Please describe what you do.
I`m a visual development artist and CG modeler for animated movies.
When a production starts, together with the story, a whole new original universe is created by the production designer and his/her team of artists. Characters are part of this invented world. As soon as they are designed, a visual development artist like me is hired in order to study and bring those characters to life in 3D.
After an initial step of development during which the proportions, the volumes and the features of the characters can be changed and transformed, a final sculpt is usually approved and starting from that the real modeling work can start, recreating the clean version of that same character, in order to conform it to the technical requirements of the production pipeline.
What are some of the projects you have worked on / clients or studios you've worked with?
I`ve been working in the animation industry for the past 7 years for companies like Illumination entertainment and Sony on movies such as The Lorax, Despicable Me 2, Hotel Transylvania 2, Angry Birds and among others, as a lead modeler, on The Little Prince and Mune recently presented in selection at the 2015 Cannes and Annecy film festivals.
What’s the most important tool you use?
I usually start in Zbrush and then go to Maya. The two softwares are quite complementary. Zbrush is an awesome tool to define very quickly the volumes and the look of the character, and also to make changes on the fly to improve it as quickly as one can. Maya is useful in the proper production steps to clean it and prepare it to be delivered to the other departments.
Whose work (both past and present) do you really admire and why?
My references are the masters form the past (Bernini, Rodin, C.Claudel, Canova, Fremiet, Gemito, etc), for the gesture, for the anatomy and the study of the poses; then the observation of nature and reality around us. Photo references are very important to study what I need to reproduce in 3D even if I usually work on stylized shapes and in the end my third reference is with no doubt the work of some other more experimented artists that I admire, such as Mike Defeo, Kent Melton, Jim McPherson, Damon Bard, Andrea Blasich, Raffaello Vecchione, just to name some of them.
When not creating world beating art, what do you like to do? What are you currently doing, reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?
I usually go to the movies, or practice some sports in order to stay healthy, because I spend some long hours on the computer. I also like to listen to a wide range of music, especially while working, because this helps me to focus; I usually have a preference for classical and jazz. I read a lot, especially novels by some Italian authors, or any other author but in Italian, cause reading in my own language relaxes me a lot, and then one of my favorite things is looking at Pinterest. I like discovering new funny designs and getting to know new talented artists through their drawings. Pinterest is veeeeery dangerous, i can spend hours on it without realizing it.
Is there something you are currently working on, or are excited about starting, that you can tell us about?
I have some personal projects in development, but it`s more at the stage of working on several ideas for a sculpt that I'd like to bring to life. I'm still deciding what to do and how to proceed. As soon as something sees the light, I`ll be glad to share it with CGSociety!