Art Spotlight: Treasure Hunt

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About Me

Hi, my name is Giovanni Bianchin I’m an Italian senior 3D Artist. For many years I have been working in the Italian software company Milestone s.r.l. that deals with racing games. I deal with vehicle and character modeling.

In my free time I enjoy modeling, everything from cartoon to realistic styles, preferring sci-fi settings and models.

The Idea

The initial idea was to make only a cartoon-style shark. But once modeled, I found the scene with only him in it too empty, so I decided to enrich the scene with something more.

So I imagined a possible victim of the shark … at first it had to be a scuba diver…

but then I opted for a diver.

After the character I modeled part of the backdrop where the diver was positioned, but still it was not enough. I imagined what he was doing; I thought he was looking for a treasure, so I modeled a chest full of coins, and there can’t be a treasure chest without the remains of a galleon!! 🙂 🙂

Continuing with my imagination I created and inserted other elements: fish, octopus, jellyfish, etc.

At this point I decided that the scene also needed the surface of the sea, so I added the boat with lots of different characters: captain, sailor, pelican, seagull, etc.

I enclosed it in a parallelepiped like a portion of the sea. So from a simple shark I found myself modeling a small water world!


I was inspired by the Disney style of the film Finding Nemo in the representation of various animals such as “Bruce” the shark, “Hank” the octopus, or “Nigel” the pelican. I did an online search for the rest of the subjects, looking for images that could work for the scene.


For modeling and UV I used 3ds Max and ZBrush to create some specific details. While for the textures I used primarily 3D-Coat with some finishing touches in Photoshop.


Not being a specific project with specific limitations or particular rules, I did not set limits on polygonal budget and texture size or quantity.

The sequence of the work did not have a precise workflow, having established at a certain point the overall maximum dimensions of the scene, the various elements were created based on the needs of the moment and the desire to model one mesh before another.

All the elements, once their position and size were decided on for the scene, were modeled and textured separately. Only the textures of the AO (ambient occlusion) were created by assembling the various meshes of the scene where necessary.

Some assets had more interactions, for example:

The seabed: at the beginning it was much more colorful and clean, but then I decided to add more dirt and lichens both on the seafloor, rocks, and on the galleon wreck. This was achieved simply by putting a layer on the textures using 3D-Coat.

Water: first it was clear and clean, but afterwards I added fine dust and light rays coming from the surface with paneling and cylinders with alfate texture of blurred rays and dust. Some characteristics of the materials supplied by Sketchfab, like the refraction of transparent materials, helped me make the scene look like a portion of the sea.

The surface of the sea: it was obtained by creating a plane with a high number of triangles. Once I got the right density I added a modifier called “noise” which created some disturbance on the surface. To create the effect of cusp waves I added another “push” modifier.

To create the desired effect of having the white foam on the tips of the waves, I mapped the surface with a planar UV with respect to the height of the waves and then applied a “gradient” material, thereby creating a texture with white on the tips and black on the lower surface.

I modified this texture in photoshop to get a water color that satisfied me, also obtaining the PBR mask.

In addition, I copied the sea plane by inverting the normal faces and applied a caustic texture, trying to simulate the sea seen from underwater.

I had also thought about animating the scene, but there were too many elements and problems to solve, so I opted for a static scene.

Having completed modeling and texturing I was ready to import the scene and the textures into Sketchfab.

Uploading To Sketchfab

Once the scene was loaded and its textures in Sketchfab, I started to calibrate the various materials of the whole scene and used various post effects, for example the effect of the glow of the chest using the “emission” material, or using the “screen space reflection” setting to give a better effect to the sea.
Since the scene was complex with many objects and materials, assembling everything was a job that took some time and effort, but in the end the result was more than satisfactory.


It was nice and fun to be able to make this scene and thanks to Sketchfab I could share my works in his community and on the whole web.

Sketchfab is a very useful tool for visiting your work.

Thanks for the time spent reading.


About the author

Giovanni Bianchin

3D Artist

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