I was a professional footwear designer with more than 20 years of experience before jumping into the 3D world. I wanted to learn a bit more and 3D gave me the freedom to explore my own ideas more in-depth. That was how I started learning Rhinoceros three years ago on my own; after a year using it I left it for Blender and I discovered a whole universe. Now I am a professional 3D footwear designer working for Zara-Inditex.
I took several Blender courses at Blendtuts.es that focused on hard-surface modeling and organic modeling. I also took a Substance Painter course for texturing.
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For this specific project, I was playing around, searching for new ideas for personal projects to work on in my spare time. I like to keep myself busy with my own stuff, even though my profession is also my hobby. I had a couple of ideas for this one; I wanted to pick 4 or 5 Adidas styles, mixing them all together, sculpting them to see what I could create. I have been influenced by Maison Margiela sneakers combining materials and the sort of handcrafted pieces for the upper. I have also been influenced by Jordan’s for my final rendering colourway.
I always use Blender and Substance Painter for texturing. I start by deleting the cube and making a simple low-poly mesh of the outsole, applying a couple of subdivisions, and jumping into sculpting until I have something pretty decent on which to start doing retopology.
Before sculpting, I usually have all the displacement maps ready, having used Illustrator and Photoshop to create them in black and white, just in case I need them to add guides to the sculpt. I don’t like to spend much time sculpting. Sculpting in Blender is awesome but it is just a tool in the process.
Once the outsole is ok, I start with the last step. From the top of the outsole, I extrude that geometry upwards and sculpt it out, making two final surfaces, one more organic than the other. I love to deform the shoe just like a foot would wear it. After those sculpts, I do retopology to use as few polys as possible.
UVs and Textures
Then, after modeling is complete, I unwrap the UVs and jump into Substance Painter, painting all the textures and bringing them back to Blender to proceed with rendering.
I set three lights on top of the scene and add an HDRI environment texture in 2K resolution. I render in Cycles and, for post-production, I use Photoshop.
About the Author
Francisco Planelles Pérez, I was born in Spain 43 years ago where I live with my wife and son. Since I was a little kid I've been pretty fascinated about footwear and always wanted to become a footwear designer. After all my 20 years of design experience, I still have the same passion that that little kid had.