In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.
My name is Alice Jaunet, and I am an aspiring Character designer/3D artist from France. I am currently studying at Supinfocom, a school specialized in CG animation, but I have been fiddling with 3D ever since I was in high school.
A few months ago I started to experiment with low poly models, and I think it is not wrong to say that I fell in love with that style. I love the sharp, minimalistic aspect of low poly 3D, as opposed to the smooth precision of high poly models.
Idea and Inspirations
One day the image of a young, bloodied witch in a snowfield popped into my head. I immediately started to gather images in order to help me develop this idea and pin down the atmosphere I wanted.
In the end, my main inspiration was Mark Ryden’s creepy, yet disturbingly cute illustrations, as I tried to recreate the same kind of haunting feeling.
In the meantime, I also looked for photographic references in order to define all the details of the image (such as the clothes and accessories of the character). References are always useful, so don’t hesitate to use and abuse them!
After that, I did some rough sketches of the scene I had envisioned. My main concern here was to define the overall composition and color palette of the piece, so I didn’t need it to be very precise yet. I also drew a first version of the witch character.
Once the concept phase is done, I can draw a model sheet of the character. I generally leave the outline of the body visible behind, because it makes things easier during the modelling phase.
For the modelling part, I work on Autodesk Maya. I never set myself a polycount, but I always try to keep my models as low definition as I possibly can, in order to keep that minimalistic feel that I like.
On a related note, this is also why the concept part is so important to me: low poly forces you to convey the maximum information via simple shapes an outline, so if I make the design of the character easily ‘readable’, it makes things easier for me when I translate it into 3D. Of course, the same thing also applies to every other element of the scene (set, props et cetera).
I try to stay faithful to my original concepts, but I often make slight alterations during the course of the modelling. The most important thing is to keep the “feel” and freshness of the original drawings.
Now onto the texturing part!
For my low poly models, I make my textures the old-fashioned way, on Photoshop. It might sound a little bit outdated (especially now that powerful texturing softwares exist), but I’m used to it now, and I wouldn’t do It any other way.
I try to keep my textures clean and simple, just like the rest. Sometimes, for very simple objects like snowballs and rocks, I just use Maya’s procedural textures.
To achieve this shadeless aspect in Maya, I just use a standard Lambert material and plug my textures into the Incandescence/self illumination channel. Simple, right?
For the posing, I use an autorig script called RapidRig. It’s free and fairly easy to use. I recommend to anybody who is too lazy to rig their own character, just like I am.
And here she is!
As a final note, I’d like to say that Sketchfab is an awesome tool that allows 3D artist to showcase their work in the best way possible. It is intuitive and very easy to use, no matter what your level is.