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Melissa K Fontanini

is a Digital Artist with an MFA from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts' Division of Animation and Digital Arts. She's currently working as a freelance 3D Generalist - Artist and Animator - as well as focusing on her own tangible art

Monday, July 14, 2014

Nicolas Cop-pola & The Knave Nic Brig

I finished The Viceroy with a few weeks left before The Nicolas Cage Party Los Angeles.  A friend suggested I should create a few more pieces  and I figured "why not?" So the next step was to think about what new Nic Cage ideas and personas to create.  I decided to simplify the technique for the new pieces, so The Viceroy was the main focus and the new pieces would be complimentary.  I ended up deciding to make a cop and a pirate version Nicolas Cage.  It's almost like I was creating a variation of the Village People. 

First, the cop.  I wanted to use the mug shot image from Raising Arizona and I thought it was humorous to turn that image into a cop, a bobby, a police officer.  An added bonus is the ability to play with Nicolas Cage's given name of Nicolas Coppola.

Nicolas Cop-pola
8"w x 11"h x .5"d
Mixed Media - charcoal, pastels, fabric, acrylic paint, metals, resin, on wood.

Next was the pirate.  After The Viceroy and the cop, I wasn't sure about the next persona, though I did want a long haired version.  I was doing a google search of Nicolas Cage images and movie posters and saw the poster for Zandalee (a movie I'm not familiar with).  I immediately thought a pirate would be the next piece I'd create.

The name "The Knave Nic Brig"  was a mixture of various searches, while talking with my roommate.  I tried going to pirate name generator websites for inspiration.  Many of the names had descriptions pegged on like " so-n-so the terrible," or "one-eyed so-n-so."  I liked the sound of "The Knave" and Brig is another word for "a place (as on a ship) for temporary confinement...."  Thank you Mariam-Webster.  So Brig was a good sea-worthy alternative name for Cage, thus The Knave Nic Brig was created.

The Knave Nic Brig
8"w x 10.75"h x .5"d
Mixed Media - charcoal, pastels, fabric, acrylic paint, metals, resin, on wood.

The art show is on Saturday and my excitement is growing.  The tickets have sold out and it's sounding like it'll be quite an entertaining evening.

They begin to talk about the Art Show around 3:30

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Compilation of 3D Modeling Work

Examples of 3D models I created for various professional projects.


Shot Breakdown:

Mastodon - The Hunter

IronMan & LG

Personal project - Art Comes to Life

H8 - Load - comic book female

UL Kinect Demo

Kraft - Triscuits Thin Crisps

Total Immersion in house project - Monster Me - Devil

Simon & Schuster - Wondla - Bijou blimp

Chick-fil-A - Hero Cows - Decibel

Disney's Amazing Spider-Man - Spider-Man AR Book - spiders modeled based on the Spider-Man logo, Spider-Man mask

Ebay fashion - cateye glasses, groucho glasses

Stelara - pharmaceutical chart

Restasis - pharmaceutical chart

Staples Center - JumboTron

CocaCola - Cowboys & Aliens - Speeder

Avatar - I modeled Dr. Grace's journal and a flag

Tic Tac - Strawberry Fields - modeled a strawberry, a saw blade, a dirt pit, and a 'creampoline' marshmallow-like item

In-Style - ornament

Umi - demo

Tic Tac - Sleeping man - I modeled the murphy bed and the man

Yahoo - Fancouver - various hats and an olympics-inspired medal

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Viceroy

When I heard there was a Nicolas Cage themed art show in San Francisco and it was coming to LA, I knew I wanted to attend.  When the option to be IN the show was brought to my attention, I knew I had to create something!  It took a while for me to come up with an idea that really resonated.  I started out by creating a charcoal portrait of him on a piece of wood and then the idea unfolded.  I knew I had to add a hat AND a monocle - Steampunk Nic Cage was born - later known as The Viceroy.

The Viceroy
Mixed Media on Wood - charcoal, pastels, fabric, acrylic paint, metals, feathers, leather, resin
June 2014

12"w x 18.5"h x 4"d

The Viceroy Facebook Art Album
Melissa Fontanini Artist on Facebook

Thursday, June 12, 2014

More compositing, matchmove and integration projects

My Turn - Matchmove & Integration Project
The piece is a little out of context because the storyline isn't complete, but it's about an unfinished piece of art that has been waiting around to be finished.  When it gets fed up, it breaks free from the wood board and goes after the artist.

I shot all the footage using a Sony PMW EX1 camera, used PFTrack to do the 3D tracking of the footage, modeled, textured, rigged the 3D unfinished piece of art character, and animated in maya (animation refinement necessary, but class is in a half hour!)

Transformation - Compositing Project
This was the final assignment of my compositing class.  We were given the topic of 'transformation' and I chose to interpret the story of Daphne from Greek Mythology - female who turns into a Laurel Tree.
I shot myself in front of green screen, modeled a 3D figure in Maya to roughly match my form - used many masks in after effects to show the transition of the tree bark growing up my figure.

Red Riding Hood - Compositing Project
This was a homework assignment where we were given a still background plate, greenscreen footage of Red Riding Hood, and a movie of a 'sparkly ball'.  The task was to integrate everything together using After Effects - rotoscope Red Riding Hood's left hand so the sparkly ball passes behind it, a lot of color corrections, some fog, lighting changes, etc.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Resume 2014

Demo Reel

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Website in Progress

I now have many posts in this artist blog that range from my 3D professional work to my personal tactile and traditional artistry.  I know it's getting difficult to navigate.  I've started working on a website to hopefully simplify things:

or this alternative that is 3D focused:

I also have a facebook artist page, if that's your kind of thing :-)

I welcome feedback as I continue to flesh out these sites!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Busy Busy Busy!!

The last few weeks have blown by like a hurricane!  I started teaching 3D Character Rigging at the Art Institute of California, Los Angeles (I have never taught before).  I also started taking 2 courses at Gnomon School of Visual Effects to learn a few new skills as well as keep myself active in the digital world.  The downside is that it is pulling me away from creating my own art.  I'll find balance eventually, but for now I must get a handle on this new schedule.  Teaching is a ton of work.  I may only be in the classroom for 4 hours (which is a long time to be teaching one class), but I also spend so much time prepping for the class, while trying to squeeze in time for my homework assignments for Gnomon.  This leaves my social life a little non-existent as well.  I'll get a hold of it all eventually!

Disco Theme - After Effects assignment
I started taking an After Effects compositing course at Gnomon School of Visual Effects to freshen up my skills. This was one of our assignments dealing with parenting, nulls, precomps, and effects. Done in a few hours one afternoon. I did a lot of experimenting and testing out new techniques - color explosion, disco style.

The quality is a little crummy on here...also posted here:

Using Masks - After Effects Assignment
I started taking an After Effects compositing course at Gnomon School of Visual Effects to freshen up my skills. This was one of our assignments dealing with masks and alpha and luma track mattes. Done in a few hours one afternoon.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

LAMAG Open Call

Last week I waited in line for 6 hours to drop of some of my own artwork and that of a friend's for this Open Call art show sponsored by the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery.

Opening reception is Sunday, March 30th from 2-5pm and the show runs until April 12th.,0,7573189.story#axzz2wn8bj1tG


So much has been going on!  I have been immersed in creating art and helping put together the art show EpiphiNoir that happened last night.

EphiphiNoir Event

More photos of my pieces at EpiphiNoir

My muscles are sore, but my heart is full!  Here are a few photos of what I put up:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Few Works in Progress

I have a bunch of ideas, just need the funds, time, focus, supplies ;-)

This project is inspired by a fractal spiral.  I'm so happy to be working with powertools!!  I jigsawed out the spiral pieces, then used a drill press to help carve out the back of the wooden disk (it was quite heavy), and to carve out the circles that run along the spiral.
Eventually I will fill each hole with resin, paint it, light it from behind to create a stained glass effect.

The purple piece above will eventually be a light box - currently working on the frame.

This is for a piece where I recorded myself saying the work "imagine," figured out the waveform of that sound, cut 32 acrylic rods to the appropriate sizes, and also sanded the rods because I wired together and attached blue composite LEDs to each rod so they'd glow.  This will eventually be incorporated to the hollow center of a piece of wood, but one step at a time!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Getting Reaquainted with Wiring

I found a remote controller piece to add to my plexiglass light box LED circuitry and now I can program various settings and brightnesses for the lighting instead of it being constantly on.  Before, I was simply working with a switch to turn the piece on or off.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

First Art Show - in a decade!

I haven't displayed my own artwork since I graduated from undergrad at The Ohio State University.  A friend suggested The Chocolate & Art Show in Los Angeles, I had a few pieces complete, so I submitted them.

I submitted 6 pieces:
Vortex - mixed media on plexiglass (light box - glass stain, acrylic paint, sand, gold flakes, inks, resin)
Diana - "Moon" mixed media on wood (glass stain, acrylic paint, ink, steel piping, resin)
Apollo - "Sun" mixed media on wood (glass stain, acrylic paint, ink, copper piping, resin)
Magmatic - mixed media on wood (glass stain, acrylic paint, ink, sand, resin)
Absinthe - mixed media on wood (glass stain, acrylic paint, ink, resin)
Chimera - portrait - mixed media on wood (glass stain, acrylic paint, ink, resin, charcoal, pastels)