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A full-page graphic showing the new technology home owners could be using. Using the concept of a blueprint to show the areas where this technology could be utilize. Strata 3D was used to create the elements making up the blueprint right down to the drafting tape. Adobe Illustrator was used to create the icons.
One reason I enjoyed producing conceptual graphics was the opportunity to merge 3D renderings with 2D vector based illustrations. While it would increase the time for some projects, the final graphic could be quite eye-catching.
Once more 3D helps the reader to envision what something could look like. This one succeeds because textures were kept to a minimum.
Something as simple as the coaxial cable turned out better than I had planned when I was creating this graphic. The soft glows on the ends of the fiber optic strands were all created within Strata 3D.
A light approach for this conceptual graphic showing the bad-guy stealing the unsuspecting cell phone user. Detail and accuracy for the model created as the stage for this graphic was kept intentionally simple to not contrast too much with the cartoon approach to the rest of the graphic.
Being a big fan of the Sim-City game franchise, I always looked forward to those graphics that let me create my own style of 'Sim-City' looking buildings, like the ones in this graphic.
Something I always enjoyed as an Informational Graphic Artist was coming up with the concept once you got the information from the reporter or editor. In this case, it was to explain the steps when it comes to buying futures. This graphic took minimal time but created a simple approach to a complicated process.
Some graphics started out with a feeling of dread, such as this automotive tech piece. The further I got along into the graphic, the more I started to enjoy the challenge of showing a dashboard with all the elements needed. Even the distortion added a visual interest once it ran in the pages of The News & Observer.
My first opportunity to create a conceptual graphic for USA TODAY. Using Freehand's perspective grid, I was able to create the ocean setting.
Simple textures on a simple model with an intense light helped this 3D model show the information needed clearly and quickly, in my opinion.
The 3D imagery of this graphic is one of my better graphics. Poser could be a disaster when trying to work people into a 3D environment with another 3D application. So I learned to do a very basic figure in Poser and import it into Strata and keep the figures with no textures. It gave the reader a complete picture of the scene. The passport model was also something that turned out better than I planned.
One thing about the news media is that when news breaks, you cut corners to get a graphic done in a few hours over a few days. When the news broke of the blackout, my first graphic was similar to this but far less sophisticated.
When the follow-up stories began, I was able to revist that first graphic and improve upon it resulting in this graphic showing what happened to the Northeast.
Using Strata 3D for the models and Adobe Illustrator for rest of the elements this graphic was showing one of the ways to get Internet access in major cities. This was long before the days of Wireless Internet.
This graphic took forever to render but the results were worth it. It was one of my more complex models at the time to show all the elements needed to show transportation alternatives.
Cityscape is still one of my favorite things to model in 3D.
Some of the subjects we 'd cover would sometimes give you pause as a person. This graphic was one of those moments to me. Lives were lost on 9/11 due to the very safety precautions built into the elevator systems of the World Trade Center.
First Responders were at the doors of people trapped in the elevators but couldn't get the doors open.
One of the bigger stories of Hurricane Katrina was the Superdome. This graphic went through many phases before this final version but it was a challenge to show the process of replacing the damaged roof.
Sometimes a simple black and white graphic can have more impact than had it been in color. Such is the case for this graphic for a story on a California train derailment. Nothing 3D or fancy was needed to show how a commuter train could suffer more or less damage depending on how it was configured.
It would have been my nightshift on the day before my vacation started when I got a call to come into work to finesse this graphic. Former USA TODAY Art Director was right, it was going to be a long day/night for me. He was also right, the extra time made for a much more sophisticated and visually appealing graphic.
This is the second incarnation of a graphic I have worked on for adapting a home for seniors. With far more time to work on this version, I was able to create a more detailed home setting in Strata 3D CX as well as the Illustrator vector based icons.
This graphic let me really dig into the Gradient Mesh tool in Illustrator. The upper corner detail of a luxury cabin gave me the change to create a realistic looking cabin full of living details from paintings on the wall to rugs on the floor. Fellow USA TODAY staffers Dave Merrill and Sam Ward contributed to this graphic.
Content Copyright 2013 Robert W. Ahrens
Visual Storytelling | Data Visualization | Graphic Design