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Behind the Scenes: Cantante Radiante



Hello, my name is Carlos Acuña (Matacutec), and I'm from Montevideo, Uruguay. I have a background in computer science, analogue and digital electronics. I pursued studies in both scientific and architectural fields. I was always very focused on technical things until I discovered Blender 2.79 through video tutorials by a YouTuber named José Luis Camacho. I'm a video game enthusiast and found a deep passion for the world of 3D design. It could be said that an "artistic" phase of my life began from that moment.

This would be the second time I appear on Blender Nation, the first time being a simple mention of my works by Bart Veldhuizen (for which I am thankful). Back in 2018, I was just taking my first steps as a 3D artist.

You can check out my Artstation or my Instagram to see more of my works.


For this project, I was inspired by an illustration by the great artist Frongenstein, who radiates talent and creativity. I want to clarify that while his illustration served as my inspiration, I allowed my creativity to flow in some parts of the process, so there are differences between my 3D interpretation and his work.


In this article, I'll describe the process I followed to create this particular piece. The entire project was done in Blender 3.5.

In general, my workflow usually consists of well-defined stages: concept search or creation, initial blocking, sculpting, retopology, UV mapping, texturing, lighting, and rendering. However, for this particular project, I took the liberty to skip retopology and UV mapping since the character wasn't intended for animation. I simply created a friendly mesh for it.


The first thing I do is to set the camera resolution at a ratio roughly equal to the width and height of the original image. To set up the camera, you need to consider the objects in the scene, vanishing points, and perspective. In this case, it was simple since there's practically no vanishing point, and I chose to use an orthogonal camera to make things easier.


Blocking is a phase of work that is often underestimated, but it's essential and extremely important. This is where the general forms of the entire composition, camera position, characters, and objects are defined. The more you work on the blocking of characters, the more prepared and polished you leave the groundwork for subsequent sculpting. For me, it's one of the phases that takes the most time in some of my works.

It is difficult to structure step-by-step instructions for character blocking as it's a very artistic phase that involves talent and acquired practice, but I will try my best.

First, it's very helpful to have an anatomical knowledge, in this case, of the female form, to know where to start. What I did first was position the head with the tilt and position from the illustration, then I continued with what would be the right leg, as it's in the center of the illustration and has the most prominence. The same dimensions defined in this leg will be used for the other one. You can use instances to help and have the modifications reflected.

Tip: It must be taken into account that the muscles have a certain volume, and as they stretch and contract, they preserve that volume, thus changing their shape.

So, understanding this, for example, the shape of the right thigh will be more stretched than the left thigh, or the left bicep will be more contracted than the right. I usually divide the torso area into two parts. I create spheres for the breasts and shoulders, and subdivided cubes for the rest.

Each part of the body is positioned, and then 2 or 3 subdivisions are applied. In sculpt mode with the Grab brush, vertices are moved until I am satisfied with them. At this stage, it's very helpful to place the pivot points of each body part where the joints would be.


For the head, it's more comfortable to work with instances. Position the subdivided cube on the body, then instantiate it (Alt+D), set its rotations to zero, and start sculpting.

For sculpting the body, all parts are joined using booleans, making sure to apply scales and calculate normals. To have a more friendlier topology, you can use the built-in QuadriFlow Remesh in Blender or the Quad Remesher addon, which is also very good. Then, with the multiresolution modifier, you can start sculpting.

Contrary to what many may say, in my experience, I can tell you that you don't need a graphics tablet to do works like this. I insist: with a good blocking, almost all the work is already done.

Creating clothing is really very easy. First, in Sculpt mode, select the Faces Sets brush, and then follow these steps:

  • Paint different face sets for each piece of clothing.
  • Choose the "Mesh Filter" option.
  • Under "Filter Type," select "Relax Faces Sets."

  • Click on the screen and drag the mouse to see how the face sets are smoothed.

To finish, go to the Face Sets menu and choose "Extract Face Sets" for the parts you've selected. Apply a solidify modifier to give them thickness and then tuck it in a bit.


The hat was quite easy, it's basically a circle that I shaped. Using the Solidify and Subdivision modifiers for the brim, a basic cylinder for the crown, and the ribbon naturally comes out from the topology itself. It didn't take much time, to be honest.


For the hair part, I did spend a bit more time. I start with the basic shape using several Metaballs to define the space it would occupy and its interior. Then, I created all the curled strands using curves:

  • A spiral curve ascending along the entire strand's path.
  • A curve to determine the thickness of the strand at different parts.
  • Lastly, another curve for the body of the strand.

The result was quite interesting and at the same time, faithful to the concept.

Then, it was a matter of strategically placing these strands throughout the initial block that I had been the base.

Colourful Band

For the band of colours, I created a plane that was wrapped around the singer, widening and narrowing in certain areas.


On the other hand, the microphone is a very simple model. As a tip, I can mention that for the spherical part, I used a simple subdivided cube and applied the Wireframe modifier.


For the eye-catching multicoloured texture, I used Blender's noise texture with a bit of detail and distortion, hooked up to a ColorRamp with multiple colours, set to constant, and finally plugged into an emission shader.

Each strand of hair has a slight colour gradient that gives it a necessary touch of depth. This effect is achieved using a gradient connected to an adjusted ColorRamp.

For the clothing, I did something different and unusual. I have to confess that I wanted to apply Blender's "magic" texture to connect to the normal map and give the sense of fabric. Instead of connecting it with the Bump node, I accidentally used the Displacement node, and the result wasn't as expected, but I loved it! And so I stayed

with it!

Tip: Throughout the entire process of creating artwork, it's advisable to rest your eyes from time to time and then resume. This way, you can see details that might have escaped you before. And just as important is receiving productive feedback from other artists, where they offer recommendations and point out things. In my case, I'm thankful for "The Punto Blend" Discord channel, where there are always very talented people willing to provide advice.


For the lighting, I used 4 area lights and 2 spotlights:

  • Main light of 220W
  • Fill light of 50W
  • 2 Back lights of 100W each
  • Spotlight near the body of 10W
  • A final one on the hat of around 15W

All of this, plus an HDRI background.


Although it was a simple job, as there weren't many objects in the scene surrounding the singer, and I took the liberty to skip retopology and the hard work of UV mapping, it helped me to go deeper into the anatomical study of a dynamic pose, polish my workflow for interpreting a 2D concept, and more than anything, to have fun and enjoy the final result and its process :)

RENDER - Cantante Radiante

Bonus Wallpaper:

I want to thank BlenderNation in general for inviting me to write this article, which I also enjoyed writing. I hope it can serve as a guide for other people's work or at least provide some useful tips. :)

About the Artist                       

Carlos Acuña (Matacutec) is from Montevideo, Uruguay. He is a tech enthusiast turned 3D design artist through Blender 2.79 and José Luis Camacho's tutorials.                                                                                        

About the Author

Alina Khan

A self taught 3d artist, who seeks to excel in the computer graphics field. Currently a freelancer and the editor for the 'Behind the Scenes' at Blender Nation.

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