What I love most in my work, no doubt, is its complexity and its unpredictability.
I mean that it can happen to animate anything from the humanoid to the animal, passing through the creatures of fantasy.
This involves a continuous study by the animator. Study of the dynamics of everything that happens around us. Of things and types of characters that exist and are analysable, and things that do not exist and consequently require a considerable effort of imagination to be made credible and plausible.
We need a lot of observation and also interpretative skills. Like it is the closest thing to the actor’s work.
2. What does it mean to animate today with today’s technologies?
It has not changed much, the references are the same. What has changed most is more about preparation and insertion in the industry.
When I studied animation (2d), the internet was in its infancy (yes, I’m that old) and the material available to learn was little or nothing. Books on the subject mattered and translated almost zero.
In Italian I think there was only a text by Tony White if I’m not mistaken.
The rest were in English and at a high price. Basically your preparation took place in the area with a long apprenticeship and, alas, badly paid.
Now there are many sources and references, online schools or real school. I teach, in addition to dealing with production, at Rainbow Academy.
This has also led to enormous growth in the number of professionals or aspirants placed on the market and greater competition.
3. The TV series “Winx” has had a huge success, your task in the production what was it?
Regarding specifically the “Winx”, my work was essentially on 3D movies, and on the 3D part of the fifth season (Sirenix), produced in Rome. I started as an animator for the first film and then as an animation supervisor for the rest of the projects. Between a Winx and the other I also supervised the animation of the film “Gladiators of Rome”, again for Rainbow CGI.
4. Currently you are working as Animation Supervisor at Rainbow CGI, what does it mean to be part of this team?
Well, let’s talk about the biggest Italian reality, at the moment, regarding the animation market. So it certainly means having a certain responsibility and a lot of effort, to focus on the expectations of this brand.
It must be said that despite the dimensions of this reality, the relationships within the study have been maintained on a more “human” level, direct and not very formal.
This makes the commitment more pleasant and manageable. There are colleagues that I have been visiting every day for almost 10 years now, and they are more like friendships than work.
5. You have also been Layout Supervisor, tell us a little about it.
The layout is the phase that we can define as “previsualization” of the animated scene.
It is with the layout that you start a little bit putting the pieces together and building the scenes.
In a nutshell, within a 3D software, which in our case is Maya, we take the environments, the characters, the camera, and we try to get a balanced and legible shot as close as possible to the idea of directing set in the storyboard. The movements of the room are obviously also set and the times of the action are sketched.
To give a sort of basic track on which the animator can work more quickly. This presupposes a certain experience and abstraction ability, and in spite of looking at a layout you can think it’s a relatively simple thing, I remain convinced that the ideal profile to become a layout artist is that of an already experienced animator.
6. You have worked for productions with different styles like anime, cartoon and realistic. Which of these do you identify more?
I have not understood it yet.
Each of these things corresponds to a moment of professional evolution.
So in each of these I found something that stimulated me to seek, improve, change. There are some factors that bind me to each of these animation styles.
Perhaps instinctively at the beginning my times in acting were more from animation creatures, so realistic. But then I started to build on it and acquire a certain elasticity. I will be repetitive but I always think that the most beautiful aspect of this work is variety.
I’m sure that if I had to propose something really mine it would be a bit ‘the sum of all these stylistic experiences.
7. Who were your mentors?
Good question, because from my point of view, the mentor is a figure that goes a little beyond the simple “I teach you how to work” and implies a somewhat more complex interdependence that can mark an important trace in your way of working.
At the beginning of my career the most valuable mentor was perhaps my stubbornness, which allowed me to persevere and insist in a specialization that at that time was perceived, outside, little like a real job and more like a hobby.
I remember meeting one day, an old friend of mine who looked after something else, and that I had not seen for a long time. Seeing me he exclaimed with satisfaction “you said you wanted to do this … and you did it!”. I think it was one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.
Then there were, of course, many people who accompanied me in various time of my life, from which I took something, and to which I also hope to have given something.
8. Animation and Italy, what is the relationship?
This is a question whose answer is rather complicated.
I’m lucky to work for some time in a rather stable reality that allowed me to stay in my hometown of Rome. But over the years I have seen so many artists grow, and then emigrate in search of a labor market that in Italy was struggling and still struggling to take off, or at least to give you alternatives.
Almost everyone worked in productions that won an Oscar or other prizes. It means that Italy is still able to generate talents, but it is not able to keep them.
I believe that there is a certain institutional myopia that does not help us, as happens for example in London, with tax credits that push the big companies in the industry to invest in local production and create a market.
Tax credit to be linked perhaps directly to the number of people hired on the national territory, to avoid the frauds of the rain funding of the past.
But I think there was also, perhaps, a lack of self-esteem from the entrepreneurial class (or at least lack of survival instinct), who for years thought that the most profitable solution was to produce abroad in a short time and maximize earnings, not realizing that it was destroying a market that, in the past, saw many traditional animation studios produce well.
It was thought more to the convenience of the immediate, and little to the intrinsic quality of a product developed internally and with greater control, greater professional growth, and greater return in the long term.
All in all, France has a tax not too different from ours, but prefers to produce internally because in the end it is a job that can not be separated from the quality of the result. This of course is my impression, from my point of view. As I said … it’s a complicated matter.
Thank you again Alessandro, and congrets for your beautiful works 🙂
Thank you guys! it was my pleasure answering your questions, and congrets to you guys for your site 😉