Romualdo Amaral is an accomplished CG Artist from Brazil. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with him to learn about his career path, how he got his start in the industry, and what he’s looking forward to doing next.
Hey Romualdo! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me today. Why don’t you introduce yourself for our readers - tell us who you are and a little bit about your journey.
RA: Hey! You can call me Rom. I'm 32 years old and I'm Brazilian. Since I was a child, I've always dreamed of working in film, especially in animated films or live action films that have animation. My mom used to say that my passion for cinema dates back to when she was pregnant with me. One of my favorite hobbies growing up was spending hours and hours inside video rental stores. I was always certain of my passion for film, but when it came time to choose a course for college, I had to choose Computer Science, because in my city, in the interior of Brazil, I didn't have many major options, and studying “art” in Brazil could be a very big challenge.
After graduating in 2012, I worked for a few years as an IT Analyst, but my call to fulfill my dreams started to get too big and so I started working on my master’s at the Academy of Art University of San Francisco in the year 2015 in Animation and Special Effects. The journey during the master's degree was not easy. I went through a lot of economic difficulties due to the high difference between the dollar and the Brazilian currency (Brazilian Real). With authorization from the University, I started to work part-time at Apple, while conducting my master's degree, which was not easy either, because in addition to all the classes, I still needed to conduct my master's thesis project, which was to direct, produce, and animate an animated short with a team of more than 100 people. I called this Steve’s Catch. In 2019 I successfully finished my master's program, and shortly after came my first opportunity to work in the film industry. I was invited to work on the Marvel series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in Atlanta. After a few months in Atlanta, I moved to Los Angeles where I started working on the Disney movie Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers. I spent two years working on this film before I moved on to new projects like Ambulance, a film by Michael Bay, and the fourth season of the Netflix series Stranger Things. Today, in addition to working in Animation and Special Effects, I am continuing my studies under UCLA Certification’s Program in Film Directing.
Wow! What an incredible journey. It sounds like you’ve gotten to work on a ton of cool projects. What’s your favorite thing about what you do? Tell me about the aspects of your work that bring you joy.
RA: My work is awesome, because having the power in my hands to create and bring characters to life is pretty amazing. In addition to the creative process of animation, another area of expertise that I really like is the layout of each scene and being able to explore different angles and camera movement in the scene to have a solid story.
Conversely, what would you say is the most challenging thing about your line of work? Has there been any sort of challenges in specific that you’ve had to face and overcome in your career thus far?
RA: I believe that the biggest challenge to date was dealing with the pandemic and remote work, mainly because my work requires a lot of creative area and when your emotions are not centered, it is difficult to make your work happen.
Yeah, I can resonate with that. What’s one fact or piece of information about your job that you wish audiences/more people knew about?
RA: Nowadays one of my main lines of work in special effects is the so-called “visualization”, which is a very important process in the creative process of how films are made. There is a great debate about the importance of this stage – many times the visualization artist is aligned with the director directly so that both can tell the story they want for the show.
Out of the many projects that you’ve worked on, which has been your favorite? Why?
RA: For sure my favorite was Chip 'n' Dale, besides Stranger Things – it was a wonderful feeling to make the new season happen of a show that I've been passionate about since it was released in 2015. In Chip 'n' Dale, I had the honor of being able to work with characters that were very present in my childhood and today being able to bring them to life again is something that will be marked forever in my career and in my life. I'm really looking forward to everyone seeing the final result when the movie releases on Disney+.
What would you ideally like to see yourself doing next in your career?
RA: I'm passionate about cinema and especially animation, but I'm not the type of person who can stay quiet in front of the computer all the time. I really enjoy leading people and bringing new and different visions of the way I see a story, and that's why today I continue my studies as a director.
Do you have any advice to pass on to those who are looking to pursue a career as a CG Artist and are just starting out?
RA: In Brazil I already had the opportunity to give some speeches and talk a little about my career, and whenever this question comes up, I always say: never stop dreaming and running after your goals, because although the path is difficult and you must respect your own time, it is possible to achieve them. Now regarding the CG area, my advice for those interested is to learn the basic principles of CG element, seek help, ask questions, ask for feedback, and also seek to learn what the main tools are used today in the creative process.
Thanks so much, Rom! It was great speaking with you.
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