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Gabriele Maiocco: CG generalist interview

CG generalist Gabriele Maiocco talks about his latest project on the theme, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the recent Maya and ZBrush entry, War...

CG generalist Gabriele Maiocco talks about his latest project on the theme, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the recent Maya and ZBrush entry, War...

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

Gabriele Maiocco: I'm an Italian CG generalist employed at WEDOO, in Torino, spending most of my spare time studying character and creature art for cinematic and gaming out of passion. After scientific studies in high school, and a big passion for art, animation and design, I decided to go to the European Institute of Design in Turin. During the second year I developed an interest in 3D modeling and animation, to the point that I took a 6-month Erasmus to UCA in Kent, UK to study 3D Animation and Character Design.

During my last few weeks of study I found a job at WEDOO, and here's where I've been working for the past 5 years as a CG generalist, always trying to find time to practice my character art. At WEDOO my duties involve modeling, compositing shots, texturing and rendering, mostly for automotives, but for as long as I can remember I've always been into characters and games.

3dt: Tell us the story behind your recent gallery entry: What inspired you to create it?

GM: The reason behind my project War is that I wanted to recreate the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I'm always trying to challenge myself and my skills with each and every project, so I built the whole scene around the dragon and tried to give the knight some kind of a 'demonic' look, just to make it more fearful. I'm currently working on the second piece, Death. I'm going for the same look as the first one, and on the side I'm working on a low poly model for Marmoset.

3dt: Did you face any difficulties when creating this image, and how did you overcome them?

GM: Not as many as I thought I would; I took a lot of time looking for reference and sketching the scene. I planned every step ahead. It was also my first time working with Marmoset Toolbag, and I'm sure I'll improve next time, but still I'm happy with the result of the knight's cape. For the dragon the trick was to take it slow, building first the basic shapes and adding details later.

I also found other people's critiques useful, spending a lot of time on a project. I usually miss some imperfection or small details, so I ask my friends' opinion on what I'm working on, to see if I'm on the right path or I could do better.

3dt: What software did you use and do you have any tips for using this software, or any other software that you use to create your art in general?

GM: I used Maya, ZBrush and Marvelous Designer for modeling, and KeyShot to render the scene. My tip for ZBrush is: block forms in Maya (or any software you're skilled with). After spending a year or so studying ZBrush, and relentlessly trying to use only ZBrush to build my characters or scenes, I found out that I'm more comfortable constantly switching between the two, moving between high poly and low poly fast, before adding too much detail. This way I can quickly get an idea of where I'm going with the project without losing much time correcting things if I ever make a mistake.

3dt: Would you consider yourself to have a particular signature style, or techniques that you use often?

GM: I actually try not to, I strongly believe in versatility. I don't want to limit myself to one technique or to a single style. When I start a project I usually think about something I'm not good at, or I feel I need to improve; hair for example, or likeness studies, or hard surface – and just go for it. This way if I ever come across some obstacles or difficulties in the future, I'm sure I'll be able to overcome them thanks to experience.

3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?

GM: My dream would be to work in the game or movie industry, as a lead 3D artist, and be acknowledged for my work in the field. I know I've got a long way to go still but I'm a fast learner and hard worker, and I'm stubborn. If I have a goal in mind I do whatever it takes to reach it.

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

GM: Currently the only software I'd like to learn to improve my skillset are MARI and Substance Painter. I love to draw and paint, and to be able to paint directly on the model is a great advantage. I currently use ZBrush and Photoshop with Quixel to texture my models, but I'd like to try a different approach, and see what works best.

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

GM: Whenever you have some spare time, that you don't have to spend with friends or family, instead of playing games, study a software or start a project that you like, something that you can be committed to without thinking that you have to do it, but instead you would like to do it. Without the pressure of a client – just for the sake of creativity.

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

GM: I love Joe Madureira's style for anatomy and proportions, and I like Dark Horse comics for their dark tone and contrasts. I'm also a big fan of Blizzard's work, even though I'm not a WOW player. Double Fine Studio is another company I really admire for their quirkiness and comic style.

3dt: How do you like to unwind?

GM: When I'm overwhelmed with work I like to play some casual games for short bursts (10-15 minutes), or cooking a nice dinner with some wine, and when the weather permits I like to go trekking.

3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?

GM: I'm currently working on the second piece for my Four Horsemen project, Death. After that I'll probably keep working on real-time render models. I have a couple of projects in mind related to comic books and movies that I'd like to share.

In the meantime, I'll keep trying to move from advertisement to gaming, and promoting my work doing better and better projects. I've been published twice already in a 3D art magazine – it would be nice to make the cover next time.

3dt: What animal would you choose to be reincarnated into?

GM: That's an unusual question, but I'd say a tropical bird, for the ability to fly and because I like warm climates.

Related links

Head over to Gabriele Maiocco's website
Check out War in the gallery
Grab a copy Beginner's Guide to Character Creation in Maya

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