A few months ago we contacted Fabio Palvelli because we wanted to interview him and get to know him a little bit better. Luckily he also told me that he wanted to interview me for his YouTube channel and we were able to start a dialogue that was very rewarding for me. If you want to see the first part of the conversation, you can watch our talk on his Youtube channel.
Today, we are about to pack our bags to go to the new edition of d2 Conferences in Vienna, and I invite you to learn a little more about Fabio, a cheerful person, with a clear vision of the industry and one who sees the future in an optimistic way.
I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as i did, and see you in Vienna!
1. ¿Can you tell us about your beginnings in Arch Viz?
Hi guys. First of all I am humbled and honored to be part of this inititative. I have followed your work for ages and was thrilled to get a chance to meet you guys also in person in Vienna.
I started working in ArchViz since University in London around 2006. Students were asking me to make pictures for their projects. I started doing it for fun, but quickly I realized that people were willing to pay very good money for it. In the beginning it was all about making sketchup models, exporting screenshots basically and doing loads of paintover in Photoshop. I would spend days on other students artworks. When it came to my Bachelor Thesis It took me 3 days to finish the whole thing. By the end of it I could not care less 😀
Afterwards I moved to Vienna where I wanted to continue my architecture studies but I couldn’t because of so many reasons linked to my circumstances. Long story short I enrolled in a master of engineering and architecture were lucky enough I could choose to specialize in digital architecture. From there I went on getting my first full-time job (it was 2011), in a company that made catering (wait what?). I was rendering anything they would ask me to render, weddings, events, ceremonies. In the mean time they invested in a chain of restaurants so we had to design and render also those. There was the crisis, jobs were scarce so I did what I had to do to survive. In 2013 I wanted to go solo so I quit my job and started hustling. This was around the time I started the d2 in Vienna as well as my own viz office (which did not do that well) but this is a whole other story 😉
2. You are Italian, but you’ve lived in London, Vienna and now Israel. What advice would you give to any of our users that might be thinking about starting from zero in a new city to make their way into the local Arc Viz community?
Yes, true, but before these cities there were another few countries also. I have been a long term vagabond for almost 20 years. Israel was not by choice, although I have to say I really like living in Tel Aviv. My wife got a job here and so we moved when she started working.
As soon as I got here I tried to contact people from the industry, to kinda get an insight and see if there were any chances to get involved and do something (do something is my life mantra, between doing nothing and doing something, do something always wins 😉 ) in 6 months we made an event where we invited some of the best people from the local industry and in which 90 people showed up making it by far the biggest CG event in Tel Aviv to date. We are now working on the 2019 edition already 😉 We will see where this goes, if it doesn’t go anywhere then too bad. At least I am doing something!
If you do move to a new place, it is in your interest to meet with those who can help you achieve what you want. It might sound very selfish, but I am passionate about my job, so even my friends are carefully chosen, so that I can surround myself with people that can push me to do better. Don’t get me wrong, I also have friends that are totally not related to the CG world, we meet and we have fun, but I really try to limit that time in order to stay productive. It is the way I am and I do not expect everyone to be like this. 😉
3. What’s the focus of your work today?
As you probably know I do not work in production anymore. The only renders I make are very personal and artistically related to who I am as a person. It is my way to have fun and express myself whilst keeping a lose relationship with the production side of the industry. The images you see here are work of 2-3 years ago, I got some newer stuff but I am not 100% happy about it. Maybe I will release some new things soon, I am not sure!
Since more or less 3 years, I have made the switch to working in marketing, strategy and planning. Already in 2013, when I decided to go solo, I started to take classes and workshops on everything related to communication and business. Back then Social Media was still seen as a gimmick whilst I was using it successfully to run a couple of side hustles that then over time turned into my full time job.
For a period I was working in marketing for V-RayforC4D. I really liked doing that. It gave me the chance to understand what users are looking for from their tools as well as giving me an understanding of how the industry reacts to these requests as well as understanding the politics of the Software industry. At the moment on top of working on the d2Vienna, which by the way has become a business on its own, I also consult and guide companies, design agencies and freelance designers to achieve more and to position themselves strategically in the cg industry.
This business venture started as a small side hustle but it has now become my biggest project and one of the things I am most proud of.
4. We are big fans of your YouTube channel, can you tell us what prompted you to start, and what do you wish to accomplish with it?
The idea is simple. I think there is a need, from the industry of archviz, for more information related to the business side of things. In our industry virtually no one is willing to talk about it (apart from Jeff Mottle). The topic of money/business, still is very much a Taboo for most artists.
In my videos, I never say that what I say is right, but at least I try to motivate a dialogue and a conversation between people related to this industry. People might agree or not on what I have to say, but what is important, is that now there is an ongoing conversation that before me did not really existed, at least not at the current scale. I have people writing me telling me that just by adjusting a thing or two to their way to deal with clients, they are now doubling their income and are thinking to hire staff. This is making a positive impact in the industry.
Looking back to this, In the beginning I only wanted to have my voice heard in the community, maybe inspire people to take this professional path and become ArchViz artists. Now, the goal is a lot more ambitious: I wanna become the reference point of this industry when it comes to topics related to business, communication, strategy and so on. I am sacrificing a lot in order to achieve this goal so I am not shy about my intentions ;).
Joking around with my friends I say often that I wanna be the Gary Vee of 3d. It might take me long, of course, but at least I am doing something about it 😉 only time will tell.
5. We’ve seen you in stage and you have great comedic skills. Can you share with us the most comic experience that you’ve had in your channel, or within the Arch Viz industry?
I love to entertain. I love making people laugh and I think life is too short and people should laugh more! I did some stand up comedy in the past, I did some acting also but I was never very good at it. I guess people underestimate the skills needed to do any of those jobs.
Acting and doing Stand-Up did teach me a lot about personal communication and about accepting myself for who I was.
Very often in my career I heard people saying to me, oh maybe we should not joke too much when dealing with this company or maybe you should be more serious when you do this (general paraphrasing of course). I understand that there are times to be serious and there are times when you should be funny, but I have also learned that being yourself is very often the best strategy. It took me a long time to figure this out and I am still learning to dose the amount of Fabio I use in certain circumstances (I still make a lot of embarrassing mistakes not worth mentioning lol), but acting and doing stand up has revealed to me a whole great deal about who I am as a person.
With my consulting clients we do acting sessions where I teach them how to respond to clients when they negotiate. It is fun and we laugh a lot. In the video that I shot in Sofia at the Total Chaos, in the very last part I share a very funny story that is totally true. People were crying laughing, you should check it out 😉
6. d2 Conference is set to start this friday. Can you tell us how did it all started and also, what can we expect this year?.
d2 started because I wanted to make renders but I had no idea where to start. Vienna is surrounded by Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary. These countries could offer services at a fraction of the price of the very few Austrian companies that I knew were working in the field of ArchViz. Also I had no German skills at the time which made everything even more difficult. So I said to a friend, Christian (now still one of the partners at d2) what if we make an event and we bring people to Vienna that can tell us how to do this stuff?In the beginning we were 3 partners, Christian another guy and me. The conference was called something else, not d2. That partnership did not work and after the first year we had to kill it!
The following year Jason (new team member) Christian and I decided to start fresh and create our own event with a new name d2 (Digital Design). We officially started as d2 with more or less 50 people attending the first event in 2014 and now in 2018 we are 400. 😉
For this year we gonna have a lot more talks related to art and business. We gonna touch up on a lot of topics that people feel dear about. The selection of speakers is really cool. All I can say is that you have to trust us, it will be the best event you will ever attend as an ArchViz artist!
7. I really like your view on creativity as an important tool to success in this industry. ¿Cuando estábamos hablando, descubrí que usted y yo tenemos una opinión similar sobre la creatividad como una herramienta muy importante para tener éxito en el negocio. Can you please talk more about this subject?
Creativity is a human need and a resource that each one of us have. A lot of people confuse creativity as something related to the arts and to making beautiful things. I like the definition of Jason Silva, he says creativity is all around us in the universe, we just need to be catalysts of what is happening around us, that comes with discipline and practice (discipline+practice=art). I can relate a lot to this.
You can be very creative but you can suck at making renders or vice-versa. It is the combination of the 2 that can help you winning. Also creativity is not an infinite resource, and it needs management and very often recovery to avoid burn out. Think of yourself as a football player. How many matches can a football player do in one week? 1 maybe 2, the rest of the week for a football player is practice and preparation, you overdo this, the player gets injured!
It should be the same for us as artists. You can work and be creative maybe for 1 or 2 pictures a week if not less. Sometimes for people to work on a good image you need 3 weeks. It is all about managing the way you feel about what you are doing and of course self discipline. It is very important to understand that.
Very often we fail delivering good work by exceeding our clients expectations because we tell our client things like yes, we can make 5 images in a week. Ok, but what happens after that week? Do you take a break or do you jump straight into another project? Do you get paid enough for you to take a break after working on 5 images for a week or are you getting under payed and therefore need to jump into another project to sustain yourself? I tried to teach this to my artists clients, but I have quickly realized that I have to teach this to managers and project directors also. Artists will not say no to a client.
My next step is to teach this to clients as well. “Mr client”, you want something from an artist?” then please “Mr client”, make sure you understand what is happening when you ask for 5 images in one week. I do remain positive though about this, as I see the progress I am making with my own clients. The first thing I observe with my artist clients when they manage to slow down and say no to the crazy requests coming from real estate agents and architects, is the re-appropriation of their human side. Sometimes artists forget that they are people, they become almost robots. I hope this answers the question 😉
8. Let’s about burning out, and how it can affect the most experienced of artists. Have you experienced it first hand?, and what would you recommend to our users to prevent this from happening to them?
I am not a doctor so this is merely my own experience and nothing more. If you do ever feel in need of help, do ask someone which is licensed to help. With that said: Yes, I have had burned out 2 times maybe 3 in retrospective. I think to a certain extent, since you do not see when you or someone else burned out, you have to experience it first hand and most likely YOU WILL experience it first hand. It is almost unavoidable. The motivation will be gone, you will start speculating whether you need to get a new job or if you are not good enough, you will have self doubt, you will not see the light at the end of the tunnel and as a consequence you might end up ruining other aspects of your life like personal relationships and this is when the real trouble starts because you will begin isolating yourself.
My recommendation: Take a break, go away.
Change job if needed, do whatever you need to do but stay away from the job. I mean it seriously!. I took sometimes 3 months of break in between burn outs. What I have learned is that in order to avoid them you need to do other stuff. Get a dog or a cat, go for a walk every morning. Shower and brush your teeth every day (specially if you work from home) do not over eat (I am working really hard on getting this part sorted myself), do not buy stuff that you can just binge eating at home or at the office.
There is so much more to the burning out than people think. Our body is made of sensors, our mouth is full of them, our belly our face. Reacting to the open air has such great benefits, feeling clean has such a boosting effect on us, eating clean will make you so aware of your surroundings and help you feeling less tired. These are all things that young people laugh at me when I talk about them, but you have no idea how important they are when a burn out will happen!
Whilst working, from time to time, get a book, go to the park with your dog and eat an apple. Just sit and relax and stay away from everything. With the time you will learn that burn out can be avoided by doing all of these things regularly. Myself I do not start working without going first for a walk and meditate 5-10 mins. Then I try to take an afternoon nap, then another walk in the afternoon and at 19:00 unless I am doing some late evening live interviews, I shut down my pc and watch Suits or Black Mirror lol.
9. What motivates you on your daily work, and can you share some references that have inspired you on your journey?
At the moment I spend a lot of time looking at photographs.
I love looking at the world through the eyes of another person that understand beauty the way others don’t!
In my personal work when I have the need to make something in 3d, I try to copy the visual work of others. It gives me the satisfaction of saying to myself: Well done, you nailed it, it looks pretty much the same as the original.
I also love looking at the work of Marek Denko, Tamas Medve or Thomas Dubois. I love the narrative and I love collecting the clues that they leave in their artwork.
I love watching movies and I love replicating in 3D, some scenes that get stuck in my head because of the feeling they generate in me.
For daily inspiration I listen to a lot of Tim Ferris and Joe Rogan podcasts as well as the Simple Minds Podcast where my friend Justin Bourn talks.
In terms of influence, I love watching videos from Casey Neistat, Peter Mckinnon, William Haynes, Gary Vee and a whole other bunch of people that hustle every day! I love seeing people that fight all the time in order to fulfill their goals, it makes me feel less lonely 😉
10. What’s in the future for Fabio Palvelli??,what can we expect you to be doing in the next few years?.
I have been asked by some software companies to help them implement some of their ideas, as I said I love being involved in the software biz, but it needs to be a company I believe in. So far there is only one offer that I am interested in, but I will not force it, I will just wait until it happens, I do not like to force things. I like them more when they happen organically!
I will continue making more YouTube content and try to help more people achieve their goals. I will cut down on the consultation work soon by 50% to focus on some other aspects of my business which for now are just only plans but that I am very excited about.
In the next future I will be going at different conferences and try to meet as much people as possible in order to scout future partners and that is all.
It is all about the daily hustle. 😉
11. What are your views on the future of the Arch Viz industry ?
I am always positive about the future. I guess I was just born that way. A lot of people are freaking out about the changes happening in the industry specially from the technology point of view. I used to worry myself as well but then I got reminded that very often, jobs that get killed by certain technologies, are replaced by other newer jobs that we know nothing about yet. I remember the worry and skepticism as well as all the negative things people used to say about digital photography when analogue cameras were replaced with digital ones. Yes things have changed, but we do still have photographers doing photographer jobs.
We will see a lot more implementation of VR AR Immersive visualization, we will see AI implemented in so many different tools. Everything will be easier and faster. The only issue will be how to bridge the gap between our services, the new technologies available and the expectations of our clients. Said like this, it sounds super easy 😀 There will be new challenges and we will adapt. We as humans, have always done thins. 😉 My only suggestion to anyone involved in the industry: Go out meet people and talk to them. Go to conferences, drink ups, meetings, conventions, whatever it is that you can find: get together with like minded people and have a conversation, see what’s new and ask questions, but be polite, no one likes “askholes”!
Also never forget to smile and never take yourself too serious 😉 Life is beautiful!
Thanks again for the opportunity and I look forward to interacting with anyone of you on Social media!
I hope you enjoyed this interview, if you are interested in learning more about Fabio Palvelli’s work, you can visit the following links:
As always, I invite you to leave any comments or suggestions at the end of this page.