It's time for another interview! This time we're speaking with Rafael Grassetti -- simply known here at ZBC as "grassetti" -- who amazed us back in November with his debut Hunter post. What is it about Brasil, that they turn out so many talented digital artists?
Read on for the interview:
Hi Rafael, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. To begin, I'd like to get to know you a bit better. Could you tell us more about yourself, where you're from, etc.?
Im a Brazilian guy born in 1988. Like everyone in this area, I've always been attracted by drawing and facinated by toys and sculptures. I decided to study sculpture about 3 years ago and when I discoverd 3D I became fascinated with it. Since then I've been learning everything I can about art.
Are you a professional in the CG industry? Who do you work for, and what is your position?
I started work in the CG industry about 2 years ago with Luciano Neves at InfiniteCG doing stuff for TV and Movies. I´ve done a lot of freelance work and at the moment I'm working at Tribbo Post here in Brazil as a modeler. I'm also a freelance character artist specializing in character modeling, digital sculpting and texturing.
With few exceptions, your art tends to lean toward fantasy or comics. Could you share more about what inspires you?
I like all styles, but I spend the most part of my time reading, watching comics, or looking at traditional sculptures. I'm also inspired a lot by other CG artists, so i always look at what other people do on forums. ZBrushCentral is a great resource for me. That's mostly what brought me into 3D, so I think that kind of art inspires me more.
Your models all have a tremendous amount of detail. How does ZBrush come into play with that?
With ZBrush I have the freedom to do what I have in mind in a really short time, and to give a model the quality and the details that I want. ZBrush really helps me a lot with my studies and my works. My workflow was totally changed by it.
(Concept by Bjorn Hurri)
Do you use ZBrush just for modeling? Or do you also use it for texturing and other parts of your projects?
ZBrush is now part of all the processes in my projects and it's becoming my primary texturing tool.
Could you go into greater detail about your workflow?
I start working on the basemesh in Max, then I go into ZBrush with this base and start working on the proportions and giving the model the look that I want. Once this is good I bring it back to Max to work on the UV's and refine topology. Back in ZBrush, I start to have fun sculpting details and finishing the modeling. Once it's done I start to work with textures in ZBrush using polypaint and ZAppLink giving all the details that it needs. ZBrush's renderer and materials are also great. I use it a lot to show off my models. When it's all done I bring everything back into Max to work with the textures in shaders and render or export real-time characters.
Which model so far has been your favorite, and why?
I started to work on my personal portfolio about 4 months ago, so I dont think i have a favorite model yet. Maybe the "Holy Water" vampire model. This was my first model done entirely in ZBrush, and helped me a lot to understand the software's tools and features.
"Hunter", the model that you shared at ZBC, is just plain amazing. How long did you work on that project?
Thanks. I worked about one month, all in my free time. That was my first personal finished character.
How many polygons did it have? How many subtools?
It has almost 5,201,000 polygons and about 36 subtools.
You mentioned that you use ZAppLink. What role does it play for you?
ZAppLink is one of my favorite features in ZBrush. It helps me a lot with the texturing work, and being able to work with my favorite painting tool together with ZBrush is amazing. I usually use ZAppLink to give the texture details after I paint the base texture of my models using polypaint.
Have you used TransPose Master for any posing of your models?
TransPose Master is the perfect tool to pose your model when working with subtools. It's indispensable to posing modeling. It really helps me a lot.
What is your favorite feature in ZBrush?
I dont think I have a favorite feature in ZBrush. All the tools that it has are fantastic: SubTools, 3D Layers, sculpting tools, TransPose, PolyPainting, Retopology, MatCap. But i would say one of my favorites would be the Sculpting Tools and the facility that they give to you to create life-like organic models. And the Texturing tools that allow you texture your model even when you are still modeling it.
(low poly model textured in ZBrush)
How long have you been using ZBrush? How did you discover it?
I discovered ZBrush in its 2.0 version with my friend Alex Oliver and was impressed by the quality of the beta screenshoot gallery. I realized the power of the software and really started to study its features about 6 months ago. I´m still impressed by what it can do. (Note: You can read Alex Oliver's interview here.)
Did you find ZBrush easy to learn? How much would you say it speeds up your workflow today, and how does it help with that?
Absolutely! The facilities you have to understand how the software works and learn all the tools that it has are fantastic. (ZClassroom & Online Documentation) I "got it" really fast and most of the people that I know get it too. My workflow totally changed when I started to use ZBrush. All the processes speed up. For most of my personal projects I only use other software to make my base meshes, generate my UV´s and to export real-time models. Most of my work now is done in ZBrush.
What are your goals moving forward? What would you like to be doing in five years?
I recently got a new job and some nice opportunities to do what I really like so I'm kind of happy with what im going through right now. In five years I would like to be working in a full-time position as a Character Artist with an amazing company on awesome projects.
When you're not working or being artistic, how do you like to spend your free time?
I spend most of my free time with my girl going out. I love to travel, so when I get time I usually go to the beach and have fun.
Anything else that you'd like to share? This is your opportunity to talk about anything.
I'd really like to thank ZBrushCentral and all its members for the opportunity and the support. And to congratulate Pixologic for the fantastic work you have been doing all these years.
Once again, we'd like to thank Rafael for taking the time to share with us. I'm sure you all will agree that his work is absolutely inspiring. Stay tuned in the coming weeks. We have a whole series of interviews planned, featuring more of the top CG professionals around!