Learn more about Emilio J Dominguez, and his experience working as a senior 3D artist at Rovio.

Article Meet the Rovians meet-the-rovian 04.11.2022

Ask anyone at Rovio and they’ll tell you – our people are awesome. Rovio is brimming with knowledgeable and talented mobile gaming professionals working in all disciplines of mobile game production, who come from over 50 nationalities. We’re going to be chatting with a different Rovian every week in a rapid-fire interview to get a glimpse of their life at Rovio.


Emilio relocated from Spain to Rovio’s HQ in Finland in 2019 and has been bringing his 3D artistry to multiple game projects over the last 3 years, creating everything from 3D furniture to in-game representations of the classic Moomin characters. Learn more about Emilio’s work as a 3D artist, and some of his hidden talents, in the full interview below.


What do you do as a 3D artist at Rovio?
My main focus is 3D art, obviously, that could mean making things for game environments, or working on characters, or at times rendering 2D art as well. Basically whatever is needed in the project I’m working on. I joined Rovio working on Hardhead Squad, but moved to the Moomin Puzzle & Design team about one and a half years ago. On Hardhead Squad, I made a lot of units and buildings in the game, which was a lot of fun. Now on Moomin Puzzle & Design, I’m working on things like the 3D furniture in the realtime gameplay and also 2D characters in the conversations that take place in that game. I can work on a wide range of things.


What does a typical day look like for you?
I’ll start the day with a cup of coffee at home. I’m trying to come to the office most days so I’ll make my way to the office and have some more coffee. I have a block of focus time in the morning where I like to finish up anything I was working on the day before, or I can pick some new tasks from JIRA to work on.

My tasks can be fixing bugs or creating new assets. If I’m creating a new asset, I’ll get a description and references or documentation that I can work from. If anything is unclear, I can ask the team. Usually the narrative people have some insight into how the story develops and they will know exactly what they’re looking for.

We have a sync with the whole team around lunchtime, then after that I have some more focus time which is usually more relaxed, focused on more repetitive tasks. Also more coffee.


How did you start working in games?
At first I was interested in becoming an animator for movies, but I came into video games kind of by chance. I was working on some mods for Neverwinter Nights, which was a Dungeons and Dragons game. So I was working on some environments for that game and I got noticed because of that.


What made you interested in working at Rovio?
When I started working on 3D games I was hired by a company in Seville, and the game we were working on launched around the same time the first Angry Birds game came out. There were not many games at the time so naturally I was attracted to that strange birds game. And that’s how I met Rovio for the first time. We were kind of competing back then. I applied to Rovio a few times in the following years and finally got to join the flock in 2019.


What is your favorite thing about working at Rovio?
The most special thing about Rovio for me are the people. I really made some good friends when I joined, and we still meet from time to time outside of work to go sketching or get some beers. For me the special thing is always the people. It feels like a big family. It was almost intimidating joining a big company, but it was surprising to see that the people are so warm and welcoming. I came here completely alone, I moved to Finland to join Rovio, so I was glad that I’m here with some good people. Also I was surprised to find so many Spanish people as well.


Anything exciting on the horizon?
I’m looking forward to what is coming out of the Moomin project. I’m proud of the results we’ve been seeing so far, and it’s fun to think about everything we can do with that IP. It’s exciting to be able to work with such beloved characters.


What games are you playing right now?
I’m a huge fan of Monster Hunter games so I’m playing Monster Hunter Rise. Other than that, I’ve been playing the new Monkey Island game as well [Return to Monkey Island].


Do you have any non-video-game hobbies?
I love board games, and I like to design, 3D print, and paint miniatures [see some of Emilio’s work here].

I also love photography. I got into macro photography through photographing my miniatures so I like to take the macro lens outside and photograph insects and small flowers and whatever I can.

Also, I don’t like to brag, but some people say I’m a good cook. My favorite dish to cook is patatas rebozadas, which I guess you could call “battered potatoes”. It is basically potato slices battered in egg and flour, which are fried and served with a soup, usually clam. It’s a very Castilian dish.