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Art Spotlight: Over the Hills and Far Away

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Hi there! My name is Arseniy. I’m a 3D game artist from Saint Petersburg, Russia. I started working with 3D about 4 years ago.

I’m completely self-taught in 3D. I studied graphic design in college and I really got into 3D in the final years. Since then I worked as a freelance 3D artist. Also I have a few years of experience of working as a junior pixel artist in a game company.

About this project

My goal was to create a calm and cozy scene and to practise creating hand painted textures and environments.

Since I moved to a new city I really missed the opportunity to visit my grandma, who lives in a village. I really enjoy its atmosphere and I have a lot of memories from being there. I’m sure I’ll make something inspired by it again in the future.

over the hills and far away

From the start I planned on uploading this scene on Sketchfab. I really like all the opportunities it gives for setting up a render. I wanted to make a scene with a lot of small animations.


Partly I was inspired by the illustrations of Alexandre Diboine. I think that he is really good at conveying a feeling of warmth and coziness.

After I saw those, the idea of creating this little piece of scenery really got into my head.

Illustrations by Alexandre Diboine.


I use Cinema 4D for almost everything. This time was no exception, I used it for modelling, rigging and animation. I know that this software is not common in gamedev. But it works for me so far and I enjoy working with it.

For UVs and textures I use 3D-Coat. It is a game-changer for me. It saves a lot of time on unwrapping and baking textures!


It all starts with blocking out the scene with cubes and planes.

This time I didn’t create any sketches beforehand since I had a general picture of what I wanted to make pretty clearly in my mind. I really enjoy sometimes working this way, it feels like playing with a constructor toy.

cinema 4d modeling


For the wind effect I modeled a few long strips and made a simple rig for them.

After that I used the Align to Spline tag and assigned a spline that I created as a path for it. I animated the position parameter with a little offset for every bone. This way the strips will move one after another.

Trees and birds are using a pretty basic rig too!

cinema 4d basic rig

And here is a closer look at the little robot :>

I didn’t create any proper controls for this rig since the animation is pretty simple.

His watering can is a separate mesh from the robot and it is placed under one of the bones so it will move with his hand at the same time. Water droplets and water itself are animated by hand.


Since I wanted textures to be sharp and readable, they needed to use quite a big resolution. This makes them hard to work with. That’s why I used multiple textures. For example, the house uses 2 textures and the trees, ground, robot, etc. are all using separate textures. At the start I wanted to make a full PBR set of textures but in the end I settled on maps only for color and opacity. I used built-in Sketchfab settings to control the roughness and metalness of the materials.

Sketchfab setup

Here are the settings that I used for the viewer~

sketchfab 3d editor settings
I wanted this scene to feel like it is tiny in size, as if you can fit it in your hand, almost like a toy. That’s why I used a small field of view angle and a lot of blur. A tiny bit of tweaking with color balance helped to get colored shadows, which made the picture look more vivid.

While I love looking at some Sketchfab projects and in-game models from super up-close, I really like the ability to limit camera movement in Sketchfab. I think it helps some projects to not lose their “magic”, which can be easily broken when you look at some of the undercover parts of the model ( ´∀`)

Thank you Sketchfab for the opportunity to write this little overview and for continuing to encourage artists to make awesome stuff ♥

Tumblr / Twitter / Alexandre Diboine’s Work


About the author

Arseniy Malevaniy

Freelance 3D generalist

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