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Renderfeed: Tell me a little bit about yourself and about your life as a designer in England.

(Luca) My name is Luca Viola. I am 28 years old and I am from a little town in the North of Italy, not too far from Genoa. I moved to the United Kingdom 7 years ago because I wanted to experience a different country and I always thought London was a wonderful city, especially for the creative arts. So that’s where I started my life abroad, working as a barista in various London coffee shops. Later I actually moved to Brighton as a result of landing a job as Junior Creative 3D Designer at creative agency Bolder Creative

Renderfeed: How did you find your passion for 3D design?

 (Luca) I always had a passion for illustration and design: First it was pencil on paper – ever since I was little I used to draw all the time. I was the only one in my family and none of my friends shared my passion, so every afternoon after school I was at home drawing. I used to draw comics. I remember my favorites were Spawn by Greg Capullo and Frank Miller’s Sin City. I used to draw them on big A3 paper and put them on the wall in my room.

A couple of years ago I moved from traditional to digital art and finally I found 3D to be my choice for illustrations.

 I love my actual life as a designer; it’s amazing how every day I can do what I like and work for such big clients.

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Renderfeed: What type of work do you specialize in?

(Luca) I specialize in 3D illustration and I also do a lot of Photoshop pieces. I personally work on all the steps of the production process, from modeling and composition, to rendering, lighting and post- production.

Renderfeed: Describe Bolder Creative studio. What is it like to work there?

(Luca) Bolder Creative is a boutique design agency based in Brighton. Founded in June 2007, they specialize in motion & print design work for the music & entertainment industries. They have a staff of 12 people and mainly create TV commercials, motion graphics & image campaigns for all the major record labels and other big clients such as HMV, BBC & Magic FM. It’s a lovely place to work: We are a good team of people, always helping each other, really hard working.

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Renderfeed: Tell us about your artistic education: Did you attend any classes at school or in college that helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?

(Luca) I am a self-taught designer, even though I admit I always wanted to get a university education. I just remember drawing all my life. I think it was a gift: I never attended any drawing lesson; it was just natural for me to sit down and start drawing my favorite comics.

The only time I ever stopped doing art for a while was during my first year as a barista; I just didn’t have the time.

Eventually though I purchased a computer and started using Photoshop, designing flyers and similar graphics for my friends. In the beginning I worked with a friend of mine on building a little company. We wanted to do something big – he was organizing events for bars and local business and I was taking care of the graphics and communication side. It was always small jobs, but it was my first experience with some real design work.

I never stopped believing one day I would make it as a designer. What I had always been really fascinated by was 3D. At first I thought it was something impossible to learn, but when I started using Cinema 4D everything changed: I used to spent evenings and weekends non-stop in front of my computer, trying to model and render my illustrations. I would work in the coffee shop all day, then I would go home and spend all my free time working on my designs. It was a tough year! I literally had no free time, but that’s what I wanted. I was really determined to achieve my goals.

In the beginning I was scared to put my work online, as I always thought it wasn’t good enough. Finally, after some practice, I finally found the courage to put my first project on Behance, and it felt great because people were commenting on and appreciating my works. I was so happy, and thanks to Behance even a couple of companies contacted me, offering me jobs. It was amazing! The same happened with Bolder Creative. They contacted me through Behance and offered me an internship and after that a full-time position. My dream came true!

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Renderfeed: What or who inspired you to choose a career in animation industry?

(Luca) The companies that inspired me the most to become a 3D designer are Serial Cut, Mirari, Plenty, and 2veinte.They do such amazing work! When I first started looking at 3D design these companies were the ones that stood out from all the others. They use photorealistic techniques applied to absolutely non-realistic scenes and the result is amazing, and their work is so colorful. The color scheme used by 2veinte for example is incredible – it was love at first sight, so inspiring!  I hope one day I will be as good as them.

Renderfeed: What are some of the things that you have worked on recently for Bolder?

(Luca) I worked on the HMV Award Season cinema campaign, where I modeled and rendered all the type in the ad. I also worked on the HMV Christmas campaign, where I modeled all the headphone speakers in the ad, as well as producing the rendering and lighting. Finally, I designed the CD sleeve for the Ministry of Sound Chilled House Session 5. Then the animation team did all the TV ads for the visual campaign.

Renderfeed: Is there a personal design you have done that you are most happy with and if so, why?

(Luca) My favorite personal project is titled “Reconstruct”. I was doing a render test of a car. I had just started using VRay and was impressed by the level of realism. After building the car I began to construct some objects around it. Still, this was too boring, so I decided to break the car into little pieces, and add all the sweep nurbs. I really like sweep nurbs; I use them in all my projects and I think they are a key component of my style

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Renderfeed: Tell us how long it took to make “Reconstruct”.

(Luca) “Reconstruct” took me around one month to do, mostly working in my free time and days off. While I work on personal projects I need a lot of quiet time, because I spend a lot of time testing and trying until I am happy with the final result.

What software did you use for Reconstruct?

(Luca) I used Cinema 4D and VRay for the rendering.

Renderfeed: What can we expect to see from you in the future?

(Luca) I am currently working on “Reconstruct 2”. I enjoyed working on the first Reconstruct project so much I decided to make a second one, only this time the cars will be much more realistic, in line with my overall goal of getting more and more photorealistic in my renders.

Renderfeed: What part of designing is most difficult?

(Luca) I think the most difficult part is to be able to recreate an idea as close to my mental image as possible. Many times, even though I know exactly what I want to do, when I start working on the execution, it never quite looks the way I first envisioned it. So there’s a lot of trial and error involved until I get to the right composition.

Renderfeed: What part of your working day most makes you think: “This is why I do this job?”

(Luca) Every moment of the day I think that I am so lucky to be doing what I love as a job; it’s so rewarding. Particularly at the end of the process, when the illustrations are done, it feels great!

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Renderfeed: Your art is very unique. How much do you have to adjust your style to each client you work for?

(Luca) I am trying to put a bit of my own style in everything I do, but obviously I need to follow the client’s brief, and most of the time it is really specific in terms of the overall look desired.

In my personal projects though, I can be as expressive as I want; that’s where I define and grow my own style. I think I actually have evolved significantly: Before I used to just model with nurbs as it is easier. Now I have learnt more advanced polygon modeling, mostly hard surfaces, a lot more type, a more photorealistic look thanks to a better understanding of the material and texturing. Another thing I have learnt and I am really happy about is the use of the camera and how to get the best of the composition with different camera angles.

Renderfeed: What is your greatest source of inspiration?

(Luca) My source of inspiration is the internet.

The first place I always visit is Behance. Some of the superb artists I have found there are my main source of inspiration. Rizon Parein, Chris LaBrooy – both of them are the best 3d artists for type design. Their realism and attention to details is second to none.

I recently found Pinterest really good as well for style frames and storyboard inspiration, as I am currently working a lot on storyboards for TV ads. In my opinion the company that makes the best style frames and TV idents is N3 design; their work is absolutely awesome.

Renderfeed: What do you do when you get artist’s block and inspiration fails you??

(Luca) I have to say that when I started working at Bolder, I got artist’s block quite often. I think it was just because I was not used to the sheer amount of work that had to get done in such a short time. I feel more relaxed now. Still, when inspiration fails the best suggestion is: Think about something else, take a break, don’t stay longer at work trying to get it done. It is better to go home, relax and in the morning get back to the office with a fresh mind.

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Renderfeed: How tight are the deadlines in your line of work and how do you manage the pressure to deliver within short timeframes?

(Luca) The deadlines are pretty tight and it is always difficult to keep up with them. I try to focus and organize my work in order not to spend too much time on each step of the process. I also try to stay as close as possible to the initial idea in each step, without adding too many new things and changes. Lastly, I always consider in advance what I can do in 3D and what I can do in post. In the beginning I used to make this mistake: I spent so much time just to get some lights right with no success, and then I found I could do the same task in post in no time!

Renderfeed: What Cinema 4D plug-ins do you use and why?

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(Luca) I don’t utilize many plug-ins. I mostly use Thrausi. It’s amazing software: You just select the object, set up the number of pieces you want the object to break into – done! And it even gives you a simulation tag by which you can control the explosion of the object. Let’s just say I love to break stuff!

Renderfeed: What are the main challenges to consider when rendering your projects?

(Luca) Since we are doing animation the main challenge is to keep the render time as low as possible without losing too much quality. It is difficult, because we have to adapt the render setting for each project.

Renderfeed: What kind of advice would you give other young artists trying to stand out from the crowd?

(Luca) My advice for everyone is to try to be original. I know it’s difficult, particularly because there are so many people out there, but never give up and try to achieve your goal, no matter how long it takes you. If you really love what you do, there’s no excuse not to try. I never thought I would be where I am now! When I look at my first work and I look at what I do now, there’s a huge difference, and I’m really happy about it!