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Interview with Rafael Chies

In 2009 I figured out that I really wanted to be an 3D Artist generalist but with focus on modeling and texturing. So I dropped motion and started to work only with 3D

Hi, Rafael, thanks for agreeing to do this interview! Let’s start out with a bit of general background: tell us a few words about yourself.

Hi! Thanks for the invitation! I always liked so much to create new things and beings, since I was child my favorite toys were playdough and LEGO. I`m lucky to born in a family that always supported me about this, by the way, my older brother is really talented on drawing and sculpting.

I think it will be interesting to our readers to know how it all began. How did you take your first artistic steps to reach where you are today? When did you start with CG? What was the reason of choosing this occupation?

I always loved to draw and play games. I was 8 when saw the cinematics of Warcraft 2 and that impressed me a lot, and then I started to look and like everything that was made in 3D.. The years go by and in 2007 I had my first contact doing 3D, and as I was working as motion animator I started to use 3D as a complement to my work. But in 2009 I figured out that I really wanted to be an 3D Artist generalist but with focus on modeling and texturing. So I dropped motion and started to work only with 3D and in 2010 the guys of Sant.at called me to join their 3D team, and there I`m learning a lot. I found on CG a way to create things and do what I love and I am payed to do this. It`s really good!

The evidence of your talent is clear from looking at your portfolio. Where do you get the ideas for such amazing works?

Thanks! The ideas use to come naturally, especially when I play games, watch movies, read books or listen music. I think that a background in general knowledgments and culture it`s so important. I think too that`s good to study traditional art and design, It enriches and inspires any kind of artist.

You have a number of pictures dedicated to cartoon characters . What is it about this theme that captivates you so much?

I really like the possibilities of cartoon and fantasy, there`s no limits, I have total freedom to use the shapes and colors in the way that I like, there`s no right or wrong. But I like another styles too, actually I have plans to make something related to the classic games DOOM or Duke Nukem.

I think it will be interesting to our readers to learn about your work “Little Bunny”. Where did you get inspiration to create this artwork? What stage was the most difficult for you? How long did you work on it?

On the week that I started this work, I was quick sketching in some paper on my desk a series of creatures with bunny ears just to exercise the creativity. After some days I had a moment of free time at the studio and started to think what to do and then I remembered one of this sketches. So I started to develop the character and their personality. The thing that I found more difficult was to do the textures, light and shaders in the way that I would like.

What do you think is the best work you’ve ever produced? Are you a perfectionist? Does it take you long to achieve that final perfect image you are happy with?

I think that my best work is “Little Bunny”. It was my last work but the first that I had experience and knowledge to do almost exactly what I wanted. But actually, today I would change a lot of things, specially the resolution of textures of the belly, It really bothers me. But each personal work is an eternal work in progress which we need to put a deadline so that we can go to the next project. Someday a friend told me “Your best work is always your next”, and this I carry with me always.

What work do you enjoy more: personal or commercial projects? What kind of work are you doing now?

I enjoy more to do personal projects because I can make my ideas without restrictions, I can follow the style that i want to do in that moment. But I really like to do commercial projects too, I enjoy to work with a team and I have a sensation of mission accomplished when the job is done. Where I work we do many videos.sites to automotive brands like Honda, Renault, Toyota… Actually I`m finishing this kind of work right now. As personal project, I`m doing a character with the talented TD Renato Polimeno, and I`m happy with the progress of the project. Oh, almost forgot it, I`m sketching something related to Super Mario World too.

Have you any tricks and your own “know-hows” which you gained with experience during your work? Are there any skills and techniques you’d like to acquire?

I have no doubts about it, the best way to learn is working. Studying gives you a lot of knowledge but work and solve the problems that any project have, makes the artist much more mature, sharp and secure. I study a lot at home, but if there`s a problem on the process of the project nothing is gonna happen if I don`t solve. While working, when you have an unexpected situation you know that behind, there are the company who have contracted you because they trust you, the client trust in your company and the deadline still getting short. So, you MUST to solve everything.

How do you manage to combine your personal life and work? Do you have any hobbies? Is it easy for you to find the time for your family, friends

It`s crucial to have a personal life beyond the job. I like so much soccer, movies, cars and games. During the week I work and study a lot, but usually in the weekends I can enjoy the most my girlfriend, my family, my friends and my dogs. The only thing that I leave to do is to sleep, I usually sleep about 5 hour per night.

You are a mature, experienced artist. What can you say to inspire those newbies who are just starting to work in CG?

I`d like to say that we have a lot to learn and we always will, and know receiving critics is the best way to get better and grow. It`s really important know well work in team and be ethic, without this no matter how good you are. Learning 3D is a little bit boring at the start, there`s a lot of technical things and an artist by being wants to go right to the point, as simple as to put an pen in the paper. But when you learn the technical part, you see an infinite world of possibilities and all became clear and so pleasant.

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