Portfolio: Daniel Couto

Toronto-based photographer, writer, director and CG artist

Daniel is a self-taught advertising photographer who has moved with his industry from film to digital to incorporating CG elements alongside those captured 'in camera'. By using CG combined with his lighting experience as a photographer, Daniel is able to create photorealistic product images, natural media-photography hybrids and CG worlds.

Where did you train and what did you specialize in?

I mentored under a master photographer but did not go to school. As for all aspects of digital, I am self-taught.

What are your favourite tools?

My camera and my scooter, which allows me to explore, explore, explore. I like mixing conventional with unconventional, large with small, digital with natural media.

What techniques and approaches do you use most?

I use a variety of techniques. I like mixing miniature and macro scales particularly as there is so much that is secret and hidden in the miniature world that looks amazing when scaled up. There is no loss of detail when things get smaller in nature. In fact, the opposite is true.

What applications do you work with?

I work with Modo for modeling and rendering, Cinema 4D for motion and modeling, ZBrush for modeling, RealFlow for particles and fluids and Vue d’Esprit for landscapes.

What has been your favourite piece you've created and why?

I don’t really have a favourite piece. I like them all. They are like my children. Each has been a unique experience and has taught me something unique.

Which clients have you worked for?

Sony, Glen Moray, Air Miles, Copper Moon, DalTile, Growers Cider, am|pm, Microsoft, Playboy (US), Harlequin, Harper’s Bazaar (HK), Maxim (US), Listerine, Downtown (Spain), INK Entertainment, Radio Shack and Nordica.

What/who are you biggest influences?

Javier Vallhonrat, comic books, Heavy Metal magazine, Epic magazine, Sci-fi literature, Ridley Scott, B-movies, Varga, Frazetta, Peter Lindbergh, Sally Mann, David LaChapelle, Herb Ritts, Joel Peter Witkin, Alan Moore, Richard Morgan, George R.R. Martin, Bansky, Pascal Balcnch and James Jean.

What has inspired you most recently?

Motion capture and the hidden Fibonacci spirals inherent in so many types of motion.

What are you working on now?

A Girl and her Robot, a CGI/photography calendar.

One from the Jane Bond series which led to the most lucrative job of Dan's career.

A purely CG piece: created in Modo, with the ice cubes created in Cinema 4D and refined in ZBrush.

Dan describes this as "a tricky image that was pure CG – with Photoshop used to dial up and down the contrast between the two nightscapes".

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One from a series of four concepts. This series was the first time Dan used Maxwell render for a commercial job.

Becky is from a series of 12 images that paid tribute to the pin-Up artists of yesteryear.

The cover of Diatom, a project Dan created in collaboration with Glen Hanson. Dan describes it as 'the world’s first high-end photographic comic book'.

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The cover for Book 2 of Diatom. There were three books in total.

A piece from Dan's Night of the Driven Dead series.