Art Spotlight: Retrogasm 2018 - Chidori/Persona 3

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Hi everyone, my name is Anaïs Barbeau and I’m a freelance 3D artist from France. I started 3D modeling 9 years ago, but it’s been 6/7 years since I really dug into it, and it’s been a blast! I’ve always had a passion for video games and that’s what made me want to be a 3D artist in the beginning, but I also enjoy digital sculpting (figurines) a lot! Character sculpting and texturing is my absolute favourite and I love doing fan art to train and improve my skills.

The idea of making this model of Chidori from Persona 3 started with the Retrogasm 2018 contest which is created and hosted by two amazing and talented artists, Layna Lazar and Jon Troy Nickel. It consists of picking a character from an old generation of consoles (prior to the 6th) and remaking it with today’s graphic tools and quality expectations.

First and foremost, I started gathering references of Chidori (concepts, model in game, etc.) but also other character references which I found interesting for the textures, color palette and modeling techniques. At this moment I wasn’t sure how I wanted her textures to be, cell-shading, hand-painted or PBR, so I decided to go on and sculpt the basemesh and find the right proportions while thinking about how I would make the textures. I was also hesitant about whether to make the frills in alpha map or not, but since there was no polycount budget I decided to go wild!

For this project I didn’t sculpt everything – just the face, a rough base for the body and the shoes, then a quick pass for the clothing folds to help me later for texturing (I finally settled on going with a mix of hand-painted and cell-shading and since I didn’t want too many details I figured I didn’t need everything done in sculpt, but for other projects I sometimes do the entire sculpt).

The retopology (best part ever, says nobody) was made in Blender and also other parts like the chains, frills, clock, axe, blade, hair cards… For the chain and frills I used the array and curve modifiers. I first made a tiling part of the object I wanted (the frill, for this example) and put the array modifier on it with the merge option on since I wanted my frills to be one mesh (being sure to reset the rotation and scale of the object before doing that, for the curve too). I drew a curve with the desired shape (here is the shape of the skirt before the posing) then i went to my frill mesh and add the curve modifier, in which I put the name of my curve in the object slot. It’s possible to adjust the number of frills using the array modifier > count. The eyes were special, since I tried a method that was new to me: a white hole and a floating mesh/plane for the iris. In this way it was awesome to be able to look at anime models on Sketchfab to see the different methods used.

Once all the modeling was over I did the UV, and then a really quick rigging and skinning, just by using bones (no ik, etc.) and posed the model. I didn’t want to spend too much time on this part. Once satisfied I deleted the rig and added touch-ups by hand (moved the skirt by hand with the proportional editing on, minor corrections in the skinning, etc.).

When I was finally done with all this it was time for the fun part again, the textures! I baked the folds on the vest with Substance Painter and I did the big part of the texturing in clip studio paint, since I wanted to try this software for a while and thought it was a good opportunity. I also used Blender for the texturing, especially for drawing guidelines and my color gradients since it’s easier to do on a 3D model to avoid visible seams. I tried to keep the texture simple. The challenge here was the fact that Chidori’s clothes are very uniform – the same color – so I had to make sure that every part could be distinguished from the other by using slightly different tints of white and beige, but also cutting it with other colors like blue/pink gradients. The frills are a tiling texture, I did the UV’s before applying the array. It also saves a lot of space in the textures.

Once the textures were done I duplicated some parts of the model and inverted the normals so I could make a contour. I didn’t wanted them black so I used some space I had left in the decor map to put some colors and moved the UV’s parts in the matching colors.

Then it was time to put the model in Sketchfab. I used the shadeless mode for this one and an Ambient environment for the background, so it’s a really simple setup. The clock is a green color with an emissive. I also used processing filters to add a little sharpness, some bloom and tone mapping. It could be done directly in the textures but it would involve a lot of back and forth so I appreciate the fact that it’s been made possible inside the viewer. It’s really user friendly and takes little time to understand how it works, so thanks a lot to the Sketchfab team for their amazing work and for the opportunity to do this Art spotlight!

For the few chosen ones who haven’t died of boredom by reading everything and made it to the end like real champs, thanks and I hope you learned something. Feel free to contact me via one of those platforms!

Artstation / Twitter / Sketchfab

About the author

Anaïs Barbeau

3d artist – Available for freelance / work

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