Art Spotlight: Alzena

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Hello, I’m Kajal Gupta from Punjab, India. Currently I am working with the game, production, and archviz walkthrough outsourcing studio 13 Particles as a character artist. I studied animation, VFX, and gaming in Chandigarh, India. Since the beginning of my career I have moved into 3D character art as I loved the idea of making 3D characters come alive with the help of animation.

The Idea and Concept

A competition was going on in the 13 Particles studio, and they had given me a project with the idea that I make a stylized girl with expressions. When I started the project I had thought about creating the character with PBR. However, I had been doing this style of artwork for most of my recent work.

As a member of the studio, I was working on this individually.


As you all know, research is the most important part of any project, so I browsed through Google, Sketchfab, and Pinterest to find some more inspiration related to PBR texture and a stylized girl with expressions. I am also a big fan of Carlos Ortega Elizalde.

I felt this was my perfect opportunity. So I decided to try to learn something new.

For this project I kept a few steps in mind so that I could create the desired results. These steps were:

  1. First, I paid attention to the difference between artistic and realistic artworks. Then I started observing human facial expressions, especially their anatomy so that I could get a sense of the expressions and gestures of different people. And then I went through some of the similar art styles, which gave me the idea to design a character in a stylized way and I started working on it.
  2. Secondly, the main task was to create the expressions. I showed her imagination and thinking ability through her eyes and I named her Alzena.
  3. To develop the correct Anatomy it is very important for a character artist to follow the anatomy and proportions with good topology. For the correct anatomy, I referred to books (e.g., Anatomy for Sculptors by Uldis Zarins with Sandis Kondrats).

By doing this Alzena project I accomplished all of the above steps. Creating expressions was a new thing for me to learn and very challenging for me to do in 3D.


Firstly, I worked on the big shapes of the character in ZBrush and make a rough model using Dynamesh. After that, I retopologized the model and started adding details to it.

Dynamesh model of Alzena:

Retopologized model of Alzena:

To get the forms I wanted, I used different brushes like clay buildup, dam standard, move topological, and many more to achieve my desired expressions. For the hairs, I used many hair brushes like hair tubes and Makkon hair curves. After that, I put the character in its final pose.

Shading and Texturing

Here, I tried polypaint on the character to visualize how the character would look before I started working with PBR textures.


I completed the texturing part in Substance Painter. With the help of Polypaint in ZBrush, I established the colors that would suit the character and in Substance Painter I created the textures that I wanted to apply to the character. Some of the materials I got from Substance Share, and I manipulated those materials according to the requirements of the character. Firstly, I gave base colors to the shaders and took 2 days to finalize Alzena’s face texturing. I painted the face by using different generators, and it took 18 to 20 attempts to finalize the face texture and skin colors that were best for the character’s appearance, and a day more to finalize the other grooming things.

Sketchfab Process

Using Sketchfab, I selected the following settings:

  1. Basic lighting with an environment, necessary for the PBR parameters.
  2. Choosing my main camera angle and adding annotations to create additional view angles.
  3. Importing textures files to the scene.
  4. Adjusting object shader parameters, quite similar to Substance Painter.
  5. Developing advanced lighting, like shadows settings and additional lights.
  6. Post-processing filters, the final touch

Final Model

In the end, I will add, I took 2nd place in the studio in the competition. But I think that learning is more important than winning. Because:

  • “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” – Kevin Durant
  • “Every student can learn, just not on the same day, or the same way.” – George Evans


I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who contributes to my development as an artist. Especially, huge thanks to the Sketchfab members. I am super grateful to the Sketchfab service, which gives me an opportunity to have access to incredible 3D art, and study model topology and texture.

Thank you so much, Sketchfab Team, for a staff pick and an invitation to write this Art Spotlight! It’s a great pleasure to be here.

Thank you, everyone, for likes and comments on the model.

Please feel free to email or comment if you’d like to get in touch for more updates in the future.

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Thanks and regards.

About the author

Kajal Gupta

Character Artist at 13 Particles

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