A Chat with Graphic Artist Robert L. Lopez

I’m always looking for opportunities to connect with various different creators from various different backgrounds. One of the things I feel we take for granted is school. We are taught to network and what better place then school. As a student at Fullsail university, I realized that I am in a sea of talent that I can network with and learn from. One such talent that I have gotten to connect with is Robert L. Lopez. We both happen to be studing computer animation and looking at his work, we both share the same taste. So I decided to do what I do best, do a feature on him and introduce him to you the reader .

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So Robert, tell our readers a little bit about your self.

I’m a father of three, first and foremost. That’s important to state because everything that I do as an artist is driven by the idea of leaving something beautiful and of substance behind for them. Children are a huge motivator, but they can also be a wellspring of inspiration and imagination the likes of which you have never dreamt of. 

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Game Environment Design

For over thirteen years I have worked as a graphic designer, working on everything from logo design, website design and even delved into a little bit of 3d using software like Bryce which I used specifically to create landscapes. Programs like poser which allowed me to play with pre-rigged models that allowed me to add human figures to some of my renders and with these in hand I began my long journey to become a Computer Animator. 

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Mr. FUS 3D Model; inspiration “Iron Giant”

At Forty-one years old I stand as a testament that it’s never too late to strive for higher goals and ambitions and with family by your side supporting you every step of the way makes the bumps in the road that much easier to deal with. One of my most recent accomplishments was getting licensed and certified as a Remote Pilot for Drone flight in Commercial Operations. This of course lends itself well with my line of work which relies heavily on visual media such as live action footage or HD still photos.

What inspired you to become an artist?

 My inspiration came to me early in my childhood in the form of books, then movies. As a 6-year-old I watched films such as Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, The Last Starfighter, The Never-Ending story, and my favorite Star Trek 3 (the one where Spock is reborn, omg such an awesome film) and they literately blew my tiny little mind. I was astonished and amazed by the visuals and somewhat captivated by the stories even if at the time I could not follow along with my limited vocabulary and understanding. Although Watching those same films later in life I recall feeling that same sense of inspiration and wonder I did as a child. I’ve always wanted to tell fantastic tales that both entertained and changed the viewer in some way, the same way those old films did for me.

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Robert Lopez then:
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Robert Lopez now

What artist have inspired you?

I would have to say the three artists that inspire me the most are Ian McQue, Raphael Lacoste and Fausto De Martini. 

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By Ian McQue

Ian McQue is an art director, concept artist and illustrator, his art is so complex when you see it you think to yourself “wow someone drew this?”. He does a lot of hard surface drawings, quite a few of his pieces fall into the category of being a machine of sorts or hard edges. He then mixes that with his organic drawings which are composed of more natural lines and curves, but they still have a complexity throughout that’s similar to that of the hard surface techniques he’s is so well known for.

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By Raphael Lacoste

Raphael Lacoste, is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator who’s work can be likened to a magnificent portal that burst open right before your eyes allowing you to peer into another world. His Concept art for Assassins creed Origin highlights the massive feel the games structures have as you venture through the old world. His use of lighting and shadow are powerful and prominent throughout his work, but here in the context of the game his wields that power like a god. Every shot gives a sense of story, size, and emotion which are not comparable but yet recognizable as his work, to me Raphael Lacoste is a modern-day Renaissance Painter.

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By Fausto De Martini

Fausto De Martini is a concept artist and illustrator who uses 3d model to create some highly technical Movie vehicle and creature concepts for films such as Transformers, Robocop, Star Wars the force Awaken and more. His work on Independence Day resurgence is some of the most hyper-realistic I’ve seen in quite some time, and the attention to detail that Fausto pays to each piece he creates is amazing at its worst shear brilliant at its best. His dedication to his craft shines through metaphorically and literally through the use of lighting and shadow, I mean this guy utilizes lighting in his work like a doubled edge sword and wields it like a samurai master.

These people inspire me every day to keep working on my skills and learn as much as I can about the tools I work with. 

You have done some reimagined posters, which one was your favorite that you worked on?

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One of my Favorite posters was the Dune poster, I had to make a lot of miniatures of the different elements of the film and I wanted to fit it in to a mound of red sand that looked like spice. I am a big fan of Frank Herbert from his lectures to his books, and if you look closely at his background study into Buddhism, you can then see within his collective work the places where he explores altered mind states, and the people who control these god-like powers. 

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One of my favorite quotes from the main characters father is standing on a balcony of sorts overlooking the ocean, and his son the main character, comes out to greet him. The father is so proud because one of his generals said some nice things about his kid. But then the conversation turns real when the father turns to the ocean and says; “I’ll miss the sea, but a person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing him to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.” Those words resonated with me and I’ve carried them with me all my life. 

You see Frank wrote truth into his novels, and during his travels he found inspiration for his magnificent stories from the various Buddhist he came across and the real teachings they imparted upon him made their way into the novels an entire world loves and adores to this very day.

Any dream projects that you want to work on?

I wrote a story when my daughter was 3 months old and I swore someday I would make that into a novel or a film of some sort. As of today, I’ am two months away from graduating with my bachelor’s degree in computer Animation and honestly I can’t believe I now have the skills to turn some of those old ideas into actual 3D models the world can see. I’m going to go back and incorporate some new techniques with Unreal engine and experiment with how I tell stories through that narrative toolset.

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Unreal Engine Example

 I’m excited because he unreal engine is free and will allow me the creative freedom I require without the need for high-end expensive toolsets to reach the same goals. I would love to tell you more about the story I’m working on; you know the one from when my daughter was 3 months old ( by the way she’s in her late teens now), but unfortunately you will just have to stay tuned to my social media channels to get the scoop on that story.

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about, where we can find the film and how was the experience working on this film?

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Imposters follows in the footsteps of one of those types of films that no longer exist; silent films. This film tackles the subject of the Imposter syndrome, which is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Although there is little to no dialogue in the background most of the interactions and onscreen time is devoted to the actors really delivering a powerful performance emotionally and physically, no words were ever exchanged between characters. The director Chris Esper is one of these young idealists, who’s fire I hope never dims. Who I’ve also worked with since 2012 and as long as I’ve known him, he has never been afraid to try something new, in front or behind the camera! This film was also produced with the immense help of the amazingly talented cast and crew of On Edge Productions and their producer Lisa Leilani Wynn( I love her name) who provided guidance both on the script and on set. The actors, the gaffer, the boom mic operators, the makeup artist, so many talented induvial on screen and behind the scene. 

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Imposter shoot

Then, in the middle of all these wonderful people there is this guy just standing there for the entire day. Camera around his neck, a big stupid smile for no other reason than just having the opportunity to be there. This guy is Just looking around and taking photos like he was tourist, and this was his first trip to time square, who is this guy you ask? Well that’s me, they clearly needed little to no assistance from me, I was just there to take a massive amount of reference photos to help with the VFX that would come later. After the actors and their families went home, when all the lights went off and the cameras where laid to rest in their Styrofoam plushie beds. That’s when I went to work measuring, modeling, painting and creating one of the film’s most prominent VFX shots.

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Imposter Fund Raiser

The scene called for a war veteran who has lost his arm in the war, of course the actor who played this soldier “William Decoff” actually has two arms. So one had to go, but we aren’t barbarians just chopping peoples arms off for a shoot, so we used a bit digital magic.  

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Imposter Final Shot
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Imposter Final Shot
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You can see the sort of work I created using a 3d sculpting program, the whole process took a total of 3 months to conceptualize, produce, and finalize the entire project on VFX end. The film has had over dozens of raving reviews and is currently making its way through the film festival circuit as we speak with garnering over 9 official selections across the country.

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Imposter Trailer:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8qUFaHOlG0

What are some of your goals as a VFX artist?

I really want to push the boundaries of what we consider VFX vs Real and maybe even blur those lines along the way. I would love to work as a contractor or freelance for some of the biggest companies so that I have a nice mix of experiences under my belt. I would be forever grateful if I can keep doing this type of work for the rest of my life and bringing stories and ideas to life that were never thought possible. 

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A 3D render of a modern generic smart phone screen emanating small pixels at random that build up to form and illuminate the word Augmented Reality

Eventually though I hope to have my own physical studio, a building where a pool of artists come every day to create amazing stories and fantastic world, that others might find more in them more than just entertainment, or enjoyment. But I hope they take away some of the truth I have also discovered in my journeys. Because of course that’s what we do as Artists we present the world in a way none ever thought of looking at it before.

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How important is it to network in this industry?

My friends and I say networking is as important as breathing. Stop to think about this if everything you do in your life requires and action with another human being, you’re going to need to know how to network. I’s not like we don’t know how; we were all children at one point or another and we could make friends with anyone at any time. The project below would not have been possible without the networking leg work I did long before this picture was taken.

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Imposter Shoot

Networking is similar to childhood in the sense that if your more open to the opportunity to meet someone new and gain new experiences you achieve your goals. The types of friendships you make can be strong or can be weak depending on how much time you invest in the people you like. 

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Networking after fundraiser

 Networking is vital because if I don’t know people and don’t have anyone who likes me on a personal level, I will never have an opportunity to meet other like-minded induvial that could lead me to my next big project. Besides everyone can use good friends, the world is never lacking in that department.

 I want to thank you for taking the time in doing this interview, can you let our readers know where we can find your artwork?

Well, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk to your readers and maybe even inspire some of them to create their own content or learn a little more about anything I mentioned. Remember that learning is not something people ever stop participating in. You have to make the most of your reality and experience life or realize too late what you should have started so long ago, either way it’s your choice, if you get my drift.

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You can find my work scattered throughout the internet, I do business under the name “KISIO Design Media” and been around since 2012. You can find me right now on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and probably a ton of other places, just Google me or my company name.