Art Spotlight: Matcha Dessert

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Hi everyone! My name is Kristen Malone, I’m a 3D Artist from California. I graduated with a B.S. in Computer Animation and Game Development in 2016. While my education focused more on PBR-based pipelines, my heart is drawn to the hand painted style!

My main focus is characters and most of them are based off my own designs. However, for this project I wanted to try something different. Since many modeling jobs in the industry will require one to adapt another concept artist’s or game’s art style, I thought it would be good practice to model something based off a pre-existing concept.

Concept

After a long time of browsing Twitter and Pinterest for ideas, I came across and fell in love with the work of Nadia Kim. I found her work to be immensely charming, I was especially drawn to her usage of lush green colors and the cute characters in her illustrations. I immediately realized that I wanted to work with her style. After scrolling through all of her desserts, I decided to model this piece: I especially liked the color palette and variation of textures on this concept. Once I got Nadia’s permission to re-create her illustration, I got right to work!

Modeling

Using Maya 2017 I started out with a basic blocking, slightly altering the mesh and object placement throughout the duration of the project to better match the concept. My primary focus was to be as faithful to the original as possible, though I typically aim to keep everything as efficiently low poly as I can. Disregarding the outline effects I used near the end of my process (which I will get into later), the base model sits at 3,966 tris. Next came UVing. I start with an Automatic Projection unwrap and afterwards sew all of the broken up seams together. It’s a good idea to place the final seams in a discreet place, such as the back or bottom of the object, to limit any visible texture seams down the line. Also, aligning your rectangular UVs to be as level as possible will help prevent texture seams overall.

I prioritized the UVs based on what objects would be most prominent in my scene. I made sure the little matcha ice cream in the center had extra space since it’s the focal point of the piece and stacked the strawberries to reduce texturing time and save UV space. Parts with less significance, such as the outline that only needs one flat color and the bottom of the bowl that would hardly be seen, I shrunk down considerably to make room.

Texturing

Texturing was the most crucial part of this project for me so I spent the majority of my time on it. I use 3D Coat and Photoshop and swap between them regularly depending on what I want to do. For all of my models, I texture at 4096×4096 and then scale down at the very end in Photoshop in order to get crisper details at a lower resolution. For this project, I scaled the final texture down to 2048×2048.

To make sure all of the colors were accurate, I imported the reference image into 3D Coat so I would be able to easily color pick from it. To do this, go to Color Palette, click on the drop down and select Image. From here you can click Select and browse your computer for your reference.I went the shadeless / diffuse only route for this project so I made sure Flat Shade lighting was turned on. Every now and then I switch to Smooth Shade to check if I’m placing shadows properly.

Typically I split up my layers something along these lines: a base layer with the average color for each object, a shading layer for shadows and midtones, a detail layer for lines, patterns, designs, etc, and a highlight layer for the more distinct light sources. Because of the painterly nature of Nadia Kim’s art style, I didn’t mess around with blending modes and just textured everything as I saw it. I had a lot of fun painting all of the details in!

Sketchfab and Outline

In order to achieve the line art aspect of the concept, I decided to give my model a toon outline! I followed this Sketchfab tutorial in order to achieve the final look. It’s a pretty simple process and I adore how it makes my model pop, though be warned it will crank up the poly count! I also discovered you can limit the camera through the Sketchfab camera settings. It’s handy if you want to keep the viewer focused on a particular aspect of your scene (or hide what you don’t want seen!)And voilà, it’s done! Sketchfab is an awesome platform to upload 3D work. Being able to view models in real time is the best way to show off your work and gives viewers the freedom to observe your models up close! I’ve personally learned so much by being able to study the models of fellow Sketchfab artists

That’s It!

Thank you Sketchfab for the opportunity to be on Art Spotlight and thank you for sticking around and reading! If you have any questions, want to follow my work, or just want to chit-chat, here are some sites you can find me on:

Twitter

ArtStation

Portfolio

Linkedin

About the author

Kristen Malone

Hi! I love making cute and whimsical characters : >


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