MAY / 26 / 2021

Today our ongoing developer profile feature is on Glauco Longhi, Character Director here at Striking Distance Studios. Glauco has been working in the digital art field for over 14 years now and has worked on games such as Uncharted 4 and God of War (2018). Glauco has also dedicated his time to teaching, mentoring, and freely sharing his knowledge with anyone that has aspirations to enter the digital art space.

Read on to find out more about Glauco and what his role looks like when it comes to bringing the characters of The Callisto Protocol to life.

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities like?

I’m the Character Director here at Striking Distance Studios. I supervise all character-related things on a daily basis.

The Character team is responsible for bringing character and creature ideas and concepts to life, building the 3D models, materials, and textures. We work very closely with the Concept Art team, which provides drawings and paintings, which gives us a solid direction so we can construct the models. We also work very closely with our Tech Art, Rendering, and Animation teams to ensure the models are moving correctly, deforming properly, and look good while doing so.

We have two main groups on our team: Digital doubles and creatures. These two go hand to hand. The digital doubles group is responsible for scanning actors and reconstructing them in the digital world, always making sure we are pushing the boundaries and achieving maximum realism. We learn a lot from this process, and we apply this knowledge onto our creatures in order to keep them grounded and as real as possible.

In my role, I establish the workflow and ensure communication is flowing between all of these departments while helping set the bar and visual targets.

One of the big pillars of our project is realism, so we definitely want to make sure the creatures are grounded in reality and that they look believable.
Glauco standing next to a series of busts he created back in 2012

Is this what you imagined you would be doing growing up? How did you get into the arts?

I grew up in Brazil skateboarding, surfing, playing in punk rock bands. I was not really into the “arts” in the sense of drawing, painting or sculpting growing up. My father was an engineer and my mom was a physical education teacher. I got the left-sided brain from my dad and the sports genes from my mom. I always liked solving puzzles and problems, playing chess, and so on.

When I went to college, I decided to pursue a Film Bachelor’s degree because I liked watching movies and I was already editing videos (mainly skateboarding videos). During my first year at school, I got a job at an advertising studio and fell in love with motion graphics, computer graphics, and so on. That led me to getting into 3D art, which then led to traditional art such as sculpting in clay. That is where everything truly began for me.

I took many many courses throughout my career, and I still do. From oil painting to Python scripting, and more. I encourage everybody to keep studying and leveling up, regardless of where you are in your career.

What is it about what you do that you find the most satisfying?

The most satisfying thing to me is solving problems and challenges. I’m a very goal-oriented person, so I take scheduling and goal setting very seriously.

I especially love seeing projects coming to life, from the drawing board to the final game implementation. Because I participate and have visibility throughout the entire process, I get to enjoy the little by little improvements that these characters go through. One of my favorite parts is making final tweaks and polish once everything is established, and we’re in our final push to take things to the next level.

Glauco touching up his old man bust.

You personally do a lot to freely share your knowledge and experience with communities and attend workshops worldwide. What advice do you have for anyone that's interested in following a similar path?

I’ve been teaching, mentoring and presenting for more than 10 years. I love sharing what I’ve learned and building communities, empowering people worldwide, spreading the love for the craft. I came from Brazil, and forums and communities were a big part of my career and education back then. I also got to meet many people years ago, people who would eventually become my work buddies and some of my best friends.

I love the video game industry, both the gamers and the developers. It’s such a strong and passionate community.

My advice is to share what you love and learn if you are comfortable with it, and take responsibility for this role as a mentor. I’ve lost count of how many messages I’ve received from people reading my articles, tutorials, watching presentations, and so on, and that gives me a huge boost to keep doing it. It is very flattering. I always like to think when writing a post that if I help one person, it was all worth it.

Let's talk about The Callisto Protocol and specifically the creature we saw in the cinematic teaser trailer. What are the challenges when it comes to creating something like that when you're trying to be grounded in reality while also delivering on our horror expectations?

We’ve been exploring multiple styles and designs since the very beginning of the project, and that creature was one of the first ones we came up with. It really set the tone and the design and visual bar for the game. I had a blast working on that model and seeing it come to life was very exciting.

I’m super happy with how the public has been reacting to the trailer since it really sets the mood and vibe we are going for on The Callisto Protocol. Horror moments can happen in many different ways as there are many “styles” of delivering scare and shock.

One of the big pillars of our project is realism, so we definitely want to make sure the creatures are grounded in reality and that they look believable. We do that through distorting human anatomy, referencing corpses, skin, and even some animals with a little bit of creativity and novel twists added in by many different people. It is definitely a huge collaboration from start to finish in order to land on something super cool and interesting like that monster.

Glauco's love for classic Hollywood horror movies runs deep right down to the ink on his arm!

What's a piece of horror media (TV, books, movies, games, etc) that's really left a strong impression on you?

I’m personally a huge fan of the old Universal Monster movies. To me, they are still the best. I even have Bela Lugosi (Dracula) and Boris Karloff (Frankenstein’s Monster) tattooed on my arm, so I’m a huge fan of that era. I love the classic and subtle approach to horror. There is a lot of beauty in those movies in a way. Maybe because it contrasts a lot with the more extreme work I do on a daily basis. I simply love how naïve and pure Frankenstein’s monster is in essence.

What are your favorites of the old Hollywood horror movies?

My top three are: Frankenstein (1931), Dracula (1931), and Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

What are some personal hobbies / interests you like to do in your free time outside of work?

I’ve been involved with sports my whole life, from skateboarding, to surfing, and snowboarding. I picked up triathlon training a few months ago and now I’m training for my first Ironman 70.3 in December.

I also like to study a lot, so I paint in oils and practice drawing on a weekly basis. I do a lot of personal projects in 3D, VR sculpting and so on. In fact, I’m always connected to something.

My favorite thing to do outside of work is to spend time with my family and friends, and enjoy the outside. We love traveling too, so it’s something we do as much as possible as well.

Huge thanks to Glauco for speaking with us today! Interested in joining the team? Check out our career page to see all our current openings.