Freelance 3D artist and Skyup Academy founder, Mauro Baldissera, shares what inspires him, his top work-from-home tips, and why he loves V-Ray for Maya for VFX.
Mauro Balissera is a freelance 3D artist based in a small town near Venice, Italy, and is the founder of Skyup Academy. At 42 years old, he’s now been working in the field of computer graphics for two decades, both in Italy and overseas. Over the past 20 years, Mauro has lent his hand to a variety of projects, including VFX for film, advertising, video games and music videos.
A key experience for Mauro was at Weta Digital where he worked as a modeler and 3D hair groomer; additionally, he served as a digital surfacing and texture artist for Animal Logic, and also worked as a 3D generalist at Method Studios. Now, in Italy, he focuses on his work as a freelance 3D generalist while teaching computer graphics to train the next generation of talent through his school, Skyup Academy.
We talk to Mauro about balancing his time between freelance work and teaching, the tools that help him to work smarter and faster, and how he stays creatively inspired with personal projects.
We chose V-Ray because it is flexible to use for all purposes; it is fast, stable and reliable. It has also been my favorite rendering engine for many years. And since V-Ray Next, it has been much easier to make students love V-Ray — they can now render Subsurface Scattering, hair, fur and displacement without limits or difficulties.”
Mauro Baldissera, Skyup Academy
CG: Can you talk a little about the Maya and V-Ray pipeline that you have chosen?
MB: Skyup Academy is an Autodesk ATC [Authorized Training Center] and we use Maya as the main 3D software because, in the video game and VFX sector, it is the most-used and requested program. We chose V-Ray because it is flexible to use for all purposes; it is fast, stable and reliable. It has also been my favorite rendering engine for many years. And since V-Ray Next, it has been much easier to make students love V-Ray — they can now render Subsurface Scattering, hair, fur and displacement without limits or difficulties.
CG: With many campuses closed this summer, can you offer any advice to students learning at home?
MB: Staying at home studying or working is not always good or for everyone, but we must try to make the best use of our time. My advice is to try to tease your curiosity to always nourish your desire to discover new things. A phrase that I love is this, by Albert Einstein: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”
CG: What is a normal workday like for you?
MB: I wake up at 6 AM, go to my emails and organize the day's tasks and commitments. At 7 AM, I wake up my children and get ready for school. At 9 AM, lessons begin at Skyup Academy.
When I'm not teaching, I take care of any projects that need to be developed with the students, as well as social media marketing for the school and any events and workshops that I organize.
I always use the "Debug Shading” toggle of the V-Ray Frame Buffer [in V-Ray Next for Maya] when I’m working on shaders and textures. You can isolate and see clearly every node, object or light and work very, very fast. "
Mauro Baldissera, Skyup Academy
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