Hello Valerio and thank you for giving us this interview!
1. Tell us your story
Well, my memories start when I was about three years old, starting from there … hahahah… Seriously, without speaking too much in general, let’s say I started by taking the “wrong” path.
Yes, I started to study programming for websites and then I approached the videogame world, always on the programming side.
But the more I went on the more I realized that something was wrong. The good thing about attending an academy that also had a 3D graphics course was that I had the opportunity to also peek the other side of the fence and at that point I realized that, if I had to choose a path for life, I would have I had to be 100% convinced of it and I completely gave up the programmer’s path to devote myself to the 3D art sector.
I had a thousand doubts and a thousand uncertainties, but today I can say that it was the right choice; when you understand that you are in the right place and do the right thing is just a matter of time and ANYONE can manage to do something good 😀
2. Digital sculpt, how fundamental is the knowledge of anatomy?
Instead of answering in a classical way I want to try to answer this question by telling a personal story.
I finished the academy with good technical skills, I had studied a lot and I knew how to create 3D characters and creatures in a rather precise way.
While I was doing characters for my portfolio, I realized that something was wrong, they were not credible, they did not work well and I did not get good feedback from other artists. Slowly I realized that they lacked of a solid anatomical base, something that made my work and my models really good.
At that point I decided it was time to take a step back and resume studying, this time anatomy, but the real one.
I started with my father’s medical books and then moved on to manuals of artistic anatomy and as usual the practice and dedication did the rest.
What I want to say with this: we must try to remain objective with our work and, if need be, take time to improve ourselves.
I still see 3D artists who, by the “haste” to do, deal with superficial basic things such as anatomy.
And this thing is seen, we see when there is some basic error that even those who are not from the sector known and that makes all work less credible.
3. The choice of being also a Character Artist where does it come from?
It was not really a weighted choice, I did a bit ‘of everything at the beginning (environments, props) but I am of the idea that if you can listen and do what you I like it, it’s probably going to be the best choise, and for me it’s the Characters and the Creatures.
4. You have participated in various contests. Tell us about your winning project, from the idea to the final result!
Heheheh is true, I have really participated in many contests and for the vast majority I have never positioned well.
But in reality I have always considered them the best way to “impose” the discipline in building a portfolio, to create contacts and to get popular, all at once!
My winning project is definitely the one won the third place.
Often a third place obtained at a given time counts more than many first places. I’m talking about the Shaman I made for last year’s “Ancent civilization” contest in Artstation.
The idea was the one I always use at the beginning of each contest, to look for a concept that matches what I would like to do for the portfolio and focus on making it a good piece, neither more nor less.
Over time I realized that when you think “this contest I want to win” it never happens, maybe because you give less or you get distracted by a thousand things.
Lately the mood is always the same, I try to do the best that I can in the time available and this time I had enough time to do something good.
The hardest part is probably constancy, both in working and updating and keeping the community alive (and this, many will agree with me, is the most difficult thing even if it does not seem).
As I went along I saw that my work was working, it was fine and I received excellent feedback from the largest CG community, which is currently the most active in the world, and this gave me an incredible boost in completing the model in the best way possible.
Many times I was about to give up everything, so much so that I had to leave aside the three Minions that I had already carved, but if I had stubbornly wanted to keep and continue, they would probably lead me to NOT deliver, and it is the worst thing.
At the end there was an incredible third place that took me by surprise and brought me a series of business contacts that I never thought possible!
5. The skills of a 3D Artist are multiple; here a million dollars (in our case Euro) question..in Italy it is better to be a generalist?
The answer may seem strange and simple, but in my opinion the best thing is to do what you like in the best way, with discipline, perseverance and dedication.
Many like to change often, do many different things, others (like me) like to focus only on one thing and do it as well as possible. If you focus only on the here and now, I probably would not find myself doing this job as well as many of my colleagues.
6. What are the difficulties behind every real production process?
The difficulties are many and varied, but trying to stay on a generic topic, the thing that I found difficult in the larger projects is “entering the mood”.
Often the technical side is the first thing that is solved in a productive workflow, while entering the spirit of design, especially on the artistic side, is a very difficult thing and requires an often exhausting iteration.
You have to bang your head and do not be afraid to ask for help with feedback to colleagues, the client or anyone who can refresh your vision.
But having passed this first block, the rest is all downhill.
Do you think that we created a group based on the exchange of feedback, the “Zbrush Central Italy” and apparently it is a useful thing to many and not always easy to have!
7. Being a digital artist: a matter of skills set or mind set?
On this subject there is a bit of diatribe in reality. I can say that, for what has been my personal experience and for what I see today teaching in the academy, 80% is a matter of mind set. At the cost of repeating myself, I am convinced that, with the right discipline, constancy and humility (something that I have recently seen missing too often), anyone can be a good digital artist. And then … in short, if I succeeded I can really succeed anyone 😀
Thanks again for your availability and a big good luck for everything ?
Thank you very much, there are great things on the horizon and I can not wait to show them and thanks to you for the opportunity, despite the obvious lack of seriousness I tried to respond as directly and personally as possible ^^