March's Artist of the Month, Kate Gabriel, tells us about her love of art, her first encounter with 3D, professional journey, and inspiration behind these friendly Bug Robots!
My name is Kate Gabriel and I specialize in lighting but my abilities also cover compositing, modelling and texturing. My inspiration always was and always will be the world around us.
Since my childhood, I have always been fascinated by art. I loved drawing, painting and I always dreamt of becoming an artist. I remember when I was 7 years old my mother, who is an architect, let me play with a 3D program that she was using for her work. That was the first time I did something in 3D. I didn't understand a word there but I liked the colourful icons and seeing what happened when I pressed the buttons.
As the years passed, I went to the Secondary School of Applied Art where I started delving further into 3D graphics. It helped me showcase and visualize my ideas and designs. While enrolled in Jan Evangelista Purkyne University, where I was studying Interior Design, it was necessary to produce work in a 3D program. At the time, I was using Softimage and most of my work was architectural visualizations or product designs.
That was when I started to feel that I had probably chosen the wrong course because I was more looking forward to working in 3D than designing. I started to look for new challenges and I took part in the Erasmus exchange programme at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom in the Department of Fine Arts. There I started producing enviroments and 3D characters for my portfolio rather than interior and product visualizations.
After this I got the oportunity to work on a project of a 3D feature movie - Legends of Valhalla Thor for a company CAOZ in Reykjavik, Iceland. My role there was a 3D lighting artist. It was amazing to meet people who worked in this industry for a long time, learn from them and become friends with them. This experience really made me realize that this was the field I wanted to work in and further extend my knowledge.
During my master degree studies in Fine Arts I was working as a Lighting and Compositing freelancer and constantly working on my showreel which is now finished (you can see it here).
The latest piece of work that I did is the Bug Robots. I got the idea when I was walking in the woods and there was a stump and beautiful light was falling on it. Because I want to specialize in Lighting of animated movies for children, I want them to look cute and give them the expression that they are doing something useful for our planet. Also, my portfolio was missing some work which would show lighting of the "hard" and natural materials. This work is showing both.
I made them by using Maya, Mudbox and Softimage. I wanted to practice more in shading so I did two robots. One of them is young, small, and shiny and the other one is old and rusty. To add more details to the scene I modeled screws, stones and moss which is partially covering other objects to get the scene more interconnection. I used image based lighting and several filling spot lights to achieve the scene's warm look.
If you want to see more of my works, visit my website!