Luca Gabriele Rossetti is an Italian matte painter and and film designer, best known for his work on The Wolverine, The Great Gatsby, Total Recall, and Snow White and the Huntsman. Currently lead matte painter at Sony Pictures Imageworks, he has previously worked for studios including Double Negative, Baseblack, Animal Logic and Rising Sun Pictures, and runs his own company, Mythic Digital, where he acts as VFX art director. Before becoming a visual effects artist, Luca worked as an editor in broadcast TV and as a compositor and online editor in commercials. In addition to his feature film work, he is also known for teaching digital painting and projection mapping, sharing his working process and experiences.
Tell us about your journey
There are people who have always wanted to do something in their lives, but never did; and there are people who just do what they want without any doubts or questions. I’m one of those.
My zodiac sign is Aquarius, and I have all of its characteristics. My imagination has always been full of fantasy, but unfortunately I unleashed my full creativity later in life. I started my training at the only [local] certified Softimage|3D school at that time, then changed to other training courses and went abroad, always wanting more and more.
I don’t think there is a particular point at which you ‘break through’ in your career. It’s a consequence of effort.
How do you want to impact the world?
I’m addicted to films in general, so in my spare time I am working as executive producer for a sci-fi story. I have blocked the copyrights and I am trying to make a good film package.
I have also just finished shooting a short film called The Edge of Humanity which compares what it is to be human and what it is to be god. It’s very deep in terms of philosophical concepts, but visually interesting as sci-fi story. Right now I am doing the online editing, and VFX work starts next January. I have also been executive producer and director on this one, and it will go at the Sundance Film Festival as soon as is ready.
I still paint a lot, and it’s something I would never give up. Even for my personal films, I do a lot of art work.
I also just blocked the copyrights of two books, which I plan to bring to life as executive producer. And I have something much more juicy in mind: a new space opera. It’s still embryonic, but it could be a new milestone for the years ahead.
What are you passionate about?
Doing this job often feels like being out of this world. It keeps your mind fresh and active, and even if travelling around the globe is becoming tough as lifestyle, when you work on something cool, you feel proud of it.
What would be your #1 advice to other artists?
Matte painting is the most misunderstood discipline in VFX for feature films: both outside and inside the industry.
Most digital matte painters begin as trained studio artists. That’s why I’m not convinced by CG schools or online tutorials: instead of preparing you for the real job, they just give you some ‘treats’. I always encourage private, one-to-one training.