Art Spotlight: Soul of Cinder

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

Hi, my name is Vladimir Ilic (vrhuman) and I’m working in the Black Forest in Germany as a designer.

My skill set ranges from traditional painting, sketching to digital concept art and, general 3D visual artwork, to rendering and lighting. My first job after graduating led me into the automotive industry where I met great mentors which helped me gain new perspectives.

The constant hunger to improve as an artist and person is what motivates me to learn and try something new every day.

Games, movies, books and talking with other artists are my main inspiration. Especially games as an artistic medium were one of the main factors driving me into the design field. Getting an idea out of someone’s brain onto the screen or canvas and breathing life into it is a process that’s extremely intimate and challenging. Combining visual arts with music and storytelling into an interactive experience are a benchmark to where we as humans have driven culture and technology is wonderful to spectate.

The Souls series is a marvel when it comes to great atmosphere, character and world design. Every corner and dungeon you explore is carefully crafted with the player exploring it in mind. You can stop just about everywhere and find something exciting or visually stimulating which led me to do the Soul of Cinder from Dark Souls 3.

I recorded a speed-painting version of the process which you can check out here:

Picking the right environment before starting out is (at the moment) very important!

With Update v7 you can scale and rotate but the HDRI will rotate too. So you should take a close look from where the light is coming from to get crisp shadows.

Every environment in Tilt Brush has a different light setup which influences the finished painting/sculpt. You should have a rough idea of what you are looking for in mind before starting out. You can change the environment later on but as you can see in the examples it has a huge impact on how the painting turns out and what message you want to transport. The space environment for example has nice direct lighting but gives everything a magenta tint.

I tend to change the process from piece to piece so I don’t get too comfortable with one and get lazy. But most paintings start with some loose lines indicating the torso and important features like a sculptor with wire. You can scale the rough sketch but keeping it loose at the beginning is one of the most fun phases as everything can happen. Also getting a rough preview comes pretty handy and saves you precious time later on.

wire sketch

wire sketch

When painting humanoids in Virtual Reality the same principles as painting in real-reality apply.
Pose and weight distribution are very important. Therefore, establishing the position of the hips and shoulders should be kept in mind. After the wire sketch I lay down some rough shapes of where those features should be. Basic knowledge of anatomy are important, so to help, I tend to walk around the rough model pretty often and check proportions and balance.

Now you arrive at a stage where I’m still not sure what Tilt Brush is for me in terms of painting or 3D modeling. That’s why I’m still trying out new things in this phase just to see what happens.
When painting on paper, I try to keep things extremely loose and free flowing to make the painting as expressive and vivid as possible.

Knowing I will later add pieces of ember and fire, I build mass layer by layer, leaving room for the light brushes. Also I change colors from a palette to give the painting/model more depth for the eye to explore.

After that we take a look at the details like the cape and the equipment. For showing metal the duct tape and disco brush are currently my favorites. The disco brush is a bit too bold but I can’t stop using it. Those reflections are so pretty.

Giving the eye something to hold in the background is very important. This is why I went for some old rusty swords. I used them as subliminal arrows to keep the eyes on the model. Always try to guide the eye of the viewer to what you want want them to see.

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Now comes the fun part. When I’m done adding embers, lights, and fire, I erase about 50% again because I get too carried away. It is just so satisfying to paint with light– it never gets boring.

Exporting from Tilt Brush and uploading to Sketchfab has never been easier. You just go to the Lab panel and press “Export”. In your Documents Tilt Brush folder is a folder called “Export”.
Just combine everything that’s inside the folder you want to upload to Sketchfab into a .ZIP and upload that to Sketchfab.

My mind was blown when I saw what the Team at Google and Sketchfab delivered with the new Tilt Brush conversion.

Just to be clear:

  • You Paint something in Virtual Reality in 3D space.
  • Press two buttons and wait a few seconds for your file to be uploaded to a website.
  • Render your Artwork in your browser.
  • Everyone on the planet can now look at your artwork in 3D AND VIRTUAL REALITY…

Sketchfab is the perfect platform for sharing your tilt brush creations.

Thanks Google, HTC Vive and Sketchfab for making these sentences above totally normal things to say. Thank you Alban, Seori and Bart (and all the other Sketchfab members I haven’t met) for enjoying technology and art as much as I do.

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Subscribe to our Youtube Channel or our Twitter where we do anything related to Virtual Reality art /design and fun stuff.

Special thanks to Domen, he is my editing and motivation wizard with a golden voice.

Thanks, Vladimir! Any questions? Are you inspired by this process? Let us know below in the comments!

About the author

Seori Sachs

Community Person!


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  • Nice job Vladimir! Didn’t see a TiltBrush breakdown before (or had a chance to use it myself) so I really enjoyed to article to get some insight. Hope to see more of your VR work on Sketchfab 🙂

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