In the next instalment of our 'Job Spotlight' series we talk to the fantastic Fabrizia - FX lead and Houdini maestro.
How long have you been in your role?
It's been over 2 years now that I've worked at Blue Zoo, as an FX artist first and just recently as a lead.
Where were you working before?
Before I became a 3D artist, I was interning as a set designer in Rome at a few studios, then BZ recruited me right after my masters at Escape Studios.
Where did you study?
Starting with the latest I studied at Escape Studios, on a full-time course, learning in-depth all the aspects of CG integration for feature film, including FX. Before that, I did another master's in 3D animation in Italy where I had the chance to learn all the different aspects of the pipeline, from storyboard to comp, including rigging and animation. Before discovering the 3D world, I received a degree in set design from the Academy of Fine Art in Rome.
"Well, in the CGI world you never stop learning, do you?"
What productions do you mainly work on?
I worked on the first series of Digby Dragon, and a few teasers, but the series I am most involved with is Go Jetters. They're very dynamic stories all the time; the characters travel around the world to discover stuff or fix problems, therefore a wide spectrum of FX keeps me busy. It's a lot of fun!
What does a typical day look like?
I need to be very organised due to the time-consuming nature of my job, so first thing in the morning I check my to-do list to see how I can minimise timewasting. Then I sit and follow my plan. Sometimes I've got a meeting or other stuff to take care of, so once a week I have to schedule my weekly tasks (in the same way as before) to get an overview of what I'll be doing each day and how much time I need to spend on one or the other productions.
"I'm using mainly Houdini for all my simulation, but also Maya is a big chunk of my daily routine as our pipeline is based on it."
What are the best bits of your job?
Well, there are two favourite moments for me. The first one is, I think, the most common among FX artists and possibly most 3D artists - the feeling after finding a solution to a tedious problem. The second is about the logic and the problem solving behind FXs.
What are your biggest challenges at work?
Working in Animation doing FX, especially working on little witches or magic stories, means you need to create effects literally from the idea to the final look. To do so sometimes means I need to break physics laws inside the software, challenge my creativity, mix techniques and let my artistic sensitivity drive me until everybody is happy with the result.
What software do you work with?
I'm using mainly Houdini for all my simulation, but also Maya is a big chunk of my daily routine as our pipeline is based on it. I've also used RealFlow in the past at BZ, learning while working. Well, in the CGI world you never stop learning, do you? I'd say that I always used the most efficient software for the specific case, I don't stick with just one software.
"I need to be very organised due to the time-consuming nature of my job, so first thing in the morning I check my to-do list to see how I can minimise timewasting."
Have you attended any events with Blue Zoo?
We often welcome schools here in the studio and I'm always very happy to show what I'm working on and what FX is all about. I also went to a NextGen Futures event a few weeks ago to mentor interested students. It happened that a few of them remembered what was on my screen and possibly want to start an FX career!
What's it like working at Blue Zoo?
BZ is getting bigger and bigger and the cool thing about it is that you always have high-quality work to deliver but in a family-size-approach studio. I like this approach - I like to stand up, talk with the people I'm working with, have a chat and fix the problem together without being worried of barriers - of any kind.
"In other words, anyone can contribute to the solution no matter how much experience you have."
Thank you Fabrizia for contributing to our Job Spotlight series! For a full list of all the current vacancies in our studio please visit the job site here.