating your style?
“Technology dictating style” was an early misconception I had about creating artwork with a computer (although that may have been true with early computer graphics). The more you can master your medium, be it digital or traditional, the more successful you will be with realizing what you saw in your mind’s eye in the first place. Ultimately the success of your artwork is about the organization of color, line, form, composition and rhythm, and whether or not this interplay of elements supports the subject matter or intent of the work itself.
Do you normally get material to work from for an illustration, or just a brief on the type of illustration required?
It depends on the project and the client.
Any advice for new users? Where to start, what to avoid, creative advice?
First learn to start thinking in XYZ, so you can navigate the 3D space on your screen. Without this understanding you could easily get lost and frustrated. Devote as much time as you can to each one of the elements that makes up the process: Modeling, Texturing (one common error you see beginners do is create textures that don’t match the scale of the scene’s objects), Lighting and Rendering. Also remember that when you first start out you can fine-tune the final rendered image in Photoshop to improve on areas that you are not quite up to speed on yet.
Thanks for your time, Jack. We look forward to seeing more of your work on the Cafe!
You’re quite welcome. Thank you for the StrataCafe.