3D Valley Featured 3D Artist of October 2007 – Fabio Zangla. Fabio is an artist from Italy who currently works and lives in London. He studied to be an electronic technician and a programmer but things took a different turn when he started working as a web designer and 2D artist. He started to learn 3D Studio MAX & Maya to create original websites but people enjoyed his work so much that he currently is working as a Lighting Technical Director for the Moving Picture Company and works on feature film projects like “10000 bc” and “Happy feet”. Read the interview below to get to know Fabio and his work a bit better.
Christa: Can you tell us a bit about yourself: Who are you and what do you do in your daily life?
Fabio: My name is Fabio Zangla, I am 28 years old. I was born in Italy but I actually live in London, where I am working as Lighting TD at the Moving Picture Company on feature film projects.
Christa: When did you first notice you had artistic talent?
Fabio: At the beginning I started as web designer and 2D graphic artist. I learned in that period to understand the basic of “traditional” graphics and how a good looking image is composed. After some time I began to use 3D software by myself, starting with 3DSMax and later also Maya, to create illustrations for music CD booklet or to make original websites like for example my current personal website. I realized to be good in doing this kind of things only when I noticed that a lot of people appreciated my works.
Christa: Where did you go to school and how did they prepare you for your career?
Fabio: I studied to be an electronic technician and a programmer, so not really an artist. I don’t think in anyway that it has been a bad choice, because at school I learned a lot of useful things for my current job where the technical skills are important as much as the artistic ones. Anyway, everything I know about CG is something I learnt by myself.
Christa: Which software packages do you use for your artwork?
Fabio: I use mainly Maya for modeling and texturing, Renderman for shading, lighting and rendering. In general I use Photoshop to put together all the render layers and for the final touch. This for almost every artwork I did. Sometimes I use Mental Ray instead of Renderman for certain particular layers where Mental Ray is faster and more accurate than Renderman.
|Twisted tree||My world|
Christa: Can you tell us a bit of the way you work on your art?
Fabio: I always spend a lot of time thinking about the concept before starting to concretize it with a simple sketch. The sketch is just to define the volume and the composition of the image. Then I start to use Maya creating big raw boxes just to define 3D volumes of the objects. I set up the camera position and settings and after that I start to model the objects starting from the most important in the scene. Then I continue to add details modeling secondary objects. I start to roughly light the scene before shading the objects to give a mood and atmosphere to the image coloring it with just lights. I finish with texturing, shading and final adjustment to light setup. At last I decide how many passes are necessary to composite the image later.
Christa: Who or what would you describe as having the most influences on your work/ style?
Fabio: Whatever I see that attract my attention. It could be a painting, a movie, a theatre set, a photo, a 3D artwork and sometimes even a song. I think it’s really important to be always open minded and ready to learn from someone (or something) else. Anyway, if I had to say a name I would say Tim Burton because I love his style and all his projects. They’ve been very often a good inspiration for me.
Christa: Do you have a favorite piece of your own artwork and if so, why?
Fabio: I really like “Puppet”. Even if it’s quite simple as artwork, I think it’s very inspired and it reminds me of a beautiful period in my life.
Christa: What is your goal as an artist?
Fabio: Obviously improve myself and my skills making new experiences, continue to work on big (and even bigger) projects without losing the genuine passion that helped me to start at the beginning.
Christa: Besides 3D Valley, which other CG sites do you visit regularly?
Christa: Do you have any tips for the artists who admire your work?
Fabio: The same tips people gave me when I started. I think you have to teach yourself to see everything around you in a different way. Photography for example is a good way to learn it. Forget the computer; the software and everything related to them, they should be just tools you need to create something. They are useless if you don’t have clear in your mind what you want to obtain. In a few words I would say “focus on your goal”. I think this is a life rule to follow in many different situations.
|Still life||Dark angel|
Christa: Which projects have you worked on, do you have a favorite project and if so why?
Fabio: At the beginning I have worked on a lot of commercials and music videos. I had the opportunity to work on Happy Feet in Sydney (Animal Logic) and here in London on “10000 bc”. I am going to start soon on “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” but I do not a favorite project because I found them all of them interesting and challenging even when there is a lot different between them. I love my job so much; it’s extremely rare to find something I don’t like in it.
Christa: How many years are you working in the CG industry?
Fabio: I am working in the CG industry since 4 years but I spent lots of nights learning and working on personal projects by myself while I was still working as a web programmer during the day.
Christa: What was your first break in the business?
Fabio: I showed my personal website with all the personal artwork I did with a lot of effort at Darkside Studio ( Verona, Italy) because I knew they were hiring. I did it just for fun and without much hope. I didn’t thought at that time that it would have been the beginning of my professional career in the CG industry.
|Lunedì: courtesy of Darkside Studio and Happy Centro|
Christa: You are currently working as a Lighting Technical Director at the Movie Picture Company. Can you name 3 things you like, and 3 things you don’t like of your job?
Fabio: I like the work environment, I am surrounded by a lot of talented people and this is very exciting. I like to work on creatures for feature films, personally, as a Lighting TD, I found it much more interesting that doing the same on CG animated movies. At last, I like the opportunity this job give me to travel the world. Even if this is not always a plus for everyone but it is for me because at the moment I have no family or children to take care of and this makes it much more easier for me to do this job.
It’s very difficult for me to find something I don’t like about my job. I think the only bad thing is the project deadline. Even if you like this job there are periods when the pressure is very high and you have to work a lot to deliver everything in time. This depends on the project but unfortunately it happens quite often.
Christa: How important is your online portfolio for you as an artist?
Fabio: I think is very important, to be known by other people and to get used to expose yourself. It’s a perfect (and very cheap) way to let people know about you and what you are doing. A personal website has great potential. Without it for example I probably wouldn’t have obtained this interview or maybe even my first job as 3D artist. I had a lot of satisfactions thanks to it.
Christa: How would you describe your own personal style?
Fabio: Honestly, I don’t know exactly how to describe it. I always like to give atmosphere and mood through the colors, so this could be defined as key element, but if you look at them they are very different between each others. They are influenced by different factors often driven by a particular mood or life moment. I like to create them in that way. At work, I am obviously forced to follow specific client requests but when I create something for myself I like to create without limitation, especially in terms of style, and this make everything much more interesting and creative.
Christa: What is your favorite CG character from the movies?
Fabio: I think Scratch from “Ice Age”. It’s very hilarious even if it has become less original and a bit too over-utilized in the last “Ice Age 2”.
Christa: Are you currently working on something personal of professional that you can share with us?
Fabio: At the moment I am really busy finishing “10000 BC”. I can’t say much about it but I had fun working on this project. It has been interesting and challenging. I think it will be a very funny movie to see on the visual effects side. I am going to start soon on “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” also as Lighting TD. This will put me to work until next year and then honestly I don’t know yet what I will do after that. Regarding my personal projects, it’s a while I have worked on them. I have many ideas I’d like to realize and one in particular. I would like to do a short movie telling the story of a angry little character fighting against a big cruel world that surround and oppress him… obviously with a happy ending!!!! I hope to find the time to work on it.
Christa: Is their something you can’t work without?
Fabio: Music. I have no doubt about this. I always listen to my favorite kind of music when I work. The music is also one of my main inspirations when I make a personal projects or when I invent a story. I think that music (it doesn’t matter which kind of music) should be really important in the life of everyone, independently by the job.
Christa: When you are not working or creating something, what do you do?
Fabio: I like to take pictures with my reflex camera and observing the world through it. Photography is another passion of mine. I sometimes play guitar and I play soccer as soon as I have enough time to do it. I like to see a movie at the cinema and at home. At home I also enjoy reading fantasy books (but unfortunately I have almost never enough time for them).
|Old man||Dangerous peak|
Christa: Thanks for your time and the interview Fabio!