In 2014 while visiting Ecuador I had the pleasure to meet local CG Artist Felipe Pesántez who’s work is a true testament to his perseverance and talent. Felipe has been working for international clients through his company in Ecuador, RAWA, and recently he moved to Europe. Currently he is an Environment TD at MPC working with major blockbuster films. I wanted to ask a few questions to Felipe about his work and his journey.
Thank you for your time and for this interview. I would like to start by asking you about your background: How did you got interested in 3D? Who are some of the artists that inspired you to follow an artistic path?
Thank you for for this, well I started playing around with 3D about 10 years ago, I used to study industrial design and we had a 3ds Max class there. I went to study 3D and animation years later, but the quality of the classes and the overall experience was terrible, so I decided to drop off and learn everything by myself. I always try to not follow the artsy side of things, I have always been more on the technical side, I like scripting, fancy node networks, etc. But when you join art and tech you get amazing things, there is so many people that inspire me everyday so it’s hard to drop names.
Your work has been featured on magazines such as 3D Artist and 3D Total. Has this exposure helped you to reach new clients and industries?
I’m not quite sure to be honest, I was a freelancer for 6 years, I always had jobs on my inbox, not sure where all those clients came from.
You founded RAWA Studios VFX in Ecuador. I understand that you had clients in the US and abroad. How was your experience working cross-borders?
We had clients form everywhere, I think I was so used to that, I always had clients from all over the world, I just founded that studio because I couldn’t handle too many jobs.
Your work encompasses a wide variety of skills but eventually you specialised in character design and later in environments. Tell us about your journey as an artist, how did you migrated from one specialisation to another, and where do you think you will go next?
I just wanted to understand the entire CG pipeline, so I try to go everywhere, you might find that something is not your thing but you will learn and gain experience, I did so many character designs for film, advertising and games, but it has never been my thing. I love environments, that is my ultimate passion and that’s what I do now, I’m a generalist so I can go wherever I’m required to.
You are currently working as Environment TD at MPC. Congratulations! What are the benefits and challenges of working in a large company compared to working in a small team?
Well, so I’m currently working in one of the biggest shows in the world, so that is quite an unique experience. You have access to computer power that you can’t have at home. There is more pressure in the sense that a lot of stuff depends on you, and there is millions of dollars involved in these massive productions.
What are the most important skills for an artist in order to grow professionally in this industry?
If you haven’t already, learn Houdini now!!! Hahaha. Trust me that is the best advice I can give to anyone, go for the technical side, start playing around with Python or Mel, be that extra plus, that big companies want.
When can we see your work on the big screen?
Marvel stuff, this year and the next, some other movies in 2019 (which I’ll announce) and The Lion king in 2019.
All images by Felipe Pesántez