Interview with Mário Domingos

I’ve started using 3D professionally around 1997 using 3DS Max 2.5 and After Effects, I was 21yo at the time but I started learning 3D with 3DStudio for DOS some years before.

Now It’s definitely Cinema 4D, but I miss Softimage. I strongly feel that Softimage was the best 3D App ever built and still surpasses all the existing ones in many aspects.

What led you into the CGI/3D? Tell us your story.

Curiosity. I was always very curious about technology and I loved the idea of crossing tech with art.
I never had a game console, I always had computers, like the ZXSpectrum 48k for example, and what I loved the most about computers was that you weren’t confined to only playing games, you could also code. As a result, I learned BASIC and would spend all my time creating shapes, lines and colors with code until I could make something cool out of it. So the possibility of using code or technology to create art always excited me. Also the Commodore Amiga was a huge influence for me.
So once I got my first PC, (an ancient 486MX66MHz 4MB of RAM) I started looking into CG more seriously. 3DStudio, After Effects and Photoshop were some of my first tools.
That lead me into Freelance and then into opening my own studio. My studio lasted 6 years before I decided to make the move to Dublin 5 years ago. There, I got a full-time position at Piranha Bar where I currently work as a Senior Motion Designer and 3D Generalist.

Where do you go to get inspired? What/Who inspires you?

Life in general inspires me, from nature to beautifully curated Instagram galleries, podcasts, museums, books and people.

How does a typical working day look like?

It’s pretty normal. I’m working full-time at Piranha Bar for now, so I arrive at work between 9 and 10, grab a coffee and get to work if I have a tight deadline. If not, if it’s one if those quiet days, I work on my personal projects or do some RnD work, learning a new technique or tool.
If working solo on a project, I have a bit more freedom to manage my time and process. I don’t have to worry as much if someone is waiting to get a specific asset or setup from me for example. If I’m leading a bigger project it gets a bit more stressful as I need to coordinate with the team and make sure everything works properly for everyone.
I leave work around 6PM normally and if I still have any strength left and some work to do, I work some hours at home after having dinner and putting the kids to bed.

What does your workplace look like?

My full time workplace it’s a bit messy. I try to tidy it up enough so I don’t get fired 🙂
My office at home is a bit cleaner… I love to work at home so I’ve been creating a cosy place where I can let my brain loose without hurting it.

How do you stay motivated in this tough industry?

It’s not hard to get motivated in this industry. Every day something changes, or something new comes out. Just look at the Siggraph papers that come out every year!

I love Art, and Motion Design has the power to make all forms of art come together in a beautiful way. It’s not possible to get unmotivated or bored is it? On top of that, as the time passes and I get older, I love what I do even more.

What is your passion beside CGI/3D?

My kids, my beautiful wife, my family, my friends, books, music, art, food, ideas… should I keep going? 🙂

How do you keep your portfolio up to date? Any tips?

Make it simple. A simple website, easy to edit. Then only add the best work you have, not the work you like he most, the BEST you have and leave all the other stuff out.
Also keep a list of all projects you’ve worked on and add some notes to it like, how hard was it to do, what went wrong, what have you learned, who worked on it, etc. I call it The Captain’s Log. This way It’s easier to remember it when you want to update your Portfolio and all that info can help you to get better.

What Software do you use to create your artwork?

Cinema 4D, Redshift, Octane, XParticles, Affinity Designer and Photo, After Effects and ZBrush are my main tools.

What Software do you want to learn in future? And why?

I want to start using Houdini, Substance Designer and Marvelous Designer soon because they are F…. Incredible!!! Thats why 🙂

Which books would you recommend to the read?

The Freelance Manifesto and Steal Like an Artist are two that I really recommend. Also I’ve started reading Design for Motion now and im really enjoying it. I have a list of books that inspire me in my website check it out.

What music do you listen to while working?

My playlists are varied but Zero 7, Everything Everything, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Snooze and Rhye, are some of my favorites.

Any advice for new Artists?

Don’t wait, you’re ready, start now.