Hello Sketchfab Community! My name is Teiva Roche, I am a French 3D artist residing near Nice, and I recently graduated from an animation school in France specialized in cinema technique and animation. I mostly did rigging there, but I also really like doing general 3D modeling and learning even more generalist stuff, which is what I usually post here on Sketchfab.
I’ve played video games from as long as I can remember, mostly Nintendo games, so I’d like to think their stylized approach to graphics and design helped forge my tastes in the matter, as well as various animation films such as Ghibli’s, early 2000’s Dreamworks and Pixar, and some other obscure Japanese anime films. I’m trying to find my own style, but in the meantime I’m doing my best to analyse works from others that I really like and hoping to replicate what I loved in them!
I stumbled on Meyoco’s artworks while browsing Twitter and instantly fell in love with her work, with the way she takes childhood consoles and gives them a twist of her own, her color palette and how she manages to give everything a sort of glitter and shine. I had been wanting to attempt to make a model with outlines, and her Breath of The Wild fanart had a nice sense of composition and 3D feeling, so I went ahead and started working on it!
Setting up My Workspace in Maya
For this whole project I only used two softwares: Maya for the bulk of the project and Krita (a free digital painting software) to quickly make the “Meyoco Switch” logo at the back.
As it was more of a leisurely/training model, I did not clearly divide up each step of the creative process (modeling the objects, assigning the colors, creating the outlines), but instead I went for doing each object in full before moving on the next. I wanted to make sure that the way I was doing things looked right (as I was experimenting). That approach helped down the line, because outlines do not allow interpenetration between objects, so progressively making the outlines allowed for more precision and less tinkering when making adjacent objects.
I started by setting up the main view camera that I would use as a reference point to be as precise and faithful as possible. Aligning the grid to the reference picture helps minimize the amount of work needed to make everything match, so I took extra care to get that right!
Having set up the camera, it’s good to lock it (moving it by mistake always happens when you least expect it). Always having it in view would be nice, so I tore off a copy of the main camera to keep it as a side view, and alongside the 2D Pan Zoom tool I use it to align my models as closely as possible while working in a perspective view.
Time to model! I tried to keep the shapes as simple as possible, as what is important in a flat render is more the outside shape of the object than the details inside it. I start by identifying the outlines/shadows that can be achieved easily by just changing the materials at certain points of the model and I model keeping that in mind. To make it easier I had one material per needed color that I applied where necessary (one for pink, one for black, etc.) The materials had just a simple albedo value, so no UV work needed!
I mostly modeled starting with either a cube, a sphere or a cylinder and just added divisions and subdivisions when needed to keep it simple enough to ease my work when cleaning the outline. When adjusting the general shape of the object, the Move tool on the Sculpting section of Maya proved really helpful! I just had to select it, go to my main view and push or pull sections on the model to make it fit more with the concept.
Afterwards, to do the outlines, I simply duplicated the object and extruded it forward (99% of the time using the blue arrow), reversing the normals and then refining it by deleting faces and edge loops, moving around some vertices and, as always, modifying stuff to be as close to the original concept as possible.
After figuring that out it really only was rinse and repeat until I got to the end. For everything that wasn’t visible in the original piece, such as the back and the bottom of the console, I used references of an actual Nintendo Switch and tried to emulate how Meyoco would represent those missing parts.
The only real difficulty at the end came from making the flames at the bottom of the cooking pot. They consisted of four layers: the outer orange flames, the inner orange ones and both their outlines. The difficulty was that I had to make sure that none of the flames interpenetrated with both the wood and cooking pot outlines, but as they were the last things I made, the space I had left myself with was rather scarce. It was a bit tedious but I powered through it!
Uploading to Sketchfab
One of my wishes with this piece was to be able to recreate a 2D into 3D, but it would be pretty sad if no one apart from me was able to view the model freely! Once I was finished exporting the model to Sketchfab, I needed to make a few adjustments to keep the look I had in Maya. The most important alteration was changing the shading mode from “Lit” to “Shadeless”, which is the same thing as the “Flat” lighting mode in Maya. Setting up the right camera is essential too, so I changed the FoV to match the perspective we were working on. Lastly, for each material used as outlines I changed their “Faces Rendering” mode to single sided, as the difference between Maya and Sketchfab is that the back-face culling in Maya is done per object shape, while in Sketchfab it is the material that determines it.
All that is left to do is take a snapshot for the thumbnail and voilà! The model is done! It was honestly such a fun model to do, and I’d really like to use what I learned doing it to expand my scope and do bigger pieces using those techniques!