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Ricardo Orellana: CG Generalist interview

By 3dtotal staff

Web: https://www.ricardoorellana3d.com/ (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 25th July 2018

Inspired by the Disney and Dreamworks style of characters and animation, Ricardo Orellana creates assets and concept art for Janimation in Dallas, USA. Find out more…



3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
Ricardo Orellana: My name is Ricardo Orellana, and I was born and raised in Brazil but currently live in the US with my wife and two cats. I've been working at Janimation, a production studio located in Dallas, for nearly four years as a 3D Artist. In my role, I'm responsible for modeling and texturing characters, props, and environment pieces, along with lighting and rendering shots, and even a bit of concept art at times. During my free time, I enjoy playing video games, watching anime, and reading indie graphic novels.


3dt: Tell us about your art: Your style, themes, genre, and some of the favorite projects you have worked on.
RO: The Disney, Dreamworks and Mikros Animation cartoon styling has always appealed to me, so I'm often inclined to pursue that type of treatment for many of my own character pieces (which gives me the opportunity to explore a lot of interesting shapes). I also enjoy photography and like using it to help set the tone of a piece.

One of the things I enjoyed most while working on my recent piece, "Evening Audition”, was its ability to challenge me. I got to use Ornatrix for Maya and explore a moodier type of lighting. "Couple Portrait” is another favorite of mine. It allowed me to develop stylized characters for both my wife and me in 3D, and also gave me room to learn several new tricks in ZBrush. (Plus it was used for our wedding save the date cards, which made it feel all the more special while I was working on it.)

Portrait of my wife and I

3dt: Can you describe your typical workflow, and the software/hardware you normally use when creating your artwork?
RO: When I first get an idea, I collect a lot of references from either the internet or movie screen grab stills. If the character I'm creating is based on an entirely original idea, I'll develop quick sketches and start blocking the shapes loosely in ZBrush, leaving room for form changes as I translate it into a 3D piece. Once the character is more fleshed out, I create a retopology using a combination of ZRemesh and manual topology on important areas that are difficult to get right with auto retopo. Then I do some basic polypaint on ZBrush and finish it in Substance Painter. I create the hair and/or fur with Ornatrix in Maya, render using Redshift, and any final compositing in Photoshop.

Ballerina ZBrush Sculpture

3dt: What inspires you?
RO: Seeing all the fantastic artwork out there these days really pushes me to keep improving. Other times I'll draw inspiration from a photograph or scene in a particular movie or video game scene. The idea will start developing in my head and won't stop until it reaches its final form. Many of my ideas originate from everyday, mundane situations – a combination of noticed moments merged together in a single piece. Music is, of course, another great source for inspiration. Sometimes I'll be listening to a song while driving and suddenly start developing an image in my head that I want to translate into a 3D piece.


3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
RO: As difficult (and seemingly impossible) as it may be, I try to find time after work – maybe an hour or two if possible. On the weekends I dedicate more hours. I have to constantly meet deadlines at work, so when I'm home I like to work at a different pace and take time to really develop my pieces to the quality I want (without the pressure).

Watching tutorials is a great way to learn new things or improve your workflow to be faster and more practical. It's also important to not be afraid of showing your work to other artists —they can provide a lot of valuable feedback. Never underestimate the power of fresh eyes.

Concept by Edwardian Taylor

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
RO: 3D: I've always loved the pinup works of Andrew Hickinbottom, and I'm also a big fan of Dylan Ekren, Victor Hugo Queiroz, Olivier Couston, and Pascal Blanche. Although cartoon is my preferred style, I'm a big admirer of Ian Spriggs. The mood he creates with his portraits is amazing, not to mention the art quality itself.

2D: Glean Keane, David Lojaya, Pascal Campion, and Peter de Seve (who has great style along with a sense of humor toward his works). Guillaume Poux (aka El Gunto) and Stephen Silver also have great shape exploration.


3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
RO: Right now I'm working on a piece that pays homage to a band whose music has been inspiring me a lot lately. I recently completed the guitar, but I still need to model the singer, microphone set, etc.—so it'll take some time.

I also want to revisit some of my older pieces (like my Monkey Island fan art piece of the character Elaine Marley) and update them using the skills and knowledge I've acquired over the years.

Related links

Ricardo Orellana's website
Ricardo on Instagram
Ricardo on Twitter


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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Osvaldo E Sanchez on Wed, 01 August 2018 4:10am
I liked it. Very nice characters. Awesome!
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