GUARDIAN OF THE HOLY FOREST
This magical character is based on a 2D concept by freelance illustrator Heewon Kim. It took 3D art student Carlos Soares around three months to create the elf ranger herself and a further two months to build the eagle. “With each portfolio piece, I try to learn something new,” he tells 3D World, “with this one I wanted to create more believable and complex real-time hair. Therefore, I think creating the hair and feathers was the part I enjoyed most.”
Soares chose to follow a workflow recommended by CGMA instructor Johan Lithvall. First, he found a selection of great reference materials. “My first step is to find a story or mood for a character,” Soares explains, “with that in mind, I start to draw some basic shapes that I think will represent that character. I start with scribbles and shape studies, then I look for references of garments, armour, people, or anything that could add to the story or mood.”
Next, he created all the necessary textures and maps, including the alpha or transparent map, height map, root map and ID map. With the textures ready, Soares used curves with extrusion and tweaked the material to create the hair and fur. “I enjoy using Blender because it is faster to me and the Eevee viewport renderer is a godsend,” he adds. “With the meshes complete it is just a matter of sending everything to Unreal, then applying and tweaking the excellent Hair material that comes with Epic’s free Digital Human project.”
Concept artist and 3D sculptor Kevin Christian Muljadi created this charming Mulan fan art entirely in Blender. It took him two weeks from the beginning of sculpting to the final render in Cycles. “Animated films inspire me,” he explains. “I found some interesting perspectives in the message of the movie and I really love stylised character designs, as they have a certain appeal that realistic films don't have.”
Muljadi sculpts his characters from simple shapes like spheres, only occasionally using poly modelling on props like Mulan’s sword. “I enjoy modelling the face,” he adds. “I think Mulan is my favourite character so far and it excites me to translate her from a 2D character into 3D.” Muljadi attempted to model Mulan’s face from a new perspective that would simplify the process. “I found her face challenging because the character has a lot of 2D distortion, so it's tough to translate into 3D,” he admits.
With the sculpting process complete Muljadi then painted textures for the entire model, all of which used simple colours, with the exception of Mulan’s face. “For the sword I used a simple colour, but added material so that it would look like metal,” he continues, “after that I added three points of lighting, so that later on I can render it in Cycles with 4K resolution.”