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Behind the Scenes: Remake of an Old Project



My name is Adam Bengtsson, I am 28 years old. I am the lead 3D artist at Paper Digital in Malmö, Sweden.

I went to school as an industrial designer but quickly found that 3D was really my go-to medium to express my creativity. I started studying in 2016 and graduated in 2019, and during the first year at school we had 4 weeks of 3D and rendering. The programs we got to familiarise ourselves with back then were Rhino and Keyshot, but I quickly realized that those programs didn't fit my creative process. So I have tried basically all the programs, but in the end, I really fell in love with Blender and we have made it the main software in the studio.

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I started this project a couple of years ago, I would say back in 2018. Back then I was very into sculpting and I played around in ZBrush. I had this idea to sculpt a skull with some blood dripping from it. That was the basic idea, but it evolved into a gold-covered skull.

This is the first sculpt I did and textured in Substance Painter.

It led to this “final image”:

But now that I'm not feeling hindered by my knowledge of the 3D tools, I wanted to look back at some of my older concepts and see if I could improve upon them.


Well, to be honest, for this one, I can't really remember my inspiration from back in 2018. Maybe I saw some pirate-related stuff and wanted to make this. I mostly have an idea of an object in mind (the skull with blood for this one) and I create and build a story around it. And then one day I decided to grab the old skull model and make something new with it. I wanted to make something moodier, maybe not so many candles, and not so much empty space in the image. A lot of improvements could be made with 2 more years of experience. So the first major change to the main model was that I made the gold into a candle; the main reason for that is why would anyone just pour molten gold onto a skull? But they might use it as a candle holder?

So this is what I came up with, using Substance for textures as it is such a powerful tool.


I created all the base models in Blender (the skull from 2018 when I used 3ds Max back then, so it was created in that) and then sculpted in ZBrush. Retopo back in Blender, then over to Substance.

Remaking the Scene

I wanted a set of stone walls so I used the “Wall factory” in Blender that is enabled under Extra Object to create the base mesh and then the same process as before.

I created a quick table with a PBR texture from CGAxis.

By this point I put everything together and still felt that the scene was a bit empty. I reframed it more tightly (framed for Instagram 1080x1350px) and created some depth with a wall closer to the camera. I made a quick bottle and added a procedural dirt texture that uses the geometry node to figure out where to put the dirt.

This is the Raw render out of Blender. I made some dust specks in the air. The candle flame is a PNG image that is facing the camera. The scene is lit with a sun lamp and some point lights where the flames are.

And after some post-production in Photoshop, this is the final image.

I added a lot more dust and atmosphere to the room, toned down the blacks a lot to get a more “vintage” look.


The sculpting was really the most fun part of this project, especially the candle. I learned so much about how to create more dynamic organic shapes. Much more can be done with the image but at some point, I needed to say stop and call it a finished artwork! And I am really happy with it!

I hope these few lines gave some clarity to my creative process! And I am really happy to help people out. I love when I get to answer questions about my expertise!

If you have any questions for me, feel free to contact me on my Instagram or over at Blender Artists. :)

Best regards Adam

About the Author

Adam Bengtsson, Lead 3D Artist at Paper Digital



About the Author

Abby Crawford

I've been a part of the BlenderNation team since 2018, producing Behind the Scenes and Meet the Artist features that highlight Blender artists and their work.


  1. Randall Underwood on

    That is fantastic, and right on time for the Halloween Season... evil snicker...
    Keep up the good work. Thank you.
    Keep smilin

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