Mike Gleason, Medical Illustrator
Mike Gleason is a medical illustrator using Strata 3D at A.D.A.M to provide educational material to universities and higher education facilities.
How did you get started in the graphics industry?
I’ve always been interested in art and graphics, but also science as well. I went for a Bachelor of Fine Arts undergraduate degree in college with a minor in Biology. Around that time I learned of the medical illustration field and fortunately there was a school in my home town that had a program in that field (MCG). At the time I was there, there was no training in computer graphics. Everything I’ve learned in this area was through my current employer and my own personal interest over the years.
What made you pick up Strata 3D? Was there a specific problem/need that caused you to seek out a 3D application?
I think almost anyone who does computer graphics becomes interested in a 3D application sooner or later. I’ve used a version of Strata off and on probably for over ten+ years. There simply wasn’t much available for doing 3D graphics on the Macintosh platform back then and Strata was a great comprehensive program for getting your feet wet. I liken Strata to the Mac platform in that it doesn’t seem like you’re working when you use it. It’s fun. And I have to say that I’m very pleased with the continuing improvements being made to it in recent years. It seemed to go through quite a stagnant period in the mid to late 90’s.
What other applications were part of your workflow, and how did Strata 3D work with those applications?
My bread and butter application is Photoshop since the bulk of the graphic content I create is 2D. However, modeling and rendering 3d objects can be a great time-saver in creating what will ultimately be 2D project. My primary modeling tool is Wings3D because it concentrates on doing only one thing well, and that is giving you the tools to create any 3D object you can imagine. Strata, of course, can render any model brilliantly.
How did you learn Strata 3D, and would you recommend your method to new users?
Well, I learned by trial and error and reading the manual over a period of time. I also look at what other people are doing with Strata (and other 3D products). My way requires quite a bit of motivation so that you don’t give up if things aren’t going right. Some people are suited to learning this way, but, if you have the time and resources available, taking a class or seminar can get you up to speed much more quickly.
Has the introduction of 3D into your workflow caused you to branch out and explore opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise?
Certainly it’s fed my interest in 3D graphics in general, and allows me to take on projects that I might not have otherwise.
Have you tried other 3D applications? How did Strata 3D compare?
Yes, I try other applications from time to time. Generally, I always come back to Strata because I know it, and need to get something done. As far as 3d applications go, Strata has a very moderate learning curve.
Do you use any other applications to complement Strata 3D?
Wings 3D is my current primary modeling tool. And Strata works perfectly with it.
How has your personal style and workflow changed since learning Strata 3D?
It’s hard for me to be objective about that, really. I don’t think there’s any question that illustrations based on 3D renderings have a more sculptural feel and a more convincing sense of depth.
Was there anything else regarding your experience with Strata 3D that our readers would find interesting or useful?
Probably the most useful thing potential users need to know is that there is exciting and active development of the Strata 3D program right now; forthcoming improvements are making Strata 3D a very powerful graphic tool.