Xavier Mestres, 3D Illustrator
Xavier Mestres is an illustrator and animator located in Barcelona, Spain. He started “Pentagrafic” in 2003 to offer 3D modeling, animation, and photo retouching for advertising agencies, architecture, and technical illustration clients. Pentagrafic’s clients include Antonio Puig Fragances, Nestle (Nespresso-DolceGusto), Unilever (Frigo), and various advertising agencies. Xavier has also created several Strata 3D resource libraries.
How did you get started in the graphics industry? When did you start using Strata 3D?
I started as a technical specialist in pre-press systems and offset printing. Through my first job in a pre-press company, I made contact with the graphic industry. I started using the first systems of photo retouching installed in Spain manufactured by Kodak (Kodak Premier digital retouching system). I had bought my first Mac to do some desktop publishing, and discovered Photoshop, and soon after, Strata 3D. I’ve been using Strata since 1989, with the first version of Strata Vision 3D (running in Apple MAC II ci 25Mhz). From there, I started working as a freelancer doing graphic design work, retouching, and working in 3D.
What made you pick up Strata 3D? Was there a specific problem/need that caused you to seek out a 3D application?
I discovered Strata while searching for 3D Mac to make 3D illustrations. At that time, there were only few options for 3D software. Strata had a friendly interface for those without a 3D background.
At first, I used Strata to supplement my photo retouching. I enjoyed working in 3D more and more, so I tried to learn everything I could. Now, 80% of my work is based on 3D. Although I do all kinds of work in 3D, I like technical illustration and animation. I can model, texture and render with hi-quality results and I can offer photorealistic renders in a short-time production.
I’m also a devoted Strata user, which is why I make 3D resources for the Strata community.
What’s a typical day for you? What other software do you use on a regular basis?
I am freelance, but I offer services as a company (Pentagrafic). I usually work alone in the studio and use the Internet to collaborate with a team. This way I can tackle bigger projects which I could not do on my own. Besides graphic design work, I also have to do other important tasks to run the business: Contact customers and look for jobs, manage the company at the administrative level, etc. At night (if I have any energy left), I spend time learning.
I mainly use Strata, Photoshop and Illustrator. I frequently use Poser, Xfrog and MicroStation. I also use Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premier for special effects and post-production.
Which features do you use the most in Strata 3D?
The mesh editor and UV maps (poly modeling tools). It allows me to create any type of object with perfectly applied textures. I’m using the animation tools for much of my recent work. I dedicate a fair of amount of time to textures and lighting, to achieve pictures with a photorealistic look.
What has been the biggest benefit from introducing 3D into your workflow?
Although I started doing illustrations by hand, I am more of a technical person than an artist. 3D allowed me to reach a level of illustration that I may have not been able to reach as a traditional illustrator. I’m good at understanding how 3D applications work, and this gives me some infinite possibilities. I love 3D!
Any advice for new users?
Many of the questions that arise for new users can be solved through the user manual. Most people do not read the manuals, but they are a great help!