Art Spotlight: Crystal Glyph

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In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.

Hello, I’m Clement Sim Zhi Xuan, 21 year old, a student of Digital Game Art & Design, studying in Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore. I’ve been exposed to digital gaming since the age of 5 thanks to my two older brothers, during the Playstation 1 era. I remembered the first game I’ve watched my brother play was Tales of Destiny II (or Tales of Eternia in Japan) by Namco. This made a strong impact in my sense of design and inspired me to do something like that(making games) when I grew older. And here I am, 21 year old, adult, still enjoy the Tales of series.

Alright, its a long story on how I am being inspired by games, let’s start on how the design of the Crystal Glyph came about. First off, this is a modified version of the Final Year Project I’m doing right now in school, which is being used as an ending point for a stage. The game’s theme is fantasy (my favorite kind of theme ehehehe) so of course, the game MUST(kidding) have crystals…and forest… and stars… and glowing foliages. Games that inspired the designs are of course the Tales of series, Final Fantasy series and Dungeon Defenders series.

Due to time constraints of the project, I couldn’t do any sketch or in-depth planning of this work. So before I began with the modeling, I started searching for inspiration on how I want the animation to be. I’ve always had an idea of using crystals as an activation object to end off a stage. The first thing I searched on YouTube is the summoning scene from Final Fantasy series.

After looking around, I started to imagine and plan out everything inside my mind, making sure there wouldn’t be any conflict to the game story and the game as a whole. I used Autodesk Maya to work with all my 3D assets but I think the choice of software depends on how comfortable you are with navigating around.

Simple model of the crystal and the platform for the character.

After modeling comes the most important part of this whole “Crystal Glyph” thing, the glyphs. I’ve look up into several special attacks from Tales of Vesperia and was mostly inspired by the “Dhaos Laser”. I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop to do my 2D assets for many years now and the most used function in the Photoshop that I used to create the Glyph is Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates.

It’s a fun function. While doing the design, I usually got stuck in how I should make the animation work. So separating the designs into different layer is very important. It also help in certain case where you can duplicate these layers to make another kind of design in the glyph. I’ve just played around the Polar Coordinates function and sometimes unexpected result may turn out beautiful to aid the design.


I’ve used a Surface Pro 3 as a drawing tool to quickly scribble some shapes that looked like text and Polar Coordinate those shapes to turn them into rings of text.

Final touches are using the separated layers as different planes and adding in some 3D elements into the design.


You can see the draft animation here:

Here comes the most enjoyable part of every work I’ve done. Beautifying the overall look with camera effects (if only lens flare is available lol).

Games are my source of inspiration. I once told myself “If playing games is what I enjoyed the most, I should make a living
out of inspiration I got from it.” I know that there are still lots for me to learn and my standards are definitely not there yet but I never stop believing in improving and pushing myself beyond limits.

A tip for everyone: if there are times when you are stuck in doing something, anything, stop what you are doing. Take a break and ease your mind. It may take a few minutes, maybe a few hours, or a few days, sometimes even a few weeks for yourself to get into the mood of doing things. It works for me, and I always believe when people said “Artist needs to be in the right mood to do something nice”

Oh, and I sincerely thank my parents for getting me a Surface Pro 3, really enjoyed drawing and modeling things on it 😀

Thanks Clement!

You can see more of Clement’s work on his portfolio here on Sketchfab.

About the author

Bart Veldhuizen

Head of Community at Sketchfab. 3D Scanning enthusiast and Blenderhead. Running BlenderNation in my spare time.


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