Interview with Letícia Reinaldo

December 19th, 2013

Hi there, community! Longing to make our blog more interesting to you, we have prepared an interview with a young and promising CG-artist from Recife, Brazil (or from Los Angeles, California – as you like), the charming (both the artist and her works) Leticia Reinaldo. We were so inspired by her pieces that ventured and asked her a couple of questions. In this interview you will find practical advices for beginners and ideas to reflect on for experts. Leticia’s advices are especially precious, knowing that she had a teaching experience in Recife School of art, game and animation (SAGA).

Feel free to discuss and share you own experience. Enjoy, comment, post…

From the first sight it becomes clear that all characters in your works are very psychological. We can really see their thoughts. Their emotions are on the faces. How do you achieve this effect? Do your observations from the real life help you or is it something else?

Definitely observing real life and the subtitles of the body helps, but especially for me of the face is most important. Most of my pieces are based on a concept from amazing artists that always gets me with the emotion and I do my best to maintain the feeling and emotion when I translate it to 3D.

I always start my characters by sculpting the face and then only moving on to other parts or pieces after I feel that the face is at a good place and structure. I try never to forget to step back, zoom out and check the overall form and making sure that it reads. When modeling cartoon/ stylized characters, I personally feel it is  all about the gesture and shape.

Letícia Reinaldo - Roger

You have a certain style, which distinguish you from the other 3D-artists. How can you name it? Did you come to this style at once or did you spend some time searching for it?

When I first started studying and exploring 3D, I always wanted to do realistic scenes and try to mimic reality. But after a while I realized that it was way more fun for me to instead, create more stylized scenes, by pushing the textures, shapes and lighting of my scenes to tell stories.

I normally start my texturing process by hand painting to create the style and in the very end, plug some photo textures with very little opacity or different types of blend layers to add more information. On my pipeline, I have the usually to light the scene before the texturing phase so at least I know with the right lighting I can tweak the textures to match that after.  Of course in the end I still tweak the lighting abit more to assure that the lighting and texturing work together. For me, a very important phase is the post production, after I have all my render passes a new fun moment begins when I take it all to photoshop and start comping the image together, to push the story with minor color adjustments, lighting corrections, lens effects, noise, etc.

Letícia Reinaldo - Fly Cabu

We know that you have a teaching experience. In every profession, maybe, teaching it’s like a big step forward. Was it hard to understand that not only you know something but you can and you are ready to teach somebody else as well? Why did you come up with this decision?

Definitely teaching was an amazing experience for me. It challenged me to study, understand and also to figure out the best way to explain a process in a clear yet fun way. Alot of the limits that we find are just in our minds… every amazing artist that I had the chance of meeting, try to simplify the technical part so they can focus on the important stuff such as the story and form. I really hope in the future (not so far) I can have the chance to teach once more.

Letícia Reinaldo - morning

Did this experience bring something new in your works? As well as – you’ve moved to LA – has the change of places influenced your style?

I decided to move from Brazil to Los angeles with the same focus as I normally do everything… to grow as an artist. I went to Gnomon School of Visual Effects and I cant express enough how amazing the experience has been with such a group of talented teachers and friends. Having the change to be around such awesome artists every single day really brings the out the best in oneself. When I started my program there, I had all the help and support to shape my style. One big thing I learned that really helps is to know where you want to be. Ask yourself… where is your dream job… where would you like to be.. what would you love to be working on? It is easier to focus on learning when you have a goal, even if it seems like a dream… those goals are your influences, rely on them, work towards them. As for me, working at Disney is my main goal.. will I ever work there? I don’t know, but I am going to try until the end :)

Letícia-Reinaldo - Funeral

Our team liked your work “funeral”. A lot. Can you tell us something about it? How was it born?

At Gnomon, we have a class called demo reel. The structure of the class, is to attempt to finish a full piece, from modelling to texturing in a span of two weeks. One week for modeling and another week to texture, light and composite the final image.

I initially started a project that had a robot in it, but after a couple of days of working on it, I stumbled upon this crazy good concept art by Sergey Ishmaev and immediately decided to change my project. The amount of storytelling and emotion got me in a second and I knew that it was going to be a fun project with I could learn alot from. I worked on each character separately and always tried to ask the characters, what are you going through? Who are you in this moment? why are you here in this place? the more you try to understand the feelings and background story of your character, the more connected with the piece you will feel.

A major point in lighting this scene, was with the contrasting lighting, I felt I needed to separate the characters between light and dark, to convey their emotions, and feelings in this scene.

Letícia Reinaldo - hobbit house

And, sorry, a couple of standard questions… Nevertheless, our readers and we would like to know what the best inspirer for you is. Is it something constant (like music, literature) or it depends on your mood?

Some people that have always influenced me with my style are amazing artists, like Kris Costa (Antropus), Alessandro Baldasseroni, Pedro Conti, Mike Altman… I love staring at their work for hours on end, trying to understand and figure out what makes their pieces so well done and appealing!

Other major inspirations for me are feature animations from amazing companies like, Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Bluesky, etc.

Seeing how much animation has progressed is a great motivation for me.

I usually enjoy working with Disney soundtracks, or with some classic Disney films playing in the background :D

I am also always digging some cool websites in search of reference and more amazing work to inspire me.

Letícia Reinaldo - Bear

And, the last but not the least, what can you advise to the beginners? What is important to pay attention to? Maybe you’d like to share with us some idea of the core of our profession?

Some advice and points that I try to live by are..

– To keep yourself motivated, I like to keep a folder with a lot of reference and things that inspire you
– Beginning a new project always feels overwhelming, so try to create a list and breakdown, tackle the problem in small parts
– I always create a folder with all the references and inspirations for the project.
– Time yourself! Pick a prop and allow yourself a certain amount of time to do it.. this will make you learn a lot about your working habits and your discipline, it is always a good feeling when you finish before you thought you would
– Expose yourself to all kinds of art!
– Try to have fun as much as you can during the process of working and learning! It can get stressful at times, and seeing things in a brighter light is always helpful!

Letícia Reinaldo - Skinny Chef

Before starting any project, I always create a list with the steps I am going to take. I try to stare at the concept and walk my eyes on every single detail of the image. Try to read all the material separation, composition of the image, the lighting, the colors, the shapes, the contrast and most importantly the story the artist is trying to depict.

The amount of tools and possibilities are infinite these days and that can be very scary… try to take the learning process one step at a time… simplify things, for example, zbrush is an awesome software and it has lots of tools and brushes that can do crazy thing, pick 3 brushes and stick with it for a while… try to achieve the result you want and when you feel more comfortable with the tool, move on to 3 more new tools! keep exploring and so long so far… :)

Lastly I would like to thank humster3d.com for this opportunity of exposing a bit of myself, and my work! :)

Thank you, Leticia!

P.S. Leticia has nice site – www.leticiareinaldo.com and portfolio on Behance.

Letícia Reinaldo - Greenleaf

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