Featured 3D Artist of Nov/ Dec 2008 – Jean Simard

3DValley Featured 3D Artist of November & December 2008 – Jean Simard. Jean is a 3D artist from Montreal, Canada. He mostly works with 3dsmax but also uses many other software programs. At 37 he decided to change his career and went back to school at the Academy of Art and Design in Montreal to follow a two years course by night and weekend. He has worked in several areas of the industry including industrial modeling, gaming, architecture and product visualization. Some of the projects he has worked on are: PSP – Open Season, and Surf’s Up: the video game. Please read our interview with Jean below to get to know him and his work a bit better.

Gallery album of Jean Simard
Website of Jean Simard

Can you tell us a bit about yourself: Who are you and what do you do in your daily life?

Jean: Hi, I’m happy to share with you some of my experience in 3D. I live in Montreal, Canada. It’s a very nice town to work in CG. There are many companies in this field, so opportunity are there for anyone who wants to have a nice career in gaming, CG film, virtual architecture and more. I have worked in gaming, architectural 3D, publicity and industrial modeling.

Which software packages and/or traditional materials do you use for your artwork?

Jean: My principal software is 3dsmax. I also work with Vue, Mudbox, BodyPaint 3D, Poser, Autocad, AE, Combustion, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and more. I don’t use traditional art very often.

Do you remember the first time you knew you wanted to be an artist?

Jean: When the old CG film Tron from Walt Disney when out, I knew that one day I will work in this field. I was so impress by this technology. It was very basic at that time but the sky was the limit.

Renault 5 Turbo

Where did you go to school and how did they prepare you for your career?

Jean: At 37 I decided to change my career and went to school at the Academy of Art and Design in Montreal. It was a two years course by night and weekend. I had a regular job as a chief furniture maker at the same time, father of two young children and a husband… It was a tough experience to be able to finish my course and get my diploma.

But the best way I acquire my experience and talent it was for me. After my course I never stop practicing my 3D skills almost every night for 5 years. Every time I had the chance to push and pull vertices I had to take it. By this time I knew every tutorial on the net. I really think this is the only way to learn 3D.

Can you tell us a bit of the way you work on your art?

Jean: The first thing I do is get the all the references I can on the subject I’m working on. This is very important to know how things work, look, feel. How do they interact with other bodies? How light affect his color, specular. After that I can start modeling it.

How much time do you spent on modeling on how much on touch-ups in Photoshop?

Jean: Maybe 80% 3D and the rest 2D.


Do you have a favorite piece of your own artwork and if so why?

Jean: The Matrix’s APU. It was only a personal project but because I decided to participate with his WIP on a dozen of forum, it turned out on a very good experience to learn a lot of tricks from other 3D freaks. I had the Nickname Spline or Spline01 on those forums. And one day, the guy who did the real one for the film, Tareq Mirza, wrote me personally to tell me how good my APU was. It was a real surprise to chat with him.

Who or what would you describe as having the most influences on your work/ style?

Jean: I have no particular influence. I like art in general. One thing I really enjoy to look at or go out to see it live is the Cirque du Soleil. It is like a Live virtual show. The decor and costume are so fantastic.

How many years are you working in the CG industry?

Jean: This is my 8th year in this area.

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What was your first break in the business?

Jean: My first job was for a company who make casted putter object for marketing. Like badge, belt knuckle, etc… My job was to model every object for the mould. It was very challenging to be able to finish every model at time.

Which areas of your work do you enjoy the most?

Jean: What I enjoy the most is the modeling process and the animation montage.

Can you tell us what a day at the office is like for you? and name 3 things you like and 3 things you like less about your current job?Jean: I have a new job at Vortex Int. I’m in charge of the 3D department. They were not satisfied of the 3D image for their marketing, so they hired me to build a new process for the artists. It’s a nice job with a lot of challenge.

My daily job is to write documents for procedure, built the new library, test my setting in 3dsmax with their products and work with the artists.

What I like the most is:
– Do R&D for find the best way to work in 3D.
– Write procedures.
– And of course do 3D.

What I like less:
– I hate to work with incompetent artists. 3D is complicated and a good artist is a person who practice a lot to learn all kind of tip and tricks, that way they know different approaches to do a scene and model.
– I don’t like to work with a stupid deadlines. Our field it’s most of the time on a short deadline, some clients don’t understand what 3D is and they think because it comes from a computer it’s easy to do and don’t take much time.
– I don’t like it when the computer I’m working on is not enough powerful for my need.

Which projects have you been working on and is there any project in particular that you especially enjoyed working on?

Jean: I have worked on the PSP “Open season” game. One thing I’ve done on this version that I am really proud is the Mine section. It’s a huge roller coaster ride that was a real challenge to do. As I said earlier, Surf’s Up game. And at last a Wii version of a big name (it’s a secret) that is coming out this fall.

Industrial product visualization – tech model 25

What would be your dream assignment?

To work in cinema; for a big company like Pixar.

Are you currently working on something that you can share with us?

Jean: Nothing to exiting at this time.

If you where not working in 3D what does you think you would be doing today?

Jean: Maybe working as a furniture maker.

Interior 03

What’s your favorite CG character from the movies?

Jean: There are too many, I don’t know which one I like the most. I really like robot style CG.

Besides 3Dvalley.com, which other graphic sites do you visit regularly?

Jean: 3Dtotal.com, AREA, CGchannel.com, CGsociety.org, 3DAllusions.com, 3DScool.com, 3Dbuzz.com, VFXtalk.com and many more.

Is their something you can’t work without?

Jean: Silence… most of the time.

What do you do when you are not working or creating something?

Jean: Sports like hiking, bicycle, rollerblade, and fishing. Go see CG film on big screen.

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Christa: Thanks for your time and the interview Jean!

Gallery album of Jean Simard
Website of Jean Simard
Interviews with other artists

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