Environmental modeling

Meet self-taught 3D artist Danilo Lombardo. Discover his journey from traditional art student to an up and coming environmental modeler

Meet self-taught 3D artist Danilo Lombardo. Discover his journey from traditional art student to an up and coming environmental modeler

The inspiration for this piece Voodoo Kitchen came while I was reading an article about students and their messy rooms

3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?

Danilo Lombardo: I was born and raised in Palermo, a sunny city in the south of Italy. I have always been interested in art and I studied Traditional Art at the local Art School. This was a great opportunity for me, because I spent many hours doing life drawing and sculpting; I also learned a lot about the history of art, colors, composition and art fundamentals.

Unfortunately, most of the CG schools are very expensive and located outside of Sicily, so I started to teach myself everything I could about computer graphics! Currently, I work as a freelance artist,and my work has been featured in a couple of publications in Italy, but my dream is to someday work for a cool animation studio outside of Italy.

Capo Market, Palermo

3dt: Tell us the story behind your artwork: What brought you into the digital art world and what software do you use?

DL: I have always been interested in making art, for me using a computer is a natural extension of this process because it offers incredible freedom and the chance to investigate subjects in greater depth.

I find movie VFX and 3D animation fascinating and the effort it takes to realize these works is incredible and I always want to know more.I think digital art is the perfect balance between technical and artistic expression, it is a perfect mix of science and art and I love it! I am definitely a 3ds Max guy but I do try to have a go with every software that might be helpful in developing my work, such as Photoshop, Marvelous Designer, and V-Ray to name a few.

3dt: How did you learn to make art digitally?

DL: I discovered ArtRage when I was 18 and I was amazed by the possibilities of painting digitally, so I bought myself a graphic tablet and started experimenting. A few years later I took a four month 3ds Max course, which only increased my curiosity and I haven't really looked back; I would spend hours in front of the computer screen and this hasn't changed!

Some simple environment sketches done in ArtRage

3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?

DL: I am very self-critical about my work, I always go back after a couple of weeks and reanalyzea piece. I delete old works as soon as I create a new one, if I feel it improves on the old piece;I only like to showcase my best works on my personal website. At the moment my portfolio is more about learning so I tend not to be too attached to my work.

Inspiration always come from my obsessive observation of reality.I like to take the time to really look at references and find good starting points on which to build my scenes.

The only tip I can share is: put in the hours and be serious about what you do.Set your goals and follow them, even if the life gets in the way, make time.

In the light an environmental study

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?

DL: I really admire Renaissance artists like Michelangelo, Brunelleschi and Leonardo. Theymade some really incredible discoveries and even after 500 years they're still an influence on modern society. Caravaggio created the concept of cinematic lighting centuries before cinema and photography even existed! I also like the Impressionist painters, their understanding of light and color is amazing.

As for digital art, I love the work of Marek Denko and Toni Bratincevic. Their work is very inspirational to me; every new piece ofartwork is just amazing from the lighting, the atmosphere down to the details.

Another artist I respect is Gavriil Klimov. We became friends online and then I had the opportunity to meet him in person. He is a terrific talent and was very kind to give me some insights and precious feedback. His renders are so classy!

Unit 73 91 personal concept work

3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?

DL: I have recently discovered Black Magic Design's Fusion and I definitely want to get better at it because is an amazing compositor.I would also like to learn 3D-Coat, I have seen some very awesome works by David Lesperance and I would like to give it a try.Another thing I would like to do in the future is to get a better understanding of Game Art, because we are seeing some amazing engines like UE4 and the line between prerendered and real time is getting blurrier these days.

Last I would love to learn how to use Maxscript and maybe create my own 3dsMax tools someday! As I said before I am a 3ds Max guy and someday I would love to create my own 3ds Max tools!

Some hair and fur, I love doing these kind of fun tests!

Related links

To see more of Danilo's work, check out his portfolio
Want to learn how to make game environments? Then have a look at this awesome tutorial by Wu Zeo
Delve into The Unreal Game Engine- our comprehensive guide to making playable game levels

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