Art Spotlight: A Painter's Work Space

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

Hi Sketchfab! My name is Ilai, and I am a 3D hobbyist from Israel.

When I was about 12 years old I found Autodesk Maya on my brother’s computer and started playing around; I haven’t stopped since.

I’ve been learning from the internet and never had any professional studying. I am trying to improve my skills in hope of turning this hobby into a career one day.

I come from a very artistic home and was fortunate enough to meet artists and be exposed to a lot of art throughout my whole life, especially photography.

I don’t have a particular style of modeling; I try to learn as many different styles and techniques as possible, and recently I have gotten into surrealistic models based on paintings.

One day I was searching for a 3D model idea when I stumbled upon a painting of the architect and surreal painter Joel Jospe; this reminded me of another painting of his I always liked very much that would be perfect as a 3D model.

I’ve been inspired by his paintings since I was a child and with my love for both surrealism and photorealism working on this model was an an enjoyable project.

I work mainly in Autodesk Maya but use other software for different purposes such as: ZBrush, Substance Designer, Substance Painter, Photoshop, After Effects, CrazyBump, Marvelous Designer and more.

To create this model I used Maya for basic modeling and ZBrush for more complex objects, Substance Painter and Photoshop for texturing.

For the painting inside the model, I used a different one of Jospe’s paintings.

Basic Modeling

The first step was creating the basic objects in Maya and creating simple UV maps. I used ZBrush to create the pears; then I divided the objects into mesh groups that will have one texture each. Smaller objects go in groups and bigger objects that need to be more detailed will have their own texture. In the following image you can see the mesh groups divided by color.

Creating Cloths

To create the cloth and the smaller strip of fabric I used Maya’s nCloth physics to dynamically manipulate the mesh and simulate a realistic cloth, I wrapped the cloth strip around the pear by creating transform constraints on the edges of the strip and animating them.

Obtaining the exact placement that I liked for the fabrics was somewhat tricky, and required tinkering with the friction and stickiness properties, and dropping the fabrics multiple time to allow them to rest in a way I liked, and to match the fabric features. Once I managed to pause the simulation at the position I was aiming for, I set the current state of the animation as the initial state of the objects.

Having the cloths laid the way I wanted them, I could delete the dynamic properties of the cloths and treat them as regular meshes, smooth them to give the created folds a more natural look, and that was about it!

For the cloth strip I used a normals map of a wooden board which I found by a stroke of luck to be perfect for what I was trying to achieve. I took a small part of it and stretched it over the UV with a slight angle, which gave the cloth a crumpled look.


I created a 4K PBR texture for each of the mesh groups using Substance Painter and Photoshop.

The biggest challenge was creating a realistic-looking canvas painting. I wanted to make it feel like it was recently painted on real canvas, the paint being still fresh and moist. This is why I wanted the roughness map to be weaker on the darker colors that would have been colored last by the painter. to do that I created a grayscale gradient of the original painting but limited the color range to the area between light grey and dark grey and not black and white, to restrict the contrast.

To create the canvas feel I used a common fabric normals map, which I used photoshop to soften by overlaying it with a partly transparent layer of neutral normals map color (#8080ff).

Using the offset and stamp tools in Photoshop I made the normals map tileable.

I wanted to give the pears the look of and old metallic object with peeling paint as they appear in some of Jospe’s paintings, to do that I used Substance Painter’s Bronze Armor Smart Material and added layers of rough red and orange on top of it using the Bark 1 brush.


I’m not a professional 3D artist in any sense, however I do hope to become one someday which is why I use Sketchfab. Sketchfab allows me to learn from the work of others and receive feedback on my own. Sketchfab has been a great source of inspiration to me  and frankly I wouldn’t even have been able to create this model without some of the things I learned here, so thank you for that and thank you for giving me the opportunity to be featured in an Art Spotlight.

For questions, feedback, suggestions or any other reason you may want to contact me, please feel free to send me an email!

About the author

Seori Sachs

Community Person!

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