Art Spotlight: Lily Goldheart

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Hello, I’m Justin Ethington, a 3D/2D artist currently on the path to a bachelors in animation. At the time of making this character, I was working for Skymarch Entertainment on their title Crystals of Fate. This was the last of the main characters.

First, I was to use John Stone’s illustration of Lily as the basis for the design.

Using the skeletal rig I made for Saria Shadowblade as a basis to work from, I dove straight into high poly sculpting in Blender. Armor pieces were done low poly with subsurf and edge split modifiers.

Since the illustration wasn’t a completed concept, I had creative freedom to fill in what she looked like from the back and from the knees down. I went with the gladiator sandals.

I decided to use Blender’s cloth simulation to see if it could be used efficiently for my work flow. The cloth was given constraints so it could conform to Lily’s body, and the decimate modifier was used on Lily to get a good collision mesh. I won’t explain more here, but YouTube has many great tutorials.

I got feedback from the hair and was told to push it further, so I decided to have each strand of hair as separate pieces to give it that crisp, stylized look.

Once the model was approved with my client, I continued on to retopology. Then UV unwrapping.

Texturing her by first mixing two textures: baked ambient occlusion for shadow, and a loosely masked color layer. Having this basis to work with, I used a feature in Blender that allowed me to paint her in an external program, and then project it back onto the model at any angle. Very handy!

I painted the front and back of her using GIMP, projected this onto the model, and filled in areas that weren’t affected by the projection in Blender’s texture paint mode. The colors I used were directly pulled from the illustration, but I threw purple into the robes as a complement to the yellow/gold armor. After that, it was just lots of iteration on the textures and a bit of tweaking to the face and her proportions.

Lastly, she was skinned to a modified version of Blender’s rigify armature, was posed, and the extra bits such as the pedestal, bird, and rays of light were added to complete what you see.

As always, I’d like to thank Sketchfab for being one of the best repositories for 3D models and art. I’ve been using it for a while now, and I don’t know what I’d do without it; probably less 3D and more 2D. I appreciate all that they do to push the art side of the community!


The ArtStation page of John Stone (who illustrated Lily) can be found here.

The Crystals of Fate website can be found here.

The Skymarch Entertainment company website can be found here.

My ArtStation page can be found here. I can also be contacted by email.

About the author

Justin Ethington

Aspiring 2D/3D video game artist

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