nefaria fan art

Art Spotlight: Nefaria Fan Art

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About Me

My name is Jonathan Xiaoran Wu, a 3D artist from San Francisco, United States. In 2014 I quit my job at a high tech company in Silicon Valley and began my Master of Fine Art program in Game Development. At the Academy of Art University, I studied level design and environment modeling for 3 years.

I am currently working for PUBG Corporation as an Environment Artist and helping them build photo-realistic environments for a new game in the PUBG Universe.


The concept of the model came from “Dragalia Lost.” It is a mobile game developed by Cygames and published by Nintendo. The 2D illustration of the game looks fantastic, while the 3D models in actual gameplay are relatively low-polyed. Therefore, I had this idea of modeling a 3D character according to the original illustration.

drafalia lost nefaria

Screen captures of the original 2D illustration and the actual 3D model from “Dragalia Lost”

There are over 150+ characters in this game, and I picked Nefaria, an archer with an ancient Egyptian-style outfit. The silhouette and the outstanding “Cleopatra” outfits are the reason I chose her.

As an environment artist, I do not have much experience in characters. This project was a good chance for me to get familiar with the workflow of 3D character modeling.


I used Maya for modeling. The rigging and posing took me a long time to figure out (I only learned a little bit of rigging and animation at school).

maya human rig bones

The rest of the model is hundreds of small decoration pieces. I did not realize the amount of detail on the illustration from the beginning. It took me about 3 nights to finish modeling.

dragalia lost nefaria fan art


I usually prefer to use 3D-Coat for hand-painted textures. However, since I left the school I do not have a license for that, and Substance Painter has become my only option. Honestly, making hand-painted textures in Substance Painter is not easy at all. I had to turn off the lighting and show the albedo map only when I was working. All of the highlights and shadows were painted by hand.

nefaria fan art hand-painting


I have been using Sketchfab since 2016, and this is the first project I ever uploaded to this website. Sketchfab is a powerful tool, and easy to get started with. This project only has the albedo maps, and the shading setting is “Shadeless.”

sketchfab 3d editor settings

Sketchfab does not have an outline effect, so I used Justin T Philips’ method to create the outlines.

Thank you for reading and thanks to the Sketchfab team. It is a very good platform and community for 3D artists, and I will try to make more characters in the future.


About the author

Jonathan Xiaoran Wu

3D Artist

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