In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.
I am Julia a 3D/2D artist, who loves video games, comics, animation, movies and cats. I have 4 years in the animation and video game industry with experience in 3D modeling and texturing, and right now I’m beginning with my illustration career.
I wanted to do something different to what I usually see all around, you know, a lot of amazing and epic stunning hyper-realistic futuristic and bombastic stuff (which I really like as well). I love realism and the new texturing/surfacing technologies such as Substance or Quixel, but this time I wanted to test myself by painting everything, thinking about the next project as a painting and not as a 3D model. I wanted to combine two of my favorite artistic areas, illustration and 3D, I did that in the past trying to imitate the Japanese anime look (this is my Anime Room on Sketchfab), but this time I wanted it to be more vibrant and colourful!
Where the idea came from?
One day when I was browsing through the Facebook Level Up! Group, I discovered “The Camp of the Hippies”, a wonderful illustration created by Egor Belavsky. That was exactly the look and challenge I was looking for! this piece was perfect because I could use my painting skills to fit the great feeling that Egor applied into it!
OK so let’s begin!
When I start a project, I like to set clear goals, the always goals are to learn and improve; the others are more technical and specific. “The Camp of the Hippies”’s goals are:
- It must be a low poly model
- It must look like an illustration
- The textures must be hand painted in Photoshop (Use only diffuse material)
- It will be on Sketchfab.
STEP 1. Modeling
My modeling process is really simple, I begin preparing the scene and setting up the reference illustration. Then I start by blocking and moving around vertex and faces to establish rough scales and proportions.
Then add details and new elements. I often reuse the elements that are repeated like the frames of the windows, the grass, the window glasses, etc. It is important to keep everything simple, organized and clean.
STEP 2. UVs
The UVs are the most important thing since I am going to paint on them directly in Photoshop. For that reason I like to ask myself, before starting them the following questions:
- Are there elements that are repeated?
- Can it share texture and UVs?
- Are there elements that may have a mirror UVs or tileable texture?
Then I quickly make a list of the assets, the textures, and their characteristics. For example, the sofa’s texture will be mirrored UVs and will share its texture sheet with the others props of the scene, The window frames will have mirrored UVs and will share texture or the wooden floor from inside the car will be tiling.
The choices you make in this step will affect your process in the future. For example, I decided to make the vehicle roof’s texture with mirror UVs, then during the process, I realized that I could not make the float’s shadow over the mirrored UVs. The solution was simply adding another plane right on top of it and painting the shadow using transparency.
STEP 3. Texturing
For me, this step is where I got the real fun! The texture sheets, which are for the vehicle and props. And it’s where I spent the most time!
Before starting to paint, I like to prepare asset’s PSD document by creating the proper layers and names for it (I know it can be boring but hey! It is worth it!). My starting PSD documents usually look like this:
The folder’s mask allows me to work freely without worrying about cleaning. The mask can be created using vectors, but it is a slow process. I prefer to use the “magic wand tool”, select the negative space of the UVs, inverse the selection and expand it 10-20 px.
Black background: Usually while I’m painting the textures in PS I use a neutral gray color so I can see low and high values. After I finish the painting process I just turn that BG black to look for little chunks and texture errors (it makes every error to pop in front of your eyes even better).
Selection: I usually save the masks of all the assets in a mask of a folder. It has helped me many times.
To Paint the assets diffuse I usually follow these simple steps.
- Flat colors: Define the base color of the objects.
- Add Ambient Occlusion. I paint it using brushes, blur or gradients. This helps us to represent volume where the model does not have any detail (see the door below).
- Add color variations, shading, is it a glossy surface? Does it need specular here? And I add textures and surface details.
- Add shadows: these are usually in multiply or normal blending mode.
- Add extra effects (glows, etc).
You can see the process in the next animated gif:
You can also download the guitar’s texture PSD. Inside are directions.
I’ve always liked Sketchfab! It allows me to see and display my models in real time! This is very important not only to show them in your portfolio but you can see the real performance of your own asset and you can learn from other artists and the way the optimize their models! Spy on them! I use Sketchfab as an artistic reference as well, you can look for posed models, anatomy references, sculptures to study from, and life drawing!
The upload and configuration process is fast and simple. And the results are very good. I will continue to upload more projects on this platform.
Thank you Sketchfab for this opportunity!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
You can find me on: