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Interview with scenes winner, Giovanni Dossena

By 3dtotal staff

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Date Added: 22nd October 2014

The gallery winner in the scenes category for August, Giovanni Dossena, discusses the working methods and inspiration behind his career as a lighting and shading artist...



Giovanni Dossena's Little Mushrooms image won the gallery prize in August's scene category, growing 359 points from the fertile ground (and imagination!) of this atmospheric piece. Check out more of his work below, including some of his video breakdowns...

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

Giovanni Dossena: Hello, my name is Giovanni Dossena, I was born in Italy and grew up in a small medieval town. For almost 15 years I have worked in computer graphics and visual arts. Since 2008, I have specialized as a lighting and shading artist. I have finished working on an animated film recently, and now I'm ready for a new adventure.

Concept by Julia Sarda

3dt: Tell us the story behind your recent gallery entry: What inspired you to create it?

GD: In my last personal work I wanted to combine my passion for visual storytelling with photography. I wanted to take a subject by the real world and use computer graphics to tell a story. The idea of the little house built inside a mushroom in the woods is a memory of when I was a child, and making it into a picture using computer graphics has been very exciting.

For this job I used only photographic references. I've worked a lot on mushrooms and other items which I added into the scene. Macro pictures helped me. Everything had to be credible in the context in which it was located.


3dt: What software did you use and do you have any tips for using this software, or any other software that you use to create your art in general?

GD: Usually I use Maya as my main 3D software because it is high flexible, and through python language is easy to do helpful tools. As an example, on the Little Mushrooms picture I could manage the scatter of the tufts of grass in a simple way to make them more believable.

To texture I use MARI as software for all the props and characters; human or otherwise. For the environment, I prefer using procedural textures for shading. I find the combination of procedural textures and texture tiles very effective to always achieve a very good detail, even in the camera close-ups, and they make the scene not too heavy for rendering.

About the render engine – I have a good feeling with V-Ray but I also use Arnold because it allows me to handle very heavy geometry. In production, I even use Pixar's RenderMan.

I like to add feelings and emotions during the lighting stage, with the use of lights to achieve a mood of the script or photo reference. Then, however, I make use of NUKE to balance everything with precision using the right render passes. If I'm working on a still image I use Photoshop for the finishing touches.

Giovanni Dossena's Demo Reel

3dt: Would you consider yourself to have a particular signature style, or techniques that you use often?

GD: I do not identify myself with a particular style. I think as an artist it is essential to communicate and tell by the pictures. There are many techniques and flexible systems but I consider them tools to achieve the goal that we have set ourselves. In conclusion, I think that the most important tool is the artistic creativity and also the creativity on technique to develop new and efficient workflows.

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