I’m Adriano D’Elia, a 3D Generalist from Italy focused on modeling, rigging and animation.
After my graduation in Design & Communication, I won some design competitions, helped in developing a video game as a 3D modeler, collaborated as a product and graphic designer with Bhumi Ceramica, and worked as a designer at 3DRap Srl, a 3D printing laboratory.
During university, I got into 3ds Max first and then Blender. I started modeling and rendering many things as a product designer, but it wasn’t enough for me, so I began making some animations. After a few years, I decided to take part in a CG master at BigRock Institute, where I studied Maya, then I stayed in this institute for six more months as R&D. Now, I’m looking for a job opportunity while I’m working on my personal projects.
I love stylized 3D models, so I searched for some artworks on ArtStation that inspired me for a new project. I found an amazing concept artist, Benjamin Paulus, whose style looked perfect for what I wanted to do, so I chose one of his concepts. With this kind of artwork, I prefer to maintain the same style for the 3D model, so I tried to recreate the same 2D look with flat and colored shadows.
For this project, I used Blender for modeling, sculpting, shading, and Substance for texturing.
I started doing a blockout of the entire scene with a basic shape to reach a correct pose both on camera and in 3D space.
When I finished the blocking, I added details with traditional modeling and kept a low poly count because I wanted to upload the project on Sketchfab. I used sculpting only for the head with the dyntopo option enabled and I frequently used the camera view to match the profile up with the original concept. After sculpting I did a quick retopo for the head and then I modeled the mask using the snap to face option. During this type of modeling, I use addons like F2, LoopTools, and Edit Mesh Tools.
When you use a low poly count, often you don’t have much control of the surface normals, so I want to talk about some tricks that can be very useful. You can change the vertex normals direction of the selected faces in Mesh > Normals or ALT + N. In this menu there are functions such as “Set From Faces”, “Average > Face Area”, “Smoothen Vectors”, etc. that operate only on the selection. A quick example is a cube with one segment bevel: perfect poly count for a low poly rounded cube but bad normals; if you use Set From Face with the original faces of the cube selected, you get perfect shading on borders, like a bevel with more segments.
In my case, without customizing the normal direction, I had incorrect shading in many places (image below on the left); after changing the normals, I reached a good result without adding vertices or baking any normal map (image below on the right). Note: the reflective matcaps easily show the normals behavior.
To create the outline effect, I used the solidify modifier with inverted normals.
After separating the outline mesh I also added a displace modifier with a low value and a large-scaled noise texture to create an irregular thickness.
UVs and Textures
For the UV mapping I separated everything into 4 materials: one of them for base plane only, one for body parts and little props, another one for large props, and the last for clothes.
Textures are pretty simple, I painted only the Diffuse map. For each material I created a base layer with uniform colors, then I created other layers for black strokes, shadows, and highlights. I used some alphas to paint some parts like a spray effect and one external pattern for the sole of the shoes. I baked only the ambient occlusion to use it later during the shading.
In the end, I wanted to challenge myself again with another version of the same project, but with a more comic style, so I created a shading like a comic print using EEVEE that I also released for free online on Gumroad.
OS Windows 10 x64
CPU I7 - 4790
RAM 16 GB
GPU GTX 1080
About the Author