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Jonas Ronnegard: environment artist interview


By 3dtotal staff

Web: https://www.artstation.com/jronn (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 26th January 2018
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Jonas Ronnegard is an environment artist who moved to Japan from Sweden who worked for big-name companies before going freelance to build tools and resources for others...


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3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Jonas Ronnegard: My name is Jonas Ronnegard, and I've just entered my thirties! I've been running my own business/freelancing for about 2 years. I grew up in Sweden but have been living on and off in Japan for about 8 years, currently residing in Osaka. In the past I have also worked on site for companies such as Funcom, Dice, Capcom, and Ubisoft, until I finally decided to go on my own, building tools/resources for myself and other artists, which has become a bit of a passion and a challenge.

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Shield I created to promote my Ornament alphas

3dt: Tell us about your art: Your style, themes, genre, and some of the favorite projects you have worked on.
JR: I haven't really evolved enough to say that I have my own style. I'm having a hard enough time trying to keep myself from jumping on every project and idea I can think of – so much I want to do but so little time! As for projects I have worked on, if I focus on the games, I must say the ones I enjoyed to work on the most have either been shelved or are still in production. I guess what an artist enjoys working on and what actually turns out to be sellable are two different types of games. But for games that have made it to the public I really enjoyed working on titles that I also enjoy to play, such as Battlefield 3 and PUBG, and for the art side I really enjoyed making the huge gates for Halo 5, and the colorful assets for Bioshock Infinite.

As for personal projects I like to join in on competitions. I often end up not finding the time, but for the times I actually manage to finish, it has gone quite well. But what I enjoy the most right now is the creation of tools and resources to help and make mine and everyone's work easier and faster, while mixing that up with creating art pieces to show those tools off. This is my way of satisfying my need to create some art. But my main reason for creating tools/resources is probably to speed up my workflow enough to actually have time for everything I want to create.

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Created to try out my modular rock workflow. Used two different modular rocks to set up this scene

3dt: Can you describe your typical workflow, and the software/hardware you normally use when creating your artwork?
JR: I have gone through a lot of software changes in my days, and I can get used to a new workflow quite easily, but my current private workflow includes software such as Maya, ZBrush, Substance Painter, Photoshop, and Marmoset Toolbag. For Maya I have hotkeys mapped out for almost everything, really dislike looking at menus and focus a lot on speed, but when it comes to ZBrush it still confuses me after 10 years, so I keep that as out of the box as I can.
As for hardware, I have a really nice machine from Nvidia back when I was freelancing for them, as well as an EIZO monitor, which I'm still using today. I use a simple Wacom Intuos tablet for fast edits and a Wacom Cintiq for longer sculpting/texturing work.

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Created for Allegorithmic's vehicle challenge a road trip in 2116

3dt: What inspires you?
JR: I guess looking at work that is better and more impressive then what I could achieve, which is a lot, but it makes me want to challenge myself and try harder to make better art, especially since ArtStation came about. I have had too much that inspires me and art that makes me want to try new things. It's more of a daily struggle to keep myself on track on whatever I'm currently working on. I guess my lack of time to be able to finish all my projects started my need to create tools and resources to speed up my workflow.

And at the same time I'm living in Japan, walking down narrow streets in Osaka lit up by the store's neon lights, and other days I'm visiting temples in dark forests in Kyoto/Nara. It's hard for an environment artist to not constantly get inspired and have an urge to recreate it.

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Grumpy Mecha was created for Allegorithmic's Substance Painter challenge. The mesh itself was provided to us

3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
JR: As long as the projects I work on actually gets released its quite easy for a freelance artist to keep their portfolio up to date, but for someone that believes they are always getting better, the portfolio is never up to date. With my current work setup I feel quite lucky to be able to use my portfolio to also promote my work and products, which gives me more motivation to do better, but even when I was actually working in studios I had a hard time keeping myself motivated working on art for someone else, which always pushed me to create more on the side.

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
JR: I have to say I would have a hard time making even a top 100 list. I probably spend a couple of hours a day just looking at other people's art, and there really is too much that impresses or inspires me to be able to name someone specifically. But if I can keep it to someone that really impressed me recently, I would have to say Ben Wilson. Ben created a material for me to include in my substance masters series, and he really went beyond expectations and really changed my expectations on what is possible to create with Substance Designer.

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Just a personal piece, wanted to make something compact and nice

3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
JR: Starting this month I'm going to focus on the store as I have so much in the backlog that I want to create as well as
past sets that I want to improve. Also I want to spend more time making better and more impressive art to use as
preview models for my alpha sets. Hopefully I can also find time to join a challenge or two. I'm also going to continue my collaboration with other artists which I have found to be quite enjoyable, especially when I get to play art director from time to time.

Related links

Jonas Ronnegard's ArtStation
Jonas on Facebook

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