07 January 2022

JINX – Character Breakdown – Tatiana Demakina

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INTRODUCTION

My name is Tatiana Demakina, an amateur3D artist from Ukraine, I am developing my skills by self-study method. In the future, I plan to work in the game industry, so I increase my skills in creating stylized 3D characters. After watching the cartoon Arcane, from the incredible Riot Games, I was seriously inspired and decided to create a character based on the N I X E U concept (I was hooked on the idea, and how emotions are conveyed here)

https://www.artstation.com/artwork/o2AJLw

I create 3D models from 2D concepts of different artists and this is how I improve my skills.

https://www.artstation.com/jennymooon

References are very important for all projects, so in order to create a character in a certain style, you need to see how different artists did this hero. Usually, I don’t use a lot of references, a couple is enough for me to understand the nature of the model, I can feel it and create them as my inner imagination tells me.

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For my characters, I mainly use ZBrush for sculpting, and Marmoset toolbag for rendering, and Photoshop for post-processing. But I also use other programs such as Maya and Substance Painter, just not at the level I would like, but I am still learning and hope that in the future I will be able to master them at a higher level.

SCULPTING

I sculpt all my models from the very beginning. Since I need to improve my skills, I never take ready-made models, so I start working with blocking from geometric shapes, or, in this case, from the head.

It is necessary to improve my skills, I never take ready-made models. I start working with blocking from geometric shapes, or, as in this case, from the head.

I studied anatomy at the university, so in this regard, it is easier for me to create models, but I still use some basic anatomical figures, I just find them on the Internet. And if I don’t find any, then I remember the basic proportions of a person. Here are some easy rules to help you master the basics.

The human body is divided into eight parts:
Head (from crown to chin).

  • Upper chest (from chin to nipples).
  • Lower chest (nipple to navel).
  • Pelvis (from the navel to the perineum).
  • Upper leg (up to mid-thigh).
  • Lower leg (up to the knee).
  • Calf muscles.
  • Shin and foot.

Also:

  • The width of the waist is equal to the whole head, in men it is lower than in women;
  • Elbows are at the level of the navel, and fingers reach mid-thigh;
  • The hips are narrower than the shoulders;
  • The torso of women is rounded, while men are trapezoidal and angular;
  • Arm from elbow to fingertips is equal in length to leg from knee to heel;
  • The neck is not a cylinder and therefore tapers downward, and the transition from it to the shoulders should be trapezoidal;
  • Do not forget about the natural curves of the body!

Everything is very simple, then it will come to automatism.

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An example of my basic model.

I always use Dynamesh initially to sculpt the basic features. After that, I duplicate the model and apply Zremesher to do automatic retopology, when I have enough time I naturally do it myself, in Maya

The next step is to create a high poly model through the projection of details on low poly, I do this using Project All.

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After that, I add details and go to Polypaint. When painting, it is necessary to use as pure colors as possible so that the model does not look dirty. Colors should be bright, and not mixed. I use this method as in classical painting, in order to convey the naturalness and liveliness of the face.

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The next step is to create clothes. Almost all clothing details can be made in a simple way through masks. Select part of the clothes through the mask, then use Extrаct to extrude, remove the inner part so that only the shape of the clothes remains, and reduce the polygons using Zremesh, add thickness to the clothes if necessary. After that, I add polygons and folds to the clothes.

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The next step is creating hair. I make a hat for the hair in the same way as the clothes with the help of a mask. I make the basic shape and add strands with a hairbrush.

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After everything is done, I move on to the pose of the character, I use the Transpose Master. But sometimes I put a character in a pose right away, it’s hard to work without symmetry later. The model will look more alive if it will be more asymmetrical. Are you agree?

After everything is done, I move on to the pose of the character, I use the Transpose Master. But sometimes I put a character in a pose right away, it’s hard to work without symmetry later, but the more symmetrical the character is, the more lively he looks, you must agree. To rotate body parts I use Gizmo and masks, it is more convenient for me to use them than Transpose Line. I mask the parts that need to turn at the joints and where the joints are located.

After I put the character in the pose, I reduce the polygons using the Deсimation master and try to apply different subtools to different parts of the model. So that different materials can be applied to them. And after that, I group all the parts and export them to OBJ.

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RENDER

I use Marmoset toolbag 4 for rendering, it is easy to use, and at the final stage, I get a very beautiful picture. I use at least 3 lights to convey the atmosphere. Usually, in all models I use 3 colors: blue, red and yellow, by making brighter a certain color, you can convey a certain mood to the character.

I apply additional highlights to the skin and Subsurface Scattering. On the skin, I apply additional highlights and Subsurface Scattering to make the character look alive and not plastic. I don’t make the clothes completely matte, so that the feeling that this is still a model, and not a drawing, remains. In addition to rendering with textures, I do a white render in order to show details without color.

And finally, processing in Photoshop. I slightly change the color, add highlights, and additional details, in this case, it is the hair. I slightly change the color, add highlights, and additional details, in this case, it is the hair.

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You can see the full workflow on my Youtube:

I believe that you always need to focus on your inner feelings, and follow the concept, the main thing is to start, and the rest will come in the process of work.

Thank you.