The Career Path of Rafael Grassetti
Find out how the talented Brazilian sculptor Rafael Grassetti landed a role at Sony as Character Art Supervisor.
Who are you and what do you do for a job?
My name is Rafael Grassetti and I live in San Diego, California, working as a character art supervisor at Sony.
What were your childhood inspirations and earliest artistic memory?
I've drawn since I was a kid; I remember spending weekends drawing and playing with oils and clay. I tried to copy characters from cartoons and comics, and because of that I started to develop a passion for comics and characters in general.
What training have you had (if any)?
I started to play with 3D when I was about 14 years old. That helped me decide what I was going to do with my career and so I started to do short courses in many different areas of CG. Simulation, animation and sculpture were some of them.
After school I started studying graphic design at university, but I was working at the same time and after six months I had to transfer my degree to industrial design at a different school. I ended up never finishing it because of work.
Are there any particular schools or courses that you'd recommend?
I personally recommend all the courses you can find. Especially when you are just starting out. I believe that the student is the one who make the course, not the teacher. There is always something you can learn from someone.
After you get more experience in the industry it's always good to search for teachers that you appreciate the work of and who you know have experience, rather than for the course itself.
What was your first job in the industry and how did you get it?
I started at a very young age at one of the biggest advertising studios in Brazil. I basically got the job because of the personal portfolio I'd created in one year of studying.
I like to say that my first job was really my school. I learned a lot of what I know today at that place.
What can people expect from working in the industry?
Experiences vary from studio to studio. I had great experiences at some places and not so great at others. When you work and deal with clients, a lot of things can happen. But overall it's an awesome and very rewarding industry. I have fun and enjoy it every day at work.
What are the key things that a great portfolio must have?
"Experience" A lot of people think that it comes easy; that if you study for six months or a year then you will get an amazing job. It doesn't work like that. In many different professions people study for four to six years to get their first job and I don't see many students taking this area that seriously.
Your portfolio needs to be constantly getting better; it must have everything that you think you can do. Variety is important if you still don't know what you want to do, but if you know that you want to work as an animator then just do animations. If you know you want to do character art, just do characters.
Where would you like to be in five years' time?
I really don't plan enough for the future to know where I would like to be in five years. I try to do as much as I can in the present so that I'll have a great future ahead me.
Looking back with the benefit of your experience, are there are things you wish you had done differently, in terms of your career?
I would pick a different career! Just kidding (Laughs).
I don't regret anything that I've done so far. I think I waited for the perfect time to leave my fulltime job to work as a freelancer, and I think I've waited for the perfect time to get back to fulltime work.
If you could give one piece of advice to people looking to break into the industry, what would it be?
Take it seriously. Think about what other people are doing to break into their industries. This is no different from other job. And be aware that if you want to grow, it will never stop. Make sure you love what you do.