Chocofur interview with Pascal Deraed

How did you get started with Blender?

To cut a long story short, I started using Blender twelve years ago. That thanks to a student of mine that had read about it. Many years ago I was doing my duty as a texturing artist for a game company but became unfortunately burned out because of all the travelling and long working hours. After being four years on sick leave from work, a person I knew asked me if I be would interested in replacing a programing teacher that had left his teaching position. I thought well yes, why not! I needed to re-educate myself, sort of getting used to work again, knew programing and simply grabbed the chance. Coming from the computer game industry, the willingness to keep myself within the concept had really crossed my mind and I started almost immediately to elaborate a plan to develop and create what would become Sweden´s first secondary school computer game educational program. That took four years of hard work during which I also had the time to carefully learn Blender. It started with 2.49. Its Open source status was obviously the main reason why Blender became the 3D software of our choice.

What a great investment it was!

What is the main source of your inspiration?

That is a very hard question because I find so many things inspirational. Nature is probably my number one inspiration. I love being in the woods regardless of the weather and season. I can spend hours observing how lighting reacts and how it forms the shadows. It is unbelievable how nature is able to shape and colorize things with such profound precision and exactness, while being so abstract and asymmetrical. I always tell my students to go out and take pictures!

Your strongest and weakest points as a 3D artist?

I can from time to time have difficulties sorting out all the ideas in my head and that really can make it harder to get started with a project. Moreover, depending on which project I am working on, my organization skills sometimes need a little work.

Apart from that, I’m very dedicated and passionate. I love the challenge of getting involved in really complex 3D projects and love the idea of learning while creating.

Tribute to Ghost in the Shell
This scene is a personal tribute to a a larger Ghost in the Shell project that started a year and a half ago. I was in charge of modeling and texturing all the environmental scenes, pre-lighing of those and the short movie poster. The biggest challenge of this scene was the female robotic body. To keep it anatomically sort of correct took lotsa work.

If I can make one person happy with my art, I consider myself being successful.

The most challenging project you ever did in Blender?

I am right now being involved in a top notch 3D project. Probably the most challenging I have so far been part of. It is a Viz project for the city I live in (Karlskrona in the south of Sweden) and I was asked to create 200 houses and a large green park. That includes all the trees, roads and a lot more.... Things are going well and customer is so far really pleased.

As a 3D artist, what was your biggest success?

My biggest success as a 3D artist would probably be as an Educator. Being able to teach 3D and encapsulate the students in this deep passion of mine. If I can make one person happy with my art, I consider myself being successful.

What is your dream project to work on?

Every project I work on currently is my favorite one. On the other hand I will one day invest a larger amount of money in hardwares and create something really big, bigger than everything else I have ever created but I just do not know what yet. Time will tell.

Steampunk Vault
This scene was part of a testing. That was also a awesome opportunity to study the Steampunk style. The biggest challenge was to make it my own Steampunk style and animation ready in case I would animate.

Your most-loved passion aside from 3D Graphics?

My kids! They’re everything to me. I cannot find enough words to describe the feeling.

What is your favorite aspect and feature of Blender?

I love the fact that Blender is an all-around software. Blender’s multifunctionality allows me to create things using a variety of discovered methods. Blender has a bumpy learning curve but as soon as you’ve understood its basic functionality, you then very quickly realize how powerful it is. As for Blender’s feature, Loop Tools is my favorite and I can’t live without it.

If you had the chance, what would you change in Blender to make it better?

I would probably do something about the UI. I myself am very used to it and find it straightforward but many artists coming from other 3D software can find it very intimidating. Apart from that, I would not change anything.

Do not take anything for granted. It took some years before I had understood that.
Steampunk Machinery
The purpose of this project was to study advanced texturing in Blender and implement unconventional weapon design inside the Steampunk style. The biggest challenge was to create some sort of compability between the details and make them visually appealing.

If there's one thing you would teach your younger self, what would it be and why?

Do not take anything for granted. It took some years before I had understood that. A lot happened during my depression due to burnout. I started to have much more perspective on life and realized that only me could make it better for myself. I actually became very creative during this particular period of my life and my art became better.

What is your workflow when creating 3D artworks?

I have different workflows depending on what kind of project I am involved in. However, before to tell about that, I usually start the work with brainstorming lotsa ideas and during this particular period of time, just anything can happen.

As far as Blender/3D software is concerned, my workflow is pretty straight forward, nothing fancy really. You may even think it is a bit foolish but I actually have a small piece of paper hanging above the computer, reminding me about a few useful thing, like for instance ”make it animation ready, mechanically correct....” and so on.​

What is your hardware and software setup?

I use 3x Geforce GTX 1080Ti graphic cards, 64 Gb Ram, X99-Deluxe Motherboard, 1x SSD 840 PRO series and 1x SCSI 2,72 TB Disk.

Mostly Blender Cycles, Photoshop, Illustrator , After Effects, and Unity

I also use a Wacom MobileStudio Pro Graphics tablet and a Wacom Cintiq 22hd.

As video equipment I use a older Nikon D90 on a mhxpro-3w

bonus question

In your tribute to Ghost in the Shell, how has Blender helped in your pipeline? What were the lessons learned?

It is interestingly enough to know that everything was created inside Blender. Now I do not want to reveal too much about it. CGCookie has shown interest in the project and together we have discussed about a blog that would cover the all project when the final result is released.

We´ve learned so many useful things during this production but working collaboratively was definitely the biggest challenge. Be sure of who you collaborate with! Our dedication and open-minded approach towards this project have always been strong assets to carry out the work as it was expected. You also really need to be passionate and dedicated. This is without a doubt the most essential qualities you´ll need to succeed with such a project.