Art Spotlight: Cargo 2019

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Hello, my name is Boris Cargo, I am a 3D generalist and based in Bordeaux.

I have long worked for companies specializing in architectural rendering. For a few years I have been working as a freelancer. I tend to move further and further away from photorealism and try to find a style that would be between graphics and 3D. Lowpoly, voxel, and pixelart are words that resonate in my ears.


From Sketchfab. More precisely, I had been looking for an idea for my 2019 newsletter for a few days. While browsing the Staff Picks on Sketchfab I was immediately attracted to this image, Book Cover. I really like Tom Haugomat’s work and the 3D transposition by Natalie Crabtree was really fabulous. That was what I had to do. A 3D model that is like an illustration.

I also wanted it to be a diorama, a miniature scene where things happen. A little bit like what I had tried to do with my pictures of a cabin: I could easily imagine walking around in the picture, arriving by car, walking along the deck, going upstairs and taking a zip-line.

My new idea was scribbled down quickly, but I could already see what I had to do. A high-rise building that carries the numbers in itself and a water tank with algae at the bottom.

Soon enough I found my color palette. Something pretty 80s, rather desaturated.


For modeling I use Modo, but not for much longer. Blender 2.8 seems to have made great progress in terms of ergonomics. And some really interesting technologies, EEVEE, Cycles, a living community… and it must be said that since Modo was bought back there is no longer the same momentum. Foundry is not what you would call a friendly company.

To keep the isometric effect, I constrained myself to a grid, and I built as many building elements as possible on this grid.

I hesitated to use Magicavoxel for this modeling work. I know Modo so well….

I reduced the materials to a minimum. Some colors. No shadows. No gradient. No shading. All solid. It’s minimalist, but that’s the goal. I wanted the image to be above all a poster, and for there to be a kind of magic when you realize that you can turn it around.

The only little trick is to invert the normal foliage of the trees so that the silhouette of the trunk is always in front. As if it had been drawn.

The final touch-up was done in Affinity Photo (a robust solution, a real alternative to Photoshop, and without a monthly fee). There wasn’t much to do. A little grain. A painted white background. A little colorimetric touch-up and that’s it!


I said no shadows and so on… but that’s not quite true. On the Sketchfab export I used the new ground shadow option that sits well on the model. And a little SSAO: -)

Usually I use a lot of color balance in post process because it gives life to the image. This is one of the functions I find most useful in Sketchfab rendering. But this time with the flat tints, it didn’t do much good.

I would very much like to be able to set an aspect ratio to the image in Sketchfab. My image is made to fit in a square and it floats a little if it is in landscape format.


Tumblr / Behance / Website

About the author

Boris Cargo

Low Polyartist

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