Hello! :> My name is Andre Kent, I’m a 2D/3D artist living in Brazil! I’ve been creating stories and drawings since I was 7 years old and I always had a huge appreciation for characters and the way their story is communicated through the way that they look. I always admired characters who have an “obvious” sort of look, whose character or action is a contrast to what you’d expect. An evil looking Lich helping someone out, a huge muscled character being afraid, stuff like that, that shows dimension instead of the old “you are what you seem to be”.
I always searched for different ways to tell my stories and when I was a kid I got my first video-game and I knew that they were the BEST way to tell a story. I loved the way that the person engaging the game could have total control over where they wanted to get and when. Me and my brother used to give random characters stories and sketch out our own games derived from THAT character on a sheet of paper. Often our mom would take away our games, so that’s how we got by…. Character design and storytelling has been a great part of my life ever since! 🙂
My art interest in 3D came a bit later! I always loved 3D games for their gameplay, but growing up with PSX and Nintendo 64, it always kind of bothered me how the 2D games were so well rendered and beautiful (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Final Fantasy Tactics, Legend of Mana, etc.) and 3D games were all about mechanics. That kind of pushed me towards wanting to work with 2D games – 3D was both too bureaucratic to make as well as it was not as pretty back then – so I started leaning towards platformers and topdown games.
I never had any formal education in 3D, so I learned everything each step of the way and from what I learned, I tried to extract what bits were most useful and which ones I’d rather skip.
Because 3D was made of many steps and I always wanted to reach “the end product” as fast as possible, I started developing shortcuts, minimalistic pipelines and recycling techniques to make it realistic to shape ideas into something presentable. I never wanted to make it “as fast as I could”, but to be as efficient as possible in each step, which made me into a reliable artist and now a Lead Artist and Art Director at INSANE, the game studio I work at.
The Candle Knight was an idea from a while back. I remember playing Shovel Knight and wanting to see it in a Castlevania-esque HD remake, so I sketched a setting of a boss fight scene.
The concept was pretty bland. He’s a headless knight in training. The blue flame in his head is his soul and as soon as he reaches his peak power, his flame is so strong his head melts off and he becomes a floating armor imbued in blue flame, the final level of his Dullahan journey. I love evolution in characters, and as I mentioned before, contrasts in look is something I’m very fond of. :> I imagined his sword could be an extension of his soul(flame), so the more determined he is, the larger/stronger it gets. The concept was pretty straight forward in my head, so I didn’t sketch much during the production, I just blocked everything in Blender and as soon as I finished the base-shape I threw it into zBrush to go about the High-Poly part.
I wanted a handpainted look, something along the lines of World of Warcraft, Battlerite or Battle Chasers, so I tried to push the volumes as much as I could to make the 3D-Coat part easier at the end of the process.
I used the base mesh to skip a chunk of the retopology step on Retopoflow(Blender). I only had to do it for the head since it’s the more organic part of the design. In Substance, I used Baked Light to get to where I wanted in texture quality, exporting only the base color ‘.png’ and finalized it on 3D-Coat to push through the limitations that PBR imposes.
Posing is always a bit painful, since I’m an amateur animator on 3D, so I tried to keep it simple: I gave it a base to stand in and voila, 10 hour project done! :> Since I use Baked Light, the final piece has only one PNG to wrap the whole concept. I relied on Sketchfab’s model viewer to add the post-processing effects, like Bloom, Sharpen and SSAO. It helped a lot with the final look I was going for! So far it’s my most popular piece! 😀