We’re glad to introduce the interview with Alessandro Consonni, a SOA student from the Masterclass#14 and the Lighting Workshop with Peter Guthrie #01.
Could you present yourself to our readers and tell them the position you currently hold?
My name is Alessandro Consonni, I’m 31 and I’ve been dealing with 3D and visualisation for 10 years. I graduated in product design at Politecnico di Milano, where I’m currently collaborating as a teacher of the digital representation lab.
In the past I worked for architectural and visualisation firms: at first as architectural project assistant, then as junior and senior 3d artist. In 2015 I opened my own firm, ac 3d artist, where I’m the creative director. Our main focus is the realization of photorealistic catalogues about furniture integrated with consultancy to enterprises for the management of digital materials.
Why have you decided to become an Arch-Viz Artist?
It all began rather accidentally. In the architectural firm where I was working, there was an old version of Cinema 4D license and it was love at first sight: pushing a button and watching the light calculation; creating something realistic where nothing was actually existing, it was amazing for me. From there the constant research for realism and the will to push my skill level always further.
You attended the Masterclass#14, how was your experience at SOA?
I attended the Masterclass#14 in March 2015 and it has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my professional path, both from the educational and human point of view. It’s been the first time I became aware that I could say my own opinion; everything would depend only on my efforts and on my determination,but I was in the right place to learn all the necessary tools.
Why did you decide to attend a SOA course?
I decided to attend the Masterclass#14 because I wanted to improve my professional skills. I had just graduated and a master (post-graduation course) seemed to be the best choice. I knew SOA from the internet and the images created by the former students were worth a thousand words.
How did the course help you improve your skillset and quality of images?
Several techniques and software studied during the course turned out to be certainly useful and they still are. The hard work was what made me a better professional: 4 full-immersion weeks where we alternated theory and a lot of practice with a very proficient and helpful staff always supporting us.
Is there any moment during your experience at SOA that you remember with a smile?
I will always remember with a lot of fondness my classmates and, in particular, my two roommates. To live and share a common passion in such an intense experience has been amazing and it brought us together really much.
You also participated to the Academy Day. What do you think about the event?
In my opinion the Academy Day is a good professional initiative and a great occasion to keep in touch with friends and professionals from all over the world, which it would otherwise be difficult to meet with. What I appreciated most of the 3 editions I attended was the diversification of the several talks that ranged from techniques to art, and that they were always about very current issues and gave you the possibility to interact personally with the speakers, also informally. A sort of anticipation of the immediate future trends and news about the CGI world.
Did the SOA experience helped you with your career? How?
I think that the experience in SOA has been essential for me for different reasons: for the general and technical knowledge on software that then have showed to be benchmarks in the field, preventing me from any unnecessary waste of time in searching for software to use in production; for the workflow taught that was solid and efficient; for the inspiration and the positive energies that the teamwork and the discussions with the staff produced.
What were the biggest difficulties you faced at the beginning of your working experience? How did you handle and overcome them?
The first difficulty was to give myself a commercial value. Slowly, after several rejected estimates because they were too high, and underestimated works without any profit, I found the right price for my abilities/skills. The other stumbling block was to learn how to outsource part of my work to my associates. Firstly, as freelancer, we get to handle meticulously all the process to obtain great results, then, when I consolidate as a company, I had to learn to transfer information as clearly as possible, to coordinate different phases of the works and to settle the final result. It’s like a musician that goes from playing to directing.
Is there a work/ an image/ a project that you created which is most valuable to you? Why?
Actually there isn’t just one project that’s most valuable to me but there are different ones that have marked important turning points of my professional experience and that now I watch with satisfaction and a little bit of nostalgia.
If I have to evaluate my images only technically speking, the most significant one would certainly be the one I still have to make. But I love my job and the emotions together with the memories conveyed in my projects reflect what I lived in that moment, the choices I made, the challenges I accepted, my goals and my failures. Surely the most significant ones are:
– The image made for the Masterclass#14. Culmination of a beautiful human and educational experience. Here is where something clicked in my mind and when I realized that I was a professional and no more a student.
– Vintage Italian style. It meant a drastic choice, where I invested time and resources in the conversion of my workflow from cpu-based to gpu-based, but that sadly revealed a failure, even though the good results.
– The last catalogue made for Poliform. A tough challenge both for the kind of the project and for the high level of the context I dealt with.
What do you do in your free time after work? Can you balance your working life and your private one?
I dedicate my free time after work to the family, fitness and friends. It has been very hard to balance work and private life, just because my work was a passion so it wasn’t rare to spend more than 10/12 hours in front of a pc, and after working I often couldn’t relax my mind totally. When I realized it, I tried to fix schedules and to keep some time to do practical works such as to dedicate to analogic photography and to do some sport. Since the beginning I noticed that those changes translated in a greater productivity and a more peaceful private life.
For me SOA Academy means inspiration, professionalism and a reference point.
I shared a lot with them, I’ve grown up a lot thanks to them and I hope to keep doing it.