Art Spotlight: Misia Zajtseva

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In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.



Hi everyone. My name is yanagi*2. I’m working in Japan as a character modeler. I’ve been in this job since 2011 and I am still continuing to produce character models for games.

Recently, I’m learning the UE4 environment for my personal game project. When my 3D models are ready, I will put them on Sketchfab.

Design Idea

I was strongly influenced by the Syndicate (Starbreeze Studios) and the Ghost in the Shell.

To design and modeling characters this time, I decided to set some little rules, and rules are below:

  • For TPS (third person shooter) or shooting games
  • Sci-Fi + Bishojo (美少女)
  • Creating the characters by using less polygons as I can.
This is the concept illustration. (But I drawn this ages ago so most of the design has been changed...)

This is the concept illustration. (But I drew this ages ago so most of the design has been changed…)

I also add some little designs from Ninja and Kimono, so people who see the characters can feel the Japanese-ish. (Characters had Russian name but those are just my personal preference.)


[I] Creating Low-model

Software used: Maya LT 2016


This is for Sketchfab and game engines, as a base model to see how they work in the environments.

I’m using the Maya LT 2016 for my personal works.

About the modeling, I only know the basics so I can’t say much about Maya LT 2016.

[II] Creating Normal Map

Software used: Maya LT 2016, xNormal, Mudbox 2016

Next, I made High Models for baking normal maps. This part is the most enjoyable for me!

Generally, high models need to create whole neat model from head to toe. But I’m focusing on finishing up quickly, so I just made only the places as shown in the figures below:

Note: In order to prevent an interference between the parts and parts at the baking, I adjusted the position of parts in Maya in advance.


Skin part was sculpted by Mudbox


Small details, mold and jaggedness were made by height map


Normal map is generated by xNormal and Height map. Open the generated map by Photoshop and pile the layer. When I pile the map layers, I always change the layer mode to “overlay” and cut off the Blue channel.


[III] Generating and Modifying Textures

Software used: Photoshop CC 2015, Crazybump

Create Diffuse map, Metalness map, and Roughness map from Normal maps. 

I use the Crazybump particularly for this step.

I use the Crazybump particularly for this step

[IV] Skinning and Posing

Software used: Maya LT 2016

Returning to Maya, for skinning and a weight check. I confirmed weight checking by taking a variety of poses.

Making the pose for Sketchfab with HumanIK

Making the pose for Sketchfab with HumanIK

Finished my work at Maya!

Setting up for Sketchfab

Finally, upload everything to Sketchfab, check the setting of the materials and the environment.

(Do not ask me about Animation setting, because I’m an animation noob… X-0)

I used the PBR render this time.


Attach the textures to the slot.

(Base Color, Metalness, Roughness, Normal, Ambient Occlusion and Emission)


Ambient Occlusion -> Occlude Specular

There is some unneeded hi-light in the gaps.

But you can remove them by checking Occlude Specular on. (It also gives a nice sharp impression.)



I use Emission map not only for glowing parts, but to keep the nice tone of hair, eyes and skin by adding a light colors.

(Sketchfab doesn’t support the SSS so I used this technique instead.)



Choose the best background for model. (Tokyo Big Sight is my most favorite background in presets.)

If you use just the ambient light only, it creates a dark atmosphere. To avoid this situation, I set the Directional light in front of camera. This make it easy to identify a character too.


If there is any point which you don’t like so far about the model and textures, go back to Maya or Photoshop and modify them until you are satisfied.


Here I’m going to adjust the visuals.

Field Of View

If unnatural distortion appears by setting in a high value, you should lower the level of value.

I used around 30 degrees.

Post Processing Filters

I used Sharpness, Vignette, Bloom, Tone Mapping, and Color Balance. 


Finished! Thanks Sketchfab!

I think Sketchfab is best way to make 3DCG portfolio, Animation and VR. I’m grateful to the people who provide this wonderful service. In Japan, Sketchfab is not popular enough yet, so I would recommend Sketchfab to all the people of my country.

If you have any questions or contract, feel free to contact me at my Sketchfab page or Twitter.

This article was translated by kurz (Pixiv / Twitter). Greatest thanks!

Thanks for reading!


Thank you, yanagi*2! Inspired by game character design? Let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below!

About the author


Seori Sachs

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