Hi, my name is Rajendra Patten, aka SUPROELARS. I am a traditional, motion, and 3D artist from Mauritius. I am mostly self-taught and got back into 3D in March 2021, choosing Blender as my main 3D software. I specialize in character design, environment, texturing, and world creation.
I love sci-fi and alien stuff. I was inspired while playing the game Star Wars – Fallen Order and watching The Mandalorian TV show. The perfect cocktail for inspiration. I wanted it to be purely creative, imaginary, and with a different touch, where I was part of an exploration team that traveled to a planet to discover new life.
I started by sketching the basic form for the character in Blender with the sculpting tools. I imagined these aliens small, skinny, and with reptile skins. They are not violent unless pushed to the extreme or after traumatizing events. They are highly intelligent creatures, advanced in technology, and some are spiritually free.
After finalizing the primary form, I further developed the secondary forms, the eyes, nose, and lips. Then I duplicated the character and started to tweak the traits with the move brush to create variations. I came up with a first variation and spent some time exploring the characters based on their personalities and stories.
This is the first design variation.
Once satisfied with the final designs, it was time for retopology. I used the Retopoflow add-on.
After unwrapping, I added a shrinkwrap modifier on each of the characters, projected the high details onto the low-poly model, then subdivided it 4 times with the multires modifier and applied the shrinkwrap modifier so that all the information is stored in the multires.
The details were added on the 4th subdivision using some alphas downloaded from the Zbrush site. I used the clay brush, added the texture, set the stroke to stencil, method to airbrush, and painted the skin details. All the details were applied to the other characters using the same techniques.
For the clothing, I used the mask pen to paint the form of the cloth, then extracted, smoothed, and retopologized it. I used some references from Pinterest.
And for o-kirimen and i-tublis, I modeled the shape of the poncho and cape, applied a cloth simulation to it, and then applied the modifier for finer sculpting with the cloth brush.
I used Substance Painter for texturing, and I always bake from high to low. For export, I set the subdivision to 1 as my low-poly model and 4 as high-poly, then exported it to FBX with apply modifiers checked.
Then I loaded the low-poly in Substance Painter and baked the normal, curvature, and AO from the high-poly. With the recent updates, baking is much more fun and easy to correct errors.
The textures were based on reptile skins, frogs, lizards, and iguanas. My favorite texturing workflow was for the youngest o-lemta. This one was based on a colorful iguana from Pinterest.
The clothes were also textured in Substance Painter. I used a base fabric cloth and painted on top to get the desired results, focusing on dirt, scratches, and dust. Then I applied some paint alphas from the default library of SP for the designs.
After the texturing phase, I imported the textures back into Blender in 4k and cranked up more details with the multires modifier. I used the Principled BSDF shader and plugged all the maps into their corresponding parameters.
Exported color maps from Substance Painter.
The Multires subdivision was increased along with the textures and normal information. This enhanced the details and made it great to match reptile skins.
These special symbols on their forehead represent their responsibilities, who they are, and their tribes. They are first recognized by this on their planet. I designed these symbols in Affinity Photo, and if you analyze them carefully, the designs are based on their silhouettes.
Based on their character, each one needed a pose to express their personality. For posing, I reduced the subdivision level to 0, masked the head and neck, smoothed the mask, inverted the mask, and posed the model with the rotation and move tool in sculpting mode.
I organized the scene in a simple way, using a camera with DOF, a background, and two lights. One was a main light, and the second acted as a rim light. I added a color to the background to match the character's texture and environment. The main light was 500W, and the rim light was 400W.
I used Eevee to check if everything was fine before rendering in cycles.
The post-processing and color correction were done in Affinity Photo. For the backgrounds, the texture of Jupiter was used. I duplicated them, changed the blending mode, and painted and erased until I got the desired results.
I used cycles for the final rendering with 1000 samples and GPU compute.
BACKSTORY, SYMBOLISM AND MEANING
These are the portraits of three aliens from planet OI-K45 after their interviews.
"After a trip to planet OI-K45, we encounter these aliens. Each mark represents who they are, their duties, and responsibilities."
- o-kirimen (The Eldest) - Wise, he is in pursuit of the spiritual ideal and ways to connect with other beings in the solar system. He offers guidance to his surroundings and helps the neighborhood. He is often found in a cave studying ancient books and meditating.
- i-tublis - Strong and violent. Having witnessed the death of his parents, i-tublis lives with anger and trauma. With a restless mind and horns with symbolic significance that keep growing due to anger, he often goes on a killing spree in the dry land, killing creatures ruthlessly as therapy. Some even see him as a defender.
- o-lemta (The youngest) -Intellectual, curious, and kind. Pilot of spaceships and scientist, o-lemta also belongs to the society of Evoli 9-4 where he studies, invents, and contributes to the advancement of life on the planet. He has a strong passion for mechanics and is often found in the hangar crafting and repairing spaceships.
- Planet OI-K45 meaning – "OI" because the inhabitants' names start with "i" and "o," for example, I-tublis, O-lemta, O-kirimen.
- K45 – 1045 km radius of the planet.
- O-lemta belongs to the society of Evoli 9-4, where "Evoli" comes from "evolution."
- Number 9 - The number 9 represents compassion, kindness, and efforts toward creating the greatest good.
- Number 4 - The number 4 represents stability, practicality, and hard work.
And that's it. Thank you for reading my article.
I hope you have a nice day!
About the Artist
Rajendra Patten – SUPROELARS, a freelance motion and 3D Artist living in Mauritius.