Ballistic Publishing Artist Profiles show all

Francisco A. Cortina is currently a Technical Director with Dreamworks Feature Animation. His career log includes work on ‘Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within’, ‘Animatrix: Final Flight of the Osiris’, ‘Shark Tale’ and ‘AeonFlux’.

Just like many artists profiled on CGSociety, Francisco A. Cortina gathered a lot of inspiration by watching the TV. “Morning cartoons such as Spiderman, Transformers and imported Japanese animation influenced me to draw figures, faces and robots,” admits Cortina quite readily.

“I was so captivated by the idea of creating my own worlds and characters that I would secretly draw robots and characters during my classes in grade school. Ever since I was a young boy, I wanted to become an artist, either in painting or drawing.”

Francisco A. Cortina’s work is featured prominently in Ballistic Publishing’s ‘d’artiste: Character Modeling’. Cortina co-wrote the book with Pascal Blanché and Steven Stahlberg. Ballistic Publishing’s ‘d’artiste: Character Modeling’ is available from the Ballistic Publishing web site.

One of the most important experiences of Cortina’s artistic life happened at nine years of age when his parents, urged along by his school teachers, signed him up to be tested for acceptance into an arts-related elementary school called Rainbow Park. It was there that his passion for art grew immensely. “The school taught students to use our environment as reference,” explains Francisco, “and to draw only what we see, which meant that we would be drawing mostly still lifes of plants, drapes and all sorts of colorful fruit. It wasn’t exactly drawing robots or mechs, but after that I knew that it was what I wanted to pursue as my career.”

Francisco continued attending public schools with art programs from middle school (Norland North Center for the Arts) through high school (New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida). These programs focused on building a strong fine arts foundation, including drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking and photography.

“While in middle school, our art teachers introduced us to the boxy looking thing called the Macintosh,” tells Francisco. “We made fun of the funny name, too. It had these strange vector and bitmap based painting programs, but because they were slow and had no color, I really didn’t like it. In high school I got to use the more powerful Apple II, which had full color painting and a simple modeling program called Swivel 3D.

Things sure have come a long way since then. It wasn’t until a few years later while studying at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, that I saw just how powerful and creative computers could be. After seeing my roommate working on a program called 3D Studio R3, I couldn’t believe how creatively powerful that tool was. I knew I had to buy a computer immediately so that I could start using those tools and create my own work. Not long after, I began creating and animating medieval characters, figures and faces as an extension of my drawings and paintings and the rest was history for me.”

The age of CG for Francisco began with using 3D Studio Release 3 and later 3ds Max, but eventually he moved onto the SGI platform using 3Design, Nichimen and Alias PowerAnimator. For 2D and 3D paint there was Amazon Paint, but he enjoyed and still misses the ease of using StudioPaint 3D. “For different productions, I have used many variations of software, including Renderman, mental ray, and even custom renderers for games,” Francisco explains. “These days I really only use four packages. I use Maya for most of my 3D work and now have started using ZBrush for both my personal work and client/production work. For painting textures I have always used a combination of 2D and 3D software with Photoshop and now, BodyPaint 3D.”
Top Image Credits: Copyright Square USA, Inc.

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