Art Spotlight: Angler Fish

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Hello again Sketchfabers!

My name is Thomas Veyrat, and I worked as a 3D Artist for Ubisoft’s upcoming game  Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.

During the project “Big Bad Angler fish”, I learned new techniques with ZBrush and learned Substance Painter entirely. 

I wanted to model some scary fishes, which the angler fish is just one of the most fascinating species out there. With their portable light bulb, they look like something out of a horror sci-fi movie.

Step 1 – Gathering References

Another interesting point about the angler fishes– they come in a wide variety of shapes and size. And of course, all of them are definitely among the most terrifying and hideous predator of the abysses. Just ask Nemo’s dad. As it turns out, Pinterest it one of the best resources out there, since it’s easy to collect images and build a wall of references. 

Step 2 – Modeling the Base Mesh with 3DS Max

During this step, I try to find a good balance between shapes and polycount.
Also the reference I gathered earlier, guide me during the process.
I use the polygonal modeling technique, as it is still a very reliable way to produce your base models.

Step 3 – UV Mapping with 3DS Max 

While it doesn’t required to be done before sculpting in ZBrush, UV mapping can ease the process a lot. So I recommend to do it as soon as your base mesh is done. Except if you start your mesh in ZBrush, that is.
At this point, use a custom texture with numbers while you work on the UVs, your final mapping will be far more accurate!

Step 4 – Sculpting in ZBrush 

During this step, it is very important to not rush things, especially with details. So first, I make sure that the silhouette and main shape are appealing. Then I begin to do the big volume and details. Afterwards the medium details. And so on.

Step 5 – Baking the normal and occlusion maps with 3DS Max

This step is critical if you want to produce high quality real time models.
Before baking the textures, I make sure that the low poly mesh fit well the High poly model, and I check the UVs one last time. (You can also use XNormal for this process or even ZBrush.)

Step 6 – Texturing with Substance Painter

With the ZBrush step, this one was by far my favorite. And actually this is the first time I use substance painter. I have much to learn with it yet and I wish to master this gem. PBR materials are awesome to make with this tool. After I am done painting, I export the various PBR maps (diffuse, roughness,…) that will be used in a real time engine like Sketchfab.

Also if your model looks great in Substance Painter, it should look great in Sketchfab 😉

Some of the textures map I created with Substance Painter:

Step 7 – Polishing with 3DS Max/Photoshop and Rendering with V-Ray

Final step before uploading the model to Sketchfab.
The teeth were a bit too symmetrical to my liking. So I decided to add some more around the others. Then I improved the shape of the flips by adding a few more polygons at the tips.

With Photoshop, I improved the opacity map and eventually I took a few beauty shots with V-Ray.

Step 8 – Magic with Sketchfab

The good things with software like Substance painter : I know already how the model should look in real time.
In Sketchfab, I set up everything in that order:

  1. Basic lighting with the environment
  2. Choosing my main camera angle
  3. Textures files import
  4. Object shader parameters
  5. Advanced lighting
  6. Camera FOV settings
  7. Post processing filters

Here is the results!

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About the author

Seori Sachs

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