Art Spotlight: Steampunk Ironman

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

Hi everyone!

I’m Tommy, a Character Artist currently located in Melbourne, Australia. I model character concepts done by others and myself. I focus on creating real-time 3d assets, mainly stylized characters that vary from different sizes and themes. Earlier this year I stumbled across Aleksandr Nikonov’s Steampunk Ironman and I knew just then that I had to bring it into 3D. With his consent, I hammered away at the polygons before my screen. Below is a comparison of my model and its source.

His illustration was solid enough to convey the character’s personality, while still leaving enough room and challenge for me to interpret the rest of his design. His back and legs for instance are areas that are obscured in the drawing that would require my own input to translate into 3D space.

As an Ironman fan since forever, I drew upon a large visual library of Ironman references at the back of my head. I also looked at several other characters from different movies and games that share a similar appearance.

Primitive shapes are the way to go! I block out large forms with cubes and cylinders in Autodesk Maya for a considerable amount of time to really nail the silhouette. I find this stage to be the most crucial as it defines the character’s figure. Sometimes I would go as far as posing them with the rotate tool to see if I can get the right gestures going through its form. Refinements happen once I am satisfied with the base. I am not too worried about topology at this point.

Once I have the base set, I continue to add secondary and tertiary shapes. Nuts, screws and bolts; elements that make the character interesting. For hard surface characters I do a lot of box and plane modeling in Maya before I even begin transferring the model into Zbrush to keep the mesh extra clean.

With the forms sculpted I then proceed to texturing, but not before doing retopology and unwrapping in Maya. Once those are out of the way I start texturing with 3DCoat and Photoshop to create my hand-painted textures.

From there on it was a matter of patience and polish!

Thanks to Sketchfab I have no trouble sharing my work in 3D, as it should be! The viewer is well integrated into various social platforms and thus makes it convenient for anyone to embed and share their work online. The ease of having a real-time 3D viewer makes it easy to do interactive presentations of my characters without having to prepare a turnaround video beforehand. Cheers to the Sketchfab team!

If you enjoy my work, feel free to drop by my Artstation for more, or my Twitter @TommyGTeguh where I will occasionally show my work in progress and pop culture love. My personal gallery is at

Make sure you also check out Aleksandr Nikonov’s work at his Artstation for more of his concepts and designs!

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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