As a 3D artist, Gennaro Esposito specializes in Environment and Hard Surface modeling. With nearly a decade of experience in CGI and Motion Graphics, Esposito has contributed to commercials, film, and video games for a variety of clients including MPC, Gadget-Bot, SKY Italia, and Cum Studio. Teaching is a great passion of Esposito’s which led to instructing for GNOMON WORKSHOP and becoming a mentor at THINK TANK TRAINER CENTER and the CEO for Digital Shark Academy. Esposito is also a MODO Certified Trainer for Foundry. As a Senior Hard Surface Modeler for MPC London, Esposito’s recent work includes Disney’s reimagining of The Lion King and Sonic. To learn more, visit http://gennaroesposito3d.com
GW: Gennaro: can you describe your personal path that led to working in VFX?
GE: My personal path has been a bit strange and unique. I started my career 10 years ago. But before 2009, I had not touched any 2d or 3d software. In fact, I was a simple dishwasher back then. I started as a Graphic Designer in my city (Naples) working in local network TV. It turned out, I was not too bad at it and in the end, after those experiences I discovered that I loved 3D. Three years later, I started taking 3D seriously and began improving my modeling skills. I spent a lot of time and money to improve myself with courses, workshops and mentorship. "Never stop learning" is my personal philosophy.
GW: Looking back, if you could share a tip or a trick with “young-Gennaro” about working as a 3D artist, what would it be?
GE: I started my career without money, without fast internet or a powerful computer. I lived in a small house inside old center in Naples (Naples wasn’t the best environment to dream about a job in the VFX industry of course). My house was 30 mq2, I had one single room and a kitchen corner. In the room it was impossible to put a comfortable chair, so, I seated myself on the bed in front on my desk. This is how I worked for years. There just wasn't any space or any other choice. Imagine the scene: I worked night after night in that room, seated on the bed, with my father sleeping on the other side. I did this with the intent and determination to improve myself with 2D and 3D software. Also, remember that ten years ago, a user had to figure out everything. There were no free tutorials on the internet, or a fast connection, or video courses at low cost, subscriptions to gnomon, etc. There was only the software, very low internet connection, and some magazines. Therefore, I can state this firmly: "If you Want, You Can!" Today, we have the world in one click. So passion and ambitions are the key.
GW: What are some common modeling challenges that pop up in your day-to-day, and how do you overcome those?
GE: Every day there is a new challenge for me. It is the engine of this job I think. The good kind of challenge is to model a complex hard surface object from a 2d concept without Scan or orthogonal views (Blue Print). Sometimes the concepts aren't perfect and they haven't clear details. In that case, the problem solving is very hard, so I love this kind of challenge because you can improve yourself day by day. This is my main task in production actually. It is important to go out from your comfort zone and level up.
GW: Can you share what differences you’ve experienced when working on a video game versus a commercial versus a film?
GE: The modeling approach is the same. I never found many problems in either. A good model is good for VFX, Game or the ADV industry. It is the same if you manage a bad model, it will be bad however and wherever. Same goes for the software: if you know the main principles of modeling you can use whatever software. There is no one standard pipeline in the world.
GW: What led to you becoming a mentor at THINK TANK TRAINER CENTER and the CEO of Digital Shark Academy?
GE: I love sharing knowledge. Learning is the power of success. I opened the Digital Shark academy in 2014 and since then we have helped many, many students to understand this kind of market. We always share with students our experiences and expertise regarding professionalism. Software is just a tool. Companies need artists and problem solvers. This is our calling. I have had great teams over the years that have supported me in various projects. Even a lot of my Italian colleagues that are working around the world in games, ADV, and VFX. The big challenge will be to have Digital Shark online courses. Daniele Volpe and Marco Menco are two awesome guys that called me for this wonderful experience about Gnomon and Think Tank. I am very proud and honored to have their trust. I have to thank them for that, and for asking me to be a part of the mentoring team.
GW: What stands out to you about your experience teaching at Gnomon Workshop?
GE: It has been a dream. I grew up following the Gnomon world. It has been like winning a personal Oscar to be honest. Inside Gnomon’s website, there are the best artists in the world. I have no other words to explain my happiness and honor about being a part of Gnomon.
GW: What has been your most influential project to date and why did it impact you?
GE: I think Taekwon V. I did this huge personal project following one awesome concept by Josh Nizzi. I did everything alone including modeling, procedural texturing, lighting and lookdev, rendering inside MODO… I improved myself so much in that project. I remember that when I finished the project I realized I had not slept for two days. I was super excited. That project had a huge impact on my professional profile. I think It is still one of the best model of the my demo reel.
GW: Which tools, programs, or books would you advise every student to explore?
GE: Always remember that the software is just a tool, therefore, you can use whatever you want. Feel free to work with all of them, experiment with them and choose the best one for your mindset. When you are sure of your skills, you will see that switching between different software will be easy and fast. I do think every artist needs to read all Scott Robertson's books at least once.
GW: What software and/or hardware technical advancement are exciting you these days?
GE: I am very excited for the big improvement about real time engine and everything there is around that world. I think that the final result with the traditional render and with the Real time engine will soon be here. Personally, I want to improve myself on the concept art side of things. I think this is my next challenge. I want to merge the my artistic and technical skills inside the real time engine, generating new interesting digital content.
GW: Huge thanks, Gennaro Esposito! You inspire us with your incredible talent and kindness!
GE: Thanks a lot to you, Genese, and your awesome questions, and so much thanks from my heart to Gnomon. I want to leave you all with these words: I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and my career and I will continue to do so. I am very happy about that fact because after I make mistakes I can improve myself again and again! I’m not perfect, I’m just me! Enjoy your path!