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My entry into a World of Warcraft contest to create an old style Wanted Poster that dealt with lore in the game. I created the poster itself following one of the Horde questlines. The text and art was done in Photoshop and used as a texture map in Strata 3D. The coins used a likeness of the Thrall character in the game and a model was created using that as a bump map in the coin.
Cover art for USA TODAY's Money section on getting American Airlines a start. An old style Balsa Wood airplane was modeled and the textures added directly in Strata onto the model from Photoshop files. Masks in Strata were used to give the appearance of the textures being 'painted' on the model.
Another Money cover illustration on the perks some hotels offer to business travelers. This is a straight render out of Lightwave with no Photoshop enhancements.
One of my first serious sort of cover illustrations using 3D software. The chess pieces were created in Adobe Dimensions and brought into Photoshop. The marble chessboard was created in Photoshop using filters and lighting effects.
I came up with this robot figure in Adobe Dimensions for use with many early Internet stories. This one was about finding jobs on-line. The background treatment was created in Photoshop.
Another one of my robot figures peering into a crystal ball to see the future of business on the Internet.
Another Internet themed cover illustration. This was created in Strata 3D CX with some Photoshop work. I created one Styrofoam piece and repeated it many, many, many times for that just opened box. The cardboard box, tape, and signage all added onto the box model in Strata. Oh, the story was on the arrival of Internet TV.
Trying to be clever in finding cover art for a series of stories in The Times of Northwest Indiana on urban growth issues. I broke down my Rubik's Cube to accurately model the pieces. The textures were all add in Strata, though after more experience in working with I would have been more mindful of images not lining up correctly after the model was finished.
Most of my opportunity to create 3D illustrations came at The Times of Northwest Indiana, where I began to really hone my skills as a 3D artist. This is the straight render out of Strata Vision for a story on home security.
High-Speed Dialup or High-Speed Cable for the Internet was the focus of this cover illustration. Not the first time I had ever modeled a coaxial cable but the telephone wire was a bit harder, especially with the semi-transparent connector and its inner details. Though I was quite happy with the final look Strata 3D CX produced.
When this cover idea came up, I was determined to not use an image of water and drop a rendered image of the television and life preserver onto it. Instead I used grayscale maps to create 3D waves. Creative texturing and render settings gave me a decent looking wavy ocean. through Strata 3D.
Anyone who has driven the southern suburbs or Northwestern Indiana traffic knows all the pitfalls just to get from Point A to Point B. To illustrate the concept for this story, I recreated the Northwestern tip of Indiana and made it a gameboard complete with pieces, details, dice and cards in StrataVision.
My first Strata model published was for The Times of Northwest Indiana's Kids Section. Myself and my artists were asked to create our versions of Santa. The Virtual Pet was a big thing at the time, so I chose to create Virtual Santa.
Having been a Star Wars since the first movie came out, I had to create some Star Wars 3D models. One model being the Imperial Blaster. I was quite happy with the gunmetal look and feel once the render finished in StrataVision.
Obi-wan Kenobi's lightsaber became the next model to attempt in Strata.
Lastly, the coolest of all the Lightsabers, Darth Maul's.
My entry for StrataCafe.com's Holiday Contest years ago. I took some Christmas lights I had made before, recreated a snowglobe with a Southwestern feel to it. Hard to see in this image but those are Christmas Cacti and a mission style home with Santa flying overhead. The card was created in Illustrator and brought into Strata 3D as a texture map.
The Christmas lights from the previous image are featured solo here. This is a straight out of Strata 3D render with no Photoshop filters. All the lighting, glow effects and lens flares were done in Strata through a long period of trial and error to get them looking correct.
A training study with my fellow artists at USA TODAY, where I used to give weekly, semi-weekly sessions on 3D modeling. I recreated an open package of M&M's to show how common objects can be modeled, textured, lit and rendered to give a product display feel to the final render. Plus, the research conducted was fun too. I learned that the tiny M on the candy is a little white decal style decoration.
A story on the lack of oversight of the Federal Housing Administration was a challenge with many concepts tried and killed during the process. Finally I came up with this solution of a cracked magnifying glass over common real estate imagery. The crack in the glass was added in Photoshop but everything else was created with Lightwave.
Content Copyright 2013 Robert W. Ahrens
Visual Storytelling | Data Visualization | Graphic Design