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Interview with Alessandro "Balda" Baldasseroni

We interviews Alessandro Baldasseroni 2D/3D Artist, working in games developing company. He is engaged CG professionally.

Interview with Alessandro "Balda" Baldasseroni
February 18, 2003 | Stryker

A little bit about "Balda":Water Tank
My name is Alessandro Baldasseroni aka "Balda" for friends. I was born in 1973 in Milan (Italy) and since I was a child I always liked cartoons, comics , sci fi movies and so on.

Because of my rational temperament..:P..and because during those years it was "cool" i studied computer science at secondary school, putting aside my passion for drawing. But i was not still satisfied of bad choices, so after high school i decided to go to the university to study math… yes i was really good in math and i liked it! But it was not for me, rhythms at university were quite different compared to those at secondary school,and i never get used to them, so i give up.

After one year of military service i found a job as cad operator in a company which build telecomunication systems. There i discovered my passion for drawing and i worked very hard on my own (and in my few spare time) to understand the basis of computer graphic 2d and 3d. Now i think to be able to represent reality with a little bit of artistic touch, but it’s up to you to judge… At the moment i work at Milestone, a leading italian company in videogame industry, as digital artist.

Working packages:
Adobe Photoshop
Corel Painter
Discreet 3D Studio Max
Mc Neel Rhinoceros 3D
basics of Avid Softimage 3D
notions of HTML, basic of Macromedia Flash and Dreamweaver
I`m able to eat a 40 cm diameter pizza in about 5 minutes

What do you find yourself good in CG? What do you like to create?

Balda: To be honest i like to make everything that touches me emotionally, sometime i’m inspired by movies, other times by comics, or friends, or sometime by a specific event in my life, anyway i don’t like to specialize in a particular field.

Which software do you think in your opinion is the best for 3D creation?

Balda: I think that every modern 3d application is suitable to make great pieces of art, it all depends from the individual artistic skills, and very few from the software, in my opinion, after all it’s just a tool.

What Hardware do you use?

Balda: Most of my artworks have been made on a PII 350 512 Mb ram, now finally i switched to a P4 3Ghz, geforce 4 t4000 , 1 Gb ram.

You use 3ds max, Rhinoceros and Softimage, why so much packetges?

Balda: 3d Studio max is my current tool for developing 3d graphic, i always used it since i started,i even used Rhinoceros at the beginning, i loved his nurbs and his easiness of use, but the lack of a good rendering engine and my fondness for poligonal modelling made me left it. I used Softimage 3d at work, mostly for low poly stuff.

What modeling technique did you use to model and texturing this detailed image?

Balda: My favourite modelling tecnique is polymodelling, subdivision surfaces in other words, i apply texturing with the standard uv editor of max on the low detail mesh, because it’s simpler. About the textures, I often make use of photographic references, with a lot of photoretouch in Photoshop, depending on the project.

Can you explain the steps of your process in more detail?

Balda: Generally when i start a project, my main attention is for the overall shape, mood and lighting , then i go further into details. About the modelling i like to place raw goemetric volumes in spaces, just to have an idea of their visual impact in the global scene. After i’m sure of their "importance" in the scene i can start to model them in detail.

Of course before starting modelling seriously i make generally a lot of picture and photogaphic researches, this is surely true for mechanical things , but even for organic subjects.

Did you create your own maps, or did you use public ones? If they are public ones, can you supply the source?

Balda: As i already said i use a lot of photogrpahic references,sometime i draw my own textures if this does not take much time, anyway some useful texture links resources are :
http://www.animax.it/
http://textures.forrest.cz/
http://www.fineart.sk/
http://www.planetquake.com/shattered/shine/images/ref/index.htm

How did you create a textures?

Balda: When i have to retouch existing photographic material i make a very large use of photoshop tools like "clone stamp" and "dodge tool", also hue and saturation adjustament layers are extremely useful to adapt existing material to your needs. When i have to build a texture from 0, i usually try the same to document myself a lot…observation is always the key to reproduce reality realistically.

What was the light or renders configuration you use look like so realistic?

Balda: I don’t know if my artworks look so realistic, but for sure i try to put elementary lighting theories whenever i make a picture, main lights, fill lights and kick (back) lights are really necessary to achieve a certain amount of "atmosphere", then i often make a post production light contrast enhancements, to make specular reflections more brighter and localized. Actually i still prefer traditional way of lighting in the scanline default render agaist the new tendencies of global illumination rendering engines, it simply gives me a lot of more control, and the result is relatively quickly to obtain, i like to experiment different lighting conditions, and fine tuning can be achieved only if the response is fast.

How long did you work on it?

Balda: Depends on the projects,i’m quite slow to produce stills, and generally my working times vary from a minimum of two weeks to a couple of months, but since i do them in my spare time it’s not very representative.

We know that you are working in Milestone company. Tell a little bit about what company are doing and what the best works?

Balda: Milestone is actually the most important italian software house in gaming develop. We are mainly specialized in racing games, and we are the authors of the Screamer and Superbike saga. Actually our last product "Racing Evoluzione" for Xbox is out on the shelves and it will be soon on the american market with the name of "Apex".

What role do you play in the company? What are you doing personally?

Balda: I’m employed as digital artist, my job vary from making low poly track objects and sceneries to the production of 2d graphics like user interfaces and on-screen displays, actually i’m working on track modellization.

You create some low-poly models?

Balda: Only at work, for my personal projects i make mostly hi poly models.

What are you working now?

Balda: Actually i’m giving my modelling contribution to the new cg movie "Code Guardian" by Marco Spitoni , the author of "The hunt" and "Join the empire" cg shorts. It’s a very exciting and ambitious projects, and i’m proud that i can give my small 2 cents to help in making it.

You are be engaged 2D graphic too! Is it need to have art education to work in 3D Industry?

Balda: It’s not strictly necessary (like in my case), but it is extremely helpful indeed, traditional art skills and theories are always the first thing to take care.

In what field do you use 2D? May be you creating Web-sites or somthing else?

Balda: Some years back I made websites, but never as a professionist, actually i mainly like 2d graphic oriented toward the creation of digital paintings and illustrations.

Whom do you see yourself in the future? Your plans?

Balda: I would like to work on great multimedia projects, even in the field of video tv/film production, but chances are few here in Italy, anyway for now i’m quite satisfied of my job in the game industry.

How do you spend your free time? Do you like to see Football matches with our Andrew Shevchenko? :)

Balda: Generally in my (little) spare time i love to draw, to model , to watc movies (a lot of movies eheh) and going out with friends. And…although i’m italian i’m not so fond of football…but anyway i’m a fan of "Inter F.C" and un unfortunately Shevchenko plays in our city rival team "Milan A.C".Apart that i admit he’s a really great champion :)

Any words of advice for beginners in this industry?

Balda: Maybe it could sound banal , but i think that humility and patience are necessary for everyone who starts in this field, and even for the veterans and experienced artists. There’s always something you can learn from someone…and the observation and study of other artists work are really inspiring and useful. Moreover i suggest to always grow traditional art skills, studying the classic models and the theories of lighting, colour and compositions are a must for every artist, digital or not in my opinion.

Thank You very much for the time to talk to us.
Stryker

Balda: Thanks to you 3DM models creation!

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