3D Valley Featured 3D Artist of March 2008 - Marco A. Delgado. Marco is an artist from Spain and he works in the design industry for 10 years. He currently works freelance and in the publishing industry where he is in charge of the graphic design, creation of 2D and 3D animations and multimedia processing. Besides his freelance work and his day time job he also publish a free Spanish 3D art magazine called Render Out! The PDF magazine is available for download on his personal website Pixeltale. Please read the interview below to get to know Marco and his art a bit better.
Christa: Can you tell us a bit about yourself: Who are you and what do you do in your daily life?
Marco: My name is Marco Antonio Delgado, from Spain. I have been working in the world of 3D design for 10 years. I make 3D designs, although I also make graphic design on paper, websites and 2D design because I like painting very much. Currently I am working freelance and within the Spanish publishing company Grupo Anaya, being in charge of the graphic design, creation of 2D and 3D animations and multimedia processing.
Although I am specialized in 3D design, I also make an online 3d magazine named Render Out!, with tutorials, making of, history of FX in films, artists gallery, interviews and many other things.
Christa: Which software packages do you use for your artwork?
Marco: Well, I use Avid Softimage XSI. It is 3D software very complete and powerful for modeling, animation, FX and render, because it has the render motor Mental Ray, in my opinion, the best one of the market. I also use the program for photograph retouching, Adobe Photoshop, for the creation of textures and final process of the design, and sometimes other software packages like Maya, Maxwell, Combustion or BodyPaint 3D.
Christa: Where did you go to school and how did they prepare you for your career?
Marco: I began learning in a self-taught way, but later I studied 3 Courses of Creative Multimedia at a design academy. After that I get my Master in Infography and Digital Post production, and I start working freelance, obtaining in this way more experience and being specialized in 3D design. At the moment I try to progress in 3D design by means of Internet, where I can find a lot of material to learn and to improve continuously.
Christa: Do you have traditional art experience?
Marco: I like traditional art, both painting and sculpture, but I have not been able to make great works in that field. The artistic drawing is really interesting and very important to be able to shape your ideas on paper and then start your work with the computer. In addition, I rely on the aid and advising of my wife Paloma, who studies History of Art and is a great expert and a support in my 3D designs.
Christa: Can you tell us a bit of the way you work on your art?
Marco: Well, first of all I try to document myself as maximum as possible about the design I want to make. If it is an original design I firstly shape it on a paper and I try to draw all the possible sketches to vary any detail, if needed. In case of my design is based on photographs, I collect all the images I need, coming from an image bank or from Internet, in all the possible angles, detailed photos, textures, etc. I begin modeling using “blueprints” to obtain the correct proportions and I try to model all the details and I simulate with textures those which are very complex. Then I start texturing the model or the scene and illuminating it. I use to make it at the same time because I like to modify the textures when seeing the appearance with the final illumination of the scene. When the textures are correct, I apply the last adjustments to the illumination, depending on the effect I want to obtain, more dramatic, realistic, cartoon, etc. Finally I retouch the final image in Photoshop and I make the composition by layers, because I make render in different layers (reflection, shades, refraction, specularity, etc).
Christa: Do you have a favorite piece of your own artwork and why?
Marco: I have 2 favorite pieces: the Parthenon and the image of R2-D2. The first one was a challenge for me. I try to make this huge monument and to obtain a photo realistic quality and I think I got it. Modeling has not been much complicated. Texturing was the hardest work as well as the final illumination for reaching that realism.
My other favorite image is R2-D2. It is based on the design of the Star War’s little and bad-tempered robot. I’m its fan no. 1! At first, this design was for a contest of film’s images and designs. Modeling was quite simple, because it is made with primitive and basic forms, but the most important thing, is the amount of details that it was necessary to make. Texturing was also complicated, because I want it to look 100% real. Final render was also made in Softimage XSI with Mental Ray. And as the image “Parthenon”, the layers were united and modified in Photoshop.
Christa: Who or what would you describe as having the most influences on your work/ style?
Marco: I’m influenced by cinema. I always try that all my 3D designs have this kind of appearance. Science fiction, adventures and terror movies have influenced me a lot. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, film directors and masters of the special effects are my major influences.
Christa: Your portfolio shows quite a variety in style. It has some game scenes, FX models, but also architecture and interior scenes. How would you describe your own style?
Marco: I like all the styles, but I prefer scenes or models for special effects, oriented to cinema and TV effects. I like to make scenes of science fiction, wild or extinct animals, marine world, terrific atmospheres or great monsters. But I also like models from History, different cultures, scenes from the real life having great visual power which make feel something special. That doesn’t stop me making designs of interiors or modern architecture which, although I do not like this very much, they are also interesting at an illumination level and to create different ambiances.
Christa: How did your personal website ‘Pixeltale’ helped you to promote your own art?
Marco: Having a website where I can show my designs and my evolution in 3D design, has been basic and essential for me. Several forums have allowed me to show my designs and I have received critics and advices, which allow me to improve my designs. My Website also contains a lot of materials and resources useful for other 3D designers in their work, such as links to Webs of artists, textures, photographs, forums, which all can be loaded for free.
Christa: You publish your own free downloadable magazine on Pixetale named Render out! It looks very good but unfortunately I can’t read the magazine because it’s in Spanish. Will there be and English version and why did you decided to go for it and publish your own magazine?
Marco: Thank you very much for the kind words on my magazine. The magazine arose because there are no original magazines on 3D design in Spain, either printed or online. The existing magazines are copies of some American ones. I decided to make my own magazine including the contents that I would like the 3D magazines have. I have written it in Spanish language because it is easier for me, and mainly when I realized that there are a lot of Spanish-speaking users and designers who need information in Spanish language, because the majority of the tutorials and information in Internet are written in English language. Maybe in the near future a version could be written in English language, but it would require me much more time and it is not possible at the moment. I would like to make a printed version in order it can be read anywhere.
Christa: How many years are you working in the industry?
Marco: As said before, I started in this world ten years ago. In this period of time I have learned a lot, but it is still a very short time and I have many things to learn and many projects to make.
Christa: Which areas of creating art do you enjoy the most?
Marco: I really like all the areas of design. All of them are very important to obtain a good 3D design. If one of the steps: modeling, texturing, animation, rigging or rendering, is made in a not professional way or without enough quality, the final design will be mediocre and we will have thrown our work overboard.
But If I have to choose, texturing and illumination are the steps I like the most, because I can see how the final image will look like: I change anything that does not work, I improve the textures, I perfect the illumination and in general, I try to create the final atmosphere that that scene will have. I also play with the camera until I obtain a good angle and a suitable perspective that make the looks better.
Christa: How much time do you spend on modeling and how much on touch-ups in Photoshop?
Marco: I never have a time specifically dedicated to modeling. I finish modeling when I manage to shape the idea I have in mind. It is not a problem for me to spend one week or one month, I always finish modeling when I feel satisfied with the final result, and then I go through the following steps: texturing, animation and render.
All my images have been retouched in Photoshop, because it allows me to be more precise and every image needs a modification of its values of contrast, illumination, color, etc. Moreover, Photoshop is a fundamental tool for the final composition of the image by means of layers and to have a best control of the final result. Using Photoshop I also repair the errors that have emerge when rendering, I retouch some textures and I add some details, such as volumetric lights, backgrounds, brightness and everything that is needed to obtain a good final design.
Christa: You work as a Graphic Designer, what would be your dream assignment?
Marco: I would like to work as Creative Director or Art Director, that is to say, the person who points the idea to be followed, the visual aspect, the general concept, and control all the steps of the development of the design: sketches, modeling, texturing, animation, creation of backgrounds and scenes, illumination and render and the final composition. But, in a particular instance, I like the process of final illumination and the further assembly and composition of the design or the scene in the case that it was an animation. I really like all the fields of 3D design and I would like making any work of the different creative departments.
Christa: What is your favorite CG character from the movies?
Marco: I have many favorite characters, the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, the characters of Pixar, the effects of Star Wars, Shrek, Alien versus Predator, King Kong, Lord of the Rings.
Christa: Can you tell us where you are currently working on?
Marco: At the moment I am working on my magazine Render Out!. I would like to release it every two months, and it takes me too much time, because it is necessary to contact with many artists, to prepare the tutorials, the interviews, to look for interesting information for the reader and many other things. I am preparing new 3D designs. I think that the first ones will be science fiction type combined with exotic animals, aliens and extinct worlds. I believe that it will be a good subject, although it is still not enough developed. I would like to make a short animated story of a famous terror novelist. This is my most ambitious project and it will require more time and dedication.
Christa: Besides 3Dvalley.com, which other graphic sites do you visit regularly?
Marco: I visit many 3D forums, both Spanish and American, such as CGsociety.org, Xsibase.com, CGnode.com, Xsiforum.com, 3Dtotal.com, 3Dpoder.com, CGchannel.com, Evermotion.org, ….
Christa: Is their something you can’t work without?
Marco: I always work listening CD’s. Music inspires me. I like to listen soundtrack of films, which helps me to get within different atmospheres and to create more realistic designs. Coffee is also essential. A good cup of white coffee next to the computer helps me to have my mind clearer, avoiding me to be sleepy, and of course, a good glass of Coke to refresh every moment becoming difficult.
Christa: What do you do when you are not working or creating something?
Marco: I like going to the cinema with my wife, Paloma. I also like to travel, to go to the mountains in Madrid, to visit museums or to go to zoo to see all the animals, but particularly sharks. Also I like to rest in house listening music, watching some DVD’s. But I’m always alert and preparing some design, because a good idea can arise from the unsuspected place or moment.
Christa: Thanks for your time and the interview Marco!