What does “Etérea” mean? Why that name?

I have often been asked why I chose that artistic name, and I am not sure what to answer… I wanted to find a short, one-word name that would be evocative even though I didn’t want to say anything concrete. This word (feminine for “ethereal” in Spanish) is not any special or secret thing… I just sounded good back in 2000 when I was looking for an alias.

How many people form Etérea?

Currently just one person: Cristóbal Vila.

Which programs and equipments do you use?

Actually, my main 3D apps are Modo and Cinema 4D. Modo because it is an excellent poly modeler and produces GI renders with a very high quality and very fast. For any other stuff that demands a more procedural approach I love using Cinema 4D.

I use Photoshop to work my bitmap textures, and Illustrator is also useful for more “geometric” things (both to start with some geometrical textures and also to create complex paths for modeling)

When doing animation I do all my postproduction work with AfterEffects. For video editing I use Premiere.

Currently I do all my work using an iMac i7 27″ from 2017 (4.2 GHz, 64 GB of RAM, a SSD disk with 1TB and various external HDD with 3TB & 4TB). Beside it I have 27” Dell UltraSharp U2715H as a secondary monitor. Also I have a MacBookPro 15″ from 2017 to give courses and lectures.

Behind me I conserve an old iMac i5 27″ from 2010 (2.66 GHz, 16 GB of RAM, a SSD disk with 512MB and a second HDD with 1TB). And side by side there is an i7 Dell PC (3.44 GHz, 16 GB of RAM and 1TB of disk) from late 2011, exclusively for rendering. I need to renew this old guy in short time… 

We are the company “X” and we have this project “Y”. Can you give us a budget? 

Yes, but please: send me as much information as possible (an email is perfect for this). With it I can evaluate your needs and the complexity of the project . By this way I will offer an estimate as accurate as possible.

There is any possibility in working with/for you?

I am deeply sorry but as already mentioned, Etérea is a small studio made up of one person who at the moment has no intention of increasing its size. If I change my mind, I will update my web site, reflecting the new situation with a job advertisement and the necessary requirements

Can we use any of your images or animations? I think it would be good publicity for you…

If you are a teacher and want to show some of my animations to your students, of course you can. And if you have a personal, non commercial blog and you want to embed some of my videos hosted on Vimeo and YouTube, you can also. In none of these two cases is necessary to ask permission, but I would thank if you add a brief note clarifying the authorship of the work.

For any other situation where you want to include some of my work (business sites, advertisements, TV, editorial use, exhibitions, etc) please contact me to negotiate an appropriate license for the use of my images.

I would like to do 3D. What software do you recommend?

Short answer: practically any of the known ones, for they are all pretty good.

Long Answer: Depends on what are you going to use it for. Do you want to apply it to architecture, character animation, video games, animation of logos, product presentation, industrial design, dynamic simulations, medical simulations? Or, a little bit of everything?

I do not believe there is any single program which we could honestly say is the best for everything you want to do. Almost all programs have their pros and cons. Perhaps one of them seems very powerful but maybe it is too powerful, too complex to use on things that are relatively simple which at the end of the day does not make much sense.

And be careful, almost everybody tends to defend and recommend software they use (because they know it well, they find it easy to use and different software is difficult to adapt to).

And what hardware do you recommend?

Short answer: the most powerful you can allow.

Long answer: doing 3D takes a lot of calculation to render the images, you need to have powerful graphics to move thousand or million of polygons on the screen, and if you are doing animation you generate loads of GB that take up lots of room on your hard drive. For this reason, the faster your processor, the more powerful your graphic card and the bigger your hard drive, the better.

It is important to have a good monitor – or two if you can afford it – this is necessary to display all the pixel palettes and windows that almost all programs use.

Without doubt the most commonly used computers today are PC’s. There was a time when Silicon Graphics were needed to do serious work but all this has changed with the reductions in prices and the power increase in computer components.

I would recommend that you do not buy your PC in a big generic department store being probably lead by the salesman or by saying, “Hey, I want the most powerful PC you have”.

Think about which program you want or need to use, go to a user forum of that program on the Internet, ask for advice, request a configuration proposal in your store, expose it in that forum to see what other older users think and then make the purchase.

And I say again: don’t obsess. The computer, like programs, is a tool. Not even the fastest and most powerful computer in the world with the most sophisticated software will do a good job if the person who runs it doesn’t know what he’s doing. The most important question to answer before choosing equipment and software is: “What exactly do I want to do?”

I would like to learn 3D but where do I begin? Can you recommend a school?

I am sorry but I cannot recommend any specialised school or academy for the simple reason that I do not know about any, nor have I heard other people mention this… However, I am sure that if you investigate just a little on the internet, especially in the forums, someone might be able to recommend the best and worst courses and tell you about those that are pricey and worthless.

In my personal experience, and from other people who I have listened to and read, there is nothing better than your own hard work. You may be able to join a better or a worse school that is more or less expensive, with a greater or smaller number of lectures… but if you do not make that great personal effort to practice what they teach and to investigate for yourself what they do not teach, in the end you are not going to arrive very far.

I am completely self-taught. I have dedicated many hours after work and during the weekends to learn. And every day I discover that there is still so much more to learn.

The internet is an excellent source of help through forums, tutorials and the web pages of other users who often share handy tricks and techniques with their visitors. However, there is also the excellent practice of learning new stuff by watching what others do.

And do not forget that the machine and the programs are tools. And as such, it is not enough to simply know how to use them. For this reason you should also have a minimum understanding in drawing, perspective, theory of color, illumination, composition, a sense of aesthetics…

I also do 3D and have some ideas for a project. Would you like to join up and collaborate? I do not have any money, but we would still have a good time…

Sorry, but nope. The truth is I also have many ideas for personal projects What I need is time. And to be honest, I do not care too much for this type of collective project “for the sake of art”.

Is it ever possible? Of course, but sadly from my own experience it has not been very successful: it is necessary to have a lot of will power to work during months or years on an independent project, to have clear ideas, to be totally convinced of what you are doing, to have feeling and perfect communication with your partner or collaborator…

As far as personal projects and initiatives go, I am pretty individualistic. Sorry.

Anyway, if you have a brilliant and wonderful idea which you think I am not going to be able to resist, then, of course you can drop me a note…

Could you give me a step by step with the techniques and tricks used in your project “X”? · Could you explain which advantages has Modo with respect to 3DSMax for modelling? · Could you give me some basic techniques to start animating with Cinema 4D? · I want to modify my workflow, replacing 3DSMax with a different application, but I’m not sure which option should be better: could you help me?

(imagine a lot of questions with this style reaching into my mailbox almost every day …)

I’m sorry but my contact form is NOT a “help forum”. You will find lots of forums on the net (and I usually participate in some of them from day to day, sometimes asking for help and sometimes sharing knowledge and resources).