Bat Demon

Character Breakdown

Gennady Oni


Gennady Oni

Character Artist


Hello, everyone!
My name is Gennady Oni and I'm still a beginning character artist from Moscow, Russia.


The goal was to learn new features (I wanted to better understand subsurface scattering) and, at the same time, support the release of my favorite game and its team, and if possible, do it quickly and efficiently.

Design & Concept

I chose the awesome concept of the classical Bat Demon from Diablo 2: Resurrected by John Gabriel Santos. As we all know, the quality of content from Blizzard is at a very high level. Copying and competing with the official models is a difficult task, so I decided to aim for that quality but make this bad boy in my style.

I wanted to add some history and personality to the common monster. As references, I used official sculpts from the game and a lot of bats.



I used Zbrush for sculpting, RizomUV for UVing, Substance 3DPainter for baking and texturing, and Maya (Arnold) for hair, scene setup, and rendering.


This time, I started sculpting with a sphere. As usual, the most difficult task for me was defining the correct proportions and how the model looks in perspective. I created the topology of the wings using the ZSphere and Topology tools.

You need to create a ZSphere inside a mesh; this allows you to use the “Topology” tool and then just draw and move points and connect them to create a desired shape.

After that, “make the Adaptive skin” and you’re done; you have a nice, clean, and quick topology. You can work with it as usual, change the shape thickness, and add details. In the process, the idea came up to make the contents visible through the transparent belly. So I had to make a set of cute guts as well.

There was also the idea of making the ribs glow from the inside, but it turned out to be too much and didn’t work for the art component, so I had to give up this idea.


For the most pleasant part – detailing, as usual, I actively use Layers, MorphTarget, and working with masks and alphas. I knew from the beginning that the final look would be greatly affected by scattering, so I made all the details more voluminous and pronounced, but still, it was not enough.

A lot of details were eaten by SSS. For the purposes of a quick non-production project, the topology from Zbrush is more than enough, so when I finished detailing, I just used the Project tool and got a clean enough topology for rendering.



For cutting and layout, I used the capabilities of RizomUV. The entire model is completely organic, so the process didn’t take long. All meshes took 10 UDIMs in 4k.

All mesh maps were baked directly into Substance Painter. I baked each part separately, and only ambient occlusion was baked on the whole model to get nice shadows. The new baker in Substance was even more convenient and faster, and it did a good job. Texturing is the most interesting and enjoyable process for me.

This was my first time using the ACES color workflow, which was a little unusual, but I was pleased with the results, and I think I will continue to work with this pipeline.

Firstly, I created a subdermal layer where I marked bony areas, localized flesh, and vein areas. Then, I made an upper dermal layer using standard masks and generators. I got this method from Jared Chavez, so many thanks to him!


SSS plays a big role in the project. I created a custom channel using thickness as a base, combining it with the curvature channel and hand painting. The result is a mask where the areas should pass light.


I also created a separate channel for a translucency mask, where I simply marked the areas that should be translucent.

I made several test renders before committing to textures. In Arnold, textures always look different. All textures were exported in 4k.



I exported the textures to Maya with the Substance plugin. SSS and transparency were adjusted manually. For the hair, I used Xgen interactive groom tools. For each hair type (long, short, and body hair), I created a separate topology using quad draw. It was very fast.


Finding the right lighting took more time than usual because of the shape of the model. The wings did not allow for classical “Rembrandt lighting,” so I had to light each part of the model separately to get the desired result. This is one of those things you have to take care of at the posing stage.

I made some nice shots and turntables. I used ACES color EXR files, and color correction was done in Davinci Resolve. It’s great software. Anyone who does not use it—I advise you to try it.



It was an enjoyable and fun project that took two weeks of unhurried work. I hope something was helpful. If you’re interested in more details, feel free to ask me directly. Stay inspired and patient. Cheers!