Interview with Pierre Chartier – From Photography to Digital Landscapes

Pierre Chartier is a relative newcomer to 3D digital art. Well known and respected in Canada for his work as Director of Photography in the television and entertainment industry, and an award winning director, he moved into the music arena to nurture talent using exotic wind instruments. In 2008, he because familiar with ArtMatic Voyager, and then moved on to Terragen 2.


Pierre brought his photographic and directorial eye into the virtual arena, and not long after starting out, he won a third place finish in the NWDA Roadside contest several years ago. His experience in looking through a lens, and his exposure to the majestic landscapes of Canada and Quebec allow him to create photorealistic landscapes that can easily fool the eye!

Helpful links:

Pierre Chartier MySpace

Cherry Blossom Rock

3DA: We would like to welcome Pierre Chartier (aka Jo Kariboo) – NWDA’s Roadside Challenge 3rd Place winner! Pierre, great to have you with us. Congratulations on making it in the top three! The entries in this challenge were impressive to say the least. What was your reaction on your 3rd place win?

PC: First, I would like to thank 3D ART Direct for this interview. Personally I was surprised to win a prize and excited at the same time. I found this to be a very exciting competition. The competition arrived at a great time. I had plenty of free time during this period which allowed me to experiment with different images with the same Roadside theme. I want to thank all those who gave the constructive criticism that pushed me to the edge enhancing my images. I am very pleased with the prizes I received from Xfrog, Jan Walter Schliep “Silva 3D”, and “The Tarmac Road” from Frank Basinki of the NWDA group.


3DA: Did the concept of the stone road of Vieux Chemin come to you right away? If not what were some of your early ideas on your entry?

PC: The idea did not come to me immediately. I first worked from a file of DandelO’s asphalted road, but I was not satisfied with my light and the first test. So I started another concept. I started “vieux chemins” without being certain that it would qualify as a road because the majority of images submitted by other competitors included paved roads. I had never dealt in the past with Terragen with a road of any kind, but with the technical knowledge I have I could end up having an acceptable result. It was then that I began to imagine a deserted road that was covered by cyclists and stones as it is in many countries.

3DA: Your population distributions are extremely natural looking. Terragen offers many ways to do this, walk us through your work flow on this part of the image.

PC: I know it is possible to work with masks with Terragen but it’s a bit beyond my technical knowledge. Here in “vieux chemin” I mainly used the “paint shader.” The paint shader distributes populations easily with good accuracy. Plants in foreground controlled by paint shader behave the same as the road but in inverse shader as large boulders dotting the fields. I used three different populations of shrubs of Ulco Glimmerveen, two populations of shrubs, Mr. Lampost a populations, shrub of aymenk 2003 and 4 populations of dandelo trees. Some trees without leaves it positioned in single. Cyclists are Terrade, ruins by Ogre and many other free 3d buildings were downloaded from different site.


3DA: There are some fine details both in the foreground as well as the distance. The models that you used are particularly well placed and lit. Tell our readers a bit about this..

PC: Yes some shrubs were placed individually on the road ways and in the fields. In the background several of dandelo trees were affixed again with a paint shader to delineate cultivable land. The trees on the mountains in the background have a shader  distribution defining their distribution at the beginning of the mountains suggesting it would have been cut by grazing animals or for agriculture. The setting of haze and the orientation of the sun adds a distance effect in the image.

3DA: Along with the get light, the cumulus clouds in the distance adds great depth. Is controlling clouds something that is easy to do in Terragen?

PC: Yes, now it’s very easy to position the clouds with Terragen. Before it was possible to work with a distance shader for a control, but since the ability to locate and radius for clouds it is much easier to place the clouds at specific locations in the image. Everything is a matter of taste. I often work with no clouds, only a variant of the blue sky and the degree of haze. Here in “vieux chemins” I thought the clouds brought a depth to the picture and were graphically interesting in the composition.

3DA: The overall composition of this render really sets it apart from some of the other entries. This, like all of your work, is very well composed. Does this come naturally to you?

PC: Well yes and no. In this picture I had a particularly large enough to fill space. I had to delve into my memories to imagine a plausible distribution of vegetation in an area that could have the ‘Look” of a countryside landscape of Quebec. Although this was the original concept, Quebec does not absolutely look like this image but very similar. Some of my images are for me a construction game that sometimes takes a long time to achieve. But others against, such as the series “cherry bloom rock” are completely devoid of plants and 3d objects and therefore are easier to complete. I’m forever looking for some balance in the composition of my work. I often look at landscape photographs on the web despite them not really giving me inspiration for my work with Terragen. I absolutely love browsing through landscape photographs. I find great pleasure in watching nature al across this great planet of ours.

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Read the rest of the interview with Pierre Chartier in 3D Art Direct, Issue 30 which you can find in our Back Issues Service.

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