Leif Buckley, Product Illustration
Leif Buckley is a native of San Diego, CA. with 10 years experience in Strata 3D. Currently working in the product design sector, past clients have included Digital Force Technologies, Soma Financial and Marvel For Kids.
How did you get started in the graphics industry? Did you start as a traditional illustrator?
I had always taken traditional art classes while growing up, but felt more at home as soon as I started designing on a computer. It started with a friend that had a really old PC with some paint program and he created a Coors beer can and it looked like nothing I had ever seen, I was hooked. I didn’t have any real knowledge of computers, but learned quickly.
What made you pick up Strata 3D? Was there a specific problem/need that caused you to seek out a 3D application?
In 1996 I got a Mac that was bundled with Vision 3D, at the time this was Strata’s free version. I bought the computer for art school and lo and behold, they were teaching Strata Studio Blitz! That is when I really started to enjoy the art of 3D design and illustration and I have stayed with Strata ever since.
How has your workflow changed since learning Strata 3D?
I’ve been able to go the extra step in design when moving concepts from 2D to 3D. It has also allowed me to attain new clients that have different needs.
What’s a typical day for you? What other software do you use on a regular basis?
Photoshop, Illustrator, and Strata. I bounce between those three all day long, whether it is at my 9-5 or my freelance clients, all three are open and in use. I also use Poser 6 to import and render my figures in Strata scenes.
How did you learn 3D, and would you recommend your method to new users?
The art school I went to actually taught Strata software at the time. However, I learned the most about 3D on my own by practicing. I would see what others could do and that inspired me. If you are interested in 3D, Strata is a perfect place to start. It’s powerful with a straight forward interface and workflow.
Has the introduction of 3D into your workflow caused you to branch out and explore opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise?
Absolutely, in fact I was able to learn other 3D programs based on my knowledge from Strata, and now I build some models in CAD and bring them right into Strata to texture and render.
Do you try to fit your personal style into your Strata work, or do you find the technology dictating your style?
A little of both, I think it is relevant to what you are creating and for whom. When working freelance, it is often my own style and influences.
For your work, do you normally get material to work from, or just a brief on the type of illustration required?
I’m a product designer at my 9-5 job and projects will often start with me from sketch to concept. I will create my first drafts in Strata to show the engineers the design and then move to SolidWorks to create and print out a 3D prototype for test fitting. I also do a lot of illustrative concept designs in Strata to convey to clients how a product may look and work, Strata is at the forefront for this work.
Any advice for new users? Where to start, what to avoid, creative advice?
Visit 3D galleries, you can gain insight from some artists that will reply to questions about technique and direction. Experiment as much as possible, model things from around the house or office and try to incorporate both organic and mechanical objects. Read as many tutorials as you can find, even if they are for another 3D application – the more you understand about 3D the better.
Thanks for your time, Leif. We look forward to seeing more of your work on the Cafe!
My pleasure, and thank you for the cafe which I visit daily!