Fred Gambino’s latest, and more!
Could journeyman artist Fred Gambino be the next big Hollywood director? He certainly sets out his stall in this book…
There’s an argument that tomorrow’s directors won’t have attended film school. Instead, they’ll be digital artists versed in Photoshop and Maya. Godzilla’s director Gareth Edwards is a perfect example, and judging by Dark Shepherd, Fred Gambino could well follow his footsteps into blockbuster megastardom.
The title refers to Fred’s concept for a sci-fi action movie, the screenplay and artwork of which make up the first half of this book. The story begins with a newborn baby found on a decaying alien spaceship, before turning into a series of beautiful visuals involving a feisty heroine and a large robot. The tale shines a light on his skills as an artist, and delivering an appropriately cinematic sense of scale and mystery.
Fred’s also attempted to turn the story into a comic book, and he’s certainly mastered the visual styles associated with the big-screen and small graphic novel. There are some nice breakdowns of his artistic process: he uses MODO for posing, and then Photoshop for adding finishing touches. He prefers to use human models over CG ones because of the dangers of entering the uncanny valley, although in some images the difference between the photographed face and the CG body can be jarring.
The rest of the book comprises Fred’s work for major Hollywood studios, advertising agencies and video game companies. These include Project X (a LEGO telly series), Escape from Planet Earth, and unused art for Star Wars Visions, a book commissioned by George Lucas, to which Fred contributed a wild version of the Air Whales from Episode II: Attack of the Clones. They’re stunning images that deliver a muscular sense of power and drama while drawing from the beauty of nature, and apparently even George was impressed.
In some ways it would be all the more compelling if Dark Shepherd was never made, although Fred would probably disagree with this. We’ve often seen compelling art books for various films (Elysium and Prometheus spring to mind) only to be disappointed by the final movie. With Dark Shepherd we’ve got an awesome collection of images, and an amazing film that will forever dwell in the reader’s imagination.
This is one of Fred’s 20-minute speedpaints, created during his time as principal artist at a video game company.
Fred’s six-year stint producing cover art for the Battletech books was where he cut his digital teeth.