Importance of personal projects with Riccardo Bottoni

By Michael Jones

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Riccardo Bottoni took several of our 3D courses at Mograph Mentor. His projects transpire quality, dedication, and knowledge. We sat down with him to discuss his experience on his latest project.

Tell us more about you. Your background and what are you trying to achieve in your career.
I’m an Italian creative, director and animator with a background in many production and post-production roles. I work mostly as a freelance, within the advertising industry, focusing on motion design and animation. I love to develop personal projects and I often get involved in documentaries (as a camera operator and cinematographer). Most of all I love to work with talented artists all around the world, that’s basically what I seek for the future: more international collaborations.


How did this project come about?
I love to morph one object into another. I often think about how objects are made by simple shapes. With some very basic movements a bottle becomes a jar, a computer turns into a microwave, a candle jumps and turns itself into a lamp. That’s what objects love to do, right? 
You have taken a few MoGraph Mentor courses and your work from them is gorgeous. Did any of the courses influence your latest project?
Paul McMahon’s “Ultimate Guide to Stylized 3D Modeling in Cinema 4D” really pushed my modeling skills a lot. I was terrified about modeling since old Maya tutorials: it seemed like the most boring and nerdiest thing to do. It’s not, modeling is fun. I discovered it recently and I owe a big thanks to Paul’s course. You can see a bit of that joy in my latest project: was it necessary to build all those things on the shelves? No, it was just fun. The project is also completely textured in Substance Painter but I’ve never opened Substance before taking Remington Markham’s “Ultimate Guide to Stylized 3D Textures in Substance Painter“, two weeks ago. The course is very clear and the learning curve is super smooth. I cannot pretend to be an expert now but I won’t be surprised if I’ll find myself to use it intensively in the future.
Walk us through your initial thought process when creating this project.
I drew a very rough sketch of the lamp. While rotating the sketch I’ve seen the main part of the lamp could be a vase. So the vase had to jump and rotate to turn into a lamp, that was what I was looking for: a main movement. Everything else (the design of the candle, the other objects moving etc) is basically built, layer by layer, around that movement: a simple rotation during a jump. 
What was your biggest takeaway or experience from this project?
I’ve learned a lot about Substance. In general, I think I will never underestimate again the power of good texturing in a 3d project.

Has working on Substance Painter changed yourself or your workflow in any way?
Well, yes: it’s definitely way longer than putting some glossy plastic on your models and hitting render. On the bright side I feel that I can explore more styles now: I love to do stylized renders but it doesn’t have to be all flat and cartoonish, right? Substance opens a lot of possibilities in that sense, to blend the border between photorealism and fun/stylized images.

What were some challenges this project presented?
I had to be more careful about the animation, trying not to animate parametric objects and limiting the amount of scale and deformers: you don’t want those nice textures to stretch that much. The biggest challenge in Substance was to create some noticeable variety in the background (shelves, window and wall) while maintaining a super limited amount of values and colors (it’s all around 10-20% gray).

What is the next stop on your creative journey?
I’ve got a couple of ideas. I’d love to work on something a bit longer, like a short animated movie (2-3 minutes), and I haven’t finished with morphing objects: expect more animation posts from me on Instagram!

Thanks, Riccardo!

There you have it, some insightful and inspirational projects from Riccardo. Special thanks to Riccardo for lending us his time for this interview.  Make sure to stay tuned to his Instagram and take a look at his website too.

More projects from Riccardo

Coffee Machine

Clay Project

Honest Reel


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