Jonas Ronnegard Talks About Alphas and Substance

Claudia Vance on June 15 2016 | News, Stories

Who are you?
My name is Jonas Ronnegard.
Where do you come from, and where are you based?
I come from Gagnef, Sweden but I'm now based in Osaka, Japan.
What is your occupation?
I’m a freelance 3D artist who also creates high-quality art resources to help myself and others make good-looking art faster.

Where can we find you online: website, blog, portfolio, Facebook?

Gumroad Store:
Tutorials and Previews:

Tell us a little bit more about yourself. What is your background?

I started studying 3D in high school, at first with a passion and wish to work on movies, but I had more fun creating real-time 3D and went on to study 3D art for games at PlaygroundSquad in Sweden. My career started as an intern at Funcom in Norway, and that later turned into a full-time position.

Since then I have worked both freelance and at a total of 6 in-house studio positions such as Capcom, Ubisoft and EA Dice. I have learned that I like to work on a lot of different projects and tackle new challenges while learning new things, which is why I choose to freelance and create art resources for myself and others.

How did you discover the Allegorithmic tools? Do you use Substance Designer and Substance Painter?

I tried both when they first came out, and I do use both, but more Substance Painter than Substance Designer. Substance Designer is very good for use in a studio environment with a lot of assets and tiling textures, but as a freelance artist I'm currently doing more individual assets so I tend to stick to Substance Painter.

You've been gaining a lot of attention lately through your fantastic alphas and brush packs. What's the process behind those? Did you create them for a specific project?

It first started out with me noticing I was doing a lot of the same detail work on assets in ZBrush, and that I would save so much time if I could just copy-paste the same details around the mesh. I then noticed that rather than sculpting small details in ZBrush, which might not have enough resolution, I could get a much better result by just doing detail normal work in Substance Painter which later turned into my hard surface alpha sets.

In my first hard surface set, I created high poly meshes in Maya and baked the height maps in Xnormal. Although they looked good in Substance Painter, they didn't have enough resolution to be great in ZBrush, so with my latest set of alphas I have started to subdiv and bake height maps in ZBrush. If it looks good in ZBrush, it will always look great in Substance Painter as well.
What are your sources of inspiration (on this project and in general)?

I'm always on the hunt for inspiration and my Pinterest is updated daily, but since the very beginning Polycount has been a big help and my go-to place for inspiration. Lately, ArtStation has become a big part of my life, for inspiration and also for spreading my own work and art resources.

What is important in making high-quality alphas and brushes?

I still have a lot to learn myself and I try to improve for every new alpha that I make, but something very important if you are creating alphas to use as normal map stamps is to use gradient angles rather than flat depth, which won't read well in normal maps

What was your biggest challenge in creating these packs? How did you address it?

It's all fun and games when you are creatively creating each high poly one by one, but once you have 325 alphas to deal with, every little change or format update can turn into hours of boring work. Setting and maintaining a high level of quality from start to end can be a challenge, which is why since I released my first sets most have had bugs that were fixed and updated.

Artwork created with the help of hardsurface alpha brushes

Do you have any tips and tricks to share with the community or just some things you particularly like doing with Substance?

When using any software that uses a layer system, I tend to use a layers in layers kind of workflow, steadily going down in detail to get as much control as possible of every material I use. I see a lot of users that don't use this very important feature in Substance Painter as well as not knowing the importance of a good and detailed roughness map.

Can you share a little bit about your upcoming projects?

I'm currently working on updates for my second hard surface alpha set, and I'm also working on a Ground alpha set which I hope to release sometime this summer.
I also hope to get some personal projects done; hopefully I can join the next ArtStation challenge.

What is life like in Tokyo for a freelancer?

Although I moved to Osaka recently, I lived in Tokyo for 5 years, and it's a really great city to live in with a lot of things to experience and see, as well as a big crowd of national and international artists. Due to the work culture here, in-house studio work in Japan is honestly not such a great place to be as an artist at least compared to other countries, but living here while freelancing is the perfect combination.

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