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The Career Path of Alan Camara

From his roots in small-town Brazil to working as a successful character designer and 3D artist, Alan Camara has come a long way over the last seven years. In our latest article, we find out more about the path his career has taken, and what he thinks of the industry today.

Who are you and what do you do for a job?

My name is Alan Camara, and I'm a 3D artist and illustrator. I have been doing this for about seven years now, and have worked in some of the best studios in Brazil. Right now I am a freelancer for companies in Brazil and other countries.

What were your childhood inspirations and earliest artistic memory?

I've lived with art since I was a child. My father is an artist (sculptor and painter) and I observed his work as a sculptor in wood, and his drawings and the way he developed them. I did my earliest drawings using some pencils that my dad used to leave on the table.

What training have you had (if any)?

I grew up in a small town in Brazil where, in the absence of any special training, I had to learn from observation and by watching my dad at work. Even now, it's only recently that you've been able to specialize in 3D techniques in the larger cities in Brazil. I had to learn by reading books and tutorials (lots of tutorials from 3dtotal.com and other sites).

Are there any particular schools or courses that you'd recommend?

Today there are many schools and professional courses, some of which are online, which is particularly good for those who cannot be in a classroom. For my own experience, if online is the only way, I would recommend The Gnomon Workshop with its great teachers, your DVDs and Digital Tutors too. But essentially, if the artist can do a course of fine art, cinema, special effects or something like that in a college, I think it's the best way to go.

What was your first job in the industry and how did you get it?

I was lucky to start well, and to have the chance to work with great professionals. I was still submitting my works to some forums when I received an invitation from the director Luis Carone to do a few models and textures for some characters for a video clip of a Brazilian band called Sepultura. The video clip had incredible special effects with zombies and hellish creatures. The video received many prizes and this helped to improve my portfolio.

What can people expect from working in the industry?

Even though the world economy is still in a recovery stage, I believe that there is a great demand for artists. I always receive emails from Brazil and abroad inquiring about my work, and asking for an estimate of costs. In my opinion, apart from talent, hard work and dedication will increase one's chances of being successful.

What are the key things that a great portfolio must have?

The most important thing is to show how solid your technique is. It is also important to show that you have the capacity to apply your technique with your team.

I also believe that an artist should always be present in social media. It is a necessity when it comes to establishing what you are capable of. It is equally important to specialize in your work and be creative.

Where would you like to be in five years' time?

I believe I could go further in my professional career, but I've decided to slow down a bit since I don't want to be far from my family. I also have plans to open a studio so that I can broaden my contacts.

Looking back with the benefit of your experience, are there things you would do differently in your training/career if you had the chance to do it over again?

I wish I had studied more. I could have spent more hours in the study of traditional arts such as sculpture, and especially painting and drawing. I believe that at some point in life, all 3D artists will realize the importance of such background foundations to further improve their work.

If you could give one piece of advice to people looking to break into the industry, what would it be?

The first thing - and I believe this is already a consensus between those who want to start their careers - is to study a lot before getting stuck into 3D software. Artistic anatomy, composition, light and shadow, and all the rest are essential foundations for the 3D artist. In the past, many people wanted to make 3D and a lot of errors were committed by them not having these essentials.

Learning artistic rules at the same time as we learn 3D software is a mistake. My advice is: learn it all first. Study traditional techniques such as drawing, sculpture and photography. Get enough information and the learning process will be much easier. Good luck!

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