This week we are having a talk with Senior Environment Artist, Leonardo Iezzi, from Ubisoft Reflections.
Who or what inspired you to get into 3D art?
I'm not going to lie, but I can't think of anything that really got me straight away into 3d art, but if I look back, I can see there is an evolution that started from the basis of traditional 2d graphic design to video editing and photography. Through 3d art, including some rigging and scripting, and eventually ended up in the videogame industry, in my opinion, the perfect sandbox to express and use all the previously mentioned disciplines together.
My strive for improvements and harder challenges made all of this possible. Throughout the way, I would say that the beauty of each form of art, inspired and motivated me, to learn more.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently working on Tom Clancy's The Division 2 year one. I can't disclose any details, but I'm confident to say that we are doing our best to deliver cutting edge experience.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The best part is when you play the game you worked on for years at home :)
The worst part is when you feel a bit down, you see other people works and they look so good and you start questioning yourself if you still want to invest so much time and passion trying to reach that level, and then you look at your past, and you realise how much you sacrificed to get there, friends, family, your country and you ask yourself if all of this is really worth it.
How your typical workflow looks like and which tools and software do you prefer to use?
Workflow really change based on the project you are working on, the software you have available, and the time you have, as well as what you actually have to build, so, unfortunately, there isn't a perfect recipe for it :) If you are a student or a professional I'd recommend learning as many techniques and workflows as possible, but most importantly understand them, don't just repeat them.
The reason for this is that when you are facing a new task, if you learnt them, you will have many options/workflow/technique you can use to achieve what you need to accomplish in the fastest way possible with the required quality, and the more ways to get the asset you know, the more you can mix ;) and eventually you will find your perfect workflow for each type of task.
What key piece of advice would you offer to a 3D artist aspiring to work in the games industry?
Stay away from the comfort zone, always seek for improvements, and don't listen to reply, but listen to understand. Last but not least, don't give up :)
What's your favourite game and why?
There are a lot of good games out there it's tough to say a favourite one. Half-life 2 is one of the tops of the list since it's one of the reasons why I ended up working in the videogame industry. (Would you work on hl3? Yesssss! Ahaha) I also really liked Dishonored with the way they stylised the environment and characters, the art director of that game is superb!. I'll add Bioshock franchise too, finishing with the Naughty dog ones: the Uncharted series, as well as The Last of Us, <3, both franchises managed to deliver astonishing visual with an engaging narrative that creates a really immersive experience, I love them!
Finally, what do you like to do in your spare time (if you have any)?
I used to work as a freelancer outside my full-time job. I didn't have much time for sure back then. At the moment, I'm trying a more balanced work/life approach, so I'm doing various things such as learning how to play piano, painting, climbing, cycling etc. and travelling whenever I can :)