In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.
Hello! My name is d880. I have a background in 2d/graphic design – 3d is a new project for me! I had a short career as a graphic designer, and web designer, before I became a dispatcher in a logistics department. I’m studying Blender, PBR shading techniques, sculpting, character anatomy, color theory and composition. My main goals are to help friends with some indie projects, and I also want to create a library of materials for other artists/game developers to use. I publish projects on Sketchfab because there is nothing else like it. The Sketchfab community is very supportive – I’ve met many friendly people here!
I create projects for fun and allow people to download them. I hope that students and Indie game developers will find them and use them for their games or university projects. I want to make things that people will find useful! I love when people make requests! Many of the things I have posted are experimental, or tests I’ve done for other people.
The software I used to create this scene was Blender3d. Blender is a staple for me. I could not live without it. Blender needs no introduction! It’s powerful, free, and open source. 70% of the work I do happens in Blender.
I used Substance painter to create the materials. Substance software is the most powerful I have ever seen for what it is intended to be used for. Substance Painter is my favorite because I have a background in using brushes and pencils with physical media. I have Substance Designer too. Substance Designer is also very powerful, and people who enjoy working with node based shaders, or who like to composite will feel like it was designed just for them!
I publish on Sketchfab! Sketchfab is a very powerful platform to publish on. A gorgeous 2d image of a beautifully rendered 3d model just cannot compare to the ability Sketchfab gives to artists to publish living, breathing, animated, characters and environments. Sketchfab has many very impressive features. The lighting system and post effects are very easy to experiment with, and allow people to create very impressive scenes!
A tour of my project
Let’s talk about my design goals for this scene. I wanted to create a demonstration of how a few simple objects can be used to create a scene that is dynamic and organic. I also wanted to experiment with Sketchfab’s animation capabilities. Finally, I wanted to end up with a scene that gave people the urge to explore it!
I started by creating and UV unwrapping my first mushroom in Blender. I’ve used a few different programs to UV unwrap in the past, but I think Blender is my personal favorite!
Now it’s time to add materials! I used Substance painter. My focus was to create a texture that would still look good when repeated many times in a scene. It’s always a danger when making a prop that will be instanced many times on screen, that it’s repetitiveness will become noticeable. You gotta do what you can to avoid that!
Instancing multiple mushrooms
Now that I have a good texture for the mushrooms, it’s time to make many more! I used the original mesh of the mushroom to make several variations. I made some taller and smaller and thicker and thinner, and also added half of a sphere primitive to create a concave base to complete the module that will be repeated throughout the scene.
At this point I made a test scene for Sketchfab. I wanted start trying to figure out what kind of lighting I was going for. This is also when I got the idea to put in little floating atmospheric objects. I wanted the scene to look like it was magical or from a fairytale.
I was happy with my test scene, it performed very well. I also got good feedback from people I showed it to! So now it was time to finish the scene in Blender. I started by making some interesting groupings, that looked like little islands. I merged them all together and then used a simple deform modifier in Blender to give the little islands a curved appearance. I arranged them in a way that would disrupt the repetition.
I also added two different groups of tiny, low poly spheres, which will become the atmospheric objects. The spheres were animated so that they rotate and glide into one another, some of them will come up from the ground, and some will be float down from the sky.
It’s time to do the lighting. Sketchfab has an impressive lighting system. I used the “Cave Entry in the Forest” environment because I wanted my scene to feel like it was in a deep place, like a cave or a forest floor, the kind of place where mushrooms wanna live. I used spot lights to create regions where it looks like light is breaking through and reaching the bottom where the mushrooms grow. I also used some post processing effects. I played with the colors of the scene and increased the saturation so that they would be very vivid and warm.
Here is my finished scene! It makes me very happy that people like it, and it was great fun to make!
A scene like this is not complicated to do! It’s more than the sum of it’s parts. I owe everything to the great software I use: Blender, Substance, and Sketchfab make it easy for anyone to put together great scenes! I hope you all enjoy it!