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Interview with Danilo Athayde

By Danilo Athayde

Web: http://danilo.artstation.com/ (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 4th June 2014

Danilo Athayde is a freelancer character artist and has produced work for clients such as Ubisoft, Sideshow, iAnimate school, and some indie games.


3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?

Danilo Athayde: Hello guys. My name is Danilo Athayde, I'm 26 years old and a character artist from Sao Paulo, Brazil. In my day job, I work on advertising in a big studio here in Brazil (Vetor Zero), yet also as a freelance character artist. Today, 3D art is my work and my hobby.

A 3D sketch based on concept art from Karl Kopinski
© Danilo Athayde

A turnaround view of a 3D sketch based on art from Karl Kopinski
© Danilo Athayde

3dt: Tell us the story behind your artwork: What brought you into the digital art world and what software do you use?

DA: I really love everything about the process of creating a character. This passion for characters comes from drawing, something I've done since I was about 6 or 7 years old (though I never have been good at it).

In 2010, I found digital sculpture, which allowed me to combine art and commercial work. I made my first models in polygonal software, but felt very limited in terms of form. When I discovered ZBrush, it was amazing! I felt free to create monsters, barbarians, or make my own versions of famous characters. Today, I use ZBrush for digital sculpting, a single polygonal modeling software (Softimage is my favorite), V-Ray for rendering and Photoshop for textures and composition.

Made for the Comicon Challenge 2014 - Danilo was given 4th place overall, and 3rd for public choice
© Danilo Athayde

Two views of the Joker fan art made for the Comicon Challenge 2014
© Danilo Athayde

3dt: How did you learn to work with 3D software - what's your educational background and what are your tools of choice, and why?

DA: As I said, my passion for characters is my main motivation to learn a 3D software. I had the good luck to study in a good school, with a good background in art. I believe this helped me a lot.

I began my 3D studies in 2010, in Melies Animation School, in Sao Paulo, studying XSI Softimage. For this reason, it's my favorite software for polygonal modeling, but I use Maya and 3ds Max too. ZBrush is the best for digital sculpture to me (I really love this software). V-Ray, Photoshop, xNormal, Marmoset... we have a lot of good tools in our hands.

3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?

DA: Always produce. All of us have a lot of things to do in our day, but I always try to set aside some time to make personal work. My portfolio is actually 100% personal work. Professional work has the style of your client, but personal work has your style.

My one tip is to have passion for what you do. The only way you can get home from work tired, and sit still to produce something, is if you have passion.

A full body view of Leona Heidern, made for an internet competition
© Danilo Athayde

3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?

DA: I have a lot of great artists I use as inspiration. I can say some names, but I certainly can't remember them all at this moment – Alex Oliver (one of my teachers), Jordu Schell, Richard Mcdonald, Philippe Faraut... these are a few names of artists that inspire me in traditional art. From the digital art world – Rafael Grassetti, Majid Smiley, Antropus, Gio Nakpil are my favorites, among many others.

3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?

DA: In few next months, I want to learn MARI or Mudbox, to improve my texture skills. I have some software I want to learn in the future, as a substance painter; maybe MODO, another render package, but my main concern is to improve my background in art – software is only a tool.

One of Danilo's personal character creations
© Danilo Athayde

Related links

Check out more of Danilo's work over on his website
Download Danilo's favorite software, ZBrush
Submit your work
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