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Welcome to ISSUE 39 : Deserts Theme
3DS MAX |PHOTOSHOP
“Walking for real in a desert fills you with strong sensations, sensations that you can never forget… [for desert pictures] I find that adding an element which contrasts with the emptiness of the desert helps to convey the right mood.”
FRACTALS | MOJOWORLD
“I’d taken an aptitude test way back in high school that said I should be a computer programmer, a forest ranger, or an interior decorator, in that order. Little did I know that I’d become a bit of each! [Much later] I was hired by Benoit Mandelbrot…”
G’MOD | PHOTOSHOP
“… the ground here is quite varied, and as an environment guy you start to really pay attention to these variations. [I see] these weird formations and interplay with dirt and rocks, and I note it down, make a picture, think how I’d replicate it in a 3D scene.”
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DAL: Armando, welcome to the in-depth interview at our free Digital Art Live magazine. Thanks you very much for agreeing to the interview. We appreciate that you’re currently very busy, working on developing concepts and painting illustrations for major movies.
AS: Thank you for offering me this opportunity.
DAL: Let’s start by asking you how you first became aware of your creative talent, and then how and where you trained.
AS: I think my first ‘talent scout’ was actually my mother. I wasn’t very good at school, so when the time for high school came, she said: because of my temper, I might be an artist! And she was right. I then went to study at the “Liceo Artistico” which is in the center of Rome — the capital of Italy — and at that institution… that was when I first realized that I had some talent. After that, I was formally trained further in art at the “Accademia delle Belle Arti”, with a ‘major’ in the craft of Scenography. After all these the studies, I soon started working professionally, first for the stage and theatre, then with television commercials and finally in the Art departments of different film productions for the big screen.
DAL: Was there anyone else who especially encouraged your talent, in those early days?
AS: My teachers encouraged me to study, and my family supported me. And my motivation made the difference on the rest.
DAL: Excellent. So you have not always been a digital artist, and began in traditional media?
AS: Yes, as I said, I was trained and started working with traditional media. It as traditional art in those days. Which means that, yes, I am a self-trained digital artist.
DAL: What was your first software, and what were the problems you overcame with it?
AS: My first software was 3D Studio Max in version 3, which I studied from a big paper manual. Can you believe it?
DAL: Oh, yes, I can believe it. Those big paper manuals were quite the fashion at one time. Now it’s all YouTube videos and webinars. But I remember in the 1990s, going into a ‘remaindered’ bookshop — where they would sell off the end chunks of the print-runs of books that were just not selling. And there was a whole wall, about 50 foot long, floor to ceiling, with those kind of ‘software bible’ books at a £2 each.
AS: Yes, now, with all the schools and online tutorials and webinars available, it is way easier to learn to use the software tools. Unfortunately, this was not the case back then, and thus I had to face problems ‘one at a time’ and try to find out the creative solutions all by myself. I really enjoyed this challenge anyway.