People often ask me how I got into doing Visual Effects and ended up living in California. Truth is—it was NOT a linear and steady path. Growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the idea of working in the movie industry always seemed so distant, like a far-off dream. It’s surreal to look back on my journey and realize where I have landed.
I was always passionate about art, especially movies, photography, comic books and animation. Given this, it was an easy decision to major in Graphic Design at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. At that time, the design world was passing through a moment of transition from traditional analog techniques to a new digital era, giving me the opportunity to learn and experiment with both methods. It was at college that I started to understand how the creative process works and how important detailed planning and organization are to applied arts.
My first contact with a 3D software program was in 2006, during my first job out of college, at Consequencia studio. It was easy to dedicate my spare time to learning this new tool, since I was having so much fun applying what I learned at work, making cool animations for commercials and music videos. I then got hired to work at Icone studio in 2009. Moving into the print adverting industry was a great and exciting challenge, because it made me adapt to the shorter schedules and manage simultaneous projects. It was also at Icone that I had the opportunity to lead a group of artists and, for the first time, put my project planning and coaching skills into practice.
I was finally starting to get notoriety and exposure in Brazil but a little voice in my head kept reminding me of my dreams. My dedication over the years to my personal projects made it possible to transition into the VFX industry. I decided to quit my job at Icone and move to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I started at Pixomondo on my first feature film. I went back to a junior modeler position, but the exposure to the pipeline and the scope of the projects kept me excited and passionate to learn more. Within a few months, I became the lead modeler at the office.
Even though the VFX industry in the US has been suffering, I managed to keep on going and enjoyed working on projects like Oblivion, After Earth and Thor the Dark World. It was very emotional to see my name in the movie credits for the first time. Dreams can come true!