Gianluigi Di Giacomo is a 21 year old designer with a stunning portfolio. In our interview Gianlugi discusses his process for creating artwork as well as how he initially discovered Photoshop. A lot of great tips and advice are shared in this interview so make sure to check it out.
Q Welcome to Psdtuts+, please introduce yourself. Could you tell us where you’re from and how you got started in the field?
Hello, my name is Gianluigi Di Giacomo, I’m from Italy and I’m 21 years old. My relationship and love with the design world had a pretty random beginning; it all started from a basic error, everything was born from my need to change my school sector at the age of 16 after realizing that a 13 year old does not have the maturity to understand "just what kind" of education he wanted (In Italy, there isn’t the general high school, but school sectors that you have to choose when you are 13 years old). I needed to find something new and that could stimulate me, so the only viable alternative in my view was the art school.
Art has always been present in my life, I entered midway through the third year in the advertising class led by professor Clemente Francavilla (sort of a guru) and I was almost immediately caught by the design world. I began to comb through books, search the web for sources of inspiration, watch my surroundings with a different perspective; I was like a sponge. The rest came naturally, starting from tag making to then matte painting, up to the IN10 release and now this interview.
Q What made you first start doing digital and matte paintings? If you can recall what did your first painting look like? How have you evolved since then?
The story is very simple, my friend, who is also a digital artist (Domenico Carella) showed me the work of Zach Bush taken from a S3 Exhibition, and I was just breathless. I was so captivated by the world of matte painting that it led me to immediately leave tag making (where I had achieved good results) to start working on this kind of work. Obviously I had no idea the amount of work waiting for me! My first job was a simple scenario sci-fi that turned out pretty bad, but at that time it seemed like a masterpiece from my point of view. I began to try and improve in an obsessive way; I had found what I wanted to become my job. Needless to say that in these two years, I devoured many tutorials and psds. I should also thank the Intrinsic Nature crew, they gave me a lot of great help.
Q A lot of your illustrations are shots of scenery in futuristic, and foreign lands. What exactly draws you to painting these types of scenes?
Since childhood I have always loved the world of science fiction and fantasy, I was a big fan of sagas such as Star wars and games like Zelda and Final Fantasy. I’ve always been fascinated by the scenarios and the settings of this particular genre, and from my early work I tried to approach this type of work. Being able to create something that would otherwise be impossible to see and admire was always something exciting for me, this is the main reason why I love to create these landscapes. To tell the truth in this last period I’m going to try something different and try out new styles and to challenge myself. Even though, as they say, you cannot forget your first love.
Q Most designers in your field use PC Tablets, what exactly do you use and how is it more efficient compared to the other products out there?
To be honest I do not have many opportunities to make comparisons, I use a Wacom Bamboo fun pen & touch A5 and I must say I find myself just fine. Of course I am sure an Intuos is certainly an excellent product, but I think to start with a Wacom bamboo pen is enough to get a feel for the tablet.
The product range is so varied that I think it’s more than easy to get lost. The important thing is to know what you are looking for.
Q “The Fallen Empire” takes the viewer to a beautiful realm of fantasy that is unique to your style of art. Please walk us through how you created this illustration and what exactly is going on in it.
When I started working on “The Fallen Empire” I wanted to create a piece with a strong emotional impact. An illustration that could transport the viewer within this scenario. The scene is very simple, this work depicts a knight in search of the origin, he ventures within an empire now fallen from which his descendants hailed.
The realization of this work has lasted several weeks, I wanted to create something special for the IN10 pack and I wanted to venture into a fantasy matte painting. I made some sketches on paper but none of them impressed me, until I found a stock base that I liked. As it begins the phase of sketches on stock base ideas have come out by themselves, of course, there have been several reviews, especially in terms of composition, but in the end I stuck to the original, the sense of loneliness, the epic atmosphere and drama of the work, communicating the right mix of feelings. The whole Intrinsic Nature community also helped me out to further develop this piece.
Q What is one of the most important lessons you have learned that you have applied to your paintings and designing?
During my personal journey, I realized that to get good in the graphics industry, as well as in all others, you must have your own method of work or at least an order of mind. If you have a precise and methodical working process, this gives you the opportunity to carry out work really recognizable with your own identity, and then you are able to update your working process with new techniques and tricks, in an orderly manner, being able to fully learn the steps.
I personally try to rename each layer inside of my psd, and catalog them in areas such as macro sketch, composition, color, quality and end-end adjustments. This way I can make the psd very understandable, so you can review even after many months in order to see the steps used in a particular job, and see the differences or improvements over previous ones. In short it is a kind of archive, and this helped me a lot to improve.
Q What are some of the current projects you are working on? And what can we see from you later in the year?
In the near future I plan to work on some personal projects for new releases of Intrinsic Nature. Also trying something new and fresh that goes beyond my usual matte painting. I recently worked with the Metadesignstudio Beijing and I hope to find other work to freelance where I can apply what I learned at a professional level.
Q Thanks again for providing Psdtuts+ with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
Thank you for this opportunity, I’m a fan of Tuts + and is a pleasure for me to speak to the community.
I would first like to thank everyone who has come to read this entire interview with me, I can not give real advice but just say to all those who plan to approach the world of matte painting to learn to assimilate and to observe all that surrounds them and everything that can be a source of inspiration, from a simple landscape, a sunset, or a painting. Everything could help you grow and improve your sensitivity and your creativity. The important thing is to do everything with patience and passion and not chasing the results as a final goal, so “enjoy the journey” and not just the goal.