Meet the 3D artist: Paolo Copponi
3D artist Paolo Copponi is at the start of his career in CG: here he talks about what drives him and the importance of experimentation. Check out his cool 3D showreel too!
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Paolo Copponi started learning computer science in secondary school where he graduated as a computer expert in 2005. A year later he joined the Accademy of fine Arts in Macerata (Italy) and in 2010 he obtained a university degree in theory and techniques of visual communication and multimedia with a vote of 110/110 cum laude.
For his graduation project he wrote a text about the history of computer graphic in film and created a short animation.
“I worked for six years, before and during university, in the field of video games and slot machines as a hardware expert,” says Copponi.
“In September 2011 I went to Los Angeles at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, where I attended three courses: Lighting and Rendering 2, Dynamics Effects 3 and Digital Sets. I came back to Italy in January 2012.”
- Watch the CG animated short Exoids… Find out how Gnomon Studios’ Meni Tsirbas created this dynamic animation using Maya, ZBrush, modo, MetalRay and V-Ray, and the help of some talented students…
Paolo Copponi started working as a 3D generalist and then, going on he realised that the aspects which he was particularly interested in were visual effects, light and rendering, so he decided to explore these areas to become a specialist.
We caught up with Paolo Copponi to ask what drives him…
“Recently I realized some works of architectural preview and different works as texture light and rendering freelance artist,” says Copponi.
“Currently I’m working on some shots for an independent production, always taking care of the aspects relating to my field.”
“Until now I have not had the opportunity to work for big industry but I’m really hopeful. I’m just at the beginning of my career and the road ahead is still long!”
Copponi was first inspired to become a visual effects, lighiting & rendering artist at an early age: “I always loved cinema, particularly I was fascinated by the special effects.”
“I remember that when I was a child I was enchanted by films with big scenes in CG as Jurassic Park, Independence day, Matrix and many more like that!”
“But above cinema I was keen on computer science, so, trying to relate both things, I started experimenting – self-taught – with Maya and Cinema 4D.
“Then, about six years ago, I had the chance to develop this big passion seriously, attending the course of theory and technique of visual communication and multimedia at the Academy of fine arts. This gave me the possibility to learn several software as Maya, ZBrush, Photoshop and After Effects.
- Read a review of the software by clicking on the links
So where does Copponi draw his inspiration from?
“I usually draw inspiration from films, advertising spots, videos found surfing the net and most of all from my interests – mountains, snow and forests!”
“Among my works the most enjoyable project I worked on is ‘Snowy landscape’, it was one of my final projects at Gnomon School in LA.
3D World: What 3D tools and techniques do you use on a day-to-day basis?
“I use different software and tools day to day.”
“Concerning effects I use Maya, Photoshop, Nuke and Naiad but mostly the first one.”
“The tools of Maya that I use most often are particles, fluids and the DMM plugin (Digital Molecular Matter) created by pixelux entertainment.
“About lighting and rendering I use both mental ray and V-Ray.”
- Click on the link above to read a software review
- Cool 3D art: Dance the Dream: Find out how Joey Zhangfan created his image of Richard MacDonald’s bronze sculpture Sisters using ZBrush, Maya, mental ray, Photoshop
3D World: What’s your favourite 3D package?
“The software I absolutely prefer is Maya; I’ve been a fan of this software for 10 years.”
“I think it is the world and in the same time also the illusion of reality. I mean that the illusion which Maya allows to create may be limited only by the limits of imagination and, obviously being a software, by technology available.”
3D World: What’s your favourite film containing VFX/CG?
“VFX/CG are widely used nowadays and even is a field in rapid development, at this point I believe that films as Avatar and Transformer 3 represent the apex, they are true masterpieces of VFX/CG.
3D World: What’s your favourite animation?
“I really like cartoons as Up, Rango, Shrek. They are both excellent animations, and very funny cartoons!”
- Read a making of Rango How ILM’s bold step into feature-length animation with Rango paid off, bagging an Oscar for Best Animated Feature!
3D World: What advice can you give for aspiring 3D artists looking to break into the industry?
“Studying ten hours a day and beyond, surely a lot of passion but above all it is important to specialize in an area very well, in a software or one of its characteristics.”
“Last advice is to experiment always trying new solutions!”
3D World: Could you share a top tip with us on how you work?
“A crucial tip about lighting and rendering is to use the three basic points of light (key light, back light, fill light) and also use HDRI image for reflections (both with mental ray and V-Ray).”
“Moreover, I suggest to use always the render passes, at least the basic ones (reflection, refraction, lighting, GI, specular, caustic) and then to composite the image using software as Nuke or After Effects so that every aspect of the image can be completely under your control.”
(Giving advice about effects is more difficult because it is very technical area!)
3D World: Do you have any comments on how the industry has changed since you first started?
“I’m just at the beginning of my career and I’m entering right now in this world. What I can say is that in Italy we have few possibility in VFX industry because is it an area not yet developed.”
“Often is also difficult to collaborate with American or Canadian industries because of bureaucratic aspects as visa and so on. Nevertheless I think that we work in a field that is undergoing a huge development and in where the technologies are daily overcome.
“This is absolutely fantastic because you’re going to try to produce the best effects and most stunning animations – it gives me a great motivation and leads me to always push me beyond my limits!”
Watch Paolo Copponi’s showreel. “I created all parts of every project!” says Copponi.
on Wednesday, August 8th, 2012 at 11:35 am under Showcase.
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Tags: Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Meet the 3D artist, Paolo Copponi, showreel