Digital Domain CG generalist Alberto Casu shares the workflow and inspirations behind his Bronn character study...
3dtotal: Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?
I'm Alberto, a 3D artist living in Vancouver. I studied at Gnomon Digital Production for Entertainment
and graduated in 2013. At the moment I'm working on feature films at Digital Domain
3.0, as environment TD and look dev artist.
I genuinely love art and CGI. Aside from working on big budget movies, I'm also working on some personal projects at home or testing some new software. In my new year resolution I put down "sleep more” and "play more videogames”... that should give an idea.
3dt: Where did you find the inspiration for your latest gallery entry? What's the story behind its creation?
Initially I wanted to do a tribute to the Web Comic Nimona. I thought Jerome Flynn from Game of Thrones
would be a very good casting choice for Lord Ballister Blackheart. However, I moved from London to Vancouver for Digital Domain, it got very busy at work, so I re-scoped the original idea for a "simpler” 3D portrait.
3dt: What software and plug-ins did you use to create this image? Did you face any difficulties, and how did you overcome them?
Except for my standard workflow softwares (Maya
). I got the opportunity to experiment with Quixel Suite, xGen and Marvelous Designer. They are new brilliant solutions. They allow artists to accomplish works in hours for what would have required several days.
3dt: Do you normally use this software in your workflow? What other software and plug-ins do you favor?
has become my texturing choice for hard surface assets. I usually enjoy the modeling phase a lot, I tend to over-model everything and don't have enough time to properly texture everything as i would like to. Luckily, Quixel works perfectly with highly detailed assets and let me achieve the results I wanted with very little effort. Marvelous Designer
has become a must-have to model clothes, at the moment there is no other alternative that can creates realistic clothing in such a short time maintaining that level of flexibility.
3dt: Are there any particular techniques that you use often? Or do you like to experiment?
I like to create complex shading network mixing image-based textures and a node base procedural approach to add complexity and variations. Plus once you are happy with a procedural setup you can re-use it over and over adding it to the basic look dev for the assets. I recently started to implement the Texturing XYZ workflow and I am very impressed, it feels like the right way to approach digi double and 3D portrait to cross the uncanny valley.
3dt: What are your artistic ambitions?
Professionally I would like to have the chance to influence more on the final looks of a movie while maintaining the ability to get my hands dirty in actual shots. I would like to oversee the VFX process for movies, and eventually teaching on the side, so that I could have time to do personal projects.
3dt: What software would you like to learn in the future to expand your portfolio and skillset, and why?
I'm interested in the GPU based render like Redshift
and learn some Python. GPU render engine seems extremely fast, and the quality gap with an engine like V-Ray or Arnold is becoming narrower and narrower. Knowing even a little coding will prevent you to get stuck doing repetitive, boring and often time consuming task.
3dt: How do you keep your portfolio up-to-date? Any tips?
Find inspiration and have fun, then finding the time won't be an issue anymore.
3dt: Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?
On the traditional side, except the old renaissance masters - I love Roberto Ferri's paintings.
On the digital side, there are lots of amazing artists out there, if i have just to mention two I would mention Bruno Camara for his fantasy character style and Ian Spriggs for his portraits. They are a great source of inspiration.
3dt: What can we expect to see from you next?
I'm busy working on my girlfriend's portrait at the moment. After that I will do something more stylized where I don't have to fine tune displacement and sss setting for hours, but that is exactly what I said before finishing Bronn's fan art…
Check out Alberto's site
Alberto's work in the 3dtotal gallery
Download a copy of Beginner's Guide to Character Creation in Maya