Hi, my name is Alessio, alias Zale. I’m from Italy and I’m studying to become a 3D artist.
I started to learn Blender 3 years ago, after the end of the High School where I studied Computer Science, but I interrupted my studies to start working for a software house. While working there I continued to model in my free time and only a few months ago I quit that job to start studying art seriously.
I still don’t know what I would like to specialise in and what I will do in the future as an artist, I just know that I like to do this kind of stuff
I like the illustrations made for children books, and I would like to carry that style into my 3D models. When I saw the illustration that I used to make this model I thought that I absolutely had to realise a model based on it. The illustration was made by Zoe Persico.
I used Blender 2.79 to model and create the UV maps and Affinity Photo to paint the texture. Maybe there are better softwares than this for painting, but it’s kinda cheap and it offers me all the tools that I need with an interface very similar to Photoshop. And of course I used Sketchfab to share it.
I would say that the key to creating a model like this is to try to match the model with the original illustration.
I loaded the illustration as background and, using the front orthogonal view, I started to model every single piece of the scene without rotating the view.
When the model was done it was time to add a bit of a 3D effect because modelling something only using the front view makes everything flat, so I started to rotate and deform everything from the other views (top, right/left).
When I was done with that I had to do the trickiest part: the terrain. To make sure that all the areas were shown (in the orthogonal view mode the horizontal surfaces aren’t shown by the camera) I had to work on their depth and angle. By combining these elements I was able to reproduce pretty accurately the original picture. This trick makes the terrain lean towards the camera, but with the right balance between angle and width I managed to have a realistic proportion.
The sky background is a bit weird because it’s just like a wall without depth, but I like to imagine it like a theatre scene, where the sky, or the background, most of the time, is just a painted wall.
To fill the empty spaces I copied some elements, scaling them and hiding them behind the foreground objects, because I didn’t want to alter the frontal view.
The texturing was the most difficult part, because I had to reproduce the original paint style, try to understand what kinds of brushes were used, pick the right colours etc.; it’s something like a reverse engineering of the illustration. It might sound bad, but I just I tried to imitate the original illustration converting it to textures. I don’t really know how to explain it, because I think that it is just as I said – the important is to try to paint like the illustrator.
I tried to animate the scene but it’s still a work in progress, I could not upload this version because, as you can see, there are tons of keyframes and meshes, because I used a script to convert the particles that I used for the rain and the splashes into meshes. I need to optimise it, but anyway the result is visually pretty good.
My settings on Sketchfab are really essential.
- The textures are in shadeless mode to not have the shadows linked to a light source.
- The camera has a 1° FOV to match the orthogonal view that I used in Blender.
- As to the post processing effects that I used :
- The grain effect gives a more natural aspect, so that it seems like it was coloured with real crayons.
- A bit of sharpness to make the textures more defined.
- And bloom, because it adds, I don’t know, a magical look to every scene, and I like it.
The Sketchfab suite is helping me to show my works, especially to the people who don’t know anything about 3D stuff. I just have to pick up my phone, and show them my models using the AR mode, to make everything looks even more cool and magical.