Exclusive Interview to :



Frank Picini



Interview by Jerry Composano

Digital Artworks proudly presents Frank Picini :

Digital
Artworks
Frank, welcome to DA and thank you for this interview.
First, tell us about yourself. where you reside, your family and how you spend your time while not doing 3d.

Picini I'm 42 and reside in Hartsdale, New York U.S.A. which is just north of NYC. I work for WABC-TV the local ABC affiliate here in NYC. I am married to a wonderful understanding wife named Ann who puts up with me spending too much time on my computer and fishing. We have a 3 1/2year old son named Victor. Well regarding my time spent not doing 3d, here again lies the problem I spend too much time on my computer and if I can't be found on my computer the only other place I would be is out fishing. Kidding aside we spend lots of time camping or fishing together and just enjoying our son and reliving our childhood through his eyes.

Digital
Artworks
Do you have a career in art and do you have any formal education in either art or computer graphics ?

Picini graduated from college in 1980 with a fine arts background in painting and printmaking. I've sold many paintings and etchings and even mixed media drawings throughout my college days in the late 70's as well as recently. I graduated in 1980 and wasn't sure what type of professional (career) art I was going to aspire to. I spent a lot of time moving around from different production art studios until I decide to make a change and get a job at a TV station doing news graphics and animations. That's when computers were really developing and breaking new grounds. I started working at CBS here in NYC on the overnight shift for a few years. I then took what I had learned and moved over to WABC-TV. I am very fortunate here because we get to learn and excel with some of the best software out there in the digital world today (Macintosh platform mostly). So at this stage of my art I have in the last 8 years found what I believe to be the best way to express my art outside of painting. I want to eventually make my way over to an NT platform and get involved with higher end programs such as Maya and Softimage and do some higher end 3d. I have never received any formal training on any programs such as classes etc. I learned all of the programs I know today from learning and experimenting at my job.

Digital
Artworks
Do you think your work influences your personal art ?

Picini My work definitely does not influence my personal artwork in any way. Although the dichotomy between the two might be interpreted as a need to release my creativity differently from my job, my personal artwork has always been of the Surreal and psychological nature throughout my entire art career.

 

Digital
Artworks
When doing these interviews, I usually start with the subjects early work and progress to the present. Surfing your site, I was unable to determine whats old and whats new, it's all so professional. Help me out Frank, describe some of your early works and the progressions you have made since.

Picini Well my early works are not around most likely because I was still trying to make a transition between the painting media and the digital realm. I finally feel comfortable in bringing my imagery across within the applications available. I really enjoy tweaking and finding just the right juxtaposition of light and shadow to evoke a certain feeling I have envisioned for an image. My earlier works were still searching for that ease of use within various applications. None of my earlier works were as detailed and none had figures in them. It took a little while but I feel very comfortable in using Poser in just the way I think it deserves. Yes it has a lot of limitations but it can do wonders if posed right with the proper limitations set on the maximum and minimum controls to the body parts. I only wish the skeletons were more detailed. I have learned to really enjoy Bryce modeling in the last year, although I wish it also had better modeling tools.The one and only meaningful progression that I have made and I'll elaborate more later is that I finally realized that most 3d rendered images need some post rendering and if you need to use more than one application you should use what ever you need to produce that image.


Digital
Artworks
In your images, like "Will You Still Know Who You Are?" , and "Ethereal Emergence" , the textures are amazing. Do you make your own textures?

Picini Yes I do make my own textures and sometimes alter others. I have a lot of stock textures but I never use them as is. I like to composite and re-composite again in Photoshop and tweak until just right, then save them as pict files for texture mapping in Bryce. I enjoy making textures. My new web-site which I will be launching in mid January will have some great bumpy metal textures as well as supporting background textured imagery. I just finished up my second CD cover this year. This one is for a New Jersey Band named Razor Engine. I had so much fun with coming up with a detailed texture look just for the cover that I built my whole new web-site incorporating these new textures. My site URL will remain the same.

Digital
Artworks
I see alot of post rendering work with all the lightning and effects. What software programs do you use for your modeling, rendering, and post rendering?

Picini Well getting back to a previous comment about using whatever software the image needs. Everything I do starts in Bryce and pretty much is modeled in Bryce. I use Infini-d and Amorphium for modeling and deforming objects that Bryce can't do. I also use Tree Pro and Poser and I'm trying to understand Carrara. I also use After Effects for some high end post work like some of the best lightning available. I'll also use After Effects for my lens flares. I import my Bryce pict file and all or any mask renders as a Photoshop composition. The good thing is that if I'm doing even a 300 dpi file for print I can import an image up to 40,000 by 40,000 pixels and then composite using the multitude of plug ins available for special effects and compositing. I then save as Photoshop layers and anything that I did is again produced on it's own layer for further compositing and tweaking again in Photoshop. The bad thing about Photoshop Lens flares is that they have to be on a pixel based layer. In After Effects the are unmulted on a single solid layer totally separate from the base image. I can then tweak that layer in the exported Photoshop comp later if I need to. The Lightning plug-ins that I've seen for Photoshop are very poor compared to the available effects in After Effects. The lens flares I use are Knoll Light Factory which are motion picture industry standard in high end movies. You have total control over creating and changing parameters of every part of a lens flare with unbelievable control. I find that Bryce images always lack the right contrast and color saturation to come across believable so I always finish up in Photoshop with any minor touch ups and color correcting.

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Artworks
Tell us about your system.

Picini I use a Power Macintosh G3 with 384 megs of ram. As soon as I can find cheap 256 DIMM cards on the internet I would love to add more power to my shields. I put all memory that I can without taking away from the operating system to Bryce especially when I'm composing heavy mesh scenes. My recent image Darkness on your Faith was really taxing on my memory with all it's meshes and large polygon count froma whole lot of objects.


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Artworks
I ask this to all my victims...who's your favorite artist? And your favorite image by another artist. 

Picini Well this question is too hard to answer especially from what I've seen around frequenting the gallery posting forums. There are so many great artists out there I would have to name too many. My favorite artist is and always has been Salvador Dali. As far as a favorite piece of art, that's even tougher to name than an artist on any gallery forum and as far as a URL, I don't believe Dali has ever had any but as I mentioned on one of my graphics, "If only Dali had Bryce and a computer".
Digital
Artworks
There seems to be a dark side to your art, yet still very tasteful. Where do you get your dark inspiration from?

Picini I think this is an area I often ask myself. My wife always says that my work seems to lean in that direction also. To shed some light on Kim Gleghorn's wonderful description of my work on his (About Me) page favorite artist listings of his web site  

And I quote "if he does sleep at night, where does he go?" I do get a lot of inspiration from my dreams. As far fetched as it may seem, I have always had great dreams that I wish I could make into movies. So I settle for the next best thing and that's trying to create intense snapshots. Not to say all my images come to me that way. There are many that just seem to come to life on their own not without subconscious influence from my waking world I'm sure. I believe my desire to bring out some of these images has propelled my need to experiment and come up with new techniques to make these visuals come to life.


Digital
Artworks
My personal favorite of yours is "Darkness on Your Faith". Tell me Frank, what is going on in that scene, and where did you get all that imagination?


Picini Well "Darkness on your Faith" was a combination of dream influence and just taking a visual concept of that dream and solidifying the imagery to evoke a darker side of the original. Every good soul has a darkness always lurking on the edge waiting to jump in at a moments notice if given the right circumstance, as in black has white, light has dark so shall good have evil. This Illustration was originally to be titled extraction of evil. I didnít want to show evil as a hideous monster but rather mans own physical ties to the dark world where flesh and bones are the one tie that binds him to this world as well as to himself such as the cross. This image has similar meaning as my "Soul Struggle" Illustration depicts which by the way I just finished reworking.


Digital
Artworks
Last question Frank. Your site is awesome, with great graphics to support your art. Did you build the site and the graphics, and do you use an editor or create the entire site typing html?

Picini I built my entire web-site with all images I created in Photoshop. I then jumped to its sister application, ImageReady, to slice, optimize and create rollovers. I actually don't know any HTML coding so I use authoring programs that can build the codes behind the scenes automatically. I'm re-designing my web-site and will be launching the new look hopefully in mid January. All my URL links will be the same with the exception of removing some early works, none of which are mentioned here in the interview. The new design was inspired entirely from the textures I created while producing artwork for the CD I just finished. All the imagery for my new web-site was textured and created entirely in Bryce with some Photoshop tweaking and text.

I would like to take this time to thank you Jerry and all the residents at Digital Artworks for letting me share these thoughts with everyone and to thank you all for the humble judging of my artwork.

 

Frank Picini, Artscapes

 

Digital
Artworks
Well Frank, it's been a great pleasure spending the day at your site preparing this interview. DA and I thank you whole heartedly for participating in this interview. Great work, keep them coming Frank.

Jerry Composano
for Digital Artworks

 


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