ArtStation Masterclasses 2 Spotlight: Rafael Grassetti

The ArtStation Masterclasses 2 – Games Edition is starting August 6th and this is your unique opportunity to learn from and interact with 10 senior artists in the gaming industry and connect with other students in class forums. Available discounts for studios, educational institutions and students wanted to be a step ahead of their classmates before the fall semester begins!

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If you’ve heard of the game God of War, then you are familiar with the work of the highly talented artist, Rafael Grassetti. Currently living in California and working as a principal artist at Santa Monica Studio, Rafael has worked on more than 70 projects and over 15 companies doing cinematic production, game art, TV projects, printed advertisement, statue collection design and toy design. He has professional experience with traditional and digital sculpting, modeling, rigging and facial pipeline, animation, rendering, as well as art direction for characters, environments, effects, and animation. Some of his notable projects include the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Infamous 3 and The Order:1886.

Masterclass – Designing for Production in ZBrush

Rafael will demonstrate his process of designing a character in ZBrush with the mindset of later taking it through a big production. He will go through the entire process from sketching to cleaning up the model, doing the first pass on textures and render to illustrate the final character as a product that is ready to be taken through a game or cinematic production.

Congrats on completing the latest God of War title! Can you tell us a bit about your role in the project and the most exciting aspect?

Thank you! It was a long journey for me. I began as a senior character artist on the project at the beginning of production working on both main characters. I then moved into a lead position after a few months. Later, I became more involved in the art direction of the characters and progressed into the position of principal artist. It was a fantastic project to work on; both for the legacy of the IP, but also for the creative freedom and huge range of different characters we have in the game. Really fun project and an amazing team to work with at Santa Monica Studio.

What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced working in the industry?

I think the biggest challenge is time management because it is a really demanding industry to work in. Since the beginning, my drive was to work on personal pieces and try to improve on different skills. For me, even when working on dream projects, there is always the sense that I don’t get the same satisfaction and growth with professional work that I do from doing with a personal project. Managing time to be able to deliver for my professional job and keep studying and improving during my free time is really challenging. The way I found to work around the issue is to try to create schedules and push myself to keep improving. But, it is still a challenge.

What/who would you say are your biggest influences and how have they shaped your career?

It is hard to say what my biggest influences are. I got into this industry because of movies, as I think most of us did. Movies like Jurassic Park and Predator made a mark on me early on. After learning how things work and knowing people that are working and helped shape the industry, I started to appreciate the craftsmanship a lot more, from concept artists to traditional sculptors. I have too many artists that helped influence and shape my career. Places like Artstation is where I spend hours of my day and definitely help me stay inspired.

What is one trick or technique students can expect to learn in your course? 

Besides all the techniques I use in my Zbrush projects, I’ll give insights to a lot of different techniques that I use in big productions. But most of all, students can expect to learn how I manage my time and what I focus on when I’m trying to start and finish a piece. I’ll give students tips to understand the needs of different types of projects and what goes on my mind when I organize my portfolio and on what to focus on depending on where you are on your career.

Find out more about ArtStation Masterclasses.

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About the author

Partner & Alliances Manager at ArtStation