In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.
Hello Sketchfab community! I am Michel Donzé from France, I’ve worked mostly as a concept artist at Ubisoft Paris. I’ve also studied 3d animation film making and worked as a 3d generalist for some time before switching back to drawing and 2d visual development.
Risryn is a project that started back in 2011, when one of my animation school friend asked if I could model a 3D character for him to rig and animate. We agreed on making a realistic female model and I started experimenting with the design in Photoshop and Zbrush. Here are some early pictures of the project.
In the end the collaboration didn’t go through because of lack of communication and distance. But I kept the model in mind and came back to it from time to time over the last years, often making time consuming changes when re-opening the scene with a fresh eye after months had passed.
Then last year, I had some time to work on personal stuff and decided I need to get this done ! Since I learned how to make 3d animation films, I’ve always thought of making one by myself as the ultimate goal. But I had just a character, no story and no time to write one, and very low animation skill.
So I went on with the idea of making a simple but intriguing teaser pouring with things I love and that inspires me, from tribal art and craft to contemporary fashion, Zdzislaw Beksinski’s epic surrealist paintings, Takeshi Kitano’s shots, Icelandic lava stone landscapes and Mark Morgan’s ambient music.
Here is the result:
It was also a good way to experiment and keep up to date with 3d softwares and techniques. Once the modeling, texturing and shading was definitive, I used an autorig script for Maya (advanced skeleton) and started making tests in Marvelous Designer for her clothes. MD is a very powerful software for cloth simulation, especially for character oriented garments. It’s very simple to learn and integrates well with Maya.
Having no knowledge of hair simulation, simulating the wind in the hair was a real challenge, which had me spend days changing settings one by one and calculating caches to get an “ok look”. The whole thing was then rendered in Vray for Maya and composited in After FX. The sound design and ambient music where done using Audition and Reason.
Since I discovered sketchfab and especially the models with baked to texture lighting, I thought it would be a good idea to showcase the model in its true polygonal form as part of the project. I searched a bit about vray’s baking to texture features and found out it was very simple once the lighting was set.
First I rendered all objects to textures. Then I merged some objects together and reorganized their uv shells to fit all together in uv space, so the scene would be lighter and I wouldn’t have dozens of textures to upload. I also deleted polygons hidden by her mask and clothes. I then combined the baked textures so it would match the new uv shells layout. The viewport 2.0 was a great way to preview what it would look like once uploaded on Sketchfab.
I also wanted to have the epic environment of the short film in my sketchfab presentation without making the scene too heavy on poly. I saw some sketchfab models using textured spheres as background and thought it would be a good compromise.
To make the texture based on the environment I used a vray setting for the camera that let’s you render the whole scene in a 360° map, which is also useful to make hdri maps from 3d scenes. I also applied blur to the background to keep the attention on the character. For the ground I extracted a piece of the environment scene and baked the lighting, and then used fading transparency map so it would blend better with the background.
As for the teaser, I had plans to make more shots with more action and other environments but ran out of time. I’ll probably come back to it later when I get time to really focus on personal stuff again. In the mean time here is a render of her face I hadn’t showed yet. 😀
Thanks for reading!
Visit Michel’s portfolio on Sketchfab. You’ll also find his awesome work on ArtStation.