3DValley Featured 3D Artist June 2009 – Fabio Silva. Fabio is and freelance 3D/ CG artist from Portugal. He loves to design characters but in his free times he also enjoys writing his own stories and make dubb voices. He uses 3D Studio Max as his main modeling tool along with Photoshop, Zbrush and Bodypaint. He recently also finished a degree on Film making. Please take sometime to read our interview with Fabio below, to get to know him and his work a bit better.
Christa: Can you tell us a bit about yourself: Who you are and what you do in your daily life?
Fabio: My name is Fábio M. Silva, and I am a CGI Artist from Portugal. Back in 2005 I got my first job in the industry. The job consisted on real locations into CG scenarios, where people can walk in and look around using a VR Helmet. They had to be as realistic as possible (and in Real-time). I’ve also made a few freelance work for CG films, and Character designs. On my free time, I write (screenplays/novels), and make dubb voices.
Christa: Which software packages and/or traditional materials do you use for your artwork?
Fabio: For CG, I usually use 3dsmax as my main tool along with Photoshop, Zbrush and Bodypaint, and I’m now also trying out Maya. For Character designs, I usually sketch them first using regular paper/pencil/rubber combination.
Christa: Where did you go to school and how did they prepare you for your career?
Fabio: Recently I’ve finished an Academic Degree on Film making. I choose this course not just because I love film making, but also because It would be the perfect degree that mixed Visual Arts, storytelling and design. I believe the knowledge I gained, and the things I’ve been shown there had made me grow a little bit as an artist, at least in looking at other people’s pieces of art and try to think more about it. I realized how old classical painters, or old filmmakers were really smart.
Christa: Do you remember the first time you said you wanted to be an artist?
Fabio: When I was very little, I remember my dad showing me his drawings and paintings and tried to make me like drawing. I wasn’t really interested in it back then though. Only much time later(a few years) when I started writing my stories, I began wondering how my characters would look. I felt an urge to try and draw them on paper. It was probably when it began. However, I never thought about being an artist, it just happened along the way.
Christa: Can you tell us a bit of the way you work on your art.
Fabio: It kind of happens on different ways. Sometimes I think of something that I’d really like to see, then try to visualize as much of it as possible. Sometimes I might even dream with something and try to write as much of it as I can before it vanishes from my memory. Then I make a mental drawing of what I want, add as much things I like as I can, and then start trying to make a balance between different elements.
Christa: Do you have a favorite piece of your own artwork and if so why?
Fabio: The one I’m currently working on! Haha!
Christa: Who or what would you describe as having the most influences on your work/ style?
Fabio: Back to the time I was a kid, most stories I liked were from Japanese origins. There were very few in my country though back then, but I tried to get them as most as possible. So, It’s safe to say my style has strong Asian influences. I have also European influences, mainly on the middle ages and chivalry. One of the most important persons that inspired me I’d say is Akira Toriyama. Looking at his work, I got the feeling that “eccentric” and “cool” could work very well together. Other persons whose Art I look up to would include Chris Metzen (I have some American influences too) and Tetsuya Nomura.
Christa: How much time do you spent on modeling on how much on touch-ups in Photoshop?
Fabio: I think it really varies from piece to piece. Sometimes I get a good render on 3d and spent only a short time on Photoshop, others I spent quite some time doing compositing until the image looks like I want.
Christa: Do you create your own textures, and if so what do you use as references?
Fabio: I create my own textures. I think 3d.sk is great to get some high resolution pictures as references, but sometimes is not enough. The other day I had to pick my camera and shoot some photos of a jacket because what existed on the internet (that I was able to find out at least) was just not good enough. Reference is extremely important, and the best quality reference you can find, the best your work will look in the end. That’s why I spent quite a lot of time on my projects looking for the best references possible.
Christa: Which areas of creating art do you enjoy the most?
Fabio: I’d say designing the characters. It’s a lot of fun!
Christa: Where do you see your art go next? And how would you describe your own style?
Fabio: Sometimes I do more stylized stuff, others more realistic work, I’d say my work could be placed along the “cinematic” style of artwork. I hope I can improve my own style so it has some unique characteristics that people can spot it right away.
Christa: What do you wish you had known when you first started out working as a freelance artist?
Fabio: That there are too many dishonest people who try to get advantage of freelancers.
Christa: How do you handle the business side of being an artist?
Fabio: (not sure on what to say here)
Christa: Do you have any tips for beginning artists?
Fabio: Take your time. CG isn’t about how much time it takes, it’s about how good it looks, well, unless you have a client who needs things on time and well done, but when you’re beginning, I think that “to take your time”, is very important. Thinking about how things look or work in the real world is important as well.
Christa: What would be your dream assignment?
Fabio: To make the character designs of the main characters for a movie/animated TV show, or game.
Christa: If you would not work in CG, what do you think you would be doing today?
Fabio: Being a voice actor for animated shows, or being an actor I guess.
Christa: What’s your favorite CG character from the movies?
Fabio: From live action films, Davy Jones from PotC, from CG movies, Cloud Strife from Advent Children and Prince Charming from Shrek.
Christa: Besides 3Dvalley.com, which other graphic sites do you visit regularly?
Fabio: I usually hang around CGsociety.org.
Christa: Is there something you can’t work without?
Fabio: Definitely music. I usually hear orchestral music, mostly soundtracks, but sometimes I also listen to J-Music (T.M. Revolution for example). If I’m without music it feels like an important working tool is missing.
Christa: What do you do when you are not working or creating something?
Fabio: Dubbing voices, playing video games, watching movies, reading books or manga, I guess the usual for any CG artist (except for the dubbing part).