Draw, draw and draw! If you are not talented with pencil and paper you won’t be a good cg artist!
3DA: Why have you decided to work in 3d-field and when have you started? Where you studied?
ADC: Anybody is in need of a “sweeping change” moment, a day when we realize what our future will be: I was lucky because mine was pretty soon, in 2000 when I was 20, during my second year at university, while I was taking a course of “3D computer graphic” at Milan. That was my first approach to CG world and I immediately loved it! Since I was a kid I’ve always loved to draw and paint, and I’ve always had a pencil and colors with me. This artistic side helped me a lot to discover – as an adult – that the computer would have been my new pencil and the monitor my paper. I have to thank my professor at university just for letting me realize that, it was priceless! And soon what I loved to do became my job! It never happens, so that’s why I’m feeling so lucky!
Then I started to spend my spare time trying to learn by myself, viewing someone else’s work, finding as many tutorials as I could… there’s so much stuff online to look at, always up-to-date, at anytime during the day (and night)!
3DA: Which software you usually use for your projects? What has surprised you in the software/plugins for CG during the last year?
ADC: My first 3d software was… FormZ, provided by university. I didn’t like it from the start, so I soon found out that that software didn’t match my possibilities. So the day after having passed the FormZ exam I switched to 3DSMAX (version number 2.5!!!). I’ve never changed my mind, and I still use it and I’m very comfortable with that.
What surprised me a lot in CG in the last year? Definitely realtime rendering software! They grew up so fast recently, like never before: these softwares are changing the world of visualizations… because now it’s the user that decides what to view, how long to stay, and choose as many options the designer provided: all this in complete personal autonomy! They was born for games industry so the quality was pretty awkward but today architects and designers are using them pretty often for their product visualization. The thing is that hardware (cpu and graphic card) is definitely ready, and you can get it easily, even low budget final users!
3DA: What was most difficult for you when you just started working in 3D? And what is now?
ADC: When I started I was a student, with so much free time to spend but no money in my pocket! So the hardest thing was to get hardware and software. As I already said, when you have passion for what you do or want to do, there’s no technical issue that cant be solved! Speaking about software, fortunately, there are student licenses, which is a good starting point to test and improve your skills. There are also many open source softwares that can help you at the beginning and on.
Difficulty today is the global financial crisis, for architects in a particular way! It’s sad, but true… So you have to keep moving, stay updated and (why not) try to look through the window outside of your country, searching for new clients or companies. Internet era helps you a lot with that…
3DA: What you can advise to the students who are just starting their way in CG?
ADC: Draw, draw and draw! If you are not talented with pencil and paper you won’t be a good cg artist! This is gonna help you with your renders, trust me! If you are able to physically draw a subject with your hands, you will be sure that your work will look good on CG world! Then there won’t be technical limits for you in future! Software and hardware are just tools to use, like your old pencil! Many people are scared when they open a 3d software for the first time, that happened to me too: how many times I said “damn, I’ll never be able to do like this”. I was wrong! Just keep trying, study a lot, ask people for help, and never stop looking around to see how things work!
The thing I like the most of CG world is that you are never done, I mean, there’s no end point for your professional path: even a student at his first day of school could teach you something you didn’t know, even if you have a ten years experience senior 3d artist! CG world is like a puzzle: you can start building it from the frame and corners adding peaces till it’s finished or… you can randomly start from a single peace looking for the peace next to it and so on. The result (the final image) will be the same, so no matter what software or technique you use: choose the one you feel comfortable with and build your own style!
3DA: What forecast you can make about the future of 3d-world in general?
ADC: The thing it scares me the most, is that we are close to the point where you can’t actually see the difference between a render and a photograph, between whats real and what not real! This is a risk because I think that the human touch is still important, even if we are talking about something which you can view only through a display. You cannot touch it, but it could touch you: an image could enlighten your emotion, like in the past with craftsmen or masters of art! This should be the goal of a 3d artist: create images that touch you emotionally! And the only way to get that feeling is to give your images a human touch. If you are able to let your viewer think like “this guy is a genius” and not “this is a well done rendering, congrats”… you are done! How to get that? I truly don’t know, but I’m still trying to get to it. As you probably have seen, I really like to “pet my renders”, spending a lot of time doing manual post-production (with Photoshop of course), trying to switch a well done cold rendering to a handmade warm emotional final image. I try to give my visuals something human which is not reachable just hitting “render” button only.
So the future is a sort of back to the past, when I had a pencil in my hand (well, now it’s a computer) and the only thing that makes me feel happy was having a paper (again, now it’s a 24″ monitor) to draw onto ;). I’m still a kid, actually…