EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW >> Aldo Martínez Calzadilla


3DE – First of all; we thank you for accepting this interview with us. Will you please shortly introduce yourself?

Well to start, Many thanks to 3D EMPIRE and Inan for the opportunity for this interview, it’s an honor to collaborate with you guys.. So, I am Aldo Martinez, a 10+ year experience modeler in Film, television where I had the wonderful opportunity to work on 26 films
and shows; and now in the exciting world of the advertising industry, where I am currently the Modeling and Texturing Supervisor at The Mill New york. Even though I have been in the industry for a while I am still obsessed with art as I was when I started.

-When and how did you begin to deal with 3d art?

My first dealings with 3D art was in college, I was studying architecture and I had a 3Dsmax & AutoCad architectural visualization Class, mostly introduction. But I remember being almost so obsessed with it that I bought books to learn the software in my spare
time. From that point on I finished my career while also learning basic 3D and also doing concept art on my personal time. Until after college, new opportunities came around for me to do freelance concept art and then getting my first 3D job as animator/ generalist
in Mexico city. But I became more focused in the 3D world once I went to VFS for a year.

3DE – Did you improve your 3d knowledge by online tutorials-books or did you ever take an 3d course?

Absolutely. At first I learned from books and articles online but when Digital Tutors and Gnomon started to offer tutorials I got heavy into those; truly fascinated by the pros and by what they were able to achieve with those softwares. I mean I would open maya and make cubes, and these pros were making humans from scratch.

My interest was a bit wide, as I was so interested in what modelers, concept artists and matte painters do so I spread my learning to those disciplines. And then later I went to a VERY intensive year at Vancouver Film school, where I learned quite a lot more basics
into modeling, texturing, rendering, etc. I remember going 9-4am for months and months so I could finish my demo reel. It paid off as I had the chance to get a job at MPC Vancouver after school.
Yet since then till now, I am still learning new skills and improving old skills from mostly video tutorials or by practice doing my personal work.

3DE – Which softwares do you use?

My main software I use are Maya, Zbrush, Mari & Substance Painter and Photoshop. And with other more secondary softwares, like Mudbox, Unreal engine, Nuke, Moi3d, 3DSMAX, Blender, reality capture, photoscan and haha many others… When in the industry, we run
into situations where we have to use a different software to deal with a specific situation…


3DE – What kind of workflow do you follow during the creation of a scene of yours?

Usually after I get a photo or concept art to inspire from, I start blocking out my character or scene with simple shapes or base meshes. After this step I do cameral lineup or several(if I am referencing an image). From here I start taking assets back and forth from Maya to Zbrush…Up until I have all the assets to a very good level of details.Then I start texturing in Mari or Substance painter and Look development in Maya. which is where I start to see if the model is holding up with all the lights, textures and shaders put together. Usually this part however close to the end, sometimes takes the longest
for me as I end up spending most of the time at.

Then for last I do a hair pass with xgen and let the rendering go for final, using Photoshop or Nuke to comp the image. 🙂

3DE – What are your motivations while working on a new scene?

I am usually motivated by photography, sometimes I see a striking photograph and that inspires me to do a character or 3d environment. However, I do also consider if during the process of creating an image, it could offer a particular challenge that would force
me to learn something new. A while ago I made a scene with 2 characters covered in rain and surrounded by water, thus this gave me the opportunity to learn how to use bifrost in maya. I thought it was a pretty cool learning experience that I treasure a lot.
I think it is always good to push yourself.

3DE – Do you ever lose your motivation and passion of 3d sometimes? If you do, how do you deal with it and get back into your mood?

I don’t think I ever lose my motivation but I do take breaks, sometimes after work I don’t want to do more work in my personal time so do something else instead. Then I start with a new image and work with it whenever I have a chance, sometimes it might take
me months as I only get to work on the weekends for my personal work.


3DE – How can you achieve this much accuracy to the real people on your character works?

Thank you and it’s never been easy (speaking for myself); doing photoreal and hypereal work requires a lot of patience and it can’t be rushed. So I do try to be very methodical and make sure to go step by step, making sure that I have a lot of references, that my
camera lineups are working well, and that the model has a good level of details.

I do also love sculpting my characters in-pose, without any symmetry which is challenging, but I have felt it adds to that realism at the end as when your eyes go to one side of the character to the next, you won’t ever see two perfectly looking shapes.

3DE – How long does it generally take to create a character from scratch?

It varies, especially in production…sometimes you have weeks and weeks, sometimes a day…and you have to do your best. It truly depends on the goal and how a character would be seen in camera.

3DE – Which one is more important? The software or the talent of the artist who uses that software?

Good question. I think it’s a very important relationship. Like a racing car, it needs a good driver to take it to the max and win races…But I am 100% sure that if I was driving Lewis Hamilton’s f1 car that would not mean I can win or even finish any races. Thus,
yes you do need both to achieve the best possible work.

In this era of visual effects it feels like every 3-5 years new softwares offering something new or easier, comes by that everyone needs to learn it. So getting married to a particular software might become irrelevant within this ever evolving industry.


3DE – What are your advice for newbies?

I would encourage them not to forget to learn the basics, many want to rush to put Texturing xyz or pores on their characters. Forgetting completely to spend more time with their primary and secondary forms or learning to use proper topology.

Lastly, learning how to do basic lighting, a modeler’s best friend is a lighter. You can have a clay model and with good lighting it can look better than the same model with textures with poor lighting. If you are doing portraits check out how real photographers light
their models, some of them do share their setups and go into details in how they use them.

Thanks again 3D Empire!


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