Renato Marques | Conceptual VFX with Legacy glass effects

Renato Marques is a motion designer in the beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal. A quick look at his body of work, and you immediately get a feel for his love of architecture, fashion, and design. His aesthetic shows a fascinating tension between organic elements and clean design.

His VFX piece for Histibe & Balkansky, Late Night 2.0 was Staff Picked on Vimeo and had a tremendous response from the community.

Where are you from? What’s the creative culture like in your community?
I’m from Lisbon, Portugal. You may have heard it in the news that my country alongside with others in Europe is going through a financial crisis, and with that comes an identity crisis. That has some very nasty effects, but it also creates an opportunity for us, as Portuguese citizens, to take a fresh look around us and within. It makes us question where we came from, and what we are representing. That is starting to create a moment in time where we are being reborn as creative individuals. This is not a new thing but has been more pronounced in these last 5 years.

This is not a new thing but has been more pronounced in these last 5 years. We always had an amazing creative force, but now we see talent like Joana Vasconcelos and Vhills that each in their own way represent a vision of what Portugal culture looks like in the 21 century. And they, as many others, were able to recreate an identity and visual realm that is truly inspiring, either as Portuguese and also as European.

Also, Lisbon itself has recently been in the media around the world as a must visit destination. I think that is due much because of the importance that Portugal had in creating the “New World”, being one of the first to realize that cultures and countries were moving to a globalised society. And also because of this new intellectual territory that had to be rebuilt and is now being shaped in a new fresh way. So it’s an exciting time to live in Lisbon, and I’m trying to make the most of it.

“… if you look too much to films and animations for your visual references, you take the risk of ending up with a look very similar to someone else’s aesthetic…”

Tell us a little about your background in design and CG work.
Well, I wanted, before college, to be a painter. Jean Michel Basquiat was at the centre of what I looked up to in an artist. The work he created made me understand what an artist does.

That was my first encounter of the yet undefined path I wanted to take. As studies went further, and I started to learn more about design, design thinking, and designers. I started to grasp the power of a well thought out idea. The number of people that one idea can touch and influence really inspired me. When that school of design and thought came across the dimension of time, we suddenly started having amazingly talented designers creating motion design pieces with fewer restrictions.

It became clear to me that I should go down that road, and start to be involved with it. Of course, Eames Office did some amazing motion design pieces like the Powers of Ten, and Saul Bass did fantastic title sequence design and corporative film, but now this was, in many ways, a fresh way of communicating. That took me to explore the technical part of how was it all made.

How did this project for Histibe & Balkansky come about?
Maks Histibe saw my work online and asked if I wanted to create a video clip for his latest track “Late Night 2.0”. I really loved the track so I said yes with a condition. I wanted to research, develop mood boards, render out all the shots and edit without him seeing any part of it. He would only see how the clip was going to look at the end of it all. He agreed with that, so I had total creative freedom to deliver him what I truly believed to be the best work possible for his track.

That was an amazing process: to be in control of everything from start to end gives you so much freedom. That is definitely a workflow I want to use more frequently. It’s not always possible, but it’s incredibly powerful to create without compromise. This, I believe takes me to the beginning of it all, and to one of my biggest influencers, painting, and Jean Michell Basquiat. This was one of the few times that I could introduce a more art-like process as opposed to a design workflow. And I truly loved the result.

What informs your aesthetic most?
Well, aside from daily inspiration around the web, I would have to say that right now I am most inspired by fashion design and architecture. Designers and directors always inspire me in the process of refreshing and renewing my aesthetic. But I think that if you look too much to films and animations for your visual references, you take the risk of ending up with a look very similar to someone else’s aesthetic, and not really being able to find and try, and fail, for yourself.

When you look directly at the aesthetic of a specific director, for example, you are looking at an amalgamation of imagery and visual concepts that are already processed. And when that happens, a lot of information is missed. You miss all the design, art, and architecture that director is using. It’s rewarding when you can do your research, and after all the process and workflow you go through, come up with a look, a mood that you can, in part, call yours.

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What kind of projects would you love to work on in the future?
I am really focusing on creating tailor-made films for brands, artists, and studios. That is unquestionably where I feel more at home, and on the other hand, it’s where I feel I can create and reinvent my process and workflow without restrictions. Which always ends up to be the best thing for me and for the client.

I get easily unsatisfied when I need to go through a workflow over and over again to get the same result as before. I see myself going deeper into art and step by step starting to do less commercial work. In the end, I think I’ll be returning to where I believe I belong.

You can see more of Renato’s excellent work at

Explore the effects used in this post


Stunning textures, light leaks, and flares. Made from shards of glass and crystal, Legacy is packed with curated clips for your next music video, commercial, or narrative.