Interview: Alessandro Chiffi – Blender Sculptor

Tell us a bit about yourself!

bioHello everyone, my name is Alessandro Chiffi, I just turned 28 years old and live in a beautiful village in southern Italy. The first programs that I have used before arriving at Bryce and Poser Blender but even before I had fun sketching something with Corel Paint on the Amiga 500. Now I’m working on several projects to Freelancer, including the construction of my new demo reel, to send out, this is because they are looking for a job …I just finished working on a project (USA) “free founding” of a video game for the PC. I was contacted first as a modeler and then shortly after became supervisor of the department modeling. My job was to take care of the creation and realization of the protagonist, a bearded Viking and very bad.

alienB_00What path did you take to become such an accomplished sculptor?

[I am] basically self-taught. I graduated in Master of Art in high school, attended the Academy of Fine Arts, where I had the basics of freehand drawing, and sculpture with traditional clay. Then I attended a course for a short period of CG here in Italy where I mostly learned the basics of the rig of a character and something about video editing…And then a lot of practice…

What kind of imagery inspires you to create?

Most of my inspiration I derive from life everyday…or maybe from an image of a concept, or a state of mind…

Which 3 artists can you always count on to inspire and motivate you?

Among the “digital artists” surely there’s Kolby Jukes, I looked at his work when I started. I feel very close to his style almost from the road…Then there is certainly Rafael Grassetti another great master in the field. Instead of the artists ‘traditional’ love Michelangelo, Modigliani, Bernini, Caravaggio and many more…I prefer artists who create something that does not exist, putting theirs, and not the artists that create a perfect copy of reality.

You seem to use Blender a lot for digital sculpting. Why that over Zbrush and the others?

I started using Blender just for fun despite its interface a bit tricky , after that I started to study and use other programs such as Mudbox, ZBrush, and Sculptris when it was still owned by Pixologic. I try to accomplish what could be done with more ease in other programs with Blender for two main reasons: The first is the open source philosophy and sharing with the community. From the beginning I have always tried to share as much as possible, trying to help those who began this journey, without being jealous of the files of the techniques used , etc. I love the concept of free culture for everyone! And the second is to try to prove that “it’s not the brush that makes the artist.” I could talk about it for hours but to shorten in other words, that regardless of the potential of a program that is free or paid the important thing is to have technical imagination and the desire to do. So in this case is not the program that makes the modeler , lighter etc.

creature_01You seem to squeeze more detail out of your sculptures than most Blender users. Is it thanks to a powerful computer or do you use a special technique?

Eheheh….I do not think the use of a computer or to a super powerful technique magic, just work with a MacBook Pro that often gives vent to its limits. I think it’s just a matter of style.

Your Batman sculpture is a uniquely organic take on the classic character. How did you develop this look?

For the project “Batman” (today still wip) I was inspired by the Batman (1966 – 67-68) at the time starring Adam West. The idea was to create a Batman different from the views of many solutions online. I wanted it to be cursed trying to emphasize the human aspect more than that of a superhero. I really liked the idea of a man before going to fight the bad guys had a kind of mutation into a creature / bat and then return the next day with its classic human semblance. batman_01

Can you name a favorite sculpture or project that you’ve finished?

I have made a lot of work, maybe I spent some more time, others less. I think that one of my favorite works there is definitely “the alien eyes without fluorescent colors” is one of my first works realized in a particular period of my life. Then there is the “Viking” I feel a connection to this character certainly for the time and effort spent it running. But anyway, I can say that I feel close to all the work done to date because each of them represents and resembles an emotion or a period of my life.


Do you sculpt more often with mult-resolution or dynamic topology?

Very often I decide my workflow to work on the basis of what will be the end result. I happened to begin sketching a character using “dynamic topology” (as if they were ZSphere in Zbrush) and then, retopology the model and continue to carve out a more solid basis. I’ll be honest, I do not particularly like this tool at least in Blender. This is because I believe that when reserve several limitations from the point of view of management in the viewport of a large number of polygons.

Describe one thing that would make your life easier as a Blender sculptor.

This is a question I get asked often. I think definitely it would take a significant performance increase, then an interface closer to the artist, and perhaps the tools similar to those of ZBrush, for example: improve the retopo, managing brushes / texture, the optimization ones for managing models with a high number of polygons in the viewport, and much more…But I believe that the limits of Blender are more than understandable, it should be so. The fund to sculpt is only a small part of Blender (which completes it), but it can never be compared or compete with programs like ZBrush or Mudbox for various reasons…Also because ZBrush born mainly to be a package for the concept and the creation of characters. But despite this I love Blender! and I appreciate much more, [those] who can create something beautiful in Blender :) devil_01

Do you have other creative outlets?

Of course…I love listening to music and playing it. I like photography, drawing freehand, and going for a run.

It looks like we both worked on “The New Kind” at different times. What was your role in the production?

I had the opportunity to work on the project New Kind for a little more than year, my job was to shape “Masato” (one of the digital actors). They asked me to model this character following the reference to the real “Arvel” the photographer of production, which at the end of the project complimented, he was excited to see the likeness of his virtual “alter ego”. And for me this was a great satisfaction with the positive comments of all stakeholders and the talented artists who participated in this project.

What advice would you give an aspiring sculptor?

I would say first of all that will have to prepare to embark on a difficult road, but not impossible, especially if you live in countries where there is not (or not yet) a culture of CG. Then I would advise him before jumping into the professional world, to study and work hard but most important thing to develop a personal style. We are many, especially in this period to aspire to this kind of work despite its technical difficulties, but I think in a few [years] manage to really shine. [You] must be humble and accept criticism. And what if he likes, for example, “model” does not have to feel satisfied only when successful to emerge professionally but even if you will simply have to carry all this just for the fun! vincent_01         alienA_01         crononauta_02         creature_02         max_01

Thanks to Alessandro for taking the time to answer our questions! You can follow him and see more work on his blog:

Leave Comment


12 Responses to “Interview: Alessandro Chiffi – Blender Sculptor”
  1. Posts: 15
    ng-material says:

    fantastic work, and a great inspiration to the blend sculpt community.

  2. Posts: 94
    jamesr says:

    Really interesting stuff. humbling to see a level of detail and incentivising to see who’s behind the quality of some of the pieces we’ve seen here. Really nice to see how directly you take to the creation of sculpted feature as I probably have a tendencies to go over mine a lot more, which extends the amount of time I’d be taking over a model and how much of detail like that can be achieved.

  3. Posts: 37

    Hello to all you guys!
    I wanted to thank you all for your comments and for the support given …
    I really appreciate all this! 😉 😉 😉
    I would also like to thank all the staff of Blender Cookie and especially Kent Trammel for giving me the “opportunity” to do this interview! 😉
    What to say thanks again to all of you soon! :)

  4. Posts: 27
    Charles says:

    Thank you so much! This is great inspiration! Is there any chance of having the timelapse available as a download?

  5. Posts: 40

    Great interview, your work is inspirational Alessandro, it is great that Blender has sculptors of your level and your openness. It helps our sculpting community to grow!

  6. Posts: 2

    Thank you Alessandro, you are an inspiration! I love using Blender like you for it’s open source community, but hopefully your comments shall be good feedback for the developers – who are doing a great job already by the way!

  7. Posts: 15
    M C says:

    Very inspiring to see something like this featured with Blender. It’s shows Blender to be a serious competitor to the high end 3D tools such as ZBrush and Maya. Especially in the hands of a true artist. Beautiful work and thanks for taking the time to offer your insight.

  8. Posts: 37

    Guys I would like to say only one thing really thank you all for your comments …
    This story of the interview was a pleasant experience …. but what impressed me the most and have the opportunity to listen to your words and “get to know” !!!
    Thanks again to all of you soon! :)

  9. Posts: 74
    Ryan Sweeney says:

    I enjoy hearing what other artists are doing. I am on CGCookie tonight just sifting through interviews instead of hammering through a modelling course. Thanks, Kent, for interviewing Alessandro. There is value in hearing about what other artists are doing, have done, and how they got started using Blender or some other 3D software medium.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.