Check out success story of an artist, Davide Prato.
Davide Prato has worked for leading studio Double Negative (DNEG) for over 4 years and is currently a TD Generalist. He’s shared insight into how he got into the industry and some of the projects he’s been involved with during his career to-date.
Why the creative industries?
I’ve always had an obsession to design and build things. Starting from scale models kits to scratch build projects I approached the world of 3D, looking for something more flexible (and less space consuming). Everything started as a hobby, a way to create something; but after finishing my Masters Degree in computer science I understood that the world of 3D could be something more. I started getting more into it, working as a freelancer, until I needed more and wanted to work on bigger projects.
I decided to move to London and study at Escape Studios to polish my skills and to project myself to the VFX world. After the 18 weeks course, I’ve worked at Escape Studios as a studio assistant for nearly a year, then joined DNEG where I still working 4 years later.
What’s your current role? What’s your favourite part of your job?
I’m a generalist, taking care of modeling, texturing and lookdev, but from time to time I do lighting and shots as well. Build is one of the early stages (not always) of a movie, you need to be sure that the assets respect the guidelines of the company and to optimize it as much as you can; you always work with someone else so it’s really important to communicate and respect the workflow of the company. I love to see the shot progress, from the early stage where everything is rough, to the final one where each piece of the jigsaw fit together.
What projects have you worked on? And what was your favourite?
One of my favorite projects I’ve worked on was the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and we used Houdini extensively. On Pacific Rim I had the chance to model a couple of Jaegers; also Ant-man (my first VFX project) was super fun, with a challenging task to produce super close-up assets.
What are you working on at the minute?
I can give you some insight on a movie that will be out in February (I can’t say the name). I had to create an environment that was a mix of rocks and vines all tangled together to give as abstract and mysterious look for the awakening of the main villain. I’ve started with Maya and ZBrush to create the base rocky environment and some proxy geometry for the vines while layout was creating the camera for the shot. The next step was to create an intricate amount of vines. I’ve positioned some hero by hand and create more procedural ones with Speedtree and Houdini; filling the spaces and giving enough complexity to make a scene believable. It’s a tedious process to do manually, thanks to this software you can create complex but flexible setup in a short amount of time.
The textures were then created with both Mari and Substance Painter. The final touches were done in shot, adjusting the light and touching up where was necessary without wasting time for parts that would not be seen.
What advice would you give to budding creatives?
A good showreel is essential; go for the quality, not the quantity. Show the recruiter that you can do something in a real case scenario (integrate something CG or a set extension) with a good fidelity for realism. There are lots of events or drink nights organised by and with people in the industry, a good way to meet people or even have feedback on your work.
We can use dozens of software, some of them are useful for just a couple of tools, but those tools can decrease the working time significantly; learn each one and constantly compare them to create a strong workflow to achieve the best result in the shortest time. Always Think out of the box and work hard!
Davide Prato studied the Advanced 3D for VFX course at Escape Studios in London, and has since worked on films such as Avengers: Infinity War, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Red Sparrow, Black Panther, Justice League, Geostorm, Dunkirk, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Ant-Man and many more.