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Interview with Oleg Rogoznev

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"Everything needs time" — These words were said by Oleg Rogoznev, an outstanding Russian illustrator, working in the genre of photo realistic vectors. Read more about him in this interview.

Q Hello Oleg, welcome to Vectortuts+! Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, how and when did you begin to work in the medium of digital art?

Thank you! My name is Oleg Rogoznev. I was born and brought up in Moscow. I had been working as a house-painter decorator for a film studio "Mosfilm". One day I saw an advertisement for a three year training course for animation painters at the cartoon film studio "Souzmultfilm". After finishing the courses I worked as a painter-animator for 6 years, drawing gap frames of video series. I've taken part in the creation of lots of animated cartoon films. The most popular is "Well, wait!" (Nu, pogodi). Then times changed and I began to work as a freelance painter.

For many years I had been working in a style of varnished miniature. I fulfilled private orders in different art genres and techniques. I had been working in Italy for a certain period of time. Thus I have learned and gained skills of drawing and color usage. It was done many years ago and I started working on a computer only a few years ago. I was engaged in design and page-proofing. I have learned vector graphics. At the same time I worked for different independent animation studios.

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Q What is vector graphics for you — basic work or a hobby? Why did you choose this form of digital art?

Vector graphics is more a hobby for me than work, because photo realistic depictions can be considered fun but not a profession in comparison with schemes, maps and plans needed for my work. For me, everything began from the moment I saw the realistic pictures of Yukio Miyamoto. It was difficult to believe for a long time that those things could be created in a vector (I only just began to learn Illustrator) and my only desire was to learn to draw real photos with all their characteristics, in vector. The basic knowledge of Illustrator was shown to me by my friends but all the ins and outs of photo realism I learnt by myself.

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Q You work in a photo realistic genre of vector graphics. The Mesh Tool for sure is your favorite. The majority of designers have some problems with this tool, do you have any advice for them?

The Mesh Tool is absolutely unique, and is unlike any other tool with incredible possibilities of form, color creation and editing. Even now when I learn more about it I cannot help but admire it. Some difficulties might appear in a case when you need to do something very quickly because Mesh needs attention, diligence and tolerance. The main thing is not to overload the mesh by using unnecessary points and lines. If you master simplicity with the gradient mesh, you will be delighted and impressed by the sudden beauty on your computer. Of course hand drawing skills might be very helpful. A computer is just a machine which cannot create composition of harmony and color without human interaction.

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Q Photo realistic vectors is intricate work and needs lots of time, both to master and complete. I am interested whether this genre has commercial attractiveness or it is something akin to meditation.

I don’t know about other countries but in Russia, good quality photo realistic vectors don’t have any commercial attractiveness. I think it is because of the time needed to create a single image. It is much simpler to take a good quality photo and work in Photoshop instead of spending tens of hours with one still (taking into account that the majority of vector pictures are worked up with photo-references). As for me I just simply have fun working with the Mesh Tool.

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Q You have an ideal sense of color Is this something you're born with or could anyone be taught how to choose colors? Are there any rules which you follow in this work?

A sense of color can be developed with many years of drawing practice. Look attentively at the surrounding world, watch its beauty and fascination. There are no ugly color combinations in nature. Even if you use a photo as a reference. It’s very difficult to choose colors with the Eye Dropper tool, because of the displacement of some pixels. That’s why I often take color not from reference but from the created Mesh. I re-sample the color many times before getting a desired result. Quick drafts from real nature (in a few minutes) are very helpful especially when they are made by pen (so you can't erase mistakes, it’s also helpful to develop the skill of accuracy).

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Q Tell us about your creative process. What are the stages of your working process? How much time is necessary for your masterpiece creations?

The first and main condition for me is to have a strong desire to do it. When you have a wish nothing is more important. Hours or sometimes even a few days are needed to create one photo-realistic picture. It depends on the complexity. You don’t notice the run of time, the satisfaction from the finished result makes up for the tiredness. First I draw the basic image, I then draw the background separately, then the object itself, after that I work out the details. I try to divide the picture into as many objects as possible. I don't use Photoshop’s effects or filters. I create everything with the tools in Illustrator. In addition any blurring can be created by vector tools and masks.

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Q What is your favorite piece of work? Are there any interesting projects you're working on at the moment?

My favorite one is among the first of my works, I like the fact that the photo for it was also made by me. I also like the work for forum Demiart. I got the First Prize in an Open Contest of Four Year Forum Foundation. Now I am supposed to finish the poster devoted to an Ecological theme, but because of different reasons, I've had to delay the project. When I finish it I’ll show it in my Gallery.

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Q Do you work in any other mediums besides vector illustration? What do you find interesting, what attracts and inspires you?

I draw in different genres using different techniques, not just vector graphics. Canvas - oil, paper-Indian ink, pen, pencil, pastel. From miniature up to wall size. I admire science fiction (books and films), I have the 17-volumed composition written by Clifford Donald Simak. I consider him to be the best writer in the genre of Science fiction. I have been collecting music pieces by the great world jazz saxophone players. I like to visit different on-line galleries where painters of various styles and genres are presented. I am greatly interested in the innovations and development of digital technologies.

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Q I know that you wrote some tutorials on vector graphics. Do you like teaching? Are you going to create any new tutorials?

Indeed, I wrote a tutorial Realistic Vector Rose. I like to write tutorials, but lack of time and my imperfect English made me stop doing it, but not for too long. I hope to continue soon.

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Q Thank-you for the interview. One final thought, do you have any advice for people just beginning in the field of vector illustration?

Thank you for the interesting questions. In conclusion, everybody should remember these very simple words, which I read many years ago but still remember to this day, "Everything needs time".

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Oleg Rogoznev on Web

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