Who is 'Jean-Claude'?
I'm a forty-six year-old guy, I live in Paris and I'm French. First, I am very proud to be the Artist of the Month on Renderosity. It's really an honor and homage for my work on C4D. Your votes are for me an encouragement to continue better and better...How long have you been rendering/doing computer graphics?
Since a long time ago...I started to put some black pixels on a screen in 1981 with a ZX! But it began to be more interesting in '89 on a MAC II CI with Strata 1.0. I never stopped making 3D since that moment.Do you have traditional art experience?
Yes, I have, my father has, my grand-father had. I did artists studies in Estienne High School for four years, but there was no computer, it was really traditional studies of painting, printing, design, art and typography history...What are you currently working on?
I do not have a particular subject now, I'm working with my father on an old ship named "Le Coureur". I don't know when I'll make a scene with it, but I learn many things about marine's terms and construction method of that period (1700). We start from Marine Museum plans and books, it's one of the most interesting part of 3D I think. I've had the same pleasure with the "Fiat 500" and the "Emel camera". I love objects with a soul, and I try to share it to the community with my work.How is your workflow when you model a scene, do you start from scratch and see what happens or do you do any previsualisation by sketching with pen and paper?
Generaly I start on an idea or objects which tell me something, I don't make any rough of the scene but I have it in my mind. Because it's not a command for a client, there are no limits of time for me to acheive my scene. I make tests and experiments on textures and lights, I let it down for a while, I load it again later, I change the scene, when I think it's good enough, I share it to have comments and if they are relevant, I make a new render to correct some details according to these comments.Tell us a bit about your texturing - do you use bitmaps or procedurals? Do you create your own textures or have you invested in texture libraries?
I use every sort of textures. I discovered procedurals in Bryce and it was an experimental field I took further with SLA (Cinema 4D's procedural shaders); I explored many Noctua Graphic textures to understand the concept of SLA, but now I have my own base of textures, a result of experimentations. For Bitmap textures it's different, I make exactly what I want. I don't use any texture library, I use Illustrator, Photoshop, Pictures or Body Paint sometimes. What is your geometry-texture balance, i.e. when do you use geometry to add detailing and when do you opt to use a texture or shader?
I don't have any balance for that moment, because I do only still images, (instead of video games or animations). I try to make a fine enough geometry and I keep it in parametric state. When my model seems to be all right (in a blank state) I put it in my scene and I make textures according to each object and lighting, to make a homogeneous ambiance in the scene, like a painting. It's not easy to explain that, but it's finally my ultimate pleasure in 3D.What software/equipment do you use and why?
I recently changed my configuration (a few weeks) with a G4 1,25 GHz / 160 Go DD / 1,2 GoRAM (I don't tell you what poor system I had before, you'll tell me I'm a liar) and I am on OS X Panther system. It changed my life and I can tell you it will be changing my work in 3D. I use Cinema 4D 8.1 (8.5 soon, I hope) graphics softs (on MAC OS 9 / Classic only, I have not the recent one).Concerning Cinema 4D: What are you expecting for the next version? Are there features that you are eagerly waiting for?
I've no particular things to expect, perhaps, like many of us, a better modeling interface (too much plug-ins) but I think it will be resolved in R9. If we could have some functions like Amapi has...but, never mind, I think it's a very good software, the most stable I ever used.What do you think your best piece of work is and why?
Hard question. Well, "Emel camera"
I think, I really had many different satisfactions while making it, and "Arcades"
too, just after, I think it's because of the mood. Surprisingly for me the last one ("Morning in Cotentin"
) had a greater success in the community. I was surprised of that because, as the comments told me, there were many details I could improve. That's why I publish these images (It's only a part of my "productions"), it's a second life for them, they're always mine, but yours too.One of the most impressive element of your work is lighting. Could you describe to us how you prepare the illumination of your scenes? Any tricks you would like to share?
Yes, the lighting is very important for me. Some people tell me: Why don't you make a photo of the scene? They don't understand my way. I made photos for a moment before 3D, I'm sorry but it's different. Since C4D makes radiosity and HDRI, I realize I could make photorealistic scene but with something more than photos. It's difficult to explain, perhaps a longer way to have the resulting image. I started using radiosity with the "Arcades" image. I tried to simulate it first like Carles Piles (a master) but I didn't have enough RAM for too many lights and I was no satisfied by the result, so I tried to use only one light (the sun) and optimize all parameters to the max to reduce the rendering time.
In my last image, there are no lights, no speculars, only one HDRI image and more or less reflective materials, that's all, no secret! :-) I think it's only a starting point to describe the parameters in a list of numbers, it depends of the scene and the mood you want to obtain.
I understand the beginners (I was one of them too): they try to get some rules but there are so many web sites (such as Renderosity) with forums, excellent tutorials, that sometimes I think that all I could say has already been said...(Aaah, modesty when you keep us...)Your style is very photorealistic, so what are your thoughts on styles like NPR (non-photorealistic rendering), a growing trend in 3D today and emphasized by, for example, MAXON's release of its Sketch & Toon module?
It's another way of doing 3D for animations or illustrations. I tried it in Strata, so, if I can have C4D R8.5, I will certainly experiment this new module and, why not, make something this way...Why do you like to work with 3D software?
Interactivity, infinite possibilities of expressions, creating something that could be real but doesn't exist or will exist one day. Re-creating the world, in two words. Sometimes it really frightens me when I see what beautiful images our friends publish on Renderosity, it's always a pleasure to discover new works.
Unfortunately, I have only a RTC connexion, (internet is always expensive in France!) but when I can get an unlimited ADSL, I promise you to be more diligent in my comments and participation. Who/what inspires you?
Anything is good for inspiration, you can imagine a scene when reading a book or history, objects of your own life, painters, sculptors, and of course all the 3D artists you could see. There are no limits for imagination.How has this online community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?
Like I said above, it's very important for me to have some good critics and comments on my work, they are often pertinent and help me to progress, but I love congratulations too. I want to thank all of you for voting for me this month, it IS the most important congratulation I've ever had, it's a very nice encouragement to continue and to be better.
Long life to Renderosity and all of the Artist Community in general. Special thanks too for my friends at frenchcinema4d.com and to my sponsor Mediaworks.
I wish all of you to be always happy to make and show new works. And at last, I hope that my work could inspire and encourage others, like many of you have done for me...
Be sure to check out Jean-Claude's gallery
Click on 'AOM 2004
' on the sidebar to learn more about Artist of the Month and to view our past winners.