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Art Spotlight: Killer Whale

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Hi Sketchfab! My name is Eric Cheung. I am an animator in Hong Kong. In the past two decades of CG, I have produced 3D animation, games, movie special effects, and TV special effects, and had the job of rigging and keying motion. You can see some of my personal work on my ArtStation and Sketchfab profiles.

The impression that I have of the killer whale is as a smart, lively, and vicious creature. This is a wonderful animal, so I always think of killer whales in my creations and artwork, even long ago in pencil sketches from high school and CG printing. I wanted to make the killer whale come alive in VR, AR, and real-time 3D art this time.


I used 3ds Max as the modeling software. The model of the killer whale is a very simple and neatly arranged model. The front fin of the male killer whale is like a square, and the dorsal fin is straight. The model has a medium polygon count convenient for rigging.

Texturing and UV unwrapping

I use Tile UV to get more space to make the most efficient UV map. It looks a bit messy but that is because I hoped to attach a lower pixel texture to show a higher resolution.


  1. First I made a simple wave loop animation in 24 frames. Then I made the rear end have larger waves, and the front end have smaller waves.
  2. Now it’s possible to easily make a smooth swimming animation for the killer whale.
  3. Very important for the looping animations: it may be necessary to adjust the animation curve of the spine’s start frame and the end frame in order to make the looping animation smoother.animation loop image

This completes a basic swimming motion.


Animation Settings:

Sketchfab animation playlist image

I used this basic swimming motion to change the rhythm, speed, and range to make more animations. Finally, I uploaded the model to Sketchfab and designed the playing order for the animations.

Post-processing settings:

sketchfab post processing settings image

Because I want to give the impression of being underwater, I adjusted the color balance of the midtones to lean towards light blue, and the shadows to dark blue. Depth of field also helps make it look like underwater.

About the author

Eric Cheung

I would like to give life to polygons.

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